A lot of people like to talk about how T.R. Hanrahan got sacrificed. He did.
But his best effort was well before they told him. According to a former Chart editor, when the focused committee was on campus for reaccreditation, Hanrahan had discovered that his classes for next fall (2011) were listed as staff. The committee asked faculty about shared governance and the administration. Most were quiet.
Hanrahan stood up.
The Chart editor described it like this:
“He said that he had just seen all his fall classes being taught by “staff” so he didn’t have much to lose. He said faculty got little respect, no representation and that it was the most censorious administration he had ever seen. And his field was journalism and media law.”
The guy committed career suicide. But he was already dead.
About a month later, he was told he wouldn’t be back. Students in the Communications Department selected him “Teacher of the Year.” The Faculty Senate passed a unanimous resolution of support and thanks. The campus held a demonstration at the end-of-year picnic in support.
But the real tragedy was yet to come.
Interviews were conducted for Hanrahan’s successor. And one candidate emerged as the department search committee’s unanimous choice. That candidate was declined by AJ Anglin. Who then reportedly told the department head that this was a hire he would make.
In the previous two years, Hanrahan was selected Missouri College Media Association Adviser of the Year. Brennan Stebbins, Chart editor, was selected MCMA Journalist of the Year. Stebbins also was a Society of Professional Journalists national finalist for editorial writing two years in a row. And The Chart was named by MCMA as best in its class.
We won’t pass judgment on the new adviser to The Chart. That is still early. And students dictate content. But when the administration takes the bat out of the hands of the department search committee, that says something. And, not surprisingly, investigative journalism at The Chart has disappeared.
The former editor we talked to said Hanrahan always insisted the paper be student-run. And the former Chart editor told us that when the campus rallied in his support, he was most proud of his student journalists. They didn’t participate. It was news. And they covered it straight.