Good PR begins with good management, from Day One. The formula is as simple as that. Take the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a perverse example of academic management gone awry. The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., reports that “the legal and public relations costs from UNC-Chapel Hill’s fake-class scandal have climbed well past $10 million…”
Not to worry, says the university, in effect. “UNC officials say none of the money to pay for the legal and public relations bills has come from students’ tuitions or state appropriations. The money typically has come from a UNC foundation that is supported by private donations.”
Sounds like a slush fund for special needs, like the scandal that “involves classes within the former Department of African and Afro-American studies from 1993 to 2011 that never met and brought high grade if a paper was turned in,” The News & Observer reports. “The majority of the classes were created and graded by Deborah Crowder, a clerical employee who was the department’s manager. The rest were created by Julius Nyang’oro, the former department chairman, who admitted in Weinstein’s report that he gave athletes high grades to help keep them eligible.”
Effective university management would never have permitted a situation like this to exist. That would have been good, if unheralded, PR – a situation anyone would expect to exist, but, it turns out, didn’t.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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