The ultimate travesty

It really was a beautiful moment.

More than 30 students, many with signs, marching single file from Webster Hall to the campus Oval to show their solidarity with T.R. Hanrahan.

Hanrahan, as most now know, has been dismissed as the adviser to this newspaper and as a journalism instructor at Missouri Southern.

Once the group reached the flagpole, they were joined by more. Students, faculty and staff all stood together and applauded one man.

One man who was named “Adviser of the Year” in 2010 by the Missouri College Media Association. One man who was named “Teacher of the Year” for the department of communication just this month.

One man who has been fired.

And the explanation? All we’ve heard is that the University wants to move in a different direction.

This is a sad day as we publish our final issue under the guidance of Hanrahan. It is a sad day for this institution as an award-winning instructor leaves town. It is a sad day for students who won’t be able to rely on Hanrahan’s support and mentoring in the future.

But there is also happiness.

Hanrahan leaves after helping this newspaper reach new heights during his five-year tenure. He leaves knowing how much so many on this campus care. He leaves after helping countless students through tough times, and patting them on the back during better times.

If anybody has ever doubted how much Hanrahan means to this institution, the students, faculty and staff who gathered at the flagpole should say enough.

But after all the handshakes and hugs and celebration and mourning are through, people will still ask one question.

Why was Hanrahan fired?

Was it because The Chart didn’t hesitate to cover controversy and didn’t back down from critical stances regarding University administration, policies and University President Bruce Speck?

We may never know.

Speck likes to say that he and this institution put students first.

What about the students wondering why their teacher and friend has been sent packing?

What about the students wondering who they can now go to in times of need?

What about the students who will run this newspaper in coming years?

In the end, we are left with one glaring fact.

Bruce Speck still has a job Missouri Southern, and T.R. Hanrahan doesn’t.

That is the ultimate travesty.