The Envoy Beckons

morris-tinyWednesday, May 1, 2013, 12:31 p.m. I got an email from Envoy reporter Sophie Simon who wanted to interview me about the call I put out for a boycott of the Aronson Awards. She was fed, according to her email, bogus information (of course) which she accepted as gospel (of course).

The plot thickens.

The boycott was a success, I have said over and over again, and have yet to have anyone refute that allegation.

The Envoy is a student newspaper which claims to be independently run. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, but its history of editorial gaffes and unethical and questionable journalistic practices (replete with scandals and other sordid matters, all those histories buried in the College archives) cannot be denied.

James Aronson was its first faculty advisor until he was betrayed by a student staff member who had decided, without consulting Aronson, to use the newspaper to attack a student leader, resulting in a libel lawsuit that made Aronson a co-defendant. The College refused to support Aronson, forcing him to deal with significant legal fees. And so he ceased, forever,  his role as academic advisor for the paper. The result was a journalistic tailspin for that publication and undergraduate journalism at Hunter.

The paper was comatose for years and years and years – until it rose from its ashes after I, hired to help rejuvenate undergraduate student journalism, required students to submit articles for publication. The paper’s resurrection caught everyone by surprise and that success eventually led to major imbroglios and confrontations with Colleagues and students and others who were in a much better position that I was to try to rip off the success of what I and serious students had managed to do.

In other words, I had the brains but no real influence and power to protect the students  and me from the academic poaching that took place.

Peter Parisi also was suppose to help with that rejuvenation and he didn’t follow through. He pulled a fast one.

MORE BACKGROUND: Once the Envoy started publishing regularly, D:F/M Colleagues, ersatz student activists, nonpolitical students and others of all manner of stripes and intents undermined its revival. For a very long time,  I had worked with reporters and editors there but not as a faculty advisor, that’s for sure. I had learned what happen to Aronson (especially the betrayal by the Administration and that I regarded as a caveat that shouldn’t be ignored). On high alert, of course, I caught whiffs of impending scandal and debauchery in the works, not to mention, just plain moronic practices. As the editorial rot burgeoned, I gradually reduced my unofficial role with the publication to working (behind the scenes) with students who had completed my classes. Eventually, I got fed up and stopped with that contribution. More about that later.

So, with a grant from the College and the collaborative support of a cache of serious student journalists, we started the WORD.   That venture, of course, attracted the attention of the same varmints who had ruined the Envoy: They wanted to take over the WORD. [Actually, they wanted me to do their bidding but I don’t want to talk about that here] . I stopped the anticipated take over in its tracks, of course, leading to the conspicuous pyrotechnics in D:F/M and around the campus, as well as off it, primarily because of those Colleagues and their cohorts, including the collusion with the ersatz student activists, who wanted control.

There was, of course, the big fight of many years with the ersatz student activist Hunter undergraduate political party  known as SLAM for Student Liberation Action Movement (covertly supported by D:F/M Colleagues and Colleagues in other departments).

At faculty meetings, it was not usual to hear Colleagues bitching and moaning about the WORD’s successes.  I’m using quote marks for affect (QMfE) to describe the typical bitching/moaning comments at faculty meetings and in some other areas of the D:F/M bailiwick on the fourth floor of Hunter North: “I’m so sick of hearing about the WORD.”  The complainants were always white. Always. More about that later.

But  what occurred and occurs in D:F/M regarding undergraduate journalism and media curriculum are more profane than any of the public gaffes and spectacles of the Envoy. The sacking of the D:F/M’s undergraduate journalism/media network, the best at the City University of New York, was an excellent example. That wasn’t Envoy, that was D:F/M and the whole affair was sordid and obscene. More about that later.

The Envoy’s faculty advisor is Colleague Bernard Stein. blog-pub-stein2

About two years ago, even though Stein (right) was the official faculty advisor, I was contacted by an administrator from the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs who had been assigned the task  of working  (covertly) with Envoy editors because the Administration was upset with its editorial practices, which were essentially sloppy about that time. There were no serious ethical breeches as in the past (as far as I knew then). I advised the administrator to be careful. Beware of snakes, I advised. More about this later.

Back to Simon’s email:

I am writing to you as a student writer for the Envoy. I’m writing an article covering last night’s Aronson Awards. I’m aware of the fact that you have chosen to boycott this event on an annual basis.

Could you elaborate on your reasons for this boycott?
What sparked this decision?
Why do you encourage your journalism students to do the same?

If you could respond via email that would be great. Otherwise, I can come meet with you in you have free time.

Thank you in advance for your response.

I am almost certain, at least this is what I want to believe, that the reporter would have shown up at my door, Room 500 Hunter North, if she had taken a news writing class with me, or, she would have called my office phone, x4952. Emails, I tell my students, are not the best way to engage potential sources, especially those involved in controversies and especially if they don’t know the reporters contacting them. Plus, I was a little suspicious.

An Envoy reporter was contacting me about an effete awards program on its last legs? What about all the other serious stuff : The demise of the undergraduate journalism IT network, the serious decline in enrollment, the thuggery involving grades, other stuff, such as the sacking of the Clemente Soto Velez screening by the D:F/M department chair, much of  the craziness playing out on Hunter-L, a main College listserv for information? No Envoy interests there?

I also would like to believe that she would have tried several times to get a response – that is, if she had taken my class she would have tried more than once despite the possibility that I could refuse comment and probably would. But she didn’t, and, because her so-called facts were flawed, and because of other signs and matters, I delayed responding.


I plan to blog a full response sometime in the near future. Two points, however.

1) “I’m aware of the fact that you have chosen to boycott this event on an annual basis.” – I did put out a call for a boycott this academic year, yes, absolutely. I’ve never engaged in an annual boycott or any other boycott of the Aronson Awards before this academic year. More about this later.

2) “Why do you encourage your journalism students to do the same?” I’ve never encouraged my students to do the same. More about this later.

I’ve been waiting to read your article about the Awards to learn if your published piece is as factually (or journalistically) flawed as this email request to me. Or as factually flawed as this article Professor Bernard Stein wrote and published in his Hunts Point Express, “College honors Express reporter” . This item has been addressed in a blog, “Hunts Point Express on Editorial Alert?” and “The Slippery Ethical Slope for the Hunts Point Express?” .  More about this later.

Gregg Morris

The “more about this later” gets blogged in depth, eventually. I received a response from Simon. It’s provided below. But I have to state this now: I stopped supporting the Aronson Awards for reasons very similar to those that caused me to abort contact with the Envoy and its editors and reporters regardless if the student reporters/editors  had been enrolled in my classes.

Simon’s latest, Friday, May 17, 2013 10:12 PM:

Hi again,

I am sorry for my grave mis-wording. I was told that you “called for a boycott” each year, but I did not mean that you actually, formally boycotted the event. I should have been careful with my words, but the intention of the question was also for clarification,

Also, I did not mean to put words into your mouth regarding “encouraging” your students. I was simply referring to the email that was forwarded to me where you addressed the students/faculty of the media department about your choice not to attend.

These were mistakes on my part.

I did not mean to misrepresent your views.

I will check for your blog post.



Uh oh! She should have taken a news writing class with me.


Send Peter Parisi a message so that James Aronson can stop turning over in his grave.

Send Peter Parisi a message so that James Aronson can stop turning over in his grave.





PSC Hunter College Chapter Chair Trying to Intimidate  Colleague a at a D:F/M Department Meeting

PSC Hunter College Chapter Chair Trying to Intimidate Colleague at a D:F/M Department Meeting


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