Wednesday, September 3, 2008

When boards abdicate

One story that's been making news the last few weeks is the community college president who was fired for kegging it up with students. The board knew about the incident but didn't fire him until a photo of him made the rounds of the internet; the photo in question shows him pouring a keg of beer into a female student's mouth. You can see the photo along with a thoughtful blog post here.

There's a lot that's appalling about this case - since I'm studying boards, the board's blind eye comes to mind, but let's not forget the president himself. What really caught my attention, though, was a quote from a board member about letting the president's "personal life" remain personal.

Personal life? When you're a college president interacting with your students, you're on the job. That's not your personal life.

That means that while in some cases drinking with students might be OK, the president should have no expectation of privacy. (Those cases? The school allows alcohol. The students are of age. Drinking is being modeled responsibly - this does not include pony keg chugging.) And the board should recognize this.

Judging from other information, though, this was a board that long ago became a closed system existing to protect the president, abdicating its responsibility to lead the institution, which includes assessing and monitoring the CEO.


Smanda said...

This reminds me of the time a Chemistry professor here at UNC hosted a Playboy Photo shoot at his house. I thought it was totally inappropriate, but all the other professors thought it was his personal life and he should be able to do what he wanted.

turducken said...

Inappropriate and tasteless, but as long as it didn't involve pressuring his students into participating (or rewarding them for doing so), not grounds for a formal sanction. Nevertheless it's the sort of thing that guarantees he'll never be department chair.

Chad Lykins said...

There were no students from his college on the boat--just random young women and men.

So he wasn't pouring beer into the mouth of one of his own. But he is still a creepy guy getting much, much younger women drunk on a boat.

turducken said...

I took "students" from the blog article I was looking at, and I should have fact-checked it at the time. I didn't. However, many of the news stories said "it was unclear" whether any of the young folks were students. It was story that got picked up once with no follow-up, so I'm not really sure.

It actually does make a difference in how I think of the occasion - which is not to say it was a smart move. And in any case there seems to be plenty of evidence he was overcompensated and at least a tad shady.

David said...

This guy is shady. You don't put yourself in those situations, and rather the young people were students at the college or not really isn't relevant to my opinion. In that position you represent the college 24/7 and doing keggers with young people anytime is just not appropriate.

While I'm sure the thought of keggers with scantly dressed college girls sounds great, at some point common sense should pop in and kill that thought. And no matter how friendly, outgoing, flirtatious or drunk the young women, he will always be the "creepy older guy" when they sober up.

The only thing missing from this article is a bad comb over and a flashy convertible in the parking lot.