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ASU’s Cronkite School names Battinto Batts as dean

Battinto Batts (ASU Photo)

PHOENIX — Almost a year after fallout from the school’s choice leadership choice, Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has a new dean.

Battinto Batts will start in the position July 1, the university announced Thursday.

Batts, a Virginia native, has served a variety of roles during his career, including journalist, lecturer, philanthropist and nonprofit executive.

He was most recently director of journalism strategies at the Scripps Howard Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“At the end of a visit to the Cronkite School in 2011, I thought, ‘This is a place where I would love to be able to come back and join the university.’ Now, to be chosen as the school’s dean … I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” Batts said in a press release.

Batts will take over for interim dean Kristin Gilger, who was thrust into the job in June 2020 after ASU chose to not hire Sonya Forte Duhé.

Duhé was originally chosen to replace Cronkite founding Dean Christopher Callahan.

The university decided to go in a different direction following allegations Duhé engaged in racist misconduct during her time as Loyola University New Orleans’ director of the School of Communication and Design, according to ABC15.

The State Press reported that between 2013 and 2019, Duhé criticized the appearances of Black student-journalists as well as criticizing the opinions of gay students.

“Issues and concerns have arisen and additional information has come to light,” Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle wrote in an email at the time to the ASU community.

“I now find that the future of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and our public television station will be better served by not advancing with Dr. Duhé as their leader.”

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