Gerry Hamilton Feels Blowback from Collegian
In late May, the Collegian had to divert its attention from its top priority– adapting its newsroom to the changing media environment– after managing director Gerry Hamilton initiated an institutional power play.
Hamilton, who holds the highest professional position within the organization, fired news adviser John Harvey for “insubordination.”
When we first posted about this, we could see that the response from students and alumni involved with the Collegian was livid. But, at that point, it was still just a Facebook protest.
Since then, the anger has spilled over into other, more influential places of discourse. Most notably: the Collegian. In a pretty meta pair of updates, the Collegian addressed the issue from a news and then an editorial angle.
Kevin Cirrili was tasked with writing the news story— fitting, considering the sheer volume of news stories he’s produced over the last year. In the article, John Harvey speculated that the “insubordination” Hamilton used as the impetus for the dismissal was an incident regarding Harvey’s salary that occurred more than a year.
“I hope that in their fact finding session they’ll find all of the facts – not just from [Hamilton] and from the lawyers, but from everyone, like a good reporter would do,” Harvey said. “I’m praying the board is going to do the right thing. That’s what we ask our students to do. I’m not ready to give up because I don’t think that this was a just firing, and there’s enough support that shows that this is something the board should take a really hard look at.”
As Harvey mentioned, the Collegian’s Board of Directors is convening a private meeting tonight to discuss the event.
In a statement released yesterday, the Collegian’s Board of Editors made its opinion quite clear on what the Board of Directors should do.
While the cause of the firing hasn’t been made public, it’s clear that the dismissal wasn’t a layoff, and it wasn’t motivated purely by financial winds.
The Board of Editors has seen no planning to transfer the institutional knowledge Harvey carried to another Collegian employee.
And the people who ultimately suffer from the complete and total loss of everything Harvey brought to the Collegian are the students who are responsible for publishing a paper every day.
When you consider all these things, it’s extremely difficult to imagine a reason that could possibly justify his dismissal.
The Collegian’s Alumni Interest Group has stated that it is suspending all fundraising activity until it is satisfied that the Board of Directors “is moving in a direction that it can support.”
Additionally, nearly all of the managing editors and editors-in-chief of the past eight years signed a statement that comes out not only for John Harvey, but emphatically against Gerry Hamilton.
As for General Manager Gerry Hamilton, we are united again in our opinion that Mr. Hamilton has displayed a reckless disregard for what is in the best interest of the Collegian and its students by firing John Harvey. However, for many of us, this is not the first time we have questioned Mr. Hamilton’s competency as the Collegian’s general manager.
Check back later this week for an update about tonight’s private board meeting.