Law schools cut enrollment to attract the best, brightest; UT follows others’ lead in try to boost prestige

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

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In 1997, the University of Miami school of law in Florida made an unusual announcement: It was going to reduce its enrollment by a third, voluntarily cutting millions out of its budget.

“The idea was that the students you have left would have a better experience as part of a smaller student body,” said Dennis Lynch, Miami’s law dean.

The reduction is being phased in over time, but eventually it will cost the school more than $6 million in annual income, all in the hope that tougher competition for spots will bring better students.

“It’s too early to tell if it’s working,” Mr. Lynch said, “but we’ll find out soon enough.”

Over the last few years, dozens of law schools have done as Miami has, voluntarily reducing their enrollment in an attempt to improve the quality of their programs and improve their reputations.

The University of Toledo has become the latest, announcing last month that its enrollment will drop from the current 523 students to 430 by fall, 2001. The standardized test scores and bar-passage rates of UT’s law students have dropped in the 1990s, and university officials said a smaller student body would bring those numbers back up.

“The motivation behind this proposal is simple,” UT trustee James Tuschman said at the time. “We want to attract the best and the brightest to our law school here at the university, we want the law school to regain its position of pride among Ohio law schools, and we want our students to enjoy an unparalleled academic and professional experience here at the university.”

But while many schools have had success with the change, some caution that smaller does not always mean better.

“I think the faculty and others here have realized as it’s progressed that it may be much more complicated than they thought it would be,” Mr. Lynch said. “We have to be careful to see that we’re not hurting the quality of education we provide by being too small.”

The idea that UT’s law school should be smaller isn’t new. Since 1995, the school has been shrinking as part of a plan by then Dean Albert Quick to improve instruction. In 1995, when Mr. Quick took office, the law school enrolled 675 students. The next year, the number dropped to 635, then 582, then 547.

But despite the increased selectivity, statistics do not seem to indicate that the quality of students or education has markedly improved over the last few years.

The median score on the Law School Admissions Test – the standardized test required of all applicants – has dropped slightly in that period, from 153 in 1995 to 152 now. UT’s LSAT median stood at 157 just seven years ago.

During the same period, UT’s graduates have had a tougher time passing the state’s bar exam, which is given twice a year.

From 1990 to 1993, UT finished in the top four of Ohio’s nine law schools in its bar-passage rate on each of the eight tests. Since 1994, however, UT has finished in the top four on only three of the 12 tests. UT ranked eighth in the most recent testing cycle.

Over the same period, it’s become statistically easier to get into UT law. In 1992, the school accepted only 34.6 per cent of 1,115 applicants into its day program. Last year, it accepted 66.8 per cent; only 533 students applied.

Much of that reduction in applications is based on a nationwide trend in the 1990s. “The national applicant pool went through a seven, eight-year period of going down on an annual basis,” said Richard Hurt, deputy consultant for legal education at the American Bar Association.

In 1991, a record 99,327 people applied to at least one law school. By last year, that number had dropped to 74,380. The strong economy of the 1990s has convinced many people they can find high-paying careers outside of law, while many law firms have reorganized and have fewer positions available, Mr. Hurt said.

With fewer applicants and fewer jobs for those who graduate, many law schools have made a decision like UT’s. At least two dozen law schools have cut their enrollment by 5 per cent or more in the last five years, according to Carl Monk, executive director of the Association of American Law Schools.

Mr. Monk, a former dean of Washburn University’s law school in Topeka, said he instituted a similar change there in the early 1980s.

“We cut our student body by about 30 per cent, for very similar reasons” to UT’s, he said. “We wanted to have more small class instruction to give a better opportunity, pedagogically, to students.”

But Mr. Lynch at the University of Miami is cautious about the reduction, which was instituted by his predecessor, Samuel Thompson. Accepting such a radical reduction in the school’s revenue could mean money won’t be available to pay for important new programs.

“There are ways to improve your educational mission with additional revenue,” he said. “You’re going to find areas of the law where you’re not providing the education you want to, where a faculty addition would be critical. Or you’ll want to start an innovative program to create linkages with schools in Latin America or Europe. All of that takes revenue, and there’s a tension if there’s no money to pay for it.”

Reducing overall enrollment by more than 90 students could cost UT more than $1 million in revenue. Ohio residents pay $7,778 in tuition and fees; out-of-state students pay $15,010.

To help pay for the shrinkage, the law school will reduce its number of permanent faculty to 28 from its traditional 31.

But UT President Vik Kapoor has agreed not to cut funding for the college, even with its reduced revenues. “We don’t want the law school to be a money maker,” he said last week. “We want it to be a great institution.”

UT’s proposed reduction in enrollment isn’t as large as it may seem at first glance. The class that entered in 1998 had only 166 students. Last year’s entering class was larger than expected at 190 students, in part because the law school’s yield rate – the percentage of those accepted who end up attending UT – was its highest since 1991.

UT isn’t the only local school to reduce its law enrollment. Ohio Northern University made the decision last year “to significantly raise the qualifications of our students,” said Louis Lobenhofer, the school’s interim director of admissions.

ONU’s entering class in 1999 had only 108 students, down from about 130 the previous year and more than 190 in the early 1990s. “We decided that if higher qualifications meant lower enrollment, we would take that hit,” Mr. Lobenhofer said.

The move has paid off in at least one statistical measure: the median LSAT score of new ONU students. In 1998, the median was 146, which is around the 35th percentile. Last year’s class had a median of 150, at the 48th percentile.

But Mr. Lobenhofer said that ONU would like to see its enrollment go back up “as the quality of the applicant pool permits.”

Creighton University in Omaha downsized its law school in 1997, reducing entering classes from 180 to 150.

“We wanted to be more selective,” said Patrick Borchers, Creighton’s law dean. “And we wanted to make sure we weren’t flooding the market with people with law degrees. We wanted to make sure there were good placement opportunities for our students, and with a larger enrollment, there were a significant number of students who would have difficulty finding the job they wanted.”

At UT, placement has been one of its success stories. The percentage of students employed six to nine months after graduation was 97 per cent in 1998, the most recent numbers available. That number has been rising steadily since 1993, when it was only 82 per cent. The national average for 1998 was 89.9 per cent.

Ex-teacher gives BGSU $2 million

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

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BOWLING GREEN — When Harry Frankfather graduated in 1926 from what is now Bowling Green State University, he was remembered as a strong athlete and an active man about campus.

But for generations of students-to-be, he’ll be remembered as the man who helped pay for their education.

The university will announce today that Mr. Frankfather, who died in 1998 at the age of 98, has left the university $2 million. It is the largest single gift in the university’s history.

Unlike many large donors, Mr. Frankfather wasn’t a champion of industry or a man of inherited wealth. He was a high school teacher who saved money over seven decades.

“To me, that’s what’s so heartwarming about this,” said Marcia Latta, the university’s director of development and associate vice president for advancement. “This is anybody’s neighbor, the man next door. This gift isn’t from a corporate CEO. It’s from a teacher who wanted to invest in education and leave a legacy to students.”

The gift will be used to fund $3,000 scholarships for sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have 3.0 grade point averages or better. The students will have to be employed at least 10 hours a week to be eligible.

Born in 1900, Mr. Frankfather grew up in McClure in Henry County. As a student at what was then Bowling Green State Normal College, he was active in several campus groups, including the Five Brothers fraternity, which evolved into Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He played almost every sport, including football, baseball, and track.

“He was a blue-collar athlete, not an All-America, but talented,” said Dr. Ron Zwierlein, BGSU’s former athletic director who is senior associate vice president for student affairs. “He had a heart as big as all outdoors.”

Mr. Frankfather became a teacher, starting out in Waynesfield, O., in Auglaize County. Eventually, though, he moved to Lorain and started work in the Elyria schools.

He taught mathematics and science at several junior highs and high schools, eventually spending some time as an assistant principal and a principal before retiring in 1965.

After that, Mr. Frankfather became more interested in the university, particularly its athletic department. He became an active member of the Varsity BG Club, the association of former athletes at the college.

“He was a very strong fan and wanted to do anything he could to boost the university,” Dr. Zwierlein said. “He attributed a lot of his success to the discipline he learned here in athletics.”

Decades earlier, in the depths of the Depression, Mr. Frankfather had begun investing in the stock market. A series of wise investments left him with a very significant sum. Mr. Frankfather married and had a child, but his wife and their daughter preceded him in death by several years.

The money didn’t change him, Ms. Latta said.

“He lived on a quiet street in Lorain, in a modest house,” she said. “He didn’t flaunt his wealth.”

In the last few years of his life, Mr. Frankfather began to discuss a possible gift with university officials.

“He said, ‘I want to do something for Bowling Green that makes a difference for students,'” Ms. Latta remembered. “He wanted something that helped good, hard-working students who maybe weren’t at the very top of their class, but worked hard and looked like they had a bright future.”

“That description sounds a lot like Harry,” said Tom Vogtsberger, a former president of the Varsity BG Club. “He was a bright man, but he was also a very hard worker.”

One of the highlights of Mr. Frankfather’s association with the university occurred in 1997, Mr. Vogtsberger said, when he received the Letterman Award, which is granted by Varsity BG to three people who have contributed to the school community in some way. The winners are honored during a football game in a ceremony at Doyt L. Perry Stadium.

“He had a baseball hat on,” Mr. Vogtsberger said. “He was introduced last to the crowd, and he took off his hat, twirled it up in the air, and had this big grin on his face. He got a very nice ovation.”

Mr. Vogtsberger remembers being impressed by Mr. Frankfather’s physical condition. Then well into his 90s, he had little trouble climbing the long flights of stairs to the top of Perry Stadium before the ceremony. Ms. Latta said he continued golfing into his 90s as well.

“He appeared to be a very modest, very humble man,” Mr. Vogtsberger said. “I had no idea he had such great wealth. All of the people we honor are very special, but I can tell you that Harry really struck a chord with a lot of people as someone who really appreciated that day.”

More than 50 per cent of Bowling Green State University students are in the first generation of their families to attend college, Ms. Latta said, and many of them are responsible for paying their own way through college. For those students, Mr. Frankfather’s money will be of enormous help.

“The number of lives this man is going to touch in perpetuity is going to be amazing,” she said.

Ms. Latta said that the first few Harry V. Frankfather Endowed Scholarships will be given out for the spring semester of 2001. By fall, 2001, 33 scholarships will be offered. That number will likely grow over time as the size of the endowment increases, she said.

The previous largest single gift given to the university was from James Good, a 1951 alumnus who left almost $1.3 million at his death in 1989 to improve the university’s offerings in international business.

UT trustees seek cease-fire

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

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The University of Toledo’s board of trustees wants to get beyond its sometimes rancorous relationship with the faculty, several trustees said at a strategic planning retreat yesterday.

“It’s like going through marriage counseling,” said Trustee Joan Uhl Browne. “It’s not going to do us any good to just rehash all the same old arguments we’ve been having forever,” she said. “Trust us: this board does not hold the faculty in contempt.”

The retreat, held at the Toledo Club, is part of the board’s regular planning process. Similar retreats have been held at least four times over the last five years.

In part to improve relations with UT’s employees, university leaders invited representatives from several campus employee organizations, including the faculty senate, the Professional Staff Council, and the union that represents its police officers.

During the meeting, which lasted more than five hours, the division between the faculty and the board came up several times.

“Two weeks ago, this meeting might have been different,” said Dr. Matthew Wikander, president of the UT’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the union that represents almost 500 faculty members.

Dr. Wikander was referring to the comments of trustees’ chairman Ronald Langenderfer at the Feb. 23 board meeting. Mr. Langenderfer said a small group of university employees was spreading malicious rumors about the university and that he wanted to search them out and have them fired. Many faculty and staff members said his comment amounted to a witch hunt and a violation of academic freedom.

Mr. Langenderfer did not attend the meeting. Charles Webb, the board’s vice chairman, said he was sick.

Dr. Wikander denied that faculty members purposefully were sabotaging the university. “Nobody wants to be at the place that becomes the next Central State,” referring to the Ohio university that went through a financial crisis in the mid 1990s.

But the union head said that many faculty do not consider Mr. Langenderfer’s comments out of the ordinary for the board. “A lot of faculty believe this was not unique or a fluke, but reflected an attitude we have been troubled by for some time, an attitude that we have identified with the board of trustees for sometime,” Dr. Wikander said.

Dr. Wikander called the disagreements between the academic-minded faculty and the mostly business-oriented board “a clash of cultures.”

Dr. Harvey Wolff, chair of the faculty senate, criticized the board and administration for “one-way communication” and for not consulting the faculty on decisions that affect their lives.

When several trustees spoke of a partnership between all elements of the university to improve UT, Dr. Wolff responded, “I think the faculty has felt left out of that partnership.”

But several trustees said that incidents like Mr. Langenderfer’s comments and other disputes with the faculty have been overblown, and that the faculty has the full support of the board.

“Langenderfer’s remarks – I don’t want to hear that anymore,” Trustee James Tuschman said. “If anyone here actually thinks that we would compromise academic freedom or compromise freedom of speech at this university, then we ought to get off the board, because we would have no place in higher education.

“We need to put that stuff behind us. I don’t want to look back,” Mr. Tuschman said. “Maybe I was wrong, maybe others were wrong, but I don’t want to assign blame. We need to look forward.”

After the faculty-board discussion, the board members discussed their goals and objectives for the next five years, ranging from increased enrollment to better alumni relations.

The day’s discussions were led by facilitator Mel Hensey, a management consultant based in Maineville, O., near Cincinnati. Mr. Hensey has worked with management teams at more than a dozen colleges and universities, including Purdue, Texas A&M, and the University of Cincinnati.

Like UT President Vik Kapoor, he is an engineer, and is the author of Collective Excellence: Building Effective Teams, a book targeted at engineering management published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

At one point, Mr. Hensey handed out small foam balls to the participants, saying that anyone who was critical of another’s comments should be pelted by them.

Only a single ball was thrown, a playful toss at Mr. Webb, who disagreed slightly on a procedural point brought up by Mr. Tuschman.

The meeting began with all the officials present being asked to introduce themselves by saying what they appreciate most about UT. Dr. Henry Moon, the university provost, took the opportunity to compare the university to the lead character in Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky movies.

“We take our beatings, get battered and bloody, but we keep getting up,” Dr. Moon said. “And we even win one once in a while.”

Mr. Hensey said that he had not yet negotiated his fee with Dr. Kapoor, but added that he is “expensive.” Dr. Kapoor stayed silent for most of the meeting, saying at one point he was “here to listen.”

Seven of the nine trustees attended. Along with Mr. Langenderfer, Trustee Dan Brennan was absent. Mr. Webb said Mr. Brennan, who lives in the Cleveland area, had a scheduling conflict.

The retreat will conclude this morning with the selection of a final list of goals and objectives for the university.

Is UT’s Langenderfer a bully or just a misunderstood leader? Controversial chairman stirs emotions

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

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When Ronald Langenderfer joined the University of Toledo board of trustees in 1993, he had lunch with faculty leaders.

“One of the first things he said was ‘You know, the most severe problem higher education has today is tenure,'” remembered Dr. Carlton DeFosse. “That went over like a lead balloon.”

Thus began the tumultuous relationship between Mr. Langenderfer and the UT faculty.

At the university, opinions on Mr. Langenderfer seem to come in only two varieties: You love him or you hate him.

To some, he is a tireless, effective leader, using his position as chairman of the board of trustees to jumpstart a troubled university. To others, he is a tyrant and a bully, bent on stamping out opposition and running an institution of higher learning with the sensibilities of a steel magnate.

He handed his enemies new firepower last month, when at a board meeting, he railed against university employees he said were spreading rumors about UT. Those dissidents, he said, would be investigated and fired.

Days later, the UT chapter of the American Association of University Professors passed a resolution calling for Mr. Langenderfer’s resignation.

Occurring on the heels of the resignation of Trustee Jacqueline Knepper – who said she was leaving because of her “loss of confidence in the leadership of this board” – the union vote was a stinging rebuke for a university trying to recover from a decade of declining enrollment.

At the center of the storm is Mr. Langenderfer, a 55-year-old steel company president who has had trouble translating his success in the private sector to public acclaim.

Interestingly, his friends and critics both use the same words to describe his personality: “fierce,” “hard-driving,” “passionate,” “aggressive.” To his friends, the descriptions are the sign of an active leader committed to getting things done. To his critics, they are signs of an autocratic style.

Faculty leaders at UT say Chairman Langenderfer does not have the educational experience nor temperament to lead a university. His supporters point out that he spent years on two other local educational boards: Lourdes College and St. John’s Jesuit High School. Officials who worked with him at those schools give him high marks.

Wayne Milewski, St. John’s board vice chairman, lauds his generosity with time and money.

“He’ll give you the shirt off his back,” Mr. Milewski said. “If there was anybody I knew who had a problem financially, Ron would undoubtedly be the first phone call I’d make to help them out. Undoubtedly.”

But for many members of the UT faculty, just mentioning the name “Langenderfer” is enough to put a sour expression on their faces.

“A lot of times when you bring a business perspective to an academic board, it’s not well received,” said Tom Noe, a childhood friend who is on the Ohio Board of Regents.

“I think you’re seeing that now. Higher education is a different animal. If you make what may be the best business decision, it might not be the best, or the best received, for an educational institution. Sometimes you come out looking like a bad guy.”

His decisions have not alienated the faculty so much as his style.

“He was extremely domineering, and very biased,” said Dr. Harriet Adams, retired head of UT’s women’s studies department, who served on the presidential search committee with Mr. Langenderfer in 1998.

She said one committee meeting was particularly memorable when Mr. Langenderfer became enraged when someone criticized him and other UT trustees for trying to rig the presidential search in favor of Dr. Vik Kapoor, who eventually got the job as UT’s president.

“Langenderfer just banged on the table and turned bright pink,” Dr. Adams said. “He is a very, very angry man, with a hair trigger temper.”

After repeated attempts to contact him, Mr. Langenderfer on Friday said through a university spokesman that he declined to be interviewed for this article.

A start in steel

Ron Langenderfer was born on Aug. 4, 1944, the son of a tool-and-die maker, and grew up in Swanton. He attended Swanton High School, then went on to UT, where he received a degree in business administration in 1966.

Right out of college, he started working in the steel industry for a variety of companies, including Parker Steel. According to a 1993 resume, in 1978 he founded and became president of Stateline Steel Corp., a flat-rolled steel service center. The company grew rapidly in the early 1980s before being sold to outside investors in 1986. Mr. Langenderfer remained on as chairman.

According to his resume, his company “failed under new ownership,” and, in 1991, it was sold again, this time to Centaur, Inc. He became president of Centaur, which is the holding company for Heidtman Steel Products and two other industrial units. Heidtman, the largest unit, has 19 plant locations and serves markets in 34 states.

Mr. Langenderfer lives on Pilliod Road in Springfield Township.

Mr. Noe described him as “an overachiever. He never did anything halfway. He took a steel company from scratch and built it up.”

But for the last 20 years, much of Mr. Langenderfer’s time has been spent away from his business, volunteering for a variety of community organizations.

One of his biggest commitments has been to St. John’s Jesuit High School, whose board he has twice chaired.

“Ron was generous, hard working, fiercely loyal to the mission of the school,” said the Rev. Don Vettese, St. John’s president. “In terms of his time, he went far beyond what was obligated, and there wasn’t anything in it for him.”

People who served with Mr. Langenderfer on the St. John’s board remember him as aggressive, active, and no-nonsense. “He was excellent because he had an agenda,” George Ballas said. “There wasn’t a lot of wasted time.”

Mr. Milewski, the St. John’s board’s vice chairman and a friend of Mr. Langenderfer’s for more than 20 years, said Mr. Langenderfer provided needed energy. “We were going through some unique times. Things were being done too lackadaisically, and we needed someone to come in and organize or motivate us, direct us. He did that.”

John Szuch, who serves on the St. John’s board as well as on the board of the UT Foundation, said Mr. Langenderfer is “great to have on your team.” He’s an aggressive guy, a very personable guy,” he said. “When he’s on your team, he’s 110 per cent. There’s no half speed.”

Mr. Szuch is chairman and CEO of Capital Bank, on whose board Mr. Langenderfer sits.

From 1988 to 1993, Mr. Langenderfer served on the Lourdes College board, a period when the student body grew 80 per cent.

“I remember him being very dedicated to what we were all about,” said Sister Ann Francis Klimkowski, president of Lourdes. “He was certainly engaged. If he had an opinion, he stated it. We were looking for expertise, he certainly brought expertise with him.”

Sister Ann Francis said Mr. Langenderfer was helpful in improving fund-raising and in planning the college’s expansion.

She said that Mr. Langenderfer joined her college’s board because of his close friendship with John Savage, who was then on the Lourdes board. Mr. Savage served on the UT board in the 1970s and, until his death in 1993, was a major benefactor to UT. Savage Hall on the university campus is named for him.

“John recommended him for our board, we interviewed him, and he seemed to be a good match,” she said.

Mr. Langenderfer’s friendship with Mr. Savage was likely a help when, in 1993, Governor Voinovich appointed him to a nine-year term on the UT board.

“He wanted to be on that board so badly,” Mr. Noe said. “He really takes it seriously. I’ve been on enough boards with people who just go through the motions to appreciate that.”

At the time of his appointment, he was touted by the governor’s office as “an outsider to the old-boys network” in Toledo.

In an interview with The Blade when he was appointed, Mr. Langenderger described himself: “I was raised in Swanton. My father was a tool-and-die maker. I’ve worked hard for everything I’ve ever gotten. I have my own ideas. I’m certainly not bullied; nobody has ever gotten away with that with me…. And I will stand up for what is right. I am known for that.”

When Mr. Langenderfer joined the board, it was mostly made up of Democrats, appointees left over from Governor Celeste in the 1980s. But as the numbers began to shift more toward Republican appointees, Mr. Langenderfer began to assert himself as a leader.

In 1998, the board’s chairman, Richard Glowacki, learned he did not have the votes to be re-elected to his post, in part because of opposition from Mr. Langenderfer. As an alternative, Mr. Glowacki agreed to step aside and become chairman of the search committee to find a replacement for retiring President Dr. Frank Horton. In June, 1998, Mr. Langenderfer became board chairman.

But even though Mr. Glowacki was the chairman of the search committee, several who served on that group said that Mr. Langenderfer was its dominant force.

“He would throw out candidates who could have been perfect for odd reasons,” said Dr. Adams, the former women’s studies head. “There were people who were 55 whom he said were too old, but others who were 65 who would be considered.”

Mr. Langenderfer was an early supporter of the candidacy of engineering Dean Dr. Vik Kapoor, 54, and, according to several members of the committee, began pushing his choice hard.

“It was clear early on that he was working very hard to get Vik at least into the finalist pool. It was clear from the way he talked about Vik and the way he talked about other candidates,” Dr. Adams said. “He would just cut off discussion whenever he wanted to, even though he was not the chair of the committee. He dominated. It was a very hard committee for people to speak freely on. I think people were intimidated.”

During one meeting, Mr. Langenderfer erupted in anger at Mr. Glowacki after Mr. Glowacki suggested that the search was a sham and that Dr. Kapoor’s selection was “a done deal.”

Several sources present at that meeting said Mr. Langenderfer stood at the table, spoke heatedly, and pointed his finger at Mr. Glowacki as he denied what was widely suspected, that a core group of the board had made up its mind in favor of Dr. Kapoor before the search was finished.

“He got out of his chair and started going around the room toward Glowacki,” Dr. Adams said. “I was paralyzed with fear. To everybody’s incredible relief, he did not in fact go all the way to Glowacki. The meeting disbanded after that. I cannot tell you how traumatic that was.”

Several days later, members of the committee received a letter from Mr. Langenderfer in which he apologized.

“He blew up,” Mr. Glowacki said. “Then very shortly thereafter, he circulated a letter saying he has a good heart and good intentions, but he just gets mad.”

Daniel Brennan, a trustee who served on the search committee and who supported Dr. Kapoor, denied that Mr. Langenderfer yelled, but said, “there was a stern tone to his voice.”

“My view is Glowacki was baiting him,” Mr. Brennan said. He said Mr. Glowacki, a Yale and UT-educated millionaire real-estate broker, was “condescending” to people to whom he felt superior. “Some of us felt Dick Glowacki had made up his mind as to who [the president] wasn’t going to be,” Mr. Brennan said, meaning Dr. Kapoor.

“The unfortunate thing about this whole incident is that Ron Langenderfer cares a great deal about the whole university,” Mr. Brennan said.

Dr. Adams, after serving on the same committee, has a very different opinion. “He’s a bully, and he loses control.”

Today, she calls the nine months she served on the search committee with Mr. Langenderfer “the most frightening experience I’ve had as a professional. He’s very frightening. I was physically scared, and I’m not scared very easily.”

The board of trustees selected Dr. Kapoor as president in November, 1998. Two months later, Mr. Glowacki resigned from the board and moved to Florida. Dr. Adams retired in January after 28 years at the university.

Relations with UT faculty

Throughout his time on the board, Mr. Langenderfer has had less than perfect relations with UT’s faculty.

Dr. DeFosse, who for four years was president of the faculty union, the UT chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said he had little contact with Mr. Langenderfer after the initial luncheon where he was critical of granting tenure to faculty.

During that time, Dr. DeFosse said, “there was not any interest on the board to try to develop a relationship with the leadership of the AAUP.”

“I don’t see anything in his behavior since then that shows his attitude has changed,” the professor said. “He doesn’t understand higher education.”

Dr. DeFosse points to a 1995 incident when the university was in the process of changing from quarters to semesters. Many faculty opposed the switch, saying it would be too expensive and would hurt enrollment. The faculty senate voted 33-2 to oppose the change.

Dr. DeFosse and Dr. Ethel Wilcox, then president of the senate, presented the senate’s opinion to the board at a committee meeting.

“Langenderfer got very upset with us for raising these questions,” Dr. DeFosse said. “He said, ‘If you don’t like the way the ship’s being captained, then you should jump ship.’ That’s his mentality: Get the hell out if you don’t like what we’re doing.”

Dr. DeFosse said that Dr. Wilcox took abuse from Mr. Langenderfer several times. “I remember him telling Ethel once, ‘If I had an employee like you, I’d fire her.'”

Dr. DeFosse and Dr. Wilcox have since left the university. Dr. DeFosse said he’d “had enough.” Reached Friday, Dr. Wilcox said she didn’t want to speak about her years at UT.

Then last year, in December, came another confrontation with faculty leaders. Dr. Jack Maynard, then president of the faculty senate, spoke at a board meeting about the faculty’s biggest concerns about UT. They included morale problems, the university’s financial state, and the need to fill vacancies in academic departments.

Mr. Langenderfer, however, told Dr. Maynard he was deliberately spreading rumors and that the concerns were his own.

“The statements that he made are very inaccurate,” Chairman Langenderfer said at the meeting. “We don’t believe that those are the concerns of the faculty en masse.”

He said Dr. Maynard was trying to unfairly attack Dr. Kapoor but told the president that “these bullets aren’t going to strike you. This board is going to deviate the bullets.”

The faculty senate, at its next meeting, passed a resolution defending Dr. Maynard, who has since left to become a dean at the University of Michigan-Flint. The resolution stated that the concerns Dr. Maynard presented to the UT board were those of the entire faculty.

Then last month, on Feb. 23, Mr. Langenderfer enraged the faculty again. At a board meeting, he said he was disgusted by what he called false rumors claiming that UT is near financial collapse or that key departments are about to be shut. He said that a small group of disgruntled university employees committed to the “total destruction” of UT are responsible.

“They will be investigated,” he said. “If we can prove that, watch out. It will not be tolerated.”

He said the employees “will be discharged immediately from this university.”

The comments produced an uproar among faculty and staff, who said that it is a violation of academic freedom to threaten firings for discussion about the university. Mr. Langenderfer said that if some of his employees at Centaur were spreading similar rumors, he’d treat them the same way – a comment that some faculty seized upon to argue he has too much of a business perspective.

The next day, Mr. Langenderfer issued an “open letter” to the university community to explain himself, but which maintained that people spreading malicious rumors would face disciplinary action.

Mr. Langenderfer’s defenders say that the faculty has ulterior motives for opposing the trustee.

“He’s, I would say, a rather opinionated person, and the faculty is not anxious to be very productive,” said Frederic Wolfe, a member of the board of the UT Foundation, the university’s fund-raising and development arm. “They don’t like to go along too much. I think they seem to be enjoying the problems over there as much as The Blade does because it makes such good copy…. They are not very cooperative people.”

Mr. Wolfe said that sort of relationship is common at many universities: “There is always a sort of tension in the relationship between the administration and the faculty. There’s nothing terribly peculiar about this.”

Mr. Noe, who has been on the boards of Bowling Green State University and Lourdes College, said that the faculty revolt could be related to the upcoming contract negotiations between AAUP and the university. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in June.

Soon after Mr. Langenderfer’s “rumors” comment, the AAUP voted unanimously to call for his resignation from the board, saying “Ronald Langenderfer has demonstrated that he lacks the temperament and the understanding of higher education to serve on the Board of Trustees.”

The Collegian, the campus newspaper, also called on him to resign.

Last week, the faculty senate voted to condemn Mr. Langenderfer’s comments, but tabled an amendment that would have called for his resignation. Dr. Larry Wilcox (no relation to Dr. Ethel Wilcox), a history professor, made some of the most impassioned comments against the trustee.

“He has treated faculty with utter contempt,” Dr. Wilcox said. “How much more will this body need to say ‘Enough is enough,’ to say ‘Would you please go away so we can try to fix some of the damage that’s been done?'”

Last week, Dr. Larry Wilcox said he was moved to make the comments by the problems he sees around him at the university.

“I keep losing really good friends and colleagues, people who gave decades of their lives to this institution, people who didn’t really want to retire but just couldn’t take it anymore,” said Dr. Larry Wilcox, a former chair of the faculty senate who was a faculty representative to the board for four years before Mr. Langenderfer joined it.

“I keep comparing it to the quite different situation at Bowling Green, where they’ve put in some really top notch people, and they’re doing very well. It just makes me want to cry.”

Dr. Wilcox has been at UT for 32 years and is a former winner of the university’s outstanding teacher award. He said that, while faculty relations were not always good under Dr. Horton’s presidency, “they’ve gotten worse. All of us were hoping it wouldn’t get any worse, but it has. It’s self delusion to think otherwise.”

A new dialogue

Since Mr. Langenderfer’s most recent comments, board and faculty leaders have made efforts to bridge the gap between them.

Trustees have met with the leadership of the AAUP and the faculty senate to open dialogue and get past the previous disputes. But both sides acknowledge it could be difficult.

“I think we would all like to forget that last week happened,” said Dr. Matthew Wikander, president of the AAUP. “Unfortunately, it did happen.”

Defenders of Mr. Langenderfer who are not directly involved with UT have said that, while he may have done things to anger people, he means well.

“If Ron made statements like that, they were probably intended to protect the university, and he probably thought it was in the best interests of the school,” Father Vettese said. “Now, you can want to help the university and make a mistake and say something that doesn’t express yourself. But I’m sure he was trying to protect UT.”

Mr. Noe said that “Ron’s heart is always for what’s best for the institution. Sometimes he gets very excited, very passionate about it, and sometimes he may be misunderstood.”

Dr. Kapoor did not return repeated phone calls for this article, but shortly after Mr. Langenderfer’s comments to the board, he put forth a similar defense: “Sometimes people speak from the heart, and they make a mistake,” he said. “But it’s a genuine mistake, not malicious.”

But some faculty members, current and retired, don’t believe that the board will be able to make amends with Mr. Langenderfer at the helm.

“It would require a major change of attitude on the board to persuade and convince the faculty that they really want to resolve the problems and not just dictate the resolutions,” Dr. DeFosse said. “But that’s not his style. His style is autocratic, dictatorial.”

“You get frustrated,” he said. “You start to think there’s nothing this guy can do that’s right. You don’t understand why they’re making the decisions they do. You get kind of disillusioned after a while.”

UT Trustee Richard Stansley, Jr., one of the board members who have met recently with faculty leaders, said Mr. Langenderfer’s strengths are mostly related to his business experience. “He can look at things from a market perspective in trying to find solutions for things like declining enrollment, look at things like marketing.”

“In business, you’re driven by market forces; so you’re constantly forced to look for improvements. The competitive pressures require it. I think that’s the perspective that Ron adds to the board.”

As for his weaknesses, Mr. Stansley said, “One is public relations. Everybody wishes they had better skills, and I’m sure that he regrets his comments. Anybody who could reflect back on it would say, ‘Boy, I wish I could be more polished and do better in the future.’ I think he could do a lot better at verbalizing his thoughts.”

Mr. Langenderfer’s other main weakness, Mr. Stansley said, is a lack of patience. “The business community and business people are not used to changes taking a long time,” he said. “That’s the nature of a public institution. The reason for shared governance is so there is a balance between the faculty and the board and administration.”

Blade staff writers Tom Troy and Lisa Abraham contributed to this article.

UT lets editor of Collegian keep Blade job; Exception granted on policy that governs 4 campus posts

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

The University of Toledo decided yesterday to let the editor of the campus newspaper keep an outside job at The Blade, ending a week-long controversy that featured accusations of university censorship.

“I think the whole thing was silly,” said Keith Tarjanyi, editor-in-chief of the Collegian. “It was a huge waste of time and energy on everyone’s part.”

Another student leader caught up in the dispute will be able to keep her outside employment too.

The issue surfaced Tuesday when Edward Willis, dean of students, wrote a letter to Mr. Tarjanyi demanding that he quit his outside job. Mr. Tarjanyi has been employed by The Blade since Jan. 10 as a temporary, part-time news assistant, a clerical position that does not involve writing articles.

University policy does not allow students who hold four campus positions – president and vice president of the student government, president of the campus activities and programming board, and editor of the Collegian – to hold outside employment. In exchange, the students are paid about $10,000 a year, which helps cover their tuition, room, and board costs.

On Thursday, Mr. Tarjanyi sent a letter to Mr. Willis asking that an exception to the policy be made for him. University policy allows the dean of students to grant such an exception.

Mr. Willis responded with a short letter of his own: “After careful consideration, I am granting your request. I believe this policy to be sound, however, I recognize that your situation warrants an exception.”

Joe Brennan, a university spokesman, said the decision was made after learning more about the position at The Blade.

“Mr. Willis had to look at a whole bunch of different factors, including the amount of time involved in the outside job and the nature of the work,” Mr. Brennan said. “He had to look to see whether it would interfere with the student’s performance of his on-campus duties. After talking with Mr. Tarjanyi, Mr. Willis said it would be in the interest of the student to let him keep the job.”

The policy banning outside employment has been in place for more than 15 years, but, according to university officials, it has never been enforced. Many student officers restricted by the policy have held outside jobs, including at least one other who worked for The Blade.

Mr. Tarjanyi and others have suggested that the decision to enforce the rule now was caused by a number of articles and editorials in the Collegian and The Blade critical of the university’s administration. On the day before Mr. Tarjanyi was ordered to choose one job or the other, the Collegian ran an editorial calling for the resignation of Ronald Langenderfer, chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

The university’s faculty union, the American Association of University Professors, passed a resolution Wednesday supporting Mr. Tarjanyi, calling the university’s move “selective enforcement.”

University officials have denied that the newspapers’ content had anything to do with the sudden enforcement of the policy.

Mr. Tarjanyi said he is happy the matter is coming to a close.

“I think it’s good now that everyone can get back to what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said.

Mr. Tarjanyi is not the only student leader affected by the policy.

Shannon Phillips, president of the campus activities and programming board, has a part-time job at Wildwood Athletic Club, which the university said she would have to quit. She is a recreation therapy major, and the work has enabled her to gain professional experience, she said.

Mr. Brennan said that Ms. Phillips has not yet requested an exception, but that, if she does, it would be granted.

“We will apply the policy fairly to all,” he said.

The other two student leaders affected by the policy, student government President Jeff Jones and Vice President Lavelle Edmondson, have said they do not have outside jobs.

Mr. Brennan said the administration has no intention of changing the policy and will be enforcing it strictly.

“This is the new administration, and we will pay attention to this and all the other policies of the university,” he said.

Editor of Collegian asks for permission to keep Blade job

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

The editor of the University of Toledo’s student newspaper formally asked yesterday that the university not make him quit a part-time job at The Blade.

Keith Tarjanyi, editor-in-chief of the Collegian, made the request in a letter sent to Edward Willis, the dean of students.

Mr. Tarjanyi received a letter Tuesday from Mr. Willis demanding that he quit his part-time job. Mr. Tarjanyi has been employed as a part-time, temporary news assistant at The Blade since Jan. 10. University policy does not allow students who hold four campus positions – president and vice president of the student government, president of the campus activities and programming board, and editor of the Collegian – to hold other employment.

The policy has been in place at UT for more than 15 years, but, according to UT officials, it has never been enforced.

In the past, many student officials restricted by the policy have held outside jobs, including at least one other who worked at The Blade.

Mr. Tarjanyi and others have suggested that the decision to enforce the rule now was caused by a number of articles and editorials in the Collegian and The Blade critical of the university’s administration. On the day before Mr. Tarjanyi was ordered to choose one job or the other, the Collegian ran an editorial calling for the resignation of Ronald Langenderfer, chairman of the university’s board of trustees.

The university’s faculty union passed a resolution Wednesday supporting Mr. Tarjanyi, calling UT’s move “selective enforcement.” University officials have denied that the newspapers’ content had anything to do with the enforcement of the policy.

Mr. Tarjanyi’s letter, which he said he personally delivered to Mr. Willis after meeting with an attorney, states that he considers his work at The Blade a valuable job experience for his eventual career as a journalist.

“While I acknowledge that I am being paid for my services, I am not working at a fast-food restaurant or at a business unrelated to my chosen profession,” he wrote. “The experience is more valuable to me than the compensation, although, as an undergraduate student, I would not want to forego the compensation.”

Mr. Willis said previously that he wanted written confirmation of Mr. Tarjanyi’s quitting The Blade by today. But university spokesman Joe Brennan said Wednesday that UT would be “open to discussions” about granting an exception. Reached at his home last night, Mr. Willis said he had received the letter from Mr. Tarjanyi but had not read it and would not comment. Mr. Brennan said he had not spoken with Mr. Willis.

UT defends call for Collegian editor to quit Blade; Official says action isn’t related to campus newspaper’s editorials

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

A top University of Toledo official says there is no connection between a stinging series of editorials published in the student newspaper and a demand that its editor quit a part-time job at The Blade.

“We have a policy that appears to have been violated,” said Dr. David Meabon, UT’s vice president for student services. “I’m sorry that that was the case, but we needed to respond institutionally to it.”

But a university spokesman said the administration would be “open to discussions” about making an exception for Keith Tarjanyi, the editor-in-chief of the Collegian.

The controversy began on Tuesday, when Mr. Tarjanyi received a letter from Dean of Students Edward Willis, saying that he must quit his position at the Collegian or stop working at The Blade, where he has been a part-time, temporary news assistant since Jan. 10. He has not written any stories for The Blade.

University officials refused to say what penalties Mr. Tarjanyi would face if he kept both jobs.

Mr. Willis wrote that Mr. Tarjanyi is in violation of a long-standing student policy that applies to four key student leaders: the president and vice president of the student government, president of the campus activities and programming board, and the Collegian editor.

The policy states that the university pays the tuition and some of the living expenses of the four, approximately $10,000 annually for each, but that the students may not hold outside employment during the school year.

The policy about outside employment has been in place at UT for more than 15 years. But several university administrators, including Dr. Meabon, said they did not know of any instance of the policy ever being enforced.

Over that time, several students in those positions have held outside jobs, including at least one other who worked at The Blade.

Mr. Tarjanyi said he believes the decision to enforce the policy suddenly is related to recent negative publicity the administration has received in the Collegian and The Blade. On the day before Mr. Tarjanyi received the letter, the Collegian published an editorial calling for the resignation of trustees’ chairman Ronald Langenderfer over comments he made at a board meeting last week, and the paper has run several other editorials vociferously opposing administration policies.

“I truly think they’re coming after the Collegian for the things we’ve written,” Mr. Tarjanyi said. “I think the president [UT’s Dr. Vik Kapoor] is afraid, he’s scared of the truth, and he wants to get back at the Collegian and the other paper in town.”

Yesterday, the UT chapter of the American Association of University Professors passed a resolution supporting Mr. Tarjanyi and the Collegian. The resolution states that “UT-AAUP strongly supports the editorial independence of the Collegian and strenuously objects to the selective enforcement of rules against the editor.”

But Dr. Meabon, who is Mr. Willis’s supervisor, said at a press conference that the enforcement was not unfair to Mr. Tarjanyi. “We have a situation in which we’ve had an individual bring forth information that they hold a position outside the university, and we have a university policy that does not allow that to occur,” he said.

Dr. Meabon said the outside job became an issue when Mr. Tarjanyi told Mr. Willis about it on Feb. 18.

Dr. Meabon refused to say when he learned of the policy’s existence. “This is not a new policy,” he said. “I think I’m more comfortable just saying that this is not a new policy. It’s been on the books for a while.”

University spokesman Joe Brennan said that the administration has no concerns with the performance of Mr. Tarjanyi as editor. “We support this guy,” he said. “It’s Keith’s choice what he wants to do here. It’s our preference that he stay on as editor of the Collegian [and quit his Blade job]. He’s done an outstanding job. We welcome and cherish the differences of opinion and we are very committed to supporting the editorial independence of the Collegian.”

University policy does allow for exceptions to the no-job rule, and Mr. Brennan said that the administration would be willing to consider such an exception for Mr. Tarjanyi. “We’d be open to discussions with him,” he said.

But even the question of who can approve such an exception is part of the controversy.

The most recent published student handbook states that exceptions can only be approved by the Student Activities Committee. But in February, 1999, that language was changed to make the dean of students, Mr. Willis, the only person who can approve an exception.

Despite being more than a year old, the revised rules have not been distributed to students and faculty and are not available on the university’s web site. “We recognize that we need to do a better job of communicating these policies,” Mr. Brennan said.

Dr. Meabon and Mr. Brennan said they did not know why the change was made.

Mr. Brennan said that just because the policy has not been enforced in the past does not mean it should not be enforced now.

“If we didn’t uphold our policies in the past, then shame on us,” he said. “Two wrongs don’t make a right. That shouldn’t be an excuse.”

But Mark Goodman, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., said that the prior enforcement of the rule could play a big part in determining if the university has the legal right to make the move.

“The courts have been willing to allow schools to set reasonable, non-content related restrictions on student journalists,” he said. “But those restrictions are only permissible if they’re not enforcing it selectively to silence a particular expression.”

Mr. Goodman said that, for example, a university can cut funding to a student newspaper if budget problems warrant it, but it cannot do so because it opposes some of the articles the newspaper publishes. “If evidence indicates that this policy was not enforced before, and it is being enforced now because of what this individual is publishing, I think there’s very strong grounds for contesting the decision,” he said.

Dr. Meabon said that, of the other three students to whom the policy applies, two – student body president Jeff Jones and vice president Lavelle Edmondson – do not have jobs.

The third, Shannon Phillips, president of the student activities and programming board, said she has a part-time job. A recreation therapy major, Ms. Phillips works at Wildwood Athletic Club, where she said she gains experience for her eventual profession.

“I’m probably going to have to quit one,” she said. She said she has three weeks left in her term as a student officer, but said she was not sure what she would do.

But she did point out that the constitution of her student group specifically allows her to hold a second job as long as it does not affect her performance as president of the activities board. She said that Dr. Meabon and Mr. Willis approved the constitution when it was written several years ago.

Dr. Meabon said there may be a contradiction between the two documents, but said that the broader university policy would trump the group’s constitution.

Mr. Brennan said the policy is designed to prevent students from taking on too much responsibility and too many tasks to be effective in their student positions. “It can be a real danger for someone who is going to school full time and holding down a very important leadership position to get overwhelmed,” he said.

But Dr. Meabon said that he has no concerns about the performance of Mr. Tarjanyi or the other students involved. “I think they all do a great job,” he said.

Mr. Tarjanyi said he is considering his options and will meet with an attorney today. “I’m leaning toward fighting this thing,” he said. Mr. Willis’s letter asked for a response by Mr. Tarjanyi by tomorrow. UT’s spring break begins the next day.

Collegian editor may lose stipend over job at Blade

By Jack Baessler and Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writers

Page 1

A call for the resignation of the chairman of the University of Toledo board of trustees by the student newspaper this week has been followed by a demand in writing that the editor of the newspaper quit his part-time job at The Blade or lose a $10,000 annual university stipend.

On Monday morning an editorial in The Collegian said that Ronald Langenderfer, board chairman, should step down because of remarks he made at a board meeting last week in which he wanted to fire employees who were spreading false rumors about the university.

By 3:30 p.m., Keith Tarjanyi, editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, was in the office of Edward Willis, dean of students.

According to Mr. Tarjanyi, 22, a senior who has held the editorship since the spring of 1998, Mr. Willis informed him it was against university policy for him to have an outside job while being editor.

He was told by the dean that if he did not quit his job at The Blade, the university would withdraw the $10,000 it provides him for being editor-in-chief of The Collegian. That pays for his tuition and books.

That was confirmed in a letter yesterday from Mr. Willis to Mr. Tarjanyi. The letter called on the editor to provide Mr. Willis with written verification of the termination of his part-time, off-campus employment by 5 p.m. Friday.

Mr. Tarjanyi, who has been a part-time, temporary news assistant at The Blade since Jan. 10, performing clerical duties in the newsroom, said he expects to resist the dean’s demand.

“I am not sure what I am going to do,” he said. “I have always been one to stand up to things that are wrong. More than likely I am going to stand up for what I believe on this issue.”

He said he does not think the editorial by itself was what triggered enforcement of the policy.

“This, I think, has been well in the pipeline since the presidential search in the fall of 1998,” he said.

The Collegian has been critical of university decision-making in recent years, particularly of university President Vik Kapoor even before he took office.

In the fall of 1998, The Collegian said the trustees should scrap its list of finalists for president of the university and find applicants who showed better promise of leading the university.

While aware of the policy for some time, Mr. Tarjanyi has not hidden his outside work from college officials, he said. Until now, he has had assurances from some college officials that his outside work wasn’t a problem, he said.

He worked for the Fostoria Review-Times last summer and part of the fall.

“If I were working at Burger King … this wouldn’t be an issue,” Mr. Tarjanyi of Toledo said. “I think it is an issue of where I am working. I think it bothers them. I don’t think they care for The Blade.”

Ed Whipple, who has been The Collegian’s adviser for more than eight years, said he had never heard of the rule about outside employment being enforced until Mr. Willis brought it to his attention last week.

“It’s an interesting coincidence that this comes at a time when [The Collegian] has been rather critical of the administration and the board of trustees,” said Mr. Whipple, a former managing editor at The Blade. “I hope it’s not an attempt to try to intimidate the editor or the paper.”

“It’s odd that it comes up at this particular juncture,” Mr. Whipple said. “Rules are rules, and I suppose they should be enforced, but the timing is suspect.”

Mr. Whipple said that Mr. Tarjanyi has done a good job in his position. “This is his second year [as editor-in-chief], and that’s unusual,” he said. If he were giving a grade on Mr. Tarjanyi’s performance, Mr. Whipple said it would be an A- or a B+.

At least one previous Collegian editor-in-chief, Andy Curliss, has worked for The Blade without being asked to give up his position, Mr. Whipple said.

Mr. Tarjanyi said he has not been coached by Blade editors on covering the university, nor has he taken information about the school to The Blade.

He took the Blade job to get more experience in a professional setting. He said he has been working about 10 hours a week.

Mr. Willis said the information about the editor’s outside work was volunteered by Mr. Tarjanyi during a recent discussion with him.

“It doesn’t make a difference where he works,” Mr. Willis said. “He indicated he has other employment. We have to enforce that.”

The policy, which is intended to have students devote their full energy to academics and the position for which they receive the stipend, applies to the editorship and three other posts held by students in return for accepting the $10,000 annual stipend that covers tuition and most textbooks. Those positions include the president and vice president of student government and the president of campus activities and programs.

Jeff Jones, student government president, told The Blade last night he does not hold any outside employment.

Mr. Willis said he has begun discussions with the other two students. If they have outside jobs, they will be advised to quit them if they wish to maintain their stipends, he said.

Dr. Kapoor could not be reached for comment last night, but in an April, 1999, letter he endorsed Mr. Tarjanyi for the job of editor-in-chief.

“It is my pleasure to write a letter of reference for Keith Tarjanyi,” he wrote. “Under Keith’s leadership and guidance, I’ve watched the Collegian work more aggressively to obtain up-to-the-minute news while still striving for factual and unbiased reporting.”

The letter concludes: “I truly believe that he has a strong commitment to disseminate accurate and thought-provoking information to this campus. From my experience with Keith, I recommend him for the position of editor and chief [sic].”

The central board of student media, comprised of administrators, faculty, and students, appoints The Collegian’s editor-in-chief.

BGSU president trumpets achievements; University grows on many fronts

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 13

BOWLING GREEN — After almost five years at Bowling Green State University, President Sidney Ribeau says he is close to his ultimate goal: making BGSU the premier learning community in the state of Ohio.

“We’ve accomplished a phenomenal amount of work,” he said yesterday, in his fifth annual State of the University address. “The future is ours to shape and mold.”

Before more than 400 people, Dr. Ribeau outlined the university’s accomplishments, from 14 All-Americans in intercollegiate athletics to sparkling new buildings.

He said many BGSU faculty and students don’t realize the size of what’s been achieved. “Sometimes we’re like the fish in the middle of the sea who doesn’t realize he’s in water,” he said.

Noting that he had “fewer gray hairs” five years ago upon his arrival at BGSU, he said some of the statistical improvements that have come during his presidency include:

* A growth in the university’s honors program, which has increased from 627 students in 1994 to 968 this year.

* A 3.5 per cent rise in overall enrollment, along with a 19 per cent increase in minority students.

* An increase in the number of major private gifts to the university, from 50 in 1996 to 170 in 1999.

* The appointment of 448 new faculty members since 1996, including an increase from 643 faculty members in 1998 to 723 in 1999.

In addition, Dr. Ribeau said that by 2003 the university will add more than 110 new tenure-track faculty positions.

Dr. Ribeau said he particularly is excited by the university’s upcoming infrastructure upgrade, which will cost about $40 million. Beginning in May, trenches will be dug all around campus to install a high-speed network backbone for the university’s computers, which will allow for more distance-learning capabilities and better use of technology.

But he cautioned, “Technology is a means to an end. It’s the people who make it work as education. … If education was just the transfer of information, then we would all be in trouble in 10 years, when you’ll just have to pull up something on the web. But education is more than content, and it always will be.”

Dr. Ribeau said BGSU will have to concentrate on planning for the university’s future. “Bowling Green State University is in a critical place,” he said.

“If you don’t have a plan for the future, my father used to say, you’ll end up somewhere, but it may not be where you wanted to be. … BGSU was a good university before I arrived, but we’ve got to complete the building process we’ve begun.”

Freedom of speech questions engulf the UT community; Faculty senate blasts remarks

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 1

The University of Toledo’s faculty senate voted unanimously yesterday to condemn the comments that have caused a firestorm on campus – UT Board Chairman Ronald Langenderfer’s statement last week that he wanted to fire employees spreading false rumors about the university.

But, unlike the faculty union, the senate did not ask for Mr. Langenderfer’s resignation.

“I think we’ve lost respect for each other, and that’s the problem,” said Dr. Gary Moore, a business professor and a member of the faculty senate. “We don’t respect the board, and the board doesn’t respect us. I don’t think you go around calling people liars.”

At a board of trustees meeting on Feb. 23, Mr. Langenderfer said he was disgusted by what he called false rumors claiming that UT is near financial collapse or that key departments are about to be shut down.

He said that a small group of disgruntled university employees committed to the “total destruction” of UT is responsible.

“They will be investigated,” Mr. Langenderfer said. “If we can prove that, watch out. It will not be tolerated.” He said the employees “will be discharged immediately from this university.”

Many faculty and staff responded with outrage, saying the comments were an attack on freedom of discussion.

On Friday, the UT chapter of the American Association of University Professors voted to ask for Mr. Langenderfer’s resignation from the board. The union, which represents nearly 500 UT faculty members, voted unanimously in a meeting of its executive committee and its council of departmental representatives.

The faculty senate’s resolution states that the comments “alarmed the university community” and “resolved that we not only condemn actions that stifle democratic processes and academic freedom, but also will continue to speak out strongly against those injustices in order to rectify them.”

The resolution added that the senate wants its executive committee to continue meeting with individual trustees to improve relations between the board and the faculty.

Three trustees, James Tuschman, Richard Stansley, Jr., and Mr. Langenderfer, met with members of the faculty senate’s executive committee on Friday in what faculty senate Chairman Harvey Wolff described as “a real conversation, people trying hard to bridge the gap.”

Finally, the resolution requested that the board of trustees report back the measures it will take “to ensure that assaults against academic freedom and the democratic process will not occur again.”

But most of the debate yesterday revolved around a proposed amendment to the resolution.

Dr. Andrew Jorgenson, a chemistry professor who has been a frequent critic of the Kapoor administration, proposed adding language that would have resolved “that the interests of the university would be best served by the resignation of Mr. Langenderfer as chairman of the board.”

The amendment caused a spirited debate, primarily between faculty who said the senate should work on improving its relations with the trustees and those who said they want to make sure that Mr. Langenderfer understood the strength of their resolve.

“I think some of the people on the board are trying to undo the damage that’s been done,” said Dr. Debra Stoudt, a German professor who is vice chair of the faculty senate and who opposed the amendment. “They are making a clear attempt to mend bridges.”

Law Professor John Barrett agreed, asking, “Don’t we need to work in some ways toward cooperation, instead of a hostile relationship?”

But Dr. Al Cave, a history professor, said that without the amendment, the resolution was not strong enough. “I would not like our actions to be interpreted by the board as saying everything’s all right now,” he said.

Others, like history Professor Larry Wilcox, insisted that Mr. Langenderfer’s attitude toward faculty likely will never improve.

“He has treated faculty with utter contempt,” Dr. Wilcox said. “How much more will this body need to say ‘Enough is enough,’ to say ‘Would you please go away so we can try to fix some of the damage that’s been done?'”

In the end, the amendment was tabled by a 22 to 15 vote, after which the resolution was passed by a unanimous voice vote. But several senators emphasized that the tabled amendment could be brought back at any time.

Mr. Langenderfer did not return telephone calls seeking comment last night.

In response to the resolution, university spokesman Joe Brennan said: “We welcome the opportunity to work in a positive and constructive fashion with our faculty. We recognize the important role of the faculty in building a new UT.”