John Diamond, fired in 2013 as the top public affairs spokesman at the University of Arkansas amid his criticism of Chancellor David Gearhart for trying to cover up financial problems in the UA advancement division, has been hired as a top spokesman for the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Diamond, who contended his firing stemmed from objections to his advice for greater accountability (Gearhart and new advancement boss who did the axing, Chris Wyrick, naturally denied this), will be interim associate vice president for external relations and strategic communcations.
Wisconsin officials said they were aware of the Arkansas controversy. He was hired by Jim Villa, Wiscon’s new vice president for university relations and an ally of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Diamond, once a Democratic legislator in Maine before working 21 years at the University of Maine, had applied for the job Villa got. Diamond will be paid $135,000.
“John brings to the System over 20 years of experience in higher education communications,” Villa said in a statement announcing the hiring. “He also has a proven track record of managing strategic communications and stakeholder engagement.”
Ray Cross, the Wisconsin president, said Diamond was hired on an interim basis because of an immediate need, but a formal search would be conducted to fill the job permanently.