During the past two years, there has been much attrition in the ranks at Oakland University.
νApril 30 2012 – Provost Virinder Moudgil announced his departure from Oakland University to become president of Lawrence Tech.
νAug 30 2012 – College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ron Sudol announced his retirement from Oakland University.
νApril 29 2013 – Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Beth Snyder announced her retirement from Oakland University.
νJune 12 – President Gary Russi announced his retirement from Oakland University. The same day, Russi’s wife and Women’s Basketball Coach Beckie Francis was fired.
Something does not seem right. And the campus community has heard very little from the administration.
It could be that these are a series of isolated incidents – that the President’s resignation and his wife’s dismissal just happened to occur at the same time. Or these two could be connected.
As a public entity, the administration needs to be accountable to those who pay their salaries through tuition and tax dollars.
These recently vacated positions hold great sway over the fate of the student body and our student-athletes. If an issue is present, it needs to be made public.
In this very university’s Ethical Issues in the Media class, students are taught a three-step process to dealing with any public relations situation, and it’s easy enough to commit to memory.
1. Tell the truth.
2. Tell everything.
3. Tell it yourself.
The reasons given are simple: While a misstep or two may look bad, a cover-up always looks worse.
Oakland University is not following this playbook. We realize in the absence of answers, it’s very easy to jump to conclusions in search of closure.
The Oakland Post does not deal in speculation or conjecture. The articles in this issue about Russi and Francis are based on what we were able to confirm with reliable sources.
What we know so far is that President Gary Russi announced his retirement the same day his wife was relieved of her duties. When asked, the athletic department told us it did not comment on personnel matters.
While University officials and the office of the President both issued statements, neither dealt with the reason for Russi’s sudden departure.
Our staff has issued a Freedom of Information Act requests to the school. The response we received was incomplete. We will continue to pursue the answers. Until then, we advise both our readers and ourselves not to succumb to rumormill.
We urge the administration to be more forthcoming. With no reasons currently given for the departure of our President or head coach, speculation is only natural.
If answers are given, much of that speculation can be put to rest.
The Oakland Post is committed to pursuing the truth of this issue.
Getting the word out yourselves will look much better than making us search.
Which will it be?
The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The
Oakland Post’s editorial board.