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From the Editor

Posted By NAEP Admin, Thursday, August 10, 2017

We lead, this month, with a troubling discussion of the counterproductive and maybe abusive management of fundraising resources at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute—a small, private college with a sterling reputation—near Albany, here in New York.  If the long article in the July 21, 2017 Chronicle of Higher Education is accurate, and I suspect it is, you have to wonder how such maltreatment of staff, involving its president, could happen at a place like RIT.  Perhaps it was an unrealistic ambition to grow into something they were not, or maybe a toxic reaction to the pressures that small private colleges with modest endowments face, just to survive.  In any case, it seems they went far astray in pushing their development office to deliver. To paraphrase Senator Baker, you have to wonder what its governing board knew and when did they know it?    

The other institution we mention is very different.  Columbia is a large, world-renowned research institution in New York City, with a great reputation and what many would consider a huge endowment.  In this case, the issue was how to deal with sexual assault on campus. And I think Columbia, my alma mater, has conceded that it stumbled as it sought to justly and humanely treat both the accused and accuser. The accused was found to be not responsible, graduated with honors, and reached an unpublished settlement with the university.  The accuser was allowed to carry a mattress around the campus for the rest of the school year, in protest, and onto the stage where they both received diplomas. The university issued an apology to the cleared accused and promised to review its policies and procedures. I doubt anyone involved went home satisfied with what has transpired. 

Take a look and, if you would like to contribute to the discussion, I’d welcome your input.   

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