Friday, July 19, 2013

On DSU the News Journal inverts chronology to give itself a pat on the back

My guess is that yesterday's refusal by DSU senior official to give the News Journal comments on its story about felon-dean Freddy Asinor rankled the reporters quite a bit.

But you really have to love the slick inversion of chronology that takes place in today's story.



In the first two paragraphs, the WNJ says

Delaware State University will review how it conducts background checks on job applicants and audit financial records of a former dean who has embezzlement and forgery convictions, officials announced Thursday. 
The university’s disclosure came hours after the The News Journal reported that some state lawmakers and university trustees urged a change in procedures and an audit.
This, of course, implies a cause and effect relationship to events:  we did the story and then we printed the outcry of legislators, and DSU administration (hitherto having failed to respond to the issue) caved to all the pressure.

Nice narrative.

The only problem is the paragraph in the story that is printed "below the fold":
Williams’ statement said that prior to hiring Asinor’s interim replacement this week, the school began a review of its background check process and an audit, the results of which will be shared with the board of trustees. 
In other words:  last week DSU had already begun the changes that the WNJ and opportunist politicians Patti Blevins and Greg Lavelle chided them for yesterday.

So the idea that the WNJ story prompted any of this action is just so much self-serving pap.

It is legitimate to ask why the DSU administration refused to comment to the WNJ yesterday, if such changes were already under way.

The answer is pretty simple:  in a meeting with DSU faculty and staff of the affected college yesterday, Provost and Academic Vice President Alton Thompson noted first, "The News Journal does not administer this institution."  OK, write that one off to irritability.

But Thompson also said that because the audit would be wide-ranging it was important to get all of the mechanisms into place before making a public announcement.

If you look back at the sordid affair of Freddy Asinor at Clemson it is fairly obvious that what he did there would have involved the tacit if not active participation of others.  If that happened at DSU it would be important to set up the mechanisms to find any potential collaborators or just those who should have known and should have caught any discrepancies before announcing the audit.

This is common sense.  The fact that DSU's announcement missed the WNJ press deadline yesterday in the interests of what Provost Thompson called "getting it right" is material only to the egos of some local politicians--neither of whom has actually ever done a single damn thing to support the university in the first place.

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