PR and communications majors, especially the 11,000 members of PR Student Society of America, are being fed a thin intellectual diet about the industry that amounts to abuse.
The professors are part of a conspiracy of silence and avoidance of the facts, victimizing the hapless students.
Many PR students, including the officers and board of PRSSA, and professors, are afraid to have anything to do with the O’Dwyer Co., eliminating a vast resource of information, news and tutorials.
The professors wield power over the students who need good grades and recommendations from them. Abuse can be psychological as well as physical, Wikipedia points out.
Abuse Can Be Psychological
Mind abuse or mind control, says WP, refers to a process in which a group or individual "systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated.” It includes “any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual's sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision-making.”
Intimidation is intentional behavior "which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" fear of injury or harm. It is not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause terror or that the victim was actually frightened. "
Educators Chair Puglisi Ignores Emails
Among PRSA leaders currently refusing any interaction with the O’Dwyer Co. are Prof. Gemma Puglisi of American University, Washington, D.C., chair of the Educators Academy, and Melissa Dodd of Univ. of Central Florida, chair-elect.
Treatment of this writer at national conferences of PRSA in D.C. in 2010 and 2014 is ample proof of the “war” that national board and staff have conducted against the O’Dwyer Co. for many years and of which the students and members are well aware.
A delegate, on Oct. 16, 2010, in view of PRSA officers, staff and other delegates, threatened this reporter, who was standing in front of the Hilton Hotel, with being beaten “to a pulp” for daring to speak to another delegate.
Earlier in the conference, at the Saturday Assembly, 20 delegates suddenly rushed up to us while we were interviewing Art Stevens, and started to press pens into our hands meant to signify we were as “loony” as schizoid John Nash as portrayed in “A Beautiful Mind.”
American University campus library
Stevens had just witnessed the defeat of a measure brought by the Committee for a Democratic PRSA that sought the removal of APR from qualifications for national board or officer posts.
Same Treatment at 2014 D.C. Conference
PRSA leaders and staff continued their hostilities to the O’Dwyer Co. at the 2014 national conference in D.C., not allowing coverage of any events by this reporter and blocking us from entering the exhibit hall.
Students and PR professors, as well as just about all 21,000 members of PRSA, are well aware of the boycott against the O’Dwyer Co. and maintain their silence.
Our hope is that some of members, perhaps the Committee for a Democratic PRSA which was headed by Stevens, Richard Edelman and Dave Rickey, will re-activate itself and toss the APR clique from power at the national conference in Boston Oct. 8-10.
The 2017 board has 16 APRs and only one non-APR when only 3-4 APRs should be on it in view of the 18% of members who are APR.
American University Gets Informed
We are sending this article and others to the staff and professors of American University in the hope that they will look into this situation. Prof. Puglisi should not be involving the University, and especially one called “American,” in the press-avoiding, undemocratic and New York-avoiding policies and practices of PRSA.
Recipients are Sylvia Burwell, president; Scott Bass, Ph.D., provost, who is responsible for the curriculum, faculty appointments and research affairs; David Taylor, chief of staff, and Charles Lewis, an investigative reporter formerly with “60 Minutes” of CBS-TV and ABC-TV. We are asking Lewis to investigate the O’Dwyer boycott by PRSA.
AU, with 7,900 undergrads and 5,200 post-grads, has a tuition of $44,000 and room/board of $14,000.
One Conference in NYC in 25 Years
Only one national conference has been held in New York since 1992, a span of 25 years, and none are planned. Society h.q., located downtown for the past 15 years, far from the midtown PR, media and advertising community, will spend another 15 years there under a lease that has just been signed. No input from the Assembly was sought.
The profs reap all sorts of rewards from PRSA. More than 50 usually speak at a national conference. More than a dozen universities advertise in the conference program, by far the biggest category. Professors also have their articles published in Tactics, Strategist and PR Journal. They are appointed as members or chairs of the nearly 30 PRSA committees and boards. PRSA reviews their books, electing some to national offices, etc., etc.
Professors are supporters of the “accreditation” program that PRSA’s own research has found to have little impact in the job market.
The O’Dwyer Co. has 49 years of voluminous and authoritative materials that expose other abuses in the PR industry as well as copious materials that help PR people find jobs and forge careers. Only the O’Dwyer Co. ranks PR firms by 12 special categories of practice such as health, tech and financial. We are especially helpful to students who find out a lot about PR that their professors don’t tell them.
Both The New York Times and Washington Post have called the O’Dwyer Co. “the bible of PR.” Under preparation is a book we are writing tentatively titled “The Modern History of PR,” in which there have been many dramatic changes. Many of them have not been good for what was once the normal practice of PR—accepting the press.