Over the past several years, usmnews.net has published thousands of reports from current and former faculty who share my belief that USM has ineffectively employed far too much of its resources, both in terms of money and people. The purpose of usmnews.net is not to provide a public relations view. That is amply supplied by The University of Southern Mississippi's public relations department.
"The fun money is private money. At Southern Miss, I've got state dollars and I've got Foundation dollars. It's real easy to tell them apart. I tell people I've got two checkbooks. I've got my booze account and my non-booze account. Out of the state money I'm pretty constrained what in I can do. ... Foundation dollars, that's when I take my money out of my booze account, I can pretty much do anything I want with it." D. Harold Doty, former Dean, College of Business, University of Southern Mississippi, former Dean, University of Texas at Tyler
The popular press is replete with stories of corruption in higher education such as the recent college admissions cheating scandal. They're immaterial when compared to skyrocketing costs traced to mundane misconduct of faculty and administrators we describe in this report. Former president IHL, former president USM Foundation, and former CPA, Carl Nicholson, Interim Dean Rod Posey, Director Jim Crockett, his underperforming friend, Marvin Albin, and Instructor Patty Munn cannot claim ignorance about the implications of their behavior on University finances because they were all CPAs.
For readers who have requested quicker access to reports about Dr. Saunders' and now Dr. Bennett's airplane, please click here. A good place to start is Cost Per Flight Hour which includes links to the detailed cost and usage data obtained through open records requests.
In August 2011, Martha Saunders smiled as she presented Galaxy Tabs to selected students. Three senior adminstrators were suspended. Two are no longer employees of the University. Saunders subsequently declared herself "tired" and resigned as president. (For more reports re "Tabletgate", click here.)
February 8, 2019
Breaking News: Carl Nicholson Found Guilty on Eleven Counts of Tax Related Fraud Carl Nicholson, former Hattiesburg CPA, former member and President of the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning, and former President of the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation found guilty on eleven counts of tax related fraud. After a little more than two hours deliberation by the jury, Mr. Nicholson was found guilty of 11 felony counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States government, four counts of false statement on income tax return and six counts of willfully aiding/assisting in preparation of false tax returns. No sentencing date has been set, but Nicholson faces up to 35 years in prison and $2,750,000 in fines.
Picture from happier days from USM Foundation website announcing Mr. Nicholson (center front) as president.
Farhang Niroomand, AGB Conference, circa 2006
Once usmnews.net published the parody UH-V SBA Faculty Loyalty Pledge, we began to hear from colleagues that the parody was in effect what Niroomand said he expected from them when they were junior faculty. From the personal experience of this editor, Dr. Niroomand is a blowhard and a bully.
The photograph of Mr. Nicholson was taken in 2015 at the Lamar County Detention Center
March 4, 2018
BREAKING NEWS FARHANG NIROOMAND SUED FOR DISCRIMINATING AGAINST AND HARASSING FACULTY AT UH-V usmnews.net has received a report that three senior faculty have filed civil complaints against University of Houston - Victoria alleging Farhang Niroomand, former Dean, created a hostile work environment, engaged in racial discrimination, and threatened senior faculty at UH-V. These allegations come as no surprise to faculty and former faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi where Niroomand served as an associate dean for many years. Both junior and senior faculty were the victim of his intemperate behavior.
Farhang [Niroomand] Bullies Senior Faculty, Too Readers want to know if Farhang Niroomand's "coercion" of untenured faculty is anything new. The answer is "no." Nor is Niroomand's bullying limited to untenured assistant professors. The following is the sworn testimony of a professor in the CoB at Southern Miss. At the time Niroomand was Associate Dean in the College of Business. The testimony was not questioned or refuted by Southern Miss or its legal counsel.
Farhang [Niroomand] Bullies Junior Faculty Readers want to know if Farhang Niroomand's "coercion" of untenured faculty is anything new. The answer is "no." The following is the sworn testimony of an associate professor in the CoB at Southern Miss. At the time Niroomand was Associate Dean in the College of Business. The testimony was not questioned or refuted by Southern Miss or its legal counsel.
June 18, 2017
Updated 14-June-2017 HELP WANTED A Look at Business Dean Openings from Around the Country With four current/former CoB deans moving around in the academic world, some USMNEWS.net readers have requested an ongoing report that tracks current b-school dean openings. Long-time readers of USMNEWS.net are aware that Faye Gilbert is the current dean of the CoB. Another former CoB administrator, Farhang Niroomand, currently holds the dean’s post at the University of Houston – Victoria. Each of these is listed among all southern university/college business deans in USMNEWS.net’s series on deans’ salaries entitled The BSD Pay Project.
A former colleague of Dean Farhang Niroomand sent the following editorial/parody. Many of us who have had the misfortune of working with Niroomand first laughed, then recalled the bullying and threats used at Southern Miss to keep subordinates in line.
UH-V SBA Faculty Loyalty Pledge I, ____________________, hereby pledge my allegiance to Farhang Niroomand, Dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Houston – Victoria. In doing so, I affirm that it is only through the infinite benevolence of Farhang Niroomand that I have a salary, health benefits, and a retirement plan with which to support myself and my family. I also recognize that any raise I am to receive, whether secret or made public, comes only through his grace, and that I am entitled to nothing, including the air that I breathe, which comes only through his grace as well. Whether I teach online or face-to-face, in Victoria or in Katy, I am forever indebted to my supervisor, Farhang Niroomand.
June 15, 2017
If you doubt that the parody, UH-V SBA Faculty Loyalty Pledge, is in effect what Niroomand expects of junior faculty, take a look at a copy of a letter from AAUP President of the Texas Conference to the Provost at UH-V "convey[ing] ... concern about reports of coercion of untenured faculty members in the School of Business Administration (SBA) at the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV)." As the letter says, "That this pledge of support was placed before untenured faculty members, several of whom, we understand, are eligible for promotion and tenure this year, and that members of the SBA administration were reportedly present when these signatures were solicited, heightens our concern." As the letter indicates, "... such a request [is] contrary to the fundamental principles of academic freedom."
The Victoria Advocate is reporting that University of Houston - Victoria Professor Olga Chapa has accused former business school dean Farhang Niroomand of sexual harassment. Dr. Niroomand was an associate dean at the University of Southern Mississippi College of Business until being “relieved” of administrative duties under questionable circumstances. After a tumultuous few years at UHV, including AAUP’s “… concern about reports of coercion of untenured faculty members”, and discriminationlawsuits by three faculty, Dr. Niroomand returned to teaching.
Farhang Niroomand, appearing in a wildly sterotypical costume, complete with sombrero, poncho and a firearm
University of Southern Mississippi, according to President Bennett, must hire a “Vice President of Diversity” to meet “the urgency of this moment.” The “successful candidate” will help oversee course content, student life, and selection of the right kind of faculty. He doesn’t say what the vice president for diversity’s salary will be, but “[t]he average Vice President of Diversity and Inclusiveness’ salary in the United States is $179,547 as of June 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $153,595 and $233,683.” This is yet another burden for students and their families who face increasing tuition, fees and costs.
Rodney D. Bennett, President, USM
July 5, 2020
July 7, 2020
Given Dr. Rodney Bennett’s desire to hire a “Vice President of Diversity” to meet “the urgency of this moment,” perhaps he should take a hard look at the name on the building where he works. That building is named for Aubrey K. Lucas.
Today, in the interests of diversity and reconciliation, we ask Dr. Bennett to revisit Mr. Lucas’ role in one of the most horrific events in the history of Southern Miss.
Both of us grew up poor. College was our way out of poverty. Now, we see too many young people locked into poverty by a college education. "You have to go to college" was an article of faith when we were growing up in poor families. Now we wonder if our ticket out of poverty still has the same value. Far too many of this generation are leaving college with substantial debt and few meaningful job opportunities.
If your lawyer believes that having a firearm license defines you as dangerous, you may be at risk of losing your Second Amendment rights and even your freedom. You may not know about his belief or recognize the risk until it is too late....
American higher education is failing. There are numerous reasons for this, such as the pervasive deconstructionism in the academy exampled by young rioters destroying monuments to the very heroes who in the past supported similar causes to those of our modern-day “revolutionaries.” Rarely discussed, however, are the negative externalities of careless accreditation.
Minding the Campus - Reforming our Universities 8/15/2020
usmnews.net is beginning a new fiction feature. It is just for fun. Please feel free to send any comments or thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now for the legalism. Any material published in this column is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
“Toothpaste back in the tube!?”
Chauncey M. DePree, Jr.
Rebecca K. Jude
“Toothpaste back in the tube!?” is an excerpt from a forthcoming novel, tentatively titled IX and set in the sometimes silly, sometimes serious, sometimes tragic world of higher education. Young adults pay fortunes to learn Zinn-Alinsky principles of Progressive Social Justice while administrators and their ally faculty live the high life. Peek inside for a quick look. This chapter features academic accreditation, an audit touted to signal the academic quality of colleges and universities. So, how in God’s name did accreditation morph into toothpaste?
We’ll alert readers when the novel is published.
Dean Tyrone C. Overstreet, PhD, CPA, pulled into his reserved parking space in back of the John J. Astor College of Business. He bounded from his Cadillac Escalade and suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. Shrill, overpowering screams echoed from the other side of the building.
“Oops, them again,” he mumbled to himself as he scurried through the back door. Two bored firemen were stationed there out of sight, smoking. Their orders were unequivocal: “Don’t upset protesting students. Small fires, let burn. Clean up after they leave.” Overstreet smiled, pointed at his watch and said, “Lib profs will soon herd ‘em to the cafeteria. Time for their midmorning Graham Crackers and milk.”
A friend was in the process of borrowing money to buy a home. The banker advised him what the monthly payment would be. It seemed to be on the high side, so he whipped out his calculator and multiplied the monthly charge by the number of months. He couldn’t believe it! The home he wanted to buy was going to cost almost twice the negotiated price.
Dr. Karl Hauer learned to cultivate tobacco to produce valuable human proteins and medicines. The first product was blood devoid of human diseases. No longer would farmers have to sell their crop to the “industry of death.” They had a choice. Hauer’s PlantPharm, Inc. would provide transgenic seeds to farmers and would buy their fully grown transgenic tobacco at a premium. His research assistant, Lucian Reimann, had a different plan.
Lucian is an eighteen-year old doctoral student hell-bent on revenge. His father, while chief scientist at Windsor Tobacco Company, discovered a virulent but highly addictive tobacco, potentially worth hundreds of billions. When he refused to make it “safe” to smoke and planned to reveal the danger to the public, WTC killed him. A decade after his death, Lucian let loose his father’s tobacco in the environment. He believed he could destroy the cigarette industry without harming smokers.
When WTC learned that their tobacco inventory was extremely virulent, they kept it secret while they tried to decontaminate it. Dr. Hauer had no idea the danger he was in until he found himself bound, gagged, and at the mercy of people who thought he could ameliorate the extreme deadliness of the tobacco.