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Students surveyed support Mount St. Mary's president Newman

Students support Mount St. Mary's president despite national criticism, poll says.

A survey of about 60 percent of students at Mount St. Mary's University found majority support for embattled college president Simon Newman.

Newman has drawn criticism from alumni and educators after he fired two faculty members and demoted the provost amid escalating controversy over his new academic policy. Friday, Newman reinstated the fired professors.

His policy would weed out struggling freshmen by encouraging them to leave the small Catholic university north of Frederick. The move was intended to bolster Mount St. Mary's student-retention rate and national ranking.

Criticism escalated after the college newspaper quoted him referring to students as bunnies that should be drowned or shot. Newman later apologized and said his words were taken out of context.

Late Friday, faculty members voted overwhelmingly to ask Newman to resign. They announced the 87-3 vote Friday evening.

During the weekend, the student government association organized its survey. The association polled 951 students, about 60 percent of the college.

Some 76 percent voted in favor of Newman; 24 percent voted against his leadership, according to an email from SGA President Abel Gonsalves.

The poll and an attached resolution will be submitted to the board of trustees.

"We resolve to have the results of the student generated polling be considered and weighed in conjunction with the recent faculty vote," stated the resolution.

Newman commended the students in a statement released Sunday by Christian Kendzierski, spokesperson for the college.

"I greatly appreciate their vote of confidence and support in my leadership," Newman said in the statement.

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