Adviser asks for investigation after changes to student media

Changes coming for Student Media

One year after its move from Student Affairs to the College of Arts Sciences, Student Media Adviser Scott Morris’ position was eliminated to fit a model the university is seeking to pursue next year.

Morris said he believes the decision to eliminate his position was due to an article The Flor-Ala published Sept. 6 about the university denying public records.

He filed a claim with the College Media Association to investigate the university’s decision to eliminate the position.

“We have a talented group of communication majors running The Flor-Ala this year, and they want to do hard-hitting journalism,” Morris said. “They need university administrators and faculty members who are strong enough to stand for their First Amendment rights and thick-skinned enough to take a little heat from the student newspaper. One way to control student journalists is to intimidate or punish their adviser. I believe that’s happening in this case.”

John Harvey, East Carolina University student media director, is investigating for the College Media Association through interviews with UNA administration, faculty, The Flor-Ala and Morris.

In a meeting between administration, faculty and The Flor-Ala Sept. 13, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Ross Alexander stated his concerns with the article citing there were inaccuracies in it.

Alexander said University Attorney Amber Fite-Morgan was upset The Flor-Ala quoted her in the article when she believed she was speaking off the record.

Carmen Burkhalter, dean of The College of Arts and Sciences, notified Morris Sept. 26 the university is eliminating his current position.

“With the department being newly accredited, it is imperative that all positions are created for long-term sustainability and support of the program,” Burkhalter said. “The timing of this request is based on the normal reallocation request cycle that occurs between colleges and the provost.”

Alexander said Oct. 3 that there is no correlation between eliminating Morris’ position and an article The Flor-Ala published Sept. 6.

Harvey said he hopes to finish the investigation soon.

Stick with The Flor-Ala for updates on the results of the investigation.