Bienen, Linzer express support for Lavine

Libby Nelson

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University administrators reaffirmed their support for Medill Dean John Lavine in a special faculty meeting Thursday afternoon, expressing their hope that the journalism school could move past recent controversy.

Faculty members met with university President Henry Bienen, Provost Daniel Linzer and Lavine in Fisk Hall.

Lavine has been at the center of controversy in recent weeks after a Feb. 11 Daily Northwestern column raised questions about the dean’s use of anonymous quotes in a “Letter from the Dean” published in the Spring 2007 issue of the Medill alumni magazine.

A committee of three Medill alumni, reporting to Linzer, found no wrongdoing in the quotes case.

Prof. David Protess said he asked Linzer several questions about the committee’s work, originally announced Feb. 29. He said Linzer said the report was confidential.

The tone of the meeting was “positive,” Protess said.

Prof. Donna Leff said the overall message from Bienen and Linzer was: “This case is closed.”

Medill’s governance was also discussed. Faculty oversight of the journalism school’s curriculum has been suspended since Lavine became dean, and in a student forum Wednesday night, Lavine said faculty governance had “failed” Medill.

Bienen declined to comment after the meeting.

“I’m sure you can read about it in the Chicago Tribune,” he said.