This isn’t funny

It’s getting ridiculous. Our beloved University is turning into a joke, and it’s all unfolding in the public eye. In the last week alone, Missouri Southern’s Faculty Senate voted to create an ad hoc committee to investigate a no confidence vote in Missouri Southern President Bruce Speck, and The Joplin Globe printed stories detailing Southern’s refusal to submit to an open records request. The paper is seeking e-mails to and from 13 administrators since May 1.Then, while attempting to get comments from faculty and staff on a late-breaking story, we had to wait while five phone calls were made, two of which were to University Relations and Marketing to make sure the employee was allowed to speak on the matter.Rod Surber’s not to blame here. It is the culture of fear that has developed on campus that has people fearing for their jobs to the extent they are hesitant to speak with the campus newspaper. What’s going on here? We at The Chart understand the Faculty Senate’s decision to explore a vote of no confidence. We know we’re not the only ones who’ve heard the rumor of the president being replaced, and with the level of unrest around campus, this committee is necessary to determine if there really is a problem, and if a vote of no confidence is justified.The Joplin Globe is completely within its legal rights to expect the e-mails from Southern. Missouri’s Sunshine Law clearly states governing bodies at institutions of higher education are public governmental bodies, thus requiring them to cooperate with Sunshine Law requests. Southern’s refusal to release the e-mails only casts the school in a bad light. We wonder what’s really going on here. What is in these e-mails the University doesn’t want the public to see? The campus is filled with paranoia and secrecy. The local paper smells blood in the water. And would-be comedians are taking thier shots. Our school is quickly becoming a big punch line. And this joke is not funny.