Yeah… I said it. It stinks. And not because Andy and I have to worry about how much we spend at the supermarket or that we can’t go out to dinner more than once in a while, or even because Christmas will be very small this year. It’s because people are losing their homes and their jobs, and it’s just damn scary out there right now.
It seems like no one’s immune. I found myself in a position today that I did not want to be in, but I guess it comes with the responsibility that I’ve undertaken. I’m a professional member of the Texas Student Media Board of Trustees, which means I help make decisions — mostly financial — that directly affect the operations of the student media at UT, including the Daily Texan and TSTV.
Up until today, I tried hard to be reasonable and think about the financial security of the operation as a whole… protecting the financial feasibility of the organization so it can continue to serve students well into the future. But today, at our monthly board meeting, the issue of the Daily Texas press came up again. I won’t go into all the details, but basically, the press is old. It needs to be either updated or sold so that renovations in the TSM building can go on. At some point in the future, the Daily Texan printing will have to be outsourced — it’s a when, not an if — but there had been some hope it would be later rather than sooner.
Well, it’s sooner, and the executive committee recommended making the first steps toward selling the press. There was much discussion. I understood the arguments from the other board members about why it needs to be done, and I was really on the fence… until the TSM director said that voting yes on the recommendation would tell the 4 pressmen that their jobs are not safe and that they will be eventually layed off.
And then one of them spoke.
And that’s when, in my heart, I knew I just couldn’t vote yes. It makes complete business sense to sell the press. But I just couldn’t tell that man we had done everything we could to protect his position and livelihood. I couldn’t tell that man that his Christmas and Thanksgiving would be overshadowed by a board that was gunning for his job.
The other board members were frustrated with me… I could tell. My reasoning wasn’t good enough I’m sure. But I wouldn’t have been able to live with it. I thought about being a pansy and entering a “no-vote”… or caving… but I decided that I needed to take a stand.
The vote was split. The board will take it up again at the next meeting in January.
I ran into the pressman in the elevator on the way to my car, after the meeting. He thanked me for voting for him, but he didn’t look encouraged. He told me more about his fears. He told me about his family. He has a child not too much younger than Luke.
I knew I did the right thing. Even if I don’t prevail in the end, I made a decision I can live with.