BMCG was engaged to conduct a reputational risk assessment regarding a politically contentious course that had led to national headlines in the press, divided faculty and alumni, and raised fundamental questions of the limits of academic freedom. Additionally, a future planned “diversity” lecture series was likely to draw renewed criticism from all corners that this private university in a deep red state had lost its way.

Actions / Recommendations:

  • Developed risk assessment with 9 strategic risks and 16 related recommendations based on interviews with the president, administrative leadership and numerous board members
  • Client accepted all recommendations and within 5 days BMCG had:
    • Updated campus’ outside speaker policy and social media policy
    • Strengthened police protest management guidelines in anticipation of armed non-affiliates wanting to protest on campus
    • Developed reactive messaging, call center script, FAQ and hard Q&A in anticipation of significant stakeholder pushback and media attention.
    • Developed microsite to support stakeholder communications


The expected fall out—likely to be triggered by parties external to the school community—did not occur but campus leadership was far more prepared. BMCG continues to support the school both in terms of issues-specific counsel, as well as developing crisis management and crisis communications plans, updating its EOT, and conducted multi-team exercises.