When “The Donald” Runs Mount St. Mary’s

Ooohhh! This one ticks me off: http://bit.ly/1Qba4Ty. President Newman thinks some of the students are “Catholic jihadis”??? He ain’t seen nothing yet. After you read that little piece, please fire off an email to him at president@msmary.edu. You can also go here to read more on his bio and to use alternative ways of communication: http://msmary.edu/presidents_office/.  Snail mail? A friendly phone call? Someone needs to let our friend from over the pond know he’s an idiot and that these younger “Catholic jihadis” aren’t alone!

As you read that bio, note he has absolutely no experience listed in education. He appears to be a slash and burn guy. He’s all about the numbers and actually has little to no interest in the education, and apparently the souls, of the students at Mount St. Mary’s.

Emmitsburg, Md., Feb 11, 2016 / 03:42 pm (CNA).- Amid uproar over comparing struggling students to bunnies that should be drowned or shot, Mount St. Mary’s University president is now under fire for criticizing expressions of the Catholic faith at the school.

Now, you’d think Mount St. Mary’s would, at the very least, hire someone who might possibly see the students as human beings. I mean, really, is that too much to ask? It would seem to be the bare minimum qualification to run a school. They shouldn’t be thought of as numbers or a bottom line.

Already facing turmoil, the second-oldest Catholic university in the country is now seeing alumni and former faculty members publicly expressing their concerns over President Simon Newman’s disparaging remarks about the college’s Catholic identity – even reportedly calling some students “Catholic jihadis.”

Again, he’s a business major. He has no clue on religion, ethics, or education.

Thane Naberhaus, a tenured professor who was recently fired from the Maryland university, told CNA that the president wanted to downplay the school’s Catholic identity because, in his words, “Catholic doesn’t sell.”

“He said publicly,” Naberhaus told CNA, “‘if you go in the marketplace, Catholic doesn’t sell, liberal arts doesn’t sell.”

Then, Mr. Newman, you might just want to find a product that does sell and leave the rest of us alone. It seems to sell well enough to give you a big, fat paycheck.

Since late January, Newman had been the focus of controversy. The school’s student newspaper, The Mountain Echo, ran a story about the president’s alleged plan to pursue the dismissal of 20-25 freshman students based on results from a survey predicting their future success at the school. A number of faculty members reportedly objected to the plan.

In the article, a faculty member quotes Newman as saying, “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies…put a Glock to their heads.”

OK, first of all, gun people would know a Glock is overkill when slaying bunnies. A .22 would work just fine. Ever so slightly more important – who in the heck writes off students in their first semester of college? Who “dismisses” them after an unproven track record of failure after just three weeks and how they answered questions on a questionnaire??? And, do we really need to provide the list of geniuses that were written off as dumb, slow, or lazy? Homeschoolers can usually rattle off that list by heart. Albert Einstein ring a bell, Mr. Newman? Regardless, these are not fuzzy bunnies. They are humans with a soul and intellect, and I would hope they would sue the pants off you if they were dismissed because of a questionnaire, one which you lied and told them had no wrong answer. If I were an incoming student and this was tried again, I would refuse to take it. Can you imagine all of the students who turned down other schools suddenly being “dismissed” in week three over a simple questionnaire??? I’m not sure if the school is in financial trouble, but they’d certainly have some legal trouble.

Newman later acknowledged to the Washington Post that he used the harsh words, saying that the statement was intended only to acknowledge difficult conversations that sometimes need to occur. The board of directors issued a statement calling his words “unfortunate,” but standing by Newman as president.

Oohhh! I think the “board of directors” might need the fuzzy bunny treatment. How could you ever think it wise to dismiss this incident simply as “unfortunate?”

Amid the outcry that followed, a faculty member who served as an adviser to the student newspaper was fired, along with Naberhaus, who was a tenured philosophy professor and the director of the university’s honors program. He claims his letter of dismissal charged him with disloyalty to the university.

Hey, if the university was going to treat their students like this, I’d be disloyal too! Let’s see, the journalism guy taught the students journalism, and the philosophy teacher taught them to apply philosophy. Let’s fire them! Sounds like a grand plan. Now, let’s say that the journalism teacher approved the students lying in the article, and suppose the philosophy guy suggested the students treat the faculty like fuzzy bunnies. I mean, I could kind of understand their dismissal after that. Oh wait, that’s what the president did. Never mind.

Newman responded to the backlash over the firings in a Feb. 10 statement to parents, where he said the university was not responding with the specific details of the firings in order to “take the high road.” He added that “it is critical that you know that we would never undertake actions like that unless the conduct in question warranted it.”

Wait, NOW we’re going to engage in morality??? Puh-leez! I would suggest those dismissed release those dismissal letters. The administration doesn’t want to “take the high road.” They want to protect their behinds. It’s like they haven’t a clue that social media exists!

Mount St. Mary’s University was founded in 1808, alongside the establishment of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. The seminary shares the campus with the school and receives seminarians from various dioceses.

Apparently they didn’t get the memo that Catholic liberal arts doesn’t sell.

David McGinley, a 2011 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s and a member of the Mount’s College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board, had concerns following an Oct. 23, 2015 meeting with Newman and the university’s Board of Trustees.

In that meeting, Newman “showed a lack of appreciation for or desire to continue or further Catholic identity in any regards to what one would call traditional,” McGinley told CNA.

“What he was saying is that Catholicism has lost its relevance,” McGinley added. The concerns Newman raised, he continued, were that Mount St. Mary’s was “not going to get customers to come” if it marketed itself as a Catholic university.

Something tells me that Mr. McGinley might not be long for the Liberal Arts Advisory Board if the “board of directors” carries on the way they have. For the students’ sake, I pray that he remains, though. 

A Facebook group of concerned alumni and students, “Mount Family Speaks Out,” reported that Newman made similar remarks in an August student assembly.

According to a current administrative employee, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, President Newman has also criticized the cross, saying in passing that there were “too many bleeding crucifixes” in the employee’s office.

“I have a broken crucifix, and I have a crucifix that is done in limestone sculpture,” the source told CNA, adding that the president had made the comment after seeing them.”

 OK “board of directors” how are you going to respond to that? Look, if you don’t want to be a Catholic school, boot the seminary and take “Catholic” and “Mary” out of your name. Otherwise, be Catholic, not idiots!

Naberhaus said that he has heard similar reports from other faculty members – including some instances of the president disparaging the crucifix and using profanity.

This is what happens when Donald Trump takes over your Catholic college. Let’s all pay a little attention to that, please. He is derisive and he’s profane. Sounds like the best guy for a Catholic institution – very Christ-like. Sigh…

Numerous alumni also pointed to the Mount St. Mary’s landing page for prospective students as an example of the new attitude towards Catholic identity, noting that the page does not contain any references to the fact that it is a Catholic school.

“That is Simon Newman’s vision for Mount Saint Mary’s right there, encapsulated in that one webpage,” Naberhaus said.

Let’s see how that works for the college. Hopefully the alumni start withholding donations, because, as Mr. Newman knows far too well, money talks. 

Naberhaus also said that he has heard Newman refer to students as “Catholic jihadis.”

 “He was kind of dividing up our student body and seeing a certain fraction of them,” Naberhaus said. “He seemed to think that there was a sizeable fraction of our campus that fell into that camp, Catholic jihadis, and I never was sure exactly what he meant by that, but he was definitely using that phrase.”

OK, I’m not a violent person, but can we “pull the trigger” on this guy’s career at a Catholic College? I mean, we’ve given this guy a little longer than he would give the students he wanted to axe. I think we can all agree that he’s not good fit in the Catholic world. Maybe “The Donald” would have a place for him.

McGinley told CNA that in his meetings with Newman, he was disturbed by other “derogatory comments towards Mount students,” including a suggestion that some of the students – largely those who had been homeschooled – were “judgmental” and could pose “trouble” for the administration if they admonished fellow freshman for partying.

Wait, first Newman wants to get rid of those who he deems underachievers, and now he wants to get rid of the homeschoolers. I would LOVE to plunk all my kids (aka Catholic jihadis) into his school tomorrow just to give him a lesson. Yes, they are judgmental. They can tell a narcissistic, pompous, Donald Trump wannabe just as well as I can, and guess what? They would not take this crud lying down. BTW, how would it pose “trouble for the administration” for reporting freshman for partying? Quite frankly, I don’t know too many homeschoolers who would bother reporting losers unless they were causing a danger to themselves or to others. I have three kids in college, and while they do “judge” people who they’d like to steer clear of, they haven’t told me about all the rowdy partiers. They exist and we all know it. We’re not really concerned about it. The kids that need a good busting are usually stupid enough to post their escapades on some social media outlet themselves.

Catholic News Agency reached out to Mount St. Mary’s for comment. The university said that it would comment at a future time.

I hope the alumni and parents put the pressure on big time so the next thing we hear is that Mount St. Mary’s and Mr. Newman have had a parting of ways. I’m sure “The Donald” built in a nice fat golden parachute into his contract, which is probably why he’s behaving so boorishly. Hopefully Mount St. Mary’s will learn from their little mistake of hiring a slash and burn guy like this.


14 thoughts on “When “The Donald” Runs Mount St. Mary’s

      1. Does not matter that Trump is not Catholic. Do not deride him unless you want your grandchildren bowing down to Allah 20 years from now. His stand on the real jihadists trumps all other issues.


        1. I don’t think anyone said anything about Trump not being Catholic. I’m a Cruz girl and he’s not Catholic either. I think either Cruz or Rubio would be strong against jihadists although I suspect Cruz would be stronger in the immigration area.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t under the impression that the Mount is run by Jesuits. Besides, I don’t think a visit from this pope will help. If Georgetown U is allowed to carry on as it has been doing for the past several years, why do we think the Mount would improve?


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