Former adviser will be allowed to advise FAU student newspaper
FLORIDA -- When Michael Koretzky was fired from his 12-year position as the adviser of Florida Atlantic University's student newspaper, it sparked tensions between the University Press and FAU's Student Affairs department. But, after a month-long struggle, it seems as though some progress is being made.
Karla Bowsher, editor-in-chief of the University Press, said she was summoned last week to a meeting with senior vice president of student affairs, Dr. Charles Brown, where she was told that she would be allowed to keep consulting Koretzky for advice about the newspaper without penalty -- something the university previously attempted to keep her from doing.
Koretzky was fired based on FAU's decision to upgrade student media and move it in a different direction, according to a statement released by Student Affairs. When the editors asked him to stay on a volunteer basis, Marti Harvey, director of student media, suggested that Bowsher could be punished under university policy for consulting with Koretzky either on or off campus.
Bowsher said it was clear that some pressure had been put on Brown to remedy the increasing tension and poor publicity FAU has received since Koretzky was fired.
"This is the first time he [Brown] ever dealt with me at all," she said. "So the fact that he, the highest member of student affairs, had to do this makes it pretty obvious to me that someone ordered him to."
Brown released a written statement in which he called the entire situation a "misunderstanding," and ensured that the University Press staff may consult with any professional it wishes.
"I truly believe there has been a misunderstanding in regards to the role of a university adviser and those in the community that are providing assistance to FAU's clubs and organization," the statement read. "The University Press currently has an interim adviser for their organization and additionally may seek guidance from any community member or professional colleague in regards to their activities at the university."
Both the Student Press Law Center and the Society of Professional Journalists sent lettersof concern to FAU earlier this month -- two things both Bowsher and Koretzky believe had a leading role in Brown's statement.
"I think this was done to quell the media coverage, not because they believe they did anything wrong," Koretzky said. "I would more likely take them at their word if Student Affairs had told Karla 'we were wrong to say what we did, to threaten what we did, and we're sorry and you're welcome to follow the law now.' Instead, this seems like a very grudging change of policy."
Bowsher said despite Brown's statement, which she called "as close to an apology I could get," she is cautious about future University Press-FAU relations.
"I think that this particular chapter was a victory," Bowsher said. "But I know it's not over."
FAU administrators could not be reached by press time.
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