The previous RonnBlog asked University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler how to decipher his comment that Norwood Teague had been “overserved” and that led to “a series of bad events”.
The RonnBlog offered 3 possible explanations:
- He isn’t very good at thinking before speaking.
- He was hoping to portray Teague as a victim, a poor guy who made mistakes while under the influence.
- He really believes that a man who drinks too much is not responsible for his actions.
In a subsequent statement, President Kaler provided some clarity:
“I regret that very poor choice of words because I cannot state strongly enough that Teague is entirely responsible for his behavior, and alcohol use is no excuse. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated at the University of Minnesota, and his resignation was the appropriate result of his actions.”
That would appear to rule out Explanation #3…thank goodness. It appears that the answer is mostly Explanation #1; though I believe him to be generally good at speaking in public, on this occasion he made a mistake in word choice.
Fair enough. But it still leaves some questions. For one, if this is not the isolated incident it appears to be, can a President of a major University (or any large organization) be successful without carefully considering his use of words when speaking to the press and public? Especially on sensitive topics?
And for another, how much if any of his initial statement was in fact driven by a desire to protect the reputations of the University and himself?
Because of the courage of additional women who have come forward to report inappropriate actions by Teague, as well as disclosure that he has a record of such behavior at previous employers, this story will continue to play out. Even though Teague is gone, and two investigations have been launched, how this is handled moving forward will give us insights into President Kaler’s true commitment:. Is it to upholding the U’s commitment to zero tolerance of sexual harassment, or to protecting the U’s image.
We shall see.
Today’s Fact Cetera
It is now known that porcupines engage in recreational sex.