How many of you would have laid down some real cash on the prospect that Ron Richard would ever be the voice of reason?
We are pleased, mind you. Just surprised.
That being said, Bruce Speck is like the Mary Tyler Moore of bad publicity. He can take a nothing story and suddenly make it national as all hell. The San Francisco Chronicle picked it up.
But that isn’t the funniest shit of all (more in-depth post coming). The real hilarity is the way the U is backing off its previous statements and trying to sell this as their idea. In reality, through various social media, personal conversations and, yes, speculation, The Watch has determined that this is how it unfolded.
In the middle of the week it broke, a Jefferson City lobbyist with an interest in higher education legislation noticed the amendment and contacted Chad Stebbins to ask about it. Stebbins said he was unaware and began making queries.
The Joplin Globe got wind of it and Emily Younker did interviews with MSSU administrators and lawmakers. The Speck camp realized “Oh, shit. We got caught” and released a statement via email minutes before the campus closed that Friday.
In the media reports, it was clear that VPAA Pat Lipira and area lawmakers were caught by surprise and faced with an impossible decision. A true “Hobson’s Choice.” They could say as much and without all the facts leave the college president out on an island. Or they could close ranks, obfuscate and call Speck a fucker in private.
We bet they wanted to do the former, but wisely chose the latter.
When alumni got wind of the scheme, they went apeshit. Richard and others got bombarded with pissed off messages in all forms of media. As the grown-up and senior General Assembly member in the area, Richard made it known that he could kill this piece of shit but had to be asked to.
Sherry Buchanan, the chair of the Board of Governors (yes, due respect in this case), spoke with Sen. Richard and for political reasons did not publicly admit to asking him to fix this mess. But after the conversation, Richard asked members of the Missouri House to spike the amendment. Richard’s financial situation and ability to contribute to others’ campaigns gives him that kind of juice at the other end of the Capitol building.
Speck sends his self-serving and idiotic justifications to The Globe as an op-ed piece. The news of Richard’s action is made known the same day it runs. Speck is now alone.
In today’s Associated Press story in the SF Chronicle is this paragraph:
A university spokeswoman said Speck was not available Tuesday morning for an interview. In a recent guest column in The Joplin Globe, he said the current statutory language misrepresents the school’s broader mission. He also tried to assuage concern about the move.