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Good and bad news at Franklin College: Kerry Prather in as acting prez; Thomas Minar out in disgrace after police sting

All: Here is some good and bad news from Franklin College, my employer where I have loved working almost 18 years.  Athletic director Kerry Prather, a very capable FC administrator, has agreed to serve as acting president of FC while a national search for a president is underway.

Former President Thomas Minar was fired for cause from Franklin College and also terminated from the board of trustees at Pomona College. Here is the story written by my journalism student at FC late last night.

Personally, I am quite sad over the downfall of the former president and hope he can find a second chance in life to redeem himself. I can find nothing to condone in Minar’s behavior toward a supposed online minor male allegedly exposed by a Sturgeon Bay (WI) undercover police officer. Like my colleagues, I hope Mr. Minar can get counseling, and I fully support the American legal concept that a person is innocent until a court pronounces a guilty verdict. I also support full public transparency as the investigation proceeds by police, Franklin College, and possibly Pomona College.

However, I believe the Franklin College and Pomona College board of trustees did the right thing by dismissing him given the disturbing nature of the alleged circumstances and presumed age of intended victim. Moreover, I can only hope that Minar’s downfall doesn’t reflect badly on Franklin College or  other LGBT college presidents.

In the meantime, like all other employees at Franklin, my first duty is to make sure FC students get through this scandal and get counseling from our staff when and if needed. The Sturgeon County (WI) police have not yet charged Minar with any crimes due to an “ongoing investigation” that presumably will include a search of his computer files. Minar repeatedly has cited that he is married to Dr. Frank Becker, an academic physician at Northwestern University and director of pulmonary and critical care at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.

Except from the Franklin.  Disclosure: The author Taylor Wooten is one of my fine FC journalism students. Hank Nuwer

Following his recent arrest and termination from Franklin College, former President Thomas J. Minar has been removed from the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Pomona College in California.

The news was announced in an email sent out to the Pomona College community on Monday. In the email, Board of Trustees secretary Christina Ciambriello explains that Minar, who had been on the board since 2018, has been removed.

Minar was arrested in Wisconsin on Jan. 6 on charges that include use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime, child enticement and exposing a child to harmful materials or narrations. He was released from custody on a $7,500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 17.

To end the statement, Ciambriello addresses the severity of the issue by offering resources to the students at Pomona College.

“As authorities investigate in Wisconsin, we acknowledge that this kind of information can be deeply troubling,” said Ciambriello. “On our campus, please do not hesitate to access help through our Title IX Office, Monsour Counseling and additional resources if you have been affected by this news.”

On Tuesday, it was announced that, effective immediately, former Director of Athletics, Kerry Prather, will act as the College’s acting president.

“The team-first mentality that has served Kerry tremendously well in the athletic realm for more than three decades will be an asset to his role as acting president of Franklin College,” Chair of the Board of Trustees, James Due, said.

Thomas Minar

In June 2019, Minar announced that he would be stepping down as president after the 2019-20 school year. Since that announcement, Franklin College has hired national recruitment agency Isaacson Miller to assist in the search for the college’s 17th president.

 

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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