Votruba: Issue threatened NKU

Since Professor Sally Jacobsen had already planned to retire next month, Northern Kentucky University’s President James Votruba is showing compassion and loyalty (and probably avoiding a legal quagmire) by only suspending her with pay. Since criminal charges seem likely, he does not need to visit significant private punishment anyway.

He seems to understand that handling this issue fairly is about serving his customers – the students – and this makes him a rarity. He’d never last at Harvard and, in many ways, that makes NKU the better university.

Northern Kentucky University’s very essence as a university was jeopardized by a professor’s role in the destruction of a campus right-to-life display, said NKU President James Votruba.

…On Monday, Votruba placed Professor Sally Jacobsen on leave for “leading her students in the destruction of an approved student organization display” – nearly 400 crosses that had been erected last week by a campus right-to-life group. Jacobsen previously had decided to retire after this semester ends next month. The incident received national publicity. Votruba said it put the status of the university as a center for free expression at risk.

“It jeopardized the university in the sense that anything that has the potential of politicizing the campus puts it at risk,” the NKU president said Wednesday. “If anything suggests that the university is not a place in which ideas are allowed to stand or fall on their merits, then you’re not a university.”