Simon P. Newman resigned on Monday evening as president of Mount St. Mary’s University, capping a weeks-long furor over a controversial freshman-retention plan that focused national attention on the Roman Catholic college in rural Maryland.
Mr. Newman, a former private-equity chief executive, incited a backlash by using a clumsy “drown the bunnies” analogy in reference to at-risk students. His comments, which first emerged in the college’s student newspaper, quickly drew harsh criticism both on and off the campus. The controversy ballooned when Mr. Newman fired two faculty members, one of whom had tenure, and demoted the university’s provost, who had challenged him. His actions attracted widespread condemnation from faculty advocates and others in higher education, and last week the university’s accreditor raised questionsabout the situation on the campus.
The university offered to reinstate the two professors who had been fired, but the controversy lingered, and Mr. Newman initially rejected the faculty’s demand, expressed in an overwhelming vote, to step down from the presidency. After professors demanded that he resign, the university’s student government released the results of a poll that showed widespread student support for Mr. Newman’s leadership. —The Chronicle of Higher Education