Students at American University, an institution chartered by Congress because of its location in our nation's capital, have appealed to Congress to replace the school's trustees in the wake of a 3.7 million buyout package of a president accused of wrongdoing, a protest we covered a week ago. The New York Times reports:
Angered by the $3.7 million severance package that American University's trustees awarded to Benjamin Ladner, the departing president, campus leaders called on Thursday for fellow students to lobby Congress to replace the board.
"Please take immediate action and use the power of Congress to deal with these matters," Kyle Taylor, the president of the student government, said in a message to Congress that he encouraged other students to send to lawmakers.
"Don't go soft on corporate accountability," the message said, "especially when the education of thousands of students hangs in the balance. Please do not let American University set a precedent for Enron—style corporate crime within higher education."
Mr. Taylor said he was appealing for help from Congress because Congress chartered the university in 1893 and retained certain oversight responsibilities, including the right to ask the Justice Department or the United States attorney for the District of Columbia to investigate accusations against trustees by members of the university community.
The students' concern followed a decision by the trustees on Monday to give Mr. Ladner $950,000 in severance, $1.75 million in deferred compensation and a $1 million insurance policy.
We urge Congress to hold hearings on the matter.
Thomas Lifson 10 29 05