Michigan State Journalism School Drama Continues…

The j-drama is heating up at Michigan State.  More news is seeping out about the sudden resignation request thrown at the j-school director.  And a student activist site has even sprung up in the vein of The Daily Emerald‘s strike blog from this past spring.  Of course in this case, the site is promoting and fighting for a different cause: an explanation of this administrative decision and a confirmation that the school itself will be OK!  (Seems quite reasonable to me.)

Here’s what we now know:

  • According to her public statements, J-School Director Jane Briggs-Bunting was given no warning or explanation when asked to immediately resign by new Communication Arts & Sciences Dean Pamela Whitten. “There were no options for me, and there was no discussion,” she said in a new State News report. “In this sort of situation, you’d think being able to sit down and discuss things would happen.”  School faculty were also in the dark, meaning they are now scrambling to ensure her duties will be filled in the short-term.  Briggs-Bunting, meanwhile, has retained a lawyer.

  • Apparently, Briggs-Bunting had recently overseen a plan for a curriculum “overhaul” that was unanimously approved by j-school faculty and was awaiting administrative approval.  (My $10 bet: Will it be approved?  Not so much.  Obviously someone in the big house didn’t like what she saw.  Initials PW?)

  • A group of students are angered enough about the cloudiness hanging over the administrative decision that they have started an impressive-looking blog-from-scratch, “Save MSU Journalism.” (It even has original/mash-up graphics!  See below.)  On a read-through, it’s clear that the blog’s aim is NOT so much to save Briggs-Bunting’s job as much as it is to simply fight for a clear, sensible explanation of the decision and ensure the j-school’s future is sound.  This group (or one connected to it) is serious: It has even filed FOIA requests for docs related to the hiring of Whitten and past performance reviews for both Whitten and Briggs-Bunting.

  • Here’s what students write in one of the first blog posts: “Jane Briggs-Bunting was asked to resign as director of the School of Journalism at Michigan State University on the morning of July 1, Pamela Whitten’s first day as dean. J-School students spread the news via Twitter, until official acknowledgment came July 2 in statements from the university spokesman. Briggs-Bunting’s name was removed from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Web site prior to the official announcement from the University. We feel this reflects poorly on the ability of CAS and Dean Whitten to clearly communicate a message. This incident and their lack of transparency clearly indicates that the leadership of CAS is unable to practice what it preaches.”

An image from the site “Save MSU Journalism” calling out the new dean who asked for the j-school director’s resignation.
2 Responses to “Michigan State Journalism School Drama Continues…”
  1. lol time says:

    i like wisconsin better

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  1. […] 13, 2009 by Dan Reimold The latest chapter in the ongoing Michigan State journalism school saga: Pamela Whitten, dean of the College of Communication Arts & Sciences, has staged a […]