Daily Collegian adviser reinstated

PENNSYLVANIA -- The board of directors for Pennsylvania State University's independent student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, reinstated the news adviser a month after he was fired.

The board decided after a six-hour meeting June 30 to overturn a decision by the newspaper's general manager, Gerry Hamilton. Hamilton fired John Harvey on May 20 for "insubordination."

Hamilton did not return phone calls seeking comment.

According to a statement released by the board, both Hamilton and Harvey had the opportunity to explain their side of the story individually to members of the board.

Board President Michael Hofherr said the board took the issue seriously and spent nearly a month working with an attorney to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to support Hamilton's claim that Harvey was insubordinate.

Hofherr said ultimately the board could not find such evidence and therefore voted to reinstate Harvey.

Hofherr said the eleven-member board took care to see the situation from all sides. He said the outpouring of support from students for both Harvey and Hamilton did not affect the board's decision.

"From the start of this process on May 20, the board has been committed to a thorough, independent evaluation," the board wrote in its statement. "The question has been the appropriateness of a personnel matter, and not a choice between one individual and another."

According to Hofherr, the board hopes the two parties will be able to work together but it will be monitoring the situation closely.

"The executive board will continue to examine the performance of the News Adviser and evaluate the role that position will occupy in the newspaper's administration," the board wrote. "

... [T]he unique nature of the dismissal, combined with concerns over the role Harvey played in a lack of cohesiveness in the newspaper's overall operation, led the executive committee to take these steps."

The board also announced it would revise the organization's bylaws and the employee manual to help eliminate the possibility of another conflict as a result of the investigation.

"We are paying close attention to the situation," said Hofherr. "Our goal is to make sure the students have the best experience they can (and to) make sure there are not problems among the professional staff.

Harvey said in his 30 years experience, he has never had a situation like this take place. At the end of it all however, he said the students were supportive and he is happy to be back working with them again.

"The process worked," Harvey said. "I'm just doing my job at this point."

For More Information:

  • Penn State alumni ask board to reconsider firing of longtime newspaper adviser News Flash, 06/16/2009

  • Daily Collegian, news, Penn State University, Pennsylvania