Another story chronicling the questionable judgment of the college’s student life director has reached a national academic audience and the immediate reaction was the question of why he still has a job here.
Comments posted Monday to the Tweed blog entry, “Administrator hatches plan to deal with pesky student reporters: his own newspaper,” on the The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website called for reining in (and “reigning in”) his behavior.
Three of 15 comments asked why Posadas is still employed at this college.
President Robert Zeigler said Tuesday that he could not comment on personnel matters.
When asked if administrators have previously considered terminating Posadas’ employment, Zeigler said, “That is a matter that I just don’t have any comment on other than to say Mr. Posadas knows that we’re not going to have another newspaper.”
Zeigler said he and Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student affairs, have asked Posadas and the Student Activity Fee Committee to revise the budget to reflect the current student activity fee of $1 per semester hour.
College Media Matters, a student journalism association blog sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press, also addressed Posadas’ plans for a “student-run” newspaper funded by the student activity fee Friday.
The Ranger reported May 23 in “‘Bum steer’ wants student life newspaper’” that Posadas’ “student-run” newspaper would begin production in fall 2013 if the student activity fee is raised from $1 to $2 per semester hour.
Posadas budgeted $70,000 for operation and travel expenses and, in addition, an unspecified amount to hire a coordinator to oversee the publication. The Student Activity Fee Committee chaired by Posadas approved the budget April 5.
In “San Antonio College official doesn’t like the student newspaper — wants his own,” College Media Matters notes Posadas did not complain to the paper before proposing a new student publication and “cites no hard data to back up this claim” that students do not read The Ranger.
The Chronicle blog entry noted, “It’s hard to imagine how so many representatives of student clubs and organizations were located to sign” a petition circulated earlier this semester calling for an investigation of The Ranger’s practices if students do not read the publication.
Administrators reaffirmed May 2 their support for The Ranger as the sole college newspaper. The Ranger began in 1926, the year after the college opened.
“We’ve got one newspaper,” Zeigler said May 2. “I don’t see the point in replicating that.”
This is not the first time Posadas’ behavior has received national scrutiny. In October, he told The Ranger he would “negotiate an appropriate fee” for an interview.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, Gawker, industry watchdog Jim Romenesko and the Poynter Institute published stories. The San Antonio Express-News reported and editorialized about it, and Texas Monthly magazine included the incident in its annual Bum Steer awards.
Prior to the incident regarding payment for interviews, Posadas frequently requested email interviews with Ranger reporters be conducted via email and refused to grant telephone or in-person interviews.
The Ranger does not allow student reporters to conduct email interviews except in unusual circumstances, such as military personnel serving overseas.
Zeigler and Vela met with Posadas Oct. 27 to discuss granting interviews to student reporters.
In 2010, Posadas would not allow players and coaches of intramural teams to speak with Ranger reporters.
In “Women’s soccer team seeks new recruits” published Dec. 8, 2010, The Ranger reported that Posadas sent a mass email to intramural coaches instructing them to direct all requests for interviews from The Ranger to him.
In “College sports teams Reds – for now” published Sept. 25, The Ranger reported that Posadas decided to change of this college’s sports teams from the Rangers to the Reds because he did not want the teams to share a name with the college news organization.
Posadas also threatened an editor with harassment charges in fall 2011 for attempting to interview him about that decision in Loftin Student Center.
Posadas is the non-voting chair of the Student Activity Fee Committee, which conducted closed meetings from the committee’s formation in fall 2006 until Zeigler told members Nov. 16 to open meetings to the public. Zeigler made the decision after a meeting with the committee and an adviser and editor of The Ranger.
The committee is composed of five students and four faculty members.
At the first open meeting, Feb. 2, the committee awarded $5,721.97 to four student organizations after Posadas ruled that three student members of the nine-member committee constituted a quorum.
Eddie Cruz, ethics and compliance officer for the district, ruled Feb. 27 that a quorum consists of five members with a student majority.
In “‘Bum steer’ wants student life newspaper,’” Marianne Odom, media communications chair and Ranger adviser, said, “I think it’s curious that The Ranger has reported on lapses in judgment in the Student Activity Fee Committee once those meetings were open. The Ranger has had a very difficult time getting information from student life. So, I think it’s very curious that they would be interested in starting their own paper.”