Mount St Mary's President Will Not Resign Despite Faculty's Strong StatementBy Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
With some faculty members calling for his resignation over a controversial student retention plan, Mount St. Mary's University President Simon Newman ardently stated he would not let up.
Newman appeared at a rally on Monday to officially decline the faculty members' demand he resign, according to The Associated Press. At issue is a freshman retention program Newman introduced to single out up to 25 of the school's worst performing first-year students each year to be dismissed.
MSMU faculty voted 87 to 3 on Friday in favor of demanding Newman's resignation by Monday at 9 a.m. But on Sunday, the school's student government released a poll indicated 75 percent of the student body supported their president, The Washington Post reported.
Newman's plan entails offering the freshman identified as being high-risk of failing a full tuition refund upon dismissal. MSMU faculty strongly disagreed with the proposal, calling for Newman to promote a helpful approach.
The Mountain Echo, MSMU's campus newspaper, broke the news of Newman's proposal in Jan. as part of a special issue. In the article, Newman suggested offering students most likely to fail a way out could wind up improving the private Catholic school's retention data.
Newman told The Post, "the overall tone of the thing is highly inaccurate," though conceded it did contain some accurate information. The article also contained email correspondences between Newman and other MSMU administrators. Newman said the overall point of his plan is to ensure success for his students.
However, a professor who participated in the conversations in question told The Post that The Echo got the quotes right. Though Newman called some of his language "regrettable," he iterated his overall point was to be straightforward.
"Change is hard," he told The Post. "I wasn't brought into the school to keep things the same. I was brought in to take it to the next level."