Hanrahan’s last stand


Hanrahan’s last stand

T.R. Hanrahan has been fired.

Hanrahan, who has served as adviser to The Chart and as a journalism instructor since the fall 2006 semester, was notified April 21 that he would not be returning for the 2011-12 school year.

Here is what we know:

Hanrahan has consistently received great student evaluations in his classes. He was named Missouri College Media Association Adviser of the Year in 2010.

And he has helped guide this newspaper to new heights.

Hanrahan has served as a mentor to dozens of staff members of The Chart in his time here, and to hundreds of students in his classes.

Why is he now forced to find employment elsewhere?

Communications Department Head Jay Moormon, who hired Hanrahan five years ago, said his dismissal was a personnel matter and that he couldn’t comment.

He did pledge that this newspaper would continue its strong tradition of investigative reporting in the future.

We hope so.

But the question remains.

Why is T.R. Hanrahan being fired?

If Hanrahan’s firing is a result of Chart coverage and sometimes-critical stances regarding Missouri Southern administrators, including President Bruce Speck, then it is not just another example of retribution at this University, but a violation of the First Amendment.

If his firing is a result of his teaching performance, then plenty of students would say otherwise.

The problem is we don’t have the answers.

Hanrahan was told the University wanted to move in a different direction.

If a “different direction” is away from hard news coverage, critical editorial stances when called for and award-winning journalism, then this University should be ashamed.

We hope Moorman is right.

At the end of the day, however, Southern is kicking to the curb someone who spent years here as a student and a Chart editor, someone who has lived for the past five years away from his wife so he can advise this newspaper, and someone who truly cares about this institution.

It’s Hanrahan’s last stand.