Dean privately acknowledged “toxic work environment” in meeting with alumni representatives over a year ago

Toward the end of the Summer of 2022, the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine hosted a meeting with several dozen alumni in McElroy.  At the request of the Dean, the alumni had sent questions in advance that the Dean could choose to answer during the session.

Those questions focused on workplace culture, recruiting and retention, and the declining performance of CVM overall.

After several alumni stood and verbalized their concerns about a toxic work culture at CVM, the Dean at first attempted to recenter the conversation from “toxic workplace” to “just low morale,” in what many in the room felt as an attempt to make the problems seem less serious. However, after several attendees pressed further, the Dean finally did acknowledge that, “you may call it toxic, I will call it low morale, but it is the same thing.”  When asked by another alumn who was responsible for the toxicity or ‘low morale,’ the Dean paused for a moment and then said, “I am responsible for everything, I am the Dean.”

In the year since this meeting took place, survey results and discussions with current faculty and staff, students and others indicate that the toxicity – or ‘low morale’ – has worsened significantly. resulting in the shuttering of core medical services at the Teaching Hospital and the continued, unmitigated mass exodus of key personnel.

“He told us that low morale thing too,” said a member of the hospital staff. “We were literally crying to his face telling him how bad things are and he just said we had low morale. Give me a break.”