Staff members question dean’s decision

Sam Houston State University was established to educate students. Throughout the years, we have seen many changes that have compromised our educations here. As journalism students, we have seen those who have been the most accessible to us and worked the hardest for us stripped of their positions for seemingly little reason.This cannot be any more true than for our former program coordinator, Dr. Hugh Fullerton, who was recently pulled from the position that was given to someone who equally benefits the program, but is new to the university. Don’t get us wrong, we admire and respect Mr. Kuyk Logan for his experience in the newspaper and public relations fields. We know that Mr. Logan may be qualified for the position and very capable of fulfilling the duties; however, Dr. Fullerton has worked tirelessly for us for the past four years. It seems to us that many of these problems have begun in the past two years. Ironically, this is the same amount of time that our esteemed Dean Brian Chapman, of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been in the position. From the beginning, it seems as though Dean Chapman has been focused on getting his own way and holding personal vendettas than helping students in the School of Public Communications further their educations. Journalism students long for a wider variety of classes to take; however, Dean Chapman feels that since our enrollment is not as high as those, in say, the criminal justice department, that we do not deserve any more classes or professors. Not only does he deny students more classes, he has systematically removed those professors who have gone to bat for us in trying to solve that problem. He has allowed us new classes, but only if they replace existing upper-level classes that students need in order to graduate.Case in point: Dr. Don Richardson, the former interim chair of the school, was a well-educated professor and advocate for the needs of communications students. During the spring, after “having words” with Chapman over the issue of additional classes, he was told to step down, effective immediately. Though he was a semester away from retirement and the chair position had not been filled at that time, he was given with no warning or legitimate reason for his dismissal.Now we are faced with the dismissal of a man who many students consider their mentor. Again, this dismissal came with no warning or with no legitimate reason. And once again, it another professor who went to bat for us, fighting for more classes. Is this a coincidence? Are we facing a trend for the future? Will professors soon be afraid to stand up to those who stand in a higher position for fear of being demoted?We, the Houstonian staff, certainly hope not. It is those professors who fight so hard for us that we appreciate and respect the most. Those professors give us hope for the future. We certainly know that we are not perfect; we make mistakes, take the constructive criticism we receive and attempt to make the appropriate changes. We feel Chapman should accept the criticisms that may come with holding such a position. Men such as Richardson and Fullerton are not trying to undermine Chapman’s authority, but only wish to make the university and our program better for the students. Shouldn’t he want to see improvements come to SHSU and the prestige that would inevitably come with it? If the answer is no, why should future journalists waste their time attending our university, when they will see that fighting in what you believe in will lead to nothing but hardships. We feel that this is a poor example to set for the students in our college and for our university. It seems that everyone who doesn’t agree with Dean Chapman gets the axe. Tomorrow, when we come to work on Thursday’s issue, should we expect to see a giant sign on the door, telling us that he is shutting us down? In light of past experiences, we certainly wouldn’t be surprised.

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