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Mount St. Mary’s faculty demands president's removal; trustees and students indicate support

February 15, 2016

In an 87-3 vote, faculty at Mount St. Mary’s College in Maryland called upon the college’s president, Simon Newman, to resign, the Washington Post reported.

In a separate public statement, the American Catholic Philosophical Association (ACPA) expressed “grave concern” over the firing of faculty members, and called upon President Newman and the school’s trustees to “act forcefully and publicly to end this travesty and to heal the wounds” at Mount St. Mary’s.

A survey conducted by the Student Government Association, however, found that students support Newman by a 3-to-1 margin. And the school’s board of trustees issued a statement of support for the embattled president.

Simon Newman, who has come under fire for dismissing tenured faculty members and for comparing struggling students to bunnies who should be drowned, also reportedly made disparaging remarks about the role of the Catholic faith in campus life.

The ACPA statement regarding the controversy at the Maryland school said:

Firing faculty who challenge the potential abuse of students by the administration is a clear violation of those rights of conscience that the Church upholds as necessary to a Catholic institution, a clear act of injustice. Each member of the Board of Trustees should be prepared to explain how either the treatment of the students or the firings of faculty are “in accord with [the school’s] Catholic identity.”

The ACPA said that a claim attributed to Newman, that it was an act of “mercy” to reinstate faculty members who had been dismissed, was “particularly outrageous” because the reinstatement was merely a matter of “ceasing to act unjustly.”

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