The head of the journalism school at Oklahoma State University is attempting to remove a college student from a governing board over a measly $25-per-day dispute.
According to a story written by the Student Press Law Center, OSU J-school director Tom Weir sent a letter to Jessie Markovetz telling her she would have to leave the school's publications board because the $25 a day she receives as copy editor of the school's newspaper disqualifies her from the board. Weir said that makes her a salaried employee of the paper, and the board's bylaws say that's a no-no.
Twenty-five dollars a day? It's hard to imagine that even one of the illegal immigrants reportedly sent packing out of the state by House Bill 1804 would come back for that meager pay. Or the Chicken-Fried News intern, Bucky, for that matter.
But Markovetz countered, handing a letter to the board stating that Weir overstepped his authority and cannot simply remove board members.
Suzanne Holcombe, publications board chairwoman, told SPLC the board member removal process is not included in the board's bylaws. Holcombe did say she spoke with the university's legal counsel, who advised that the board will likely have to vote on Markovetz's removal for Weir to prevail.
Score one for the student.
Markovetz has also picked up a strong ally. Fresh off his victory in getting the Oklahoma State Supreme Court to rescind its decision to limit public access to court documents, OSU journalism professor Joey Senat is backing Markovetz. He says the copy editor should be considered a non-salaried employee.
The background leading up to the Weir vs. Markovetz contest concerns an internal departmental dispute between the student newspaper and the school's news Web site. SPLC reported that several writers with the newspaper are refusing to send their stories to the Web site due to a disagreement over who controls it. A student who had been fired by the newspaper's former editor was allowed to write for the news Web site.
Testy! Good thing the proposal to let students carry concealed weapons on campus was shot down in the state Senate.