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Comptroller Peter Franchot’s Reckless Call for Towson University’s President to Resign

Published in today’s Towerlight, the Towson University newspaper
For those interested in a truly compelling, substantive point-by-point rebuttal to Comptroller Peter Franchot’s empty case against Towson University’s president, see Chancellor Brit Kirwan’s letter in The Daily Record (April 11, 2013)

Faculty member to Franchot: “apologize”
 
–Richard E. Vatz

      Comptroller Peter Franchot, a previously outspoken but not reckless political figure in Maryland, has relinquished that persona in his statement that Towson’s president, Maravene Loeschke, “should resign.”

     Before citing some of the more strikingly irresponsible elements of his recommendation, it should be stipulated that over six months ago this writer sent arguments to the excellent Head Baseball Coach Mike Gottlieb to use to help keep the team and has made a small contribution specifically to the baseball team. 

     Comptroller Franchot writes lengthily regarding his incredulity that President Loeschke didn’t testify before the Board of Public Works.  He does not even mention that Gov. Martin O’Malley, strongly supported by the third Board member, Maryland State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, stated that the situation would be “better handled by the Board of Regents than at the Board of Public Works.”

    When calling for a president’s resignation, a responsible principal doesn’t leave out material facts.

    Comptroller Franchot argues that Towson is divided, implying that the president has been the source of such division.  Divided? Let’s look at the breadth of support for her:  Chancellor Brit Kirwan referenced President Loeschke’s being honored as one of “Maryland’s top 100 Women” and added, ”all of us want you to know how much we support you…;” the Board of Regents supported TU’s president and loudly applauded her; the University Senate, the main legislative body of the university, issued a resounding Sense of the Senate statement supporting the president (“[The president made the decisions] with procedural integrity and consistent with the excellent leadership values that she has exemplified throughout her stellar presidency.”); and the Student Government’s president and leadership have comparably supported her, including issuing a flyer specifically countering Comptroller Franchot, and I am further told by senior officers that even the few who thought her decision was incorrect support the president personally.  Senator Jim Brochin (District 42) called the Comptroller’s statement “totally inappropriate” and has praised President Loeschke’s leadership to me personally more times than I can recount.

    The Comptroller appears to have selective outrage.  When University of Maryland’s Wallace Loh eliminated over a half-dozen sports, a decision met with hundreds of irate e-mails and thousands of dissenters on e-mail petitions, the Comptroller did not call for his resignation.  Is there a gender-based differential in Comptroller outrage?  Perhaps not, but what else accounts for the different reaction?

    People may disagree with the painstaking decision process of the president of Towson, but to question the integrity of the most honest, decent and student-centered president Towson University has had in the 39 years of this writer’s tenure is nothing short of ethically contemptible.

     All university decisions can be questioned, even by a public figure who is not known for over-attention to individual university sports programs.

    But, again, to transform a policy disagreement into an attack on the character of a university president whose integrity and honor is beyond reproach is unforgivable.

    Comptroller Franchot owes Towson University and President Loeschke an apology.

 

Richard E. Vatz, Ph.D.
12-term member of Towson’s University Senate

 





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