To what degree is it appropriate to drown bunnies, even if they are cuddly? Join Neil, Keith, and Nate in this special 2-part episode regarding college President Simon Newman’s “interesting” retention plan, and the uproar its caused at the small campus (and the uproar its caused on our podcast). Do schools coddle students to their own detriment? Is a plan to remove failing students after 4 weeks an act of mercy or cruelty? Does a professor’s actions to prevent this policy indicate a breach of contract and does his dismissal smack of retaliation? Join the conversation!

2 thoughts on “Episode 019: Mount St. Mary’s, Part 1”

  1. Colleges are businesses but applying your faith, might I say the right (Christian) thing to do, in certain situations will cost you money. I have long thought school’s refund policy was extremely punitive. Here you have admitted what you know are “at risk” students (data/matrics – while not the final answer – will get you in the territory and are a ton better than years ago), maybe in a special program for at risk students and then four weeks into the system you find out, again through improved data/surveys/matrics that this student is exhibiting behaviors (not going to class, not going to chapel, unpaid bill) that clearly put him/her in the risk pool. Ignore this student? No way! Have the conversation. Find out what is going on if you can and offer to remove all tuition/room/board charges – return student loan – reset the clock. Alternative is that student does poorly, leaves owing both the school and the federal government, can’t get an official transcript (another of my pet peeves) and headed to default on student loan. Of course the school is complicit! Do the right thing and forfeit the revenue and give the kid a break for it being not a good fit, student not ready, there for the wrong reason, etc. If doing so improves school’s retention rate than both parties win. But when Vice President for Finance tells the President it will cost the school $500,000 in lost revenue the President will be faced with the proverbial “putting his money where is mouth is”. Language President used is unacceptable but seemingly tainted in that it was said in a private conversation. Needs to be addressed but not central to issue President was trying to address. Is getting in the way.

  2. Kenneth,
    Thanks for joining in! We actually have part II in the hopper, ready to go. It will be posted soon.

    Of course, the other alternative is to use the same system, and support the student and see if they can turn it around. A lot of things are happening in the first four weeks.

    I whole-heartily agree that if the motivation is truly the student, the student (of her own desire) chooses to withdraw, and the University gives a 100% refund, that is indeed gracious. Nate and Neil go after me in the next episode (I think) for taking the faculty member at his word that the President discussed involuntarily removing the student. So, there remains some ambiguity regarding what was actually said.

    Assuming all best intentions of the President (which is the fair and faithful response until proven otherwise), I concur with your statements (I think…).

    I still need to crack this week’s Chronicle. I saw they have a spread on MSM, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

    All the best,

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