ESPN's Chris Berman likes to say "no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills." He might add "or the Boston Globe." Its editorial of today, A telling admission, heaps of paeans of praise on Marilee Jones, who resigned her position as MIT Dean of Admissions after an investigation revealed that she earned none of the academic degrees she had claimed.
The Globe quickly gets out of the way its acknowledgement that "no doubt, Marilee Jones did the wrong thing." But you'd hardly know it from the rest of editorial:
- "I misrepresented my academic degrees when I first applied to MIT 28 years ago," she said in a statement, "and did not have the courage to correct my resume when I applied for my current job or at any time since." Admitting to that lack of courage means being brave enough to be oneself, even if one is short on credentials but long on potential.
- She deserves credit for her straightforward apology.
- This forthright admission stands in contrast to others who have denied, delayed, or justified. Last year, David Edmondson, chief executive of RadioShack, said he planned to stay in his job even after it was revealed that he had not earned two college degrees listed on his resume. Days later he resigned.
- Jones has had to face her own messy truth. She has done so in a commendable way.
The Globe comes close to excusing others who tell similar lies:
Lower on the career chain, some people argue that applicants have to lie to get first jobs or to go back to work after months or years of being unemployed. They say it's a matter of financial survival. But a better solution would be an aggressive national public policy that creates many more programs for working adults to earn college degrees.
Yes, it's all dog-eat-dog capitalism's fault. And the solution of course is "many more" government programs.
Is it feminist solidarity that put the Globe in such a forgiving mood? After all, Jones was originally hired for the specific purpose of recruiting more women students at MIT. Was the paper riding to the defense of a right-thinking [meaning left-thinking] college administrator, perhaps? Would the Globe have been so understanding if, say, a Bush administration official were similarly caught out?
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org