A public research university in a very conservative state inflamed lawmakers over hostile treatment of a Turning Point USA volunteer who was trying to recruit on campus. Ultimately, the head of communications and the head of media relations were removed from their posts, at which point BMCG was brought in. With significant tension between the system and the flagship campus, and lack of trust between state legislators and system leadership, BMCG developed a strategy designed to mitigate political issues, academic freedom issues and significant threats to the institution’s budget from the state.

Actions / Recommendations:

Over a four-month period, BMCG’s team provided sustained strategic and communications support to both the System and Flagship in a coordinated manner, developing and aligning proactive strategies regarding:

  • The role of civil discourse on campus and academic freedom (including new institution policy, research, multifaceted communications program)
  • Managed AAUP censure issue, vote of no confidence, athletic boycott and white supremacy/gun rights issue
  • $50m proposed budget cuts to higher-ed on the chopping block.


While a profoundly rocky period for the university and system, BMCG provided strategic, “psychological,” and communications support to leadership across the institution. The anticipated budget cuts were reduced, and the unrelenting criticism of the president and chancellor diminished significantly, allowing the leadership to return to a more “normal” mode of operating.