students, faculty react to firing
By RYAN OLSON
The Daily Mining Gazette
March 27, 2004
HOUGHTON There were mixed feelings among Michigan
Tech University students Friday following President Curt Tompkins
dismissal. Most praised his accomplishments while saying the campus
was due for a change.
Joseph Niewendorp, a second-year electrical engineering
technology student from downstate East Jordan, was among two dozen
people listening to the Board of Control meeting via telephone.
Niewendorp said he would like to see a new president more engaged
with the campus and able to rein in increasing tuition costs.
I would like to see the new president to be
somewhat more interactive (with students), he said.
In the Memorial Union Building Friday night, Ariana
Jeske, a third-year civil engineering major from Ishpeming, said
a campuswide effort is needed to help Tech move past its financial
woes. However, she said a new administration probably wont
help students finances.
Either way our tuition gets raised regardless
of whos president, Jeske said.
Lemayian Kimojino, a fourth-year chemical engineering
major from Nairobi, Kenya, said Tompkins was an accessible president,
but made some poor financial decisions.
I just hope the transition will be smooth for
the university, Kimojino said.
Aaron Somero, a third-year accounting major from Houghton,
was finishing a round of pool in the billiards room. He said Tompkins
likely would have left the university after Decembers no-confidence
vote by faculty and staff, and the revelation of a $6.2 million
Tompkins did a great job but we need a fresh
start at the university, Somero said.
University Senate President Robert Keen, also an associate
professor in biological sciences, was surprised by the quick sequence
of events. But he said interim President Glenn Mroz is a satisfactory
choice to lead the university.
We have excellent students, a superb faculty
and staff and the university will continue treading the path of
excellence, Keen said.
He praised Tompkins efforts to make the administration
more open and accessible to the university community, such as promoting
Above all else, people need to realize that
Curt Tompkins opened up this university and made it a far more open
institution than in the past 105 years, Keen said.
Chemical Engineering Professor Bruce Barna, meanwhile,
has been critical of Tompkins handling of university finances.
He said although Techs research posture increased under Tompkins
leadership and many facilities were added, the university could
use change to propel it forward.
He was here for a long time and he did a lot
of things, Barna said. Turnover can be good.
Barna praised the selection of Mroz. He said its
important that the university does a thorough job conducting the
search while giving Mroz time to guide it.
Barna, president of the local chapter of the American
Association of University Professors, said Tompkins removal
wont affect unionization efforts and the card drive seeking
a collective bargaining vote.
What we want is a process thats independent
of leadership, he said.