As a 20-plus-year KHSU volunteer, I have served in various capacities, including as a member of Peter Fretwell's hiring committee ("Static at KHSU," Aug. 30). At no time did Craig Wruck inform the committee we were hiring a "change agent." This is not an unimportant detail for a hiring committee, but one Mr. Wruck did not feel obligated to relate to us. And so it goes. HSU administration does not feel bound to treat us as equal partners. So you get The Village, Lumberjacks football program termination, the Children's Center closure — and the mess at KHSU. HSU sees itself as a Vatican City. The Townies being unworthy of anything but condescension.
HSU's issue seems to be a manifest unwillingness to admit a mistake. Fretwell was never a good fit for the station. He has made life difficult, not only for KHSU staff and volunteers but for himself. HSU — far from admitting the possibility of an error — has instead decided to circle the wagons.
KHSU has been down this road before. The university has swung wildly between almost total neglect and highly destructive inference. Some readers may recall the set-to over Democracy Now! and the firing of Elizabeth Hans-McCrone. The difference then was the university was able to respond with positivity and sensitively — hiring Patrick Cleary as caretaker GM — and ushering in a long era of harmonious operations. A similar course of action is likely the only thing that will "right the good ship KHSU." Trust will not magically return. Not next week — not next year. If HSU has any interest in regaining that trust, there is going to be some hard work involved.
Matthew Knight, Eureka
The NCJ did an excellent job reporting on the mess created by top administrators at Humboldt State University.
I worked and volunteered at KHSU for almost four decades. I have on my desk a KHSU mission statement from long ago. It states:
"To educate, enrich and entertain people throughout Northwestern California and Southwestern Oregon by providing diverse, high-quality radio programming. As a public service of Humboldt State University, KHSU strives to present thoughtful and intelligent perspectives on local, national and international issues. Its objectives include fostering the arts, sciences and humanities, giving voice to underrepresented points of view, serving minority as well as majority needs, and both guiding and reflecting public intellect and taste. KHSU encourages faculty, student and community participation in programming and other station affairs."
KHSU is not broken. It has lived up to its mission statement for the most part.
There has to be some backdoor intervention by individuals who had the ear of Mr. Wruck and by extension, Mr. Fretwell. Somewhere along the way, someone thought it a good idea to fire Katie Whiteside from her job at KHSU as program/operations director.
Ms. Whiteside was not "liked" by Mr. Fretwell and that was known. There remains a hostile workplace at KHSU. Mr. Fretwell must resign or be let go, same for Mr. Wruck. I don't understand why HSU President Lisa Rossbacher does not do this.
I think the men have her cornered.
Sharon Fennell, Manila