Simon P. Newman, the president of Mount St. Mary’s University of Maryland, has few remaining supporters on his faculty, who on Friday demanded his resignation in an overwhelming 87-to-3 vote. But the president still appears to have plenty of student backers, according to the results of a survey released on Sunday night.
That may come as a surprise. Mr. Newman has drawn intense opprobrium for using a “drown the bunnies” metaphor to suggest that struggling freshmen be quickly removed from the university. Critics on the campus and off have argued that the plan, and the language he used to describe it, showed a callous disregard for Mount St. Mary’s students.
The survey, circulated this weekend by the university’s Student Government Association, asked one question: “Do you believe in the president’s leadership and vision for the future of the Mount?” Nearly a thousand students — 61 percent of the undergraduate student body — responded, according to an email sent to students this evening by Abel Gonsalves, the student-government president. Slightly over 75 percent of the respondents expressed support for Mr. Newman, the message said.
Mr. Gonsalves wrote that the student government had issued a resolution requesting that its survey “be considered equally to the recent faculty vote.”
“I recognize our students’ strong desire to express themselves on this issue,” said Mr. Newman in a written statement, “and I greatly appreciate their vote of confidence and support in my leadership.”