Thursday, October 29, 2015

UA fund-raising takes major hit

A dagger to the heart of the University of Akron's donor  operations?  .

How else would you describe Eileen Burg's angry letter to the editor of the BJ declaring the family of the late H. Peter Burg's estate would suspend further grants to the school "until  the current  issues are resolved."

The issues, of course, are the badly managed rollout of debt-cutting efforts by the
Scarborough Regime that have created such chaos on the campus. (Crain's Cleveland Business  took up the matter of President Scott Scarborough's credentials by describing him as a "rookie president" .)

Pete Burg was the iconic philanthropist who  had been president and CEO of FirstEnergy in Akron .  The Burg name is well estsblished at the University of Akron with an endowed scholarship as well as other donor venues, including  the honoring of LeBron James with the annual H. Peter Burg Akron Chamber  Leadership Award for the superb athlete's  own generosity.

Scarborough & Co. has been trying to ignore the resistance movement with Lawrence Burns, vice president of advancement, attributing the decline  in contributions as no more than a matter of "timing".

Thank you,  Mr. Burns,  you couldn't have put it in a more offending way for  a widely respected titan in the ranks of the contributors. For a salary of $285,000 shouldn't we expect a bit more from management?

Eileen Burg's open dissent has been shared in other quarters with ties to the school.  It has  left UA with a besieged president with few defenders except for the trustees and the BJ's editorial page, which, oddly enough,  referred to some of the complaints as "petty".

But Scarborough may have finally decided to listen. I've been told by two sources that he has tried to meet with Eileen Burg, who literally told him not to bother.

He also  is having a sitdown Friday morning in a session sought by Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco at City Hall.  Fusco will be joined by city planning director Marco Sommerville and a few others on his staff while Scarborough will be joined by three UA trustees.

The mayor's chief of staff, Ellen Lander Nischt,  said Fusco is trying to  get everybody together on the  issues.

We can hope.

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