Monday, May 21, 2007

Davenport Needs PR Education

According to print and broadcast news, Davenport University is planning to vacate its GR campus and move its West Michigan operations entirely to the new Caledonia campus.

Unfortunately, they aren't talking much to local officials in Grand Rapids or Caledonia about this. One has to wonder if the administration at Davenport has talked to other vital publics, such as the faculty, students, alumni, and donors. Glenn Steil, retired representative, is one donor who is rather irked that his donation--earmarked to keep Davenport in GR--is not being honored.

Last night TV 8 said Davenport officials refused on-camera interviews on the matter.

Here's one local university offering a textbook case on how NOT to handle public relations--not just media relations, remember, but relations with ALL publics.

Davenport appears to be relating to no one. Of course, they are a business school. Business schools teach that PR is all about image and publicity, not relationship building. If they had a solid communication program and PR department, perhaps they could be more proactive, ethical and savvy in their relationship building and communications.

As my junior students write on their PR management exams: "in the absence of information, people assume the worst." Brilliant! Fundamental.

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