Letter to the Editor: A Message From John Coyne, Chair — On Behalf of the Board of Trustees of Mount St. Mary’s University

By February 9, 2016

I am responding on behalf of the Board of Trustees of Mount St. Mary’s University. Initially, I am troubled that you have decided to publish an article that categorically provides a grossly inaccurate impression on the subject of the Mount’s efforts to improve student retention and to intervene early on to assure that incoming students have every opportunity to succeed at our University. The slant that you have adopted by choosing to publish an article based on selected quotes of confidential email exchanges among senior faculty is quite frankly irresponsible. Equally troubling, however, is the fact that you, as the Managing Editor of the Echo, and apparently  your faculty advisor, have become privy to confidential email communications among faculty colleagues, a violation of Code of Conduct at the Mount and the ‘fair use’ policy of our electronic email system. Beyond the issue of access is the fact that you propose to use those private, confidential emails to advance your journalistic interests and to do so without any concern for either the individual privacy interests of the faculty involved or the damage you will render to this University and to its brand. In the first instance, we understand that at least one faculty member quoted is quite disturbed that she was quoted verbatim from what she described as a “confidential email” and that she expressed her displeasure to the Echo’s faculty advisor, Mr. Egan. Despite her objections, apparently you and he intend to forge ahead. As to the latter point, if this article is published in its present form, it will be both an inaccurate portrayal of the goals and objectives of the Retention Program that President Newman sought to introduce and will render incalculable damage to the reputation of this University and its institutional integrity.

President Newman will be reaching out to you to discuss these matters and, in particular, his Retention Efforts and will do so in the hope that you can meet personally tomorrow.

John E. Coyne, III
Chair, Board of Trustees

This message was sent to The Mountain Echo’s Managing Editor & Faculty Advisor on Thursday, December 3, 2015.

Schools: Mount St. Mary’s University Cases: Mount St. Mary’s University: Opposition to University President Results in Faculty Firings, Threats to Free Student Press