Regarding the Nov. 29 Point of View “Hiring out leadership”: I agree that the primary failure during the UNC academic scandal was in institutional leadership. The poet Homer warned long ago of the peril of serving too many masters.
The leadership role at public institutions like UNC is constantly challenged – and sometimes distracted – by the relentless demands of fundraising, big-time athletics, state politics and public accountability, among others.
From a crisis management perspective – and UNC certainly created a crisis for itself – it is often beneficial to retain outside counsel to avoid a myopic view of a situation and to separate legitimate issues and concerns from less meritorious ones.
Ultimately, all leaders are responsible for the decisions, actions and outcomes under their watch. Maybe they make it harder than it has to be, and maybe there aren’t enough moral gut checks these days, either.
Now more than five years into the UNC scandal, the real question is: For $10 million, did UNC get its money’s worth? I would have offered the best “business” advice to any UNC chancellor early on: “Tell the truth, tell it all and tell it fast,” even if it’s embarrassing, especially if it’s damning.
Honesty and transparency should be standard crisis operating procedure.
Patrick Soter O’Neil, Ph.D.
The writer is a corporate marketing executive.