Journalism professor, adviser loses tenure
WASHINGTON — The sole journalism professor at Clark College inVancouver, Wash., was denied tenure in March by the school’s Board ofTrustees, effectively firing her by June.
Christina Kopinski received a faculty committee recommendation for tenureby a vote of 3-0 with one abstention, but was then denied her job security byboard members who, she said, have yet to provide her with a reason fordenial.
Kopinski suspects board members are unhappy with the investigative approachshe teaches in her journalism classes and encourages at the student newspapershe advises. Hired to develop a journalism program at the college, Kopinskiteaches every journalism course, advises the student paper, theIndependent, and has been working to establish a journalism certificatecurriculum.
“All I’m doing is what my job description says and doing whatI’m supposed to do to gain tenure,” Kopinski said.
Kopinski cited several stories in the Independent critical of thetwo-year private college that have upset school officials in the past. Whenschool officials tell her that students should not be reporting on issues thatare potentially damaging to the college’s reputation, Kopinski said, sheresponds that it is not in her purview to dictate what the paper can and cannotcover.
Kopinski, along with the faculty union, is currently pursuing a grievanceprocess with the school. Members of the faculty union and other colleagues ofKopinski have told several news outlets there is nothing in her performancereviews that would justify denying tenure. Student editors have also stood insupport of Kopinski, who they say is suffering unfair blame foradministrators’ grievances with the Independent.
Clark College board members maintain the Independent‘scoverage had nothing to do with Kopinski’s tenure decision.