TSM Board of Trustees

Texas Student Media recently named Jalah Goette the interim acting director Wednesday after Gary BordersÂ’ resignation last month. Her first priority will be balancing the projected $175,000 TSM budget deficit for 2012.

Photo Credit: Nathan Goldsmith | Daily Texan Staff

Texas Student Media assistant director Jalah Goette will serve as interim TSM director until someone is selected to permanently fill the position, the TSM Board of Trustees decided Wednesday.

Goette’s appointment comes almost exactly one month after the former TSM director Gary Borders’ Feb. 8 resignation, which Borders later said was forced by vice president of Student Affairs Juan Gonzalez.

Goette will hold the position for an undetermined amount of time because the TSM board has higher priorities, Goette said.

“Based off what the board said, there is no defined timeline for how long I am needed to act as the director,” she said. “The priority right now is to stabilize the organization and identify a plan to balance the budget as soon as possible.”

TSM currently faces a projected $175,000 deficit for 2012, according to the TSM consolidated financial summary.

“Our only problem is the budget,” said TSM board president Lindsey Powers. “The students are great and all the publications and stations are great. It’s just the budget, and [Goette] has already been working so hard on that so we really think she’ll do a good job.”

Goette, who has been with TSM for six years, said she will oversee the day-to-day business of TSM as director in addition to her current duties as assistant director, in which she oversees TSM business and advertising. Goette said she did not apply for the position, but showed interest in serving during the interim time. The TSM board reviewed Goette’s qualifications and selected her at a board meeting Wednesday.

“In the coming weeks I’ll have a chance to sit down with the chair of the board and find out the specifics of the job description,” Goette said. “I’ll find out how different duties can be shared.”

Goette said she is proud of the improved communication between the TSM board members, students and the University in the past few weeks since the controversy over Borders’ resignation, and she hopes to continue it.

“Communication is essential to the success of TSM,” she said. “I am so pleased with the way everyone has pulled together recently to build a strong line of communication.”

KVRX station manager Travis Bubenik said Goette is a good fit for the position because of her years of experience with TSM.

“I just wanted to be sure we didn’t appoint someone outside of TSM because the problems are just too complicated, and we don’t have time to throw someone in there out of nowhere,” Bubenik said. “She has a great budget presentation and knows the finances of TSM like the back of her hand. It was a wise move to appoint her.”

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

The University administration has named a new point person to deal with the fallout from the resignation of former Texas Student Media Director Gary Borders.

Kevin Hegarty, UT’s vice president and chief financial officer, said Monday he will replace Juan Gonzalez, outgoing vice president of student affairs, in managing the controversy surrounding the Feb. 8 resignation of Borders, which Borders said was forced by the vice president’s office.

In an email to The Daily Texan, University spokesman Gary Susswein said the change in authority is the result of Gonzalez’s plans to leave the administration and return to teaching.

“I have recently come into this position and am not familiar with the specifics yet, but I will within the next day or two,” Hegarty said. “I hope to bring knowledge and understanding to this issue.”

Lindsey Powers, president of TSM Board of Trustees, which jointly oversees TSM with the Office of Student Affairs, said Monday she had not been notified about the shift in responsibilities in advance and is not sure how the change will impact the situation.

“I’m still not sure who played exactly what role in the [Gary Borders] resignation situation,” Powers said. TSM is comprised of The Daily Texan; TSTV, Texas Student Television; KVRX 91.7 FM, the student radio station; The Texas Travesty, a humor publication; and the Cactus Yearbook.

A TSM board meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Feb. 27 to discuss the actions that resulted in the resignation of Borders. Hegarty said he will attend in place of Gonzalez, and Borders said he will be present, as well.

“I have been invited to the TSM board meeting and plan to attend,” Borders said Monday. “In courtesy to the board, I will not speak about this issue anymore until I discuss it with them.”

Gonzalez’s office declined to comment about the issue on Monday.

The upcoming board meeting agenda includes discussions to investigate Borders’ departure from TSM, as well as the preliminary proposal he made to sell the licenses for TSTV and KVRX to help balance the budget. Borders has said that suggestion incensed Gonzalez and may have contributed to what he described as his forced resignation.

“We just want to find out what the proposals were, since we hadn’t seen them,” Powers said. “I can’t speak for everyone on the board, but I did not know that Gary Borders, or anyone else, was suggesting selling the broadcast licenses and I would like to know more about the details of such plans and why they were presented to the University before they were presented to the board.”

In his proposal, Borders said TSM board member Amy Villarreal, vice president and general manager at KEYE-TV, told him that selling the stations together would earn TSM $3 million. Villareal said she never gave Borders a price tag on the sale and that selling the stations was not the first option discussed in plans for reducing the $175,000 TSM deficit.

“I don’t know where or how he got the $3 million amount,” Villarreal said. “He must have done some homework on that because I do not know how much it would sell for.”

Printed on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 as: CFO to oversee controversy over Borders' resignation