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Gaffes 101: FAU's reputation taking hit after hit

Even with new dorms and its own football team, the challenge for Florida Atlantic University has been simply getting noticed — more-established state universities such as the University of Florida often gobble up most of the media attention.

This semester, though, FAU has no problem attracting the limelight. The catch: FAU’s newfound name recognition is happening in the worst kind of way.

In the span of a few short months (and spring semester still isn’t over), FAU faculty and/or administrators have bizarrely questioned whether the Sandy Hook mass shooting really occurred, agreed to name the football stadium after a private prison operator known for human rights violations, and, most recently, received national scorn for a so-called “Jesus stomp” classroom lesson that infuriated Christians and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The backlash to that class lesson — which involved students being told to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, and then put that paper on the ground and step on it — has been so strong that FAU on Friday placed the professor involved on administrative leave, citing concerns for his “personal safety.”

The string of missteps have highlighted how quickly a damaging news story can go viral in the social-media age, and FAU leaders are quick to acknowledge they’ve had their hands full.

More from Michael Vasquez here.


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Brogan was Jebbie's butt boy; he agreed to step down from the Lt. Gov's office (for the "more electable" Charlie Crist), in exchange for FAU as his personal fiefdom; he created the most labyrinthine university bureaucracy I've ever experienced - of the 7 schools I've attended. He could find $50+ million to fund a football program, when elevators and street lights on the campus don't work. The *jesus paper* non-controversy is illustrative; an exercise in cultural sensitization (and academic freedom - remember that?) results in a "controversy" - only in Florida, and only at FAU.

No More Rick Scott

In December 2000, the U.S. Justice Department announced what it called the largest government fraud settlement in U.S. history when Columbia/HCA agreed to pay $840 million in criminal fines and civil damages and penalties. Among the revelations from the 2000 settlement, which all apply to when Scott was CEO, were that Columbia overbilled Medicare for unnecessary tests and false diagnosis codes.

The government settled a second series of similar claims with Columbia/HCA in 2002 for an additional $881 million. The total fine: $1.7 billion.

As part of the 2000 settlement, Columbia/HCA agreed to plead guilty to at least 14 corporate felonies. A corporate felony comes with financial penalties but not jail time, since a corporation can’t be sent to prison. Scott himself was never indicted.


@CheLoquito -Frank T. Brogan is Chancellor of the State University System of Florida.
Brogan was selected to be president of Florida Atlantic University — a position he held until 2009, when the Board of Governors of the State University System unanimously chose him to serve as Chancellor of Florida's public universities.

The current problems of FAU under NOT a result of Chancellor Brogan.


@NoMoreRickScott "Media reports routinely say Scott’s Columbia-HCA Corp. “systematically” defrauded the federal government — never citing evidence that it was proven Scott or his fellow senior managers condoned or even hinted at perpetrating the alleged fraud, never citing evidence of malice and premeditation by Scott. To be expected, the state’s biggest newspapers dug into the scandal. They reported, although downplayed, that Scott was never charged with any crimes nor investigated. The Miami Herald said “federal investigators found that Scott took part in business practices … that were later found to be illegal” — citing no evidence of Scott’s personal involvement nor noting that these “practices” were widely accepted in the industry until federal regulators changed the rules....“The government took all of the documents and e-mails,” said Scott lawyer Mainigi at an interview recently in Fort Lauderdale. “If any of those e-mails tied Rick to fraud, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. If there was something he had done wrong, they would have taken action because he was so outspoken against Clinton health care. The idea this lawyer (Scott) would not have taken immediate action if he knew about it is ridiculous.”

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