The embattled president of a Catholic university in Emmitsburg, Maryland, says he's reinstating two faculty members he fired this week amid an uproar over a plan to identify freshmen most likely to fail and offer them refunds if they chose to leave.

Mount St. Mary's University President Simon Newsman said in a statement Friday afternoon that philosophy professor Thane Naberhaus and law instructor Edward Egan would be reinstated immediately.

They were dismissed Monday, and the school's provost was demoted, after an investigation into the student newspaper's report that Newman had likened struggling freshman to baby rabbits that should be killed. Newman has apologized for the comment.

He says he's committed to mending his relationship with the faculty and wants to "make a new beginning as a unified team."