By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Just days after the Alabama Political Reporter published excepts from a speech given by Dr. George R. Crowley, Associate Professor of Economics and Associate Chair of Economics & Finance at Troy’s Johnson Center, the University’s Chancellor, Jack Hawkins, took action.
Dr. Judson Edwards, Dean of the Sorrell College of Business, was given the task of dealing with the embarrassing fallout surrounding statements made by Crowley at a Las Vegas convention, sponsored by the Koch Foundation.
At the convention, Crowley unashamedly revealed that he and his fellows at the Johnson Center were engaged in a effort to “bring down” the State’s Retirement System. They were also working to influence policy related to medicaid and taxes, according to Crowley.
The Alabama Political Reporter has obtained a copy of the memo sent to the Troy’s Trustees from Hawkins’ office, with orders to, “Follow-up on Johnson Center issue—actions taken/media report.”
Among the “issue—actions taken” was “a refocus” of the mission and activities of the center faculty to concentrate solely on teaching and academic research and service.
“A 90-day moratorium on public policy pronouncements/opinion writing or any other activities that can be construed as political activism,” and “The appointment of a new chair of the Department of Economics and Finance, who will be a member of the finance faculty rather than the economics faculty.”
According to the memo, Crowley was “scheduled to serve as the Department Chair, but that appointment has been cancelled,” because of the “controversy” brought about by his Vegas comments.
Hawkins and Edwards also gave an interview with al.com, in which they walked back Crowley’s remarks.
The memo states that in the interview, “Chancellor Hawkins made it clear that TROY supports the mission and goals of the RSA and Dr. David Bronner and that there is no attempt on Troy University’s part or the Johnson Center’s part to “bring down” the state retirement system.” Dr. Hawkins emphasized the many positive economic development activities of the RSA, to include the RTJ Trail and the buildings in downtown Montgomery.
In his remarks before the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) in Las Vegas, Crowley said Troy was a “third-tier” college whose primary students are, “first generation college kids from rural Alabama.”
The memo says, “ Chancellor Hawkins stated emphatically that TROY (their emphasis) takes issue with any characterization as a “third-tier” institution, citing many University accomplishments and honors.”
Hawkins and Edwards, according to the memo, “emphasized that the Koch Foundation does not play a role in forming policy, hiring faculty or in any way determining the direction of the Johnson Center or the Sorrell College of Business…[and] supports the academic freedom of its faculty members to research, publish and discuss issues of public and scholarly concern.”
The controversial statements made by Crowley were posted on kochileaks at UnKoch My Campus.