FLORIDA — When Michael Koretzky was fired from his 12-year positionas the adviser of Florida Atlantic University’s student newspaper, itsparked tensions between the University Press and FAU’s StudentAffairs department. But, after a month-long struggle, it seems as though someprogress is being made.
Karla Bowsher, editor-in-chief of the University Press, said she wassummoned 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 keepconsulting Koretzky for advice about the newspaper withoutpenalty — something the university previously attempted to keep her fromdoing.
Koretzky was fired based on FAU’s decision to upgrade student mediaand move it in a different direction, according to a statement released byStudent Affairs. When the editors asked him to stay on a volunteer basis, MartiHarvey, director of student media, suggested that Bowsher could be punishedunder university policy for consulting with Koretzky either on or off campus.
Bowsher said it was clear that some pressure had been put on Brown toremedy the increasing tension and poor publicity FAU has received since Koretzkywas 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, hadto do this makes it pretty obvious to me that someone ordered himto.”
Brown released a written statement in which he called the entire situationa “misunderstanding,” and ensured that the University Pressstaff may consult with any professional it wishes.
“I truly believe there has been a misunderstanding in regards to therole of a university adviser and those in the community that are providingassistance to FAU’s clubs and organization,” the statement read.”The University Press currently has an interim adviser for theirorganization and additionally may seek guidance from any community member orprofessional colleague in regards to their activities at the university.”
Both the Student Press Law Center and the Society of ProfessionalJournalists sentlettersof concern to FAU earlier this month — two things bothBowsher and Koretzky believe had a leading role in Brown’sstatement.
“I think this was done to quell the media coverage, not because theybelieve they did anything wrong,” Koretzky said. “I would morelikely take them at their word if Student Affairs had told Karla ‘we werewrong to say what we did, to threaten what we did, and we’re sorry andyou’re welcome to follow the law now.’ Instead, this seems like avery grudging change of policy.”
Bowsher said despite Brown’s statement, which she called “asclose to an apology I could get,” she is cautious about futureUniversity Press-FAU relations.
“I think that this particular chapter was a victory,” Bowshersaid. “But I know it’s not over.”
FAU administrators could not be reached by press time.