PENNSYLVANIA — The board ofdirectors for Pennsylvania State University’s independent studentnewspaper, the Daily Collegian, reinstated the news adviser a month afterhe was fired.
The board decided after a six-hour meetingJune 30 to overturn a decision by the newspaper’s general manager, GerryHamilton. Hamilton fired John Harvey on May 20 for”insubordination.”
Hamilton did not return phone calls seekingcomment.
According to a statement released by theboard, both Hamilton and Harvey had the opportunity to explain their side of thestory individually to members of the board.
Board President Michael Hofherr said theboard took the issue seriously and spent nearly a month working with an attorneyto determine whether there was sufficient evidence to support Hamilton’sclaim that Harvey was insubordinate.
Hofherr said ultimately the board could notfind such evidence and therefore voted to reinstate Harvey.
Hofherr said the eleven-member board tookcare to see the situation from all sides. He said the outpouring of support fromstudents for both Harvey and Hamilton did not affect the board’sdecision.
“From the start of this process on May20, the board has been committed to a thorough, independent evaluation,”the board wrote in its statement. “The question has been theappropriateness of a personnel matter, and not a choice between one individualand another.”
According to Hofherr, the board hopes thetwo parties will be able to work together but it will be monitoring thesituation closely.
“The executive board will continue toexamine the performance of the News Adviser and evaluate the role that positionwill occupy in the newspaper’s administration,” the board wrote. “
… [T]he unique nature of the dismissal, combined with concerns over the roleHarvey 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 theorganization’s bylaws and the employee manual to help eliminate thepossibility of another conflict as a result of the investigation.
“We are paying close attention to thesituation,” said Hofherr. “Our goal is to make sure the studentshave the best experience they can (and to) make sure there are not problemsamong the professional staff.
Harvey said in his 30 years experience, hehas never had a situation like this take place. At the end of it all however, hesaid the students were supportive and he is happy to be back working with themagain.
“The process worked,” Harveysaid. “I’m just doing my job at this point.”
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