A view from The Voice
BU’s reputation starts at the top
If you do a Google search of Bloomsburg University, these are some of the news headlines you’ll find in the results: “Central PA university president had been twice forced out.” “Bloomsburg University president, accused of sexual harassment, was previously forced out of two jobs.” “Heavy police presence for another end-of-year Block Party in Bloomsburg.”
The ubiquity of headlines and stories like these highlights the ongoing problem BloomU has in maintaining a positive reputation. In the span of one academic year, we’ve witnessed several controversial events that have damaged the school’s good name.
The most obvious of these is the lawsuit against PASSHE and President Hanna, filed last August by former business college dean Dr. Jeffrey Krug. In the lawsuit, Krug claims he was fired for helping Hanna’s assistant file a sexual harassment complaint against the president. BloomU continues to deny the veracity of Krug’s claims, dismissing the lawsuit as “a former employee seeking recourse through legal action.”
More negative press quickly followed in the form of a temporary shutdown of Greek Life activities. Allegations of hazing forced the school to put all new-member activities on hold until an official investigation had run its course.
Not long after the news broke about the hazing allegations, former philosophy professor Scott Lowe was formally sentenced for possessing child pornography on his school computer.
Multiple incidents of gun violence downtown this past fall – including one night when a student was nearly shot outside the Alvina Krause Theatre – did nothing to lower concerns about the overall safety of the community.
All of this happened before the usual bad press from Block Party, which has become so closely associated with the school that it’s usually the first thing non-students think of when someone mentions Bloomsburg. Word about Block Party clearly travels, because otherwise we wouldn’t have uninvited guests and non-BloomU students making up 80 percent of the partygoers.
We at The Voice believe that Bloomsburg University needs to double down on its efforts to brand the school as a secure environment where no one is above the law. If that means dismissing top university officials for inappropriate behavior or imposing stricter penalties for Greek Life’s actions, so be it.
It could be a long public relations nightmare to recover from the revelations that have rocked the campus this academic year. At a time when PASSHE is struggling to maintain steady enrollment numbers, Bloomsburg should send the message that this kind of image-wrecking behavior will not stand. The school system quite literally can’t afford to have these kinds of controversies cutting into its matriculation figures.
It’s hard to see an institution in a positive light when the people who live and work there fail to represent it that way.
– The Voice