New documents obtained by student newspaper The Diamondback present the laying off of four journalism college employees in a new light.
Steve Crane, assistant dean for graduate programs and facilities; Marchelle Payne-Gassaway, assistant dean, Matthew Sheehan, website administrator, and Lucinda Fleeson, who directed a fellowship, were notified on Aug. 9 that their positions were being eliminated. In a memo obtained by Romenesko, dean Kevin Klose blamed financial issues at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, and the University of Maryland as a whole, for the cuts.
But the Diamondback has obtained an e-mail from Klose sent last year that seems to imply the layoffs were to make space for new blood.
“Meanwhile back on center court im looking for the pick of the very best young (yes that word) smart swift loyal savvy exec wanna-bees who could fill two slots i’ll gladly empty to accommodate them,” Klose wrote to Emily Hartz, then the assistant dean for business operations at the college.
Meanwhile, students and some professors at the college have rallied around the administrators: one student said that Steve Crane has “such a wealth of knowledge, and he runs so much that I don’t want to imagine what the school would be like without him.”
And adjunct professor January Payne said she “could not imagine the University of Maryland journalism college without Steve Crane” and that Payne-Gassaway was “kind of, like, a second mom to a lot of students.”
In interviews this week, the Diamondback reports, both Klose and Hartz said they could not recall the e-mail.