University Diaries
A professor of English describes American university life.
Aim: To change things.
Contact UD at: margaret-dot-soltan-at-gmail-dot-com

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

KAREN HITCHCOCK PRESENTS... extremely clear example of "corporate denial consulting."

Readers may remember UD's posting of Gregg Easterbrook's lovely end-of-year holiday letter from a 'thesdan [for a definition of this word, see UD, 12/17/04] woman to her friends [for the letter, see UD, 12/30/04], in which she summed up the many impressive accomplishments of herself and her family over the preceding twelve months.

Some readers may have been confused by this woman's description of her husband's job:

"Corporate denial consulting turns out to be a perfect career niche for Chad. Fortune 500 companies are calling him all the time. There's a lot to deny and Chad is good at it."

Hitchcock, the ex-president of Number One Party School SUNY Albany [see UD, 8/25/04 and 8/30/04], has hired an amazing corporate denial consultant to handle the growing controversy about whether her hurried departure from the presidency of that university had anything to do with a rumored deal she offered a developer -- in exchange for her sending some major campus business his way, he would endow for her a very lucrative chair. Her departure was oddly impetuous, some people are claiming, because she knew that New York State law allows you to avoid ethics investigations if you get the hell out of your job before formal action is taken.

Anyway, here's Hitchcock's corporate denial consultant. Note the ferocity and frequency of his denials:

' ...Dr. Hitchcock's lawyer, Mr. Whiteman, denied that she gave up any accrued vacation time, and said that she did not in any way move to expedite her departure to avoid an ethics inquiry. He said the charge that she tried to arrange a quid-pro-quo deal to ensure a job made no sense, since as a tenured professor, she would be guaranteed a job at the university, even after leaving as president. [UD: Yeah, but how much money would that job pay? As we know from earier UD posts - as on 1/10/04 - many American university presidents expect to maintain, apres-prez, the opulent lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.] "She made no such proposal," Mr. Whiteman said. "She engaged in no conversation along those lines with anyone and she didn't authorize anybody to engage in one on her behalf. She is totally unaware of any such conversation." '

A veritable flurry of negatives. A tour de force of corporate denial.