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Fishin' for a Story

Posted by – 11/19/04


I wrote to the Belmont newpaper, the Vision, to respond to this article, and since I doubt they’ll be running it (or at least my comment in its entirety) I thought I’d let you enjoy…

To the editor:

How insulting. If it isn’t enough that our national and local news media is a total joke, we look at the Vision for the signs of the future journalist to see a dismal display of investigative reporting. The article on Fisher’s salary could not have pampered his ego any more without baby powder and some Huggies. Lacking any quotes from Dr. Fisher himself on the issues, we are turned over to Larry Thrailkill for some words of coercion. It’s not that I think Dr. Fisher is less than qualified for such a rigorous position, but the achievements Fisher’s lackey listed off just don’t jive with the student body. To me, they don’t justify a 75% pay increase in less than 4 years!

The achievements are vague at best, and of the three-raising money, increasing enrollment, and improving the campus-only one is blatantly obvious. And boasting about a 400 student increase in enrollment isn’t much of an improvement if we can’t house them. Perhaps if Fisher really lived in a student dorm like the little skit in last year’s Fall Follies portrayed he would understand our predicament. And the spin on parking in the auxiliary lot of the old liquor store isn’t quite convincing enough to make me leave my car across the intersection from a barber shop where a man was shot last year, I don’t care how many hourly passes Belmont Security makes. All afraid to leave campus, raise your hands!

Maybe more money has been raised, but we can’t see it. And the campus has been improved? Ah, how vague a thought! Only on visitation weekends, of course. (Unless you count that cesspool in the middle of the amphitheater. Yeah, that’s been fixed– and now it’s a bidet.)

The point is this: how about getting information that the students really want to know rather than throwing some unconvincing story at us that expects us to gladly fork over even more money next year. Investigate the university’s claims about a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio, a statement that totally contradicts any experience by the Music Business students who are herded through the advising process like unwanted cattle. How about a story that takes the rumors of why professors are leaving to the next level? Examine Klepko and Henson’s resignations to determine just how poorly the university may have been treating them. It seems to me that Fisher should be more concerned about keeping the good ones than just filling positions for professors, a skill which he has clearly yet to master. Most people don’t get a raise unless results are actually observed. But alas, what can a reader actually expect from a school paper? I doubt this letter will even be printed. Que sera, sera.

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