Lindsey Powers

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

Former Texas Student Media director Gary Borders said Thursday that his Feb. 8 resignation came under pressure from the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs rather than because of personal reasons as had been previously announced.

After serving as TSM director for seven months, Borders announced his resignation abruptly last week. Borders spoke out Thursday saying he did not wish to resign, but chose it rather than being fired. Borders said he was not given a warning or valid reason for what he said was a forced resignation by the Student Affairs vice president Juan Gonzalez.

“I was called to meet with Mr. Gonzalez last week and he told me I had to resign or be fired,” Borders said. “It was a very brief meeting. I was stunned.”

Gonzalez, who announced in July he will be leaving the vice presidency to return to teaching, told The Daily Texan in an email that all university employment policies were followed.

“Mr. Borders decided to resign after meeting with my office about employment expectations,” Gonzalez said. “Had Mr. Borders not decided to resign, UT employment policies would have continued to have been followed in my office in consultation with the Board of Consultation Trustees.”

Members of the TSM Board of Trustees, which jointly oversees TSM with the office of student affairs, expressed frustration over not being consulted about Borders’ departure.

Student Media Board President Lindsey Powers said she was surprised by Borders’ resignation and was unaware of whether the Vice President’s office forced him to leave.

“I have not heard anything officially or legally,”

Powers said. “I would like some answers.”

Borders said Gonzalez told him he was “not collaborative” and was not doing enough to balance the budget.

As one of his primary responsibilities, Borders was expected to help TSM overcome a projected deficit of about $175,000, according to a letter from the vice president’s office. He said the office balked at some of his suggestions for doing so.

Borders said his proposal, which was never made official, suggested selling TSTV and KVRX in an attempt to gain $3 million for TSM, and this might have played a role in his forced resignation. Borders said Student Affairs assistant vice president Jennifer Hammat told him Gonzalez did not support the idea at all.

“I had talked to Mrs. Hammat about the idea before I wrote it up and she did not say she agreed with it, but she didn’t say it was completely crazy either,” Borders said. “We talked again after she showed it to Gonzalez and she said he absolutely hated it and was very upset about it.”

Borders said when he learned Gonzalez did not like the proposal he immediately began a new one suggesting different ways to make money for TSM. He said the reasons for his forced resignation are invalid because he attempted to improve the budget and collaborate with coworkers.

“I was just seeing if it was a viable option, and when I learned it wasn’t, I got to work on new ideas,” Borders said. “It wasn’t my way or the highway.”

Borders said he did not have a contract and was told he was hired “under the pleasure of the president” and could, therefore, be terminated at any time. Although Borders is upset by the forced resignation without any warning, he said there is no legal issue.

“I was never evaluated before that meeting,” Borders said. “I was never before given a warning about what I needed to change or do differently. I was never reprimanded. Nothing.”

Powers said the TSM board is planning a meeting soon to discuss an interim replacement for the position. The University originally scheduled a meeting for today but a quorum of board members was unable to attend.

Borders previously worked for newspapers throughout East Texas where he served as publisher and columnist, according to his website.

Previously publisher of Cedar Park’s Hill Country News, Borders said he hoped to hold the TSM position for as long as possible, according to a June 2011 Daily Texan article. He replaced Hammat, who served as interim director for a year and a half.

Associate director of the School of Journalism and former TSM board member Wanda Cash said although she was not on the board at the same time as Borders she has known him for a long time and believes he had good intentions for TSM.

“He understood keenly about balancing budgets and was on his way to cutting the deficit at TSM,” Cash said. “I hope his goal of debt reduction will be continued. TSM will not be able to survive on a deficit.”