Student journalists at Florida Atlantic University no longer have a paid adviser to turn to after the student media director’s recent departure left the department with no employees.
Former Student Media Director Marti Harvey sent the university a letter of resignation Jan. 6. Since then, students have been operating without advisers or a director. Harvey had been the director since Jan. 25, 2010.
Conflict between FAU and student journalists began last May after the firing of longtime adviser Michael Koretzky. Koretzky was the adviser to the University Press student newspaper for 12 years.
Since his firing, Koretzky has continued to advise the paper on a volunteer basis.
“I still come in when [the students] ask me to come in and I help them any way I can,” Koretzky said. “I would imagine that’s not going to change until they hire someone and I don’t imagine that happening until the end of this semester at the earliest.”
According to a statement last summer by Terry Mena, associate dean of students, Koretzky was fired because student media had “outgrown its current staffing structure.”
“The student media director fired me, never hired an assistant student media director and then quit,” Koretzky said. “So that means there are no adults at all working in student media. It’s not quite what they had in mind when they wanted to ‘move student media forward.’”
University spokeswoman Kristine Gobbo said Mena is now functioning as the adviser to student media.
“There’s sort of an uncomfortable peace, and I think that’s because right now the student media department of FAU has zero employees,” Koretzky said.
Koretzky said he met with an administrator from Student Affairs recently to discuss the department.
“I was told they’re committed to hiring good people—I took that to mean that I’m not one of them,” Koretzky said. “But I was happy. Student Affairs is right now being very nice.”
Only the student media director position is open for hiring, Gobbo said. That person will also function as the adviser to the newspaper, and there are no plans to hire other advisers at this time.
Gobbo said the deadline for applications is at the end of the week. A search committee composed of students and faculty will then review the candidates.
Koretzky said he will not apply for the position.
“I’m not qualified. And frankly, even if I did, I would not apply,” Koretzky said. “It’s an important job, but it’s not a direct advising job and I think I’m much more qualified to work with students than with administrators.”
Koretzky said the student media department now operates similarly to how it did before Harvey took over the department.
“For 12 years there was no student media director and I was largely left alone, now there’s no student media director and I’m largely left alone,” Koretzky said.
Gideon Grudo, editor in chief of the University Press, said the students relied on Koretzky even before Harvey left.
“She didn’t really advise us. When it came to advice, we stuck with Kortezky and he stuck with us,” Grudo said. “That hasn’t changed [from] when he was fired to this moment right now. That’s very telling to us.”