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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

FAU burrows to hide from controversies
By Randy Schultz

Palm Beach Post Editorial Page Editor

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Florida Atlantic University is circulating a multicount indictment of this newspaper that is inaccurate, dishonest and untruthful.

Yet in the first paragraph of a letter FAU sent last week to "the University family," President Frank Brogan, Foundation President Leslie Corley and board Chairman Norman Tripp praise the university for striving "every day to provide accurate, honest and truthful information." If FAU had done that for the past 10 weeks, FAU wouldn't have a complaint with The Post.

This began April 3, when staff writer Kimberly Miller reported what FAU called the resignation of Lawrence Davenport, the university's chief fund-raiser. Curiously, though, Mr. Davenport got a severance of nearly $600,000. Why a severance for someone who resigned? Why had Mr. Brogan failed to notify FAU's fund-raising foundation, especially since the "resignation" letter had been dated March 19? Why didn't all the trustees know about the severance?

Trying to explain, Mr. Brogan sounded like a student ducking questions from a professor. It hadn't really been a resignation, because there were "significant differences" between the president and the fund-raiser. But why would someone fired for cause deserve a severance? Firing him would have looked bad, and none of the severance will come directly from the university. In fact, it will - from concession money that otherwise would go toward student programs.

Accurate? Honest? Truthful?

Talking around the issue

Then in late April, Ms. Miller reported that FAU mega-patron Barry Kaye is marketing his life insurance business by calling himself an FAU professor and the holder of a doctoral degree. He is neither. Mr. Kaye may have donated $20 million, but colleges aren't supposed to express their thanks by handing out fake credentials.

It must be something about Boca. In 1992, The News of Boca Raton reported that philanthropist "Countess" Henrietta de Hoernle had bought her title. Ms. de Hoernle threatened to withhold donations unless the paper apologized. After charities fawned over her and slammed the newspaper, she relented.

Similarly, FAU and other organizations that benefit from Mr. Kaye's donations have defended his good works. The letter from FAU says that his "generosity should not be vilified," as it presumably has been by The Post. But the paper never has "vilified" his generosity. In fact, The Post ran an editorial on Jan. 18 praising Mr. Kaye's gift to FAU of $16 million.

But in an editorial two weeks ago, The Post again raised the main point: Does FAU care that Mr. Kaye is misrepresenting himself? The letter from FAU never addresses this point. The Post asked for a revision so we could run it, but FAU declined. As with the Davenport affair, FAU is talking around a controversy rather than talk about it.

Shades of insider Corvette deal

Instead, predictably, FAU is blaming the newspaper. News coverage of the two stories, and editorials that followed, "malign and damage the reputation of Florida Atlantic University and philanthropist Barry Kaye." The paper is "damaging the reputation" of FAU and "hurting each and every alumnus … and also students working towards their degree (sic)." The paper's "relentless onslaught … has the potential to negatively impact the university's relationship with donors."

From that dishonest hyperbole, people at FAU might think that The Post has been the university's worst enemy for years. They would be wrong.

For three years, The Post has supported FAU's expanded medical program, which starts next year. In 2005, The Post saluted FAU's Holocaust studies program. And since Mr. Brogan, Mr. Corley and Mr. Tripp have short memories, The Post crusaded nearly 20 years ago against a new university in Broward County that would have reduced FAU's reach and influence.

But this paper also has sounded off about things that actually could damage FAU's reputation. The best example was the illegal attempt in 2002 to give President Anthony Catanese a going-away Corvette. Now, as then, FAU's problems are secrecy and special favors - not this paper's stories, which were accurate, and its editorials.

FAU's trustees and the foundation members seem to think that their job is to protect this public university from scrutiny, not to ask questions. That isn't the way to get to the truth.

FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

It truly under scores how badly the University has handle some the not so good things that have happened - you can't pull an ostrich and put your head in the sand and hope it will blow over, all you accomplish is get buried deeper into the heap of crap.

Especially with the Daveport thing - they waited to long and did way to little to bring some type of conclusion to the issue. Along with the Innovation Village feet dragging, I think it's time to change our legal council representation we currently have -it seems to me he has dropped the ball too often, he has mis-handled some very big issues that should be major priorities for the university.
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

Agreed. The truth is the truth. Most of these things have not been that bad, but when the story changes several times it looks like the University has something to hide.

Perhaps that is why I do not feel like the stadium is on track. There are too many secrets.
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

I agree with you guys, and as much as I hate to admit it fauowl hit it on the head . Its not that bad but changing the story looks bad. If the Post was blowing it out of proportion then we would absolutely have a right to be pissed. If you give them something to write about that is news worthy they are going to write it, good, bad or indifferent.
Maybe the officials should be careful what they promise and say when they are feeling real good about themselves.
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

Not good…

BUT honestly, the Post is all about "underbelly" and a pretty liberal newspaper…

thier coverage of FAU sports is terrible IMO - just look at the Sentinel and you will see my point…

most of the general stories on FAU are negative in persuit…

if i have a choice, i go Sentinel hands down over the Post…the only thing keeping me reading it at all is the coverage Marcus provides, albiet not nearly as consistent as Hutton's…
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU


Florida_Owl said

their coverage of FAU sports is terrible IMO - just look at the Sentinel and you will see my point…

most of the general stories on FAU are negative in persuit…


Well said. Just do a search on both web sites, with "FAU" and Sun-Sentinel is much more positive. I recall the article in the Sun-Sentinel June 2 titled "Company tries to clear broker in look at viatical.", it stated:

Boca Raton insurance magnate Barry Kaye was wrongly implicated in a fraud investigation after a Pennsylvania company gave erroneous information to a state regulatory agency, company officials said this week.

A similar story never appeared in the Post at all. I think it's just sloppy reporting and an indication of the inferior paper. Heck, the Sun-Sentinel's high school sports coverage is better then the post, not to mention FAU's. The Sun-Sentinel is much more connected. By the way, I'm a Post home subscriber…or at least I used to be.
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

You make a very good point Florida_Owl. Coverage in the Sun is much better and is more upbeat and positive no question. The Post no so much the sports side but the editorial side has always seem to take any story and throw a couple of twist to turn the positive toward negative. If that makes any sense ::)
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

Based on what the Post has to say, it looks like FAU has caused themselves numerous problems and worse than that, they have ignored problems when they have come to the surface. The whole deal with Kaye claiming to be a Dr. is a slap in the face to all of us in higher education who have worked tremendously hard to EARN our degrees. For FAU to ignore Kaye's self-proclaimed title is to show disrespect to all of the faculty and students of the university. As far as Kaye, it makes him look like a fool. Only a complete jackass would claim the title of Dr. when they have not earned it.

GO OWLS!!!

You can run kitties, but you can't hide!!!
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU

…but if Mr. Kaye would give $100M for a stadium we would let him call himself the Queen of England…
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Palm Beach Post responds to FAU


fauowl said

…but if Mr. Kaye would give $100M for a stadium we would let him call himself the Queen of England…

We can call him the Duke, Earl, Prince, King….

Which one does he want??? Get me that damn stadium!!!
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