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Re: “Top 10 Dick Moves of 2021

Fascinating. None of this had I known about, except #1. If you weren't such an amusing writer I would have preferred not to know.

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Posted by dwchandl on 01/02/2022 at 12:59 PM

Re: “'Vatican City'

The cover articleStatic at KHSUby Kristin Kirby had some strong points, but because of selective interviewing it leads to what I consider to be false impressions about the firing of a much-valued long-time employee and the current situation at the station. One strength of the article is the dispassionate tone and, so far as I could tell, objective investigation. The other is the inclusion of considerable history and background about KHSU. Readers will come away with a lot of information about the station. Let me briefly touch on some problems that were not addressed. I am writing as an on-air volunteer of 25 years.

The first difficulty is that the university was represented in the article by Vice President Wruck. Since he was responsible, with some advice from a committee, for choosing embattled station manager Peter Fretwell Wruck is actually a party to the conflict. I see most of his talk as cant, serving to obfuscate rather than reveal. The mission statement by the Presidents cabinet is a good example. Wruck himselfasked for this in the middle of a firing controversy. Who else in the community was even thinking about it? No one; it was a non-issue. So it seems like a fairly transparent ploy to shift the discourse from Fretwell and the work environment Fretwell creates to abstractions. To some extent the Journal article bought into this tactic. (A second example of obfuscation is Wrucks incoherent answer to the question of where additional money for increased programming will come from, especially in the face of losses due to canceled subscriptions and sponsorship due to the firing.)

Another buy-in to the official but inaccurate story was the quote from a published statement by Fretwell about how everybody took great care with the firing. I am sure that everyone made sure that all the rules had been followed, but that is very different from establishing the firing was justified, or that there was not an alternative (mediation?). More than one staff member told me Fretwell had disliked the fired employee from the get-go and the firing was the culmination of this. So the story leaves the impression that the firing was justified; that it isn't justified is what the whole commotion is about.

A significant problem is that the viewpoints of many principals were not represented. People have a right not to speak to journalists, but if enough people refuse (on record or off record) what is left ends up as a biased account. President Rossbacher has been out front on many issues since coming here but on this one she is silent. I would like to think the request for an evaluation by CSU staff is her way of saying she is not sure whether to trust Wruck and Fretwell. But, given many letters and pleas from community members and the Community Advisory Board statement of lack of faith in Fretwell, she should have actively involved herself in finding a solution back when the firing had just occurred. To be clear, the fired employee has a new job but the management problems have not been resolved.

We also didnt hear from Fretwell. There are many stories, perhaps only rumors, circulating about Fretwells background and previous employment. Those would seem to be fruitful fields of inquiry in explaining the current situation.Instead the article includes a quote from Wruck that makes it seem the atmosphere was corrosive before Fretwell came, which I do not believe is true. If nothing else, the previous station manager had regular meetings with staff and volunteers where feedback (non-corrosive) could and did occur.

In short, by giving so much space to Wrucka obfuscations and not getting more information from the parties directly involved, I think the article does not deal adequately with the real controversy at the station: Fretwells mis-management. Unfortunately, word from inside the station indicates that the atmosphere is indeed still corrosive and that Fretwell continues management by harassment. (It takes a very insecure manager to see insubordination in multiple employees.) The article is a good start, but I hope there will be follow-ups about the mission statement subterfuge, the CSU evaluation, and some digging into Fretwells record at previous jobs as well as what is currently occurring. As Wruck says, KHSU is a community service. We need KHSU to have leadership that is direct and trustworthy.

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Posted by dwchandl on 09/06/2018 at 11:45 AM

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