'Jeffrey's jumped off the reality bandwagon'

By William Loeffel
Special Assignments Editor

Keith Winnick
According to Provost Mike Thomas, Sonnenfeld technically never held the position of Dean of Management.
Dr. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld taught the nation's leading CEOs through his Center for Leadership and Career Studies at Emory University. He practically won a deanship at Tech's DuPree School of Management. Yet in the past months, he has lost both positions and has come under scrutiny for alleged vandalism.
Sonnenfeld's career studies center taught nearly 5,000 senior executives and has been mentioned in 200 "national media profiles" according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Sonnenfeld was a professor for Harvard Business School before Emory. He received his AB, MBA, and doctorate from Harvard.
However, he had problems at Emory with Ronald Frank, Dean of the Goizueta Business School. The WSJ tells that a year and a half ago, Sonnenfeld and three senior professors, believing the business school to be off course, asked Emory's President William Chace to reassign Dean Frank. The president sided with the dean, and the dean in turn removed Sonnenfeld and the rest from his advisory executive council and replaced them with junior faculty.
Earlier last year Sonnenfeld had sought the Dean's position at Emory, but the selection committee chose only outside candidates. It was after this, that he was chosen to be Tech's Dean of Management.
On December 1, Sonnenfeld resigned from Emory. Soon after, Tech withdrew its recommendation. According to Dr. Mike Thomas, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, technically he never had the job, because his name was never taken to the Board of Regents.
Dr. Sonnenfeld soon gave several reasons for these events. These included health reasons and complex personal problems.
According to the WSJ -- quoting Tech officials and people close to Sonnenfeld--Emory confronted the professor on December 1, saying that a security camera had caught him defacing the fifth-floor hallway outside Dean Frank's office and entering the office suite with a key. Emory officials will not discuss the episode.
The WSJ reports that people close to Dr. Sonnenfeld say he simply knocked on the door with his keys. They claim he also knocked his foot against the door to try to fix a loose heel. He then used a master key to get in.
Emory showed WSJ reporters the door to the office which had several scratches on the doors, around the door knob and one long scratch near the bottom of the door.
Sonnenfeld denies the existence of the tape as well as the credibility of the allegations. The January issue of South quotes him as saying, "I have to go on with the belief that nobody on God's green earth would believe A, that I would do it, or B, that anybody ever loses a job or a career over scratches or scrapes on paint or something."
South quotes Robert G. Hawkins, Dean of the Ivan Allen College, who supported the effort to support Sonnenfeld to the deanship, as saying, "I think Jeffrey has a copy of the videotape, He's seen it. Jeffrey told me without any equivocation that he had a copy."
When South informed Hawkins that Sonnenfeld had denied seeing the tape less than 24 hours before, they quote him as saying, "That's inconsistent with what he told me on the phone one week ago. I have a real problem with that. That's why some of us would say Jeffrey's jumped off the reality bandwagon."
Hawkins said that Sonnenfeld had explained the alleged vandalism as an effort to put a balky heel back on his shoe. South also reports Hawkins as claiming Sonnenfeld did not keep it a secret, citing a faculty party where he mentioned it to several guests.

Copyright © 1998 by Gregory S. Scherrer, Editor and by the Student Publications Board

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