Northwestern University's PR staff recently had to handle two
incidents that made headlines, even though under different circumstances
they might not have garnered a second thought.
The first involved possible student cheating. It's not usually a big
deal, but in this case the students were in a philosophy class that
discussed, among other weighty topics, ethics. The irony was too good
for Chicago's media to pass up.
The second incident involved a student upset with a faculty member. It's
hardly a rare occurrence, except this case involved a student refusing
to shake the hand of journalism school dean Ken Bode at graduation. It
seems the student felt Bode, former host of PBS' Washington Week in
Review, has been favoring broadcast over print students and faculty at
NU's Medill School of Journalism.
The student snub might have gone unnoticed if not for Bode's response -
the dean publicly chastised the student in his commencement speech. That
led to an AP story and local coverage as well. Perhaps philosophical
silence would have been best.