Former theater professor Vance Fulkerson, who's been charged with multiple sexual exploitation counts related to a video system reportedly located in his bathroom, has officially resigned from the University of Northern Colorado -- and UNC spokesman Nate Haas doesn't sound upset about that. "His resignation was effective September 25. He's no longer employed here," Haas emphasizes. And while he doesn't confirm that UNC shoved Fulkerson out the door, he comes close. In his words, "I think it's fair to say that there has been dialogue between the university and the employee."
Betcha it was along the lines of "What the hell's the matter with you?" After all, UNC's moniker is prominent in every story about Fulkerson's shenanigans, and that's hardly the sort of material likely to please parents. Nonetheless, Haas says the scandal doesn't appear to have hurt enrollment in the school as a whole or the theater program in particular.
According to Haas, the total number of students at UNC stands at 12,148, a 2 percent increase over last year, with the incoming freshman class jumping 12 percent, to 2,377. Moreover, the School of Theatre Arts and Dance is comprised of 340 students, a handful more than last year, because more than a hundred freshmen signed up. Haas adds, "We still had to turn applicants away, because demand exceeded our capacity."
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These digits don't mean Haas sees l'affair Fulkerson as inconsequential. Even though he emphasizes that an ongoing investigation being conducted by Mountain States Employers Council under the supervision of the Attorney General's Office hasn't shown UNC to have been culpable in any of Fulkerson's dubious "activities," he says the incident has prompted more than its share of self-examination. "As we do on a continual basis, we look at who we are -- and this presents an opportunity to engage in a broad discussion of climate," he notes. "We ask ourselves, 'What is it that we stand for, and what is it that we don't?,' with a focus on individual kinds of responses. And, 'When we see something counter to our culture, what is it we should say?'"
Get the camera out of the bathroom, for one thing.
In the meantime, three different part-time instructors are covering the material Fulkerson once did, with two concentrating on voice and dance classes. The third, Brendon Fox, is a guest director from Los Angeles, who'll be overseeing a production of the Stephen Sondheim play Assassins, about some of history's most famous scofflaws.