As we speak, a shooter (or shooters) at the Washington Navy Yard has killed or wounded several people, some of whom have been transported to GW Hospital. UD doesn’t teach today, but she can imagine the scene outside the hospital, with police, reporters, families, onlookers, etc. And this is already an extremely busy Washington intersection, with the metro, law offices, and GW medical school buildings immediately adjacent.


UD hadn’t planned on posting about the firing of GW’s business school dean, but the story has gone from strange to bizarre to bizzzzzaro in the last few days, so here goes.

Handsome young hotshot Douglas Guthrie is hired away from NYU three years back to lead GW’s way-ambitious b-school (it not long ago got an amazing new building, plus a big ol’ budget…). Guthrie overspends his budget rather shockingly and is for this reason (or so the official story goes) fired.

It’s very bad news for the b-school, which has lately seen lots of administrative turnover and disappointing national rankings.

It gradually becomes apparent that Guthrie has a story to tell, and he has really spilled it to The Hatchet, the school newspaper. The suggestion in the story (partly coming from Guthrie, partly from others) is that the overspend was a cover story, the real deal being charges against Guthrie of “making illegal financial deals in China and having sex with colleagues.” These charges apparently came from the chair of the Faculty Senate executive committee, and Guthrie seems to be claiming that it was his lawyer’s letter to the university, discussing the possibility of a slander lawsuit, that really prompted his firing.

As to whether Guthrie might have tried to profit personally from his overseas university work … who knows? There’s plenty of precedent for it, with Harvard’s Andrei Shleifer (his adventures in Russia cost the university $31 million in penalties) the most notorious case. But the explosive charge in the GW newspaper piece is this one: The executive committee chair apparently also charged that

Guthrie had been sharing profits with [university provost Steven] Lerman and other top administrators, according to [another faculty member’s] complaint.


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5 Responses to “All sorts of unsettling news involving UD’s university this morning.”

  1. david foster Says:

    “GW’s way-ambitious b-school (it not long ago got an amazing new building, plus a big ol’ budget…”

    The fancy new building should comes AFTER the success, rather than being used as a pre-announcement of expected success. I think this principle applies to ambitious university departments as well as to start-up companies and to new ventures within existing corporations.

    If the person running things is overly focused on the facilities, there are probably other, more important things that he or she is NOT focusing on.

  2. MattF Says:

    Also, the headline: ‘Business school dean can’t follow a budget’ should raise an eyebrow or two.

  3. janet gool Says:

    Maybe Bob Dylan should add a new verse to “Blowin’ in the Wind,” – something about “how many shootings will it take for Congress to enact gun control?”
    I thought after Sandy Hook the American people would have had enough. I guess I’m out of touch with America.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    janet: I’m equally out of touch.

  5. theprofessor Says:

    We too got the fancy B-school building with extravagant offices, extra faculty positions, research funding, travel funding, etc. while the B-school was floundering. The umm, “investments” would “prime the pump,” and soon we would TRIPLE the number of business majors.

    A decade later, we have just about exactly the same number of business majors.

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