UT vice president calls Borders' resignation a failure to communicate

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Kevin Hegarty, University vice president and chief financial officer, admitted a “flat out failure” in communication between the University and Texas Student Media Board of Trustees prior to former TSM director Gary Borders’ Feb. 8 resignation.

Hegarty, who was appointed to replace Vice President of Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez in dealing with the matter of Borders’ resignation, discussed the situation during a TSM board meeting on Feb. 27. During the meeting, the board met with Hegarty and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Hammat to discuss events resulting in the resignation, which Borders said was forced by Gonzalez because of his proposal suggesting the sale of the broadcast licenses of TSTV and KVRX as one option to balance the TSM budget.

Gonzalez and Hammat began discussing Borders’ termination on Jan. 25 due to disatisfaction with his leadership and lack of clarity and direction in his budget setting plans.

TSM board president Lindsey Powers said board members were not notified about the vice president’s office’s disatisfaction with Borders’ performance or his proposal to sell TSTV and KVRX.

“There was a failure in communication not just between the University and the TSM Board of Trustees, but it sounds like there was also a failure between the trustees [not involved] and the trustees involved,” Hegarty said. “There was a flat-out failure in communication.”

The TSM Board of Trustees and the Office of Student Affairs jointly oversee TSM decisions, and Powers said many TSM board members are frustrated that a proposal was discussed without their knowledge, after which Borders was allegedly forced to resign without consulting the TSM board.

“I understand decisions like this require an official discussion, but that’s why we have meetings,” Powers said. “If there are any issues that need to be brought up, they need to be brought up immediately at the meeting so we know what to expect. We need to get that information out there.”

KVRX station manager Travis Bubenik said it is imperative that students have a say in an enterprise which claims to be run by students in its title.

“I want to stress that the desire for full communication extends from our vice president’s office all the way down to our offices and our staff,” Bubenik said. “It’s TSM for Texas Student Media so I do think it’s important that these kinds of ideas should be talked about and discussed at board meetings, especially because they will be affecting us.”

Hammat said there was a lack of communication because she and Gonzalez gave Borders a day to make a decision to resign or be terminated, so they were unprepared when he resigned during the meeting. Hammat said the quick decision left no time to inform the TSM board.

“I’m sorry we didn’t hold a meeting [with the TSM board],” Hammat said. “That was my mistake. When we held the meeting with Gary on Feb. 8, I genuinely believed we were going to have a meeting the next day. In situations like this, people do not usually make a decision to resign so quickly, so we were caught off guard.”

A TSM board meeting is scheduled for March 7 to appoint an acting TSM director who will fill the position until a permanent director is hired. The board will set its next budget at a March 19 meeting.

Printed on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 as: UT failed to communicate in resignation Hegarty says