PB Post: Could Shots to FAU Cause Permanent Scars?

April 8, 2013. FAU President Mary Jane Saunders blames internet for PR problems, Says university administration must do better job of telling its story

By George Bennett

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


It’s been a headline-grabbing semester for Florida Atlantic University – but not for any of the reasons university officials hoped.

FAU President Mary Jane Saunders cheerfully rattled off the good news about her institution in an interview last week, from record levels of applications to a glittering reaccreditation report to significant strides by the university’s new medical school. She mentioned the professor who won an O. Henry Prize for short-story writing and the students who spent spring break building Habitat for Humanity houses.

But the succession of reporters who met with Saunders in her office Tuesday didn’t come to hear about FAU’s latest awards and accolades.

Instead, Saunders scheduled a series of 15-minute interviews that day to respond to the school’s third major public-relations challenge of 2013 – the withdrawal of a $6 million gift by private prison contractor GEO Group after a group of vocal opponents spent six weeks ripping plans to put GEO Group’s name on FAU’s football stadium.

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