If I were the university president… (v. 2)

…then I might be driven to drink because of the job stress, but I don’t think I would drive around drunk either:

The president of the University of Evansville was arrested for driving while intoxicated Wednesday evening.

Stephen Jennings, who has been president since 2001 at the dry campus, was driving with a blood-alcohol content nearly twice the level at which a driver is considered intoxicated, according to a probable cause affidavit posted online by the Evansville Courier and Press.[…]

“I have obviously made a very serious mistake, and I apologize to the campus community and the community at large,” Jennings said in the statement. “I will take every necessary action to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Jennings pleaded guilty to two counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated Thursday morning via video from the Vanderburgh County Jail, according to court records. He was allowed to enter the deferral program because it was his first offense.

If Jennings successfully completes the program, the charges against him will be dismissed.

According to the article, Jennings was pulled over after weaving his car between lanes on a major highway. Then, after police “immediately smelled a very strong odor of alcohol beverages” and noticed his “bloodshot and glassy eyes”, Jennings refused a field sobriety test; then he claimed he hadn’t been drinking; then he admitted to having two beers. Then they found his blood alcohol content to be 0.14, which is way more than you’d get after two beers. Unless those two beers were in addition to a bottle of scotch.

The trustees at UE are rallying around Jennings:

“The board feels he has done a wonderful job for this university and this community,” board Chairman Niel Ellerbrook said in the statement, “and it is our intention to do whatever is needed to help Steve.”

That’s nice, but if I were a trustee and not just a university president, I’d have to think that raising money and representing the institution to the public — which are two of the main jobs of the president — are going to be a lot harder when you’ve been arrested for DUI.



Filed under Higher ed, Life in academia

3 responses to “If I were the university president… (v. 2)

  1. One mistake and you want to toss a guy? I should hope you have never done anything dumb or irresponsible in your life.

  2. Which is why I edited that bit out of the post. Maybe you don’t fire the guy, but you take a hard look at damage control.

  3. And I should add that there are different levels of dumb. I’ve done dumb and irresponsible things. But driving drunk isn’t just dumb, it’s dangerous — indeed, Pres. Jennings is fortunate that he didn’t kill somebody — not to mention illegal. That’s a lot different than the dumb stuff most people do.