For more articles and editorials concerning Dr. Saunders's airplane please click here.
(December 8, 2008) CoB News, 8 December 2008 Is Saunders Buckling Under Weight of Recent Scandals? It appears as though the customized textbook and planegate scandals are taking a toll on the Martha Saunders administration of USM. On 5-Dec-08 The Hattiesburg American’s editor penned “USM should consider less costly travel,” an editorial column about the planegate episode and Saunders’ ill-advised decision to spend $2 million leasing a Beechcraft King Air 200 twin-engine airplane. The editor referred to the deal, which was signed off on by Mississippi’s IHL Board, as “a bad move” and as “a luxury . . . the university can do without.”
(December 10, 2008) CoB News, 10 December 2008 More “Planegate” Turbulence by 31st & Pearl Columnist All of the various facets of the “planegate” episode now going on at USM, from whether or not the Beechcraft King Air 200 was already leased by USM when it asked Mississippi’s IHL board permission, to CoB associate professor of finance John Clark’s potential involvement in the deal, and everything in between, are intriguing. Now that the institution has apparently leased the plane already, the story promises juicy headlines well into the future. Given that the plane’s movements are traceable via the web, we’ll soon know whether or not Martha Saunders uses the 8-seater to get to and from New Orleans on/around 21-Dec-08, when USM takes on Troy University in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. (Editor's note: A 2010 Open Records Act request confirmed that Dr. Saunders spent tuition and/or taxpayer dollars to make sure her flights were not traceable via the web.)
(December 10, 2008) GH Chatter The “planegate” saga at USM is often a topic of conversation among CoBers and USMers alike. According to the chatter, those who missed the Dec-08 USM faculty senate meeting should take a listen to the podcast. Doing so promises to provide a clearer picture of just who new provost Robert Lyman is, and just how gullible some of USM’s faculty appear to be.
(December 15, 2008) Cost Savings? Now you are interested in efficiency and cost savings? What about the airplane?!
(January 5, 2009) Martha’s 9 9 wishes for '09 What an interesting list. Numbers 1 and 4 point toward Number 7, but certainly not like airplane payments – especially balloon payments – would. Number 2 is fine, but giving USM students a more positive experience while they are here would surely correlate to higher giving when they do graduate. Please see the regional examples of Ole Miss and Alabama.
(January 9, 2009) BREAKING NEWS USM Moves to Block Info on the USM Plane’s Movements HATTIESBURG – Reporters at have learned that USM has completed the necessary steps to prevent the general public from finding out about the movements (whereabouts) of the newly-leased USM airplane. According to word received by from officials at FlightAware, the online service that tracks movement of registered aircraft, USM has recently placed its Beechcraft King Air 200 on the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) Blocked Aircraft Registration (BAR) list.