Less than a year into the presidency of Bruce Speck, a subordinate made a mistake.
Derek Skaggs, the director of enrollment services, did not allow The Chart’s display at a career fair because of a story about declining enrollment. It was October 2008.
When The Chart got pissed and The Student Press Law Center started calling, Speck took action. He asked VPAA John Messick to investigate.
“Dr. Speck asked me to investigate what happened and to make sure nothing like this happens again,” said Messick.
Hilariously, the paper was in the right, the university was in the wrong and The Chart’s adviser, T.R. Hanrahan was reprimanded. It was the harbinger of things to come. Apparently, Speck’s comment to Messick meant that no negative coverage or pushback happens again.
The same thing happened later when the faculty voted no confidence in the president. The university position was that the faculty were entitled children who were misbehaving. Yet this was an administration that wanted to cut the Child Development Center without any study. When The Chart reported on the story, parents willingly payed more, campus food service donated lunches and the center was saved. Sources tell The Watch that School of Education Dean Glenn Coltharp visited The Chart to thank the paper. He was subsequently denied promotion. He is now vice president for academic affairs at Crowder College.
And the Speck administration famously hired a convicted embezzler to teach accounting. That report by The Chart and, later, the Joplin Globe gave them another black eye.
And then there was this gem that the Rich Tenor Voice sang to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce:
“Well, I never felt more like singing the blues
’cause most of my colleagues got the bad news
unemployment, it’s got me singin’ the blues.”
It goes on and on. And when the student media called Speck on it, they were punished. When the last box is out of the president’s office, we will give a blow by blow of Speck’s fuck-ups. The list is extensive. And was — until recently — largely ignored.