At Mount St. Mary’s University of Maryland, the school’s president’s controversial comments to a student newspaper have resulted in a number of people losing their jobs. And it’s all because of some dead bunnies.
Not actual dead bunnies, that is, but metaphorical ones. According to a faculty member, university president Simon P. Newman was concerned about freshman students who weren’t really ready for college. Such students often end up dropping out down the line. In the meantime, they provide a drag on the school’s resources… and its all-important metrics and rankings.
According to one faculty member, Newman told him that he shouldn’t “think of the students as cuddly bunnies” but rather remember that “you just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.” In other words, encourage the struggling students to drop out sooner rather than later. It was unclear whether Newman, whose previous career was in private equity, meant that the student bunnies should be shot and drowned, or whether he was just mixing his metaphors. In any case, it was not a smart way to describe the people your university is ostensibly supposed to be benefiting.
However, while Newman has been criticized for his remarks, it’s his opponents who are feeling the pain: This week, the school announced that its provost and two faculty members (including one with tenure!) who criticized the school’s current administration had been fired. In other words: Don’t get on this guy’s bad side. And keep your cuddly bunnies far, far away from him.