DAYTON (TDB) -- Former Republican Gov. Bob Taft is the only chief executive in the state's 204-year history to face a judge for criminal conduct. Now the campus newspaper at the University of Dayton is wondering angrily how the disgraced and ethically challenged ex-governor landed a prominent position at the Catholic school. It points out that Dayton's student handbook urges honesty, truth and integrity -- traits where former Taft seems to have come up short.
When Taft left office in January, he was considered one of the nation's worst governors; Time Magazine called him one of the three crummiest. His administration also was riddled with corruption -- witness the Tom Noe scandal at the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.
Taft, who frequently consorted with lobbyists on golf courses, is now in charge of the University of Dayton's brand new Center for Educational Excellence and is going to be recreating himself as some kind of grade school Mr. Fix-it guru. It is a role he auditioned for during his eight years in the governor's chair -- and many think he flunked. The Flyer News editorial describes Taft as a bumbler and worse, and said nobody should financially support Taft's center.
"Here's is a hint to those considering a donation to Taft's center for excellence in the field of education: forget the checkbook. The checkbook has two drawbacks. First, a checkbook leaves a paper trail. Second, a checkbook is not a golf course. During his time as governor, Taft received nearly fifty lobbyist sponsored golf outings. He was clearly too busy reading the greens to be reading the class material for POL 314: Interest Group Politics. Had the former governor attended the class he could have averted his four criminal convictions."
The Flyer also noted
"So, somehow, a man who was convicted and publicly reprimanded for a string of misdemeanors, who violated Ohio's code of professional conduct for lawyers, ends up working for this school. When former governor, and current criminal record holder, Bob Taft applied for this position at UD, was there no background check? Did no one have electricity for the last two years? How is a man with multiple criminal convictions working at this school."
The complete text of the editorial is here. It cites the UD student handbook, which says campus denizens are expected to "Be honest, truthful and live with integrity." The Flyer said Taft's hiring shows there is one set of standards for students, and another for administrators.