A final word on the Kent State ‘secret search’

As a hardcore utilitarian, I can’t complain much about Kent State’s decision to conduct its presidential search in secret. After all, utilitarians focus on consequences and outcomes — the greatest good for the greatest number. When this “secret search” ended, the outcome was a good one. We like this new president and wish her good fortune.

Nevertheless, I was compelled to criticize the process because it violated the university’s own policies on transparency and likely violated the Ohio open-records laws. The end does not justify the means. Continue reading

Kent State J-faculty joins protest over ‘secret search’

I’m pleased to join my colleagues in a high-profile protest against the secret presidential search conducted at Kent State over the past year. This full page ad will run in tomorrow’s Daily Kent Stater. My original post on the topic appeared April 1.

There’s a simple PR lesson in this case: The business of public institutions is public. Next to the ad I’ve posted links to some local news coverage from earlier today.

(Click to enlarge the visual.)

StaterAd2Akron Beacon Journal April 21

Daily Kent Stater Editorial

Poynter Institute story

A conference that was too good to tweet #YouToo2014

YouTooLogo2Yesterday I attended the 7th Annual YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State — right down the hall from my office. The organizers, as always, did A+ work in attracting great presenters who focused on important and timely topics. I won’t offer individual shout-outs here, as I would surely leave someone out. I will offer a special thanks to our two keynoters, Andrea Weckerle and Danny Brown. Continue reading

The Secret Society of Kent State


Update 4/13/14: Latest news story reveals a tale that’s turning downright Nixonian, including shredding of documents that belong in the public domain. I’m embarrassed that so few within the KSU community are going public with their outrage and just as troubled that I must.

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At Kent State, we kinda wish the last few weeks were an April Fool’s Day joke. Four times since March 12, our university has been in the headlines, each time owing to the administration’s failure to comply with public-records law.

Why all the secrecy? That’s what reporters from the Akron Beacon Journal have been asking for months. After all, Kent State is state-supported institution, which means we’re not exempt from sunshine laws. Like it or not, our business is the public’s business. Continue reading

Will Elk Creek spill trigger change? Color me skeptical

In a world where justice truly mattered, the Elk Creek chemical spill last week would be labeled a “triggering event.” It would first trigger indignation — and it has. But after the WVWelcomeindignation, it would lead to much-needed change to a system that is ineffective and corrupt. Continue reading

Thank you, Mrs. McJunkin

I don’t remember much about Wilma McJunkin, my fifth-grade teach at Eisenhower Elementary. But I do know is that she changed my life with one simple decision.

Eisenhower Elementary, Indiana, Pa. (Photo from indianacountyceo.com)

Eisenhower Elementary, Indiana, Pa. (Photo from indianacountyceo.com)

Fifty years ago this month, Mrs. McJunkin volunteered her class to perform a radio play that would be recorded for broadcast on our local station, WDAD. It was a play about America’s founding fathers — a story laced with all sorts of patriotic themes, like most grade-school lessons of the era. Continue reading