Posts Tagged ‘Terry Mena’

In other news

September 19, 2011

In May 2010, FAU’s Division of Student Affairs fired all of the university’s student media outlet advisers. The abrupt jettison made headlines across the county, but everyone from the then-student media director (who quit 12 months after she started) to the division head himself insisted the move was part of a “restructuring” designed to “move student media forward.”

Since then, Student Affairs’ actions have disproved their words.

By “restructuring” they meant “destructuring,” as fewer student media outlets have advisers today. And by “moving student media forward” they meant, most recently, allowing the student body president to unilaterally appoint a plagiarizer as leader of the TV outlet after he used TV outlet footage, FAU equipment, and FAU’s name and logo to help him land a gig with Playboy.

AJ Jordat

The public Facebook photo of the new manager of FAU's student-run TV station. Screenshot: Taken Sept. 14, 2011

Owl TV, FAU’s student-run TV station, was among the outlets that lost their adviser in May 2010 — and it’s still awaiting a new one. In the absence of an adviser…

Presidential behavior

Owl TV has gone through at least half a dozen station managers in the past year (instead of one every six months).

At least two quit before their terms ended. At least two were only interim to begin with. One was deemed ineligible after the selection committee voted on him and he had started the job. And last month, two were forced out for unclear reasons. (They declined to comment on the record, but what I know of their side of the story doesn’t match the Office of Student Media’s side.)

When our new student media director, Michael Gaede, deemed those last two outlet heads allegedly unfit to continue in their positions, Gaede had been on the job for less than two months. So, he told me, he consulted Student Body President Ayden Maher, who decided that he would appoint an interim station manager to run the problem outlet for the entire fall 2011 semester.

The thing is:

  1. It’s not in the rules. Maher says that Student Government statutes allow him to do so, and Gaede says he confirmed that with his boss, Associate Dean of Student Terry Mena, who is Student Affairs’ third-in-command. But the statutes posted on SG’s own website only state that the student body president may appoint interim chief justices and interim elections chairs in certain situations: They do not address interim student media outlet heads.
  2. It’s not the norm. At FAU, student media outlet heads are chosen by a selection committee of at least five members, which include the student body president (or more often, his delegate — Maher has been in office for at least two sets of three selections but has never attended).
  3. It might be illegal. According to the Student Press Law Center, this depends on state employment laws and where the money for the outlet head comes from. “Alarm bells are ringing,” SPLC attorney Adam Goldstein told me last week. “A deviation from that [usual selection] practice looks shady, I have to say.” The SPLC is now looking into the matter.
  4. It’s a conflict of interest. Our student media outlets cover our Student Government; therefore, for the head of SG to appoint the outlet heads is a conflict of interest that would call all SG coverage into question.
  5. It wasn’t advertised well. One of Maher’s and Gaede’s defenses is that the appointee was the best candidate out of everyone who applied for the position anyway. But it’s easy to be the best candidate when few students apply because few knew the position was open. Besides a tweet and a Facebook update, I don’t know that Student Government, Student Affairs, or the Office of Student media advertised the position. Even the guy who got the job told me he wouldn’t have known it was available if someone hadn’t told him.

Playboy leadership

Because the appointment was a closed process, the only details I have are secondhand. The one confirmable fact is who got the position: Alberto “AJ” Jordat Jr.

Here’s what I can tell you about him:

He didn’t appear to want the job. Jordat worked for Owl TV in the past but wasn’t working for them in any capacity when he applied to run the outlet. Further, it wasn’t his first choice. Jordat applied for the station manager position after applying for Student Government’s elections chair position but not getting it.

He sees “nothing wrong” with a student leader representing the university in a Playboy contest. A few weeks before he was appointed, Jordat entered the 2011 Be A Playboy Producer For A Day Contest, sponsored by video-sharing website Dailymotion.

The thing is, he entered as AJ Jordat the FAU multimedia major, not AJ Jordat, some unaffiliated guy whose dream job is to work for Playboy.

In other words, rather than create a video specifically for the contest and entering it as if he had no affiliations to FAU, Jordat compiled existing Owl TV footage — which includes shots of Owl TV’s logo, Student Government’s logo, and FAU’s logo — and entered it with FAU’s name attached. (Click on the three links below for examples.)

“It’s relevant to what I do,” Jordat told me, explaining that he included his university and major so that Playboy would know who and what he is. “It’s not an FAU association.”

But regardless of why he did it, FAU’s name and logos are still all over the three videos that Jordat submitted to the Playboy contest.

AJ_Playboy video

Note the description below the video. Screenshot: Taken Sept. 14, 2011 (click to enlarge)

(Click here to view more screenshots from this video. NOTE: Some may not consider these images work-safe and/or child-safe.)

Pool_Foam video

All of the footage seen in this video was shot at FAU on-campus events. Screenshot: Taken Sept. 14, 2011 (click to enlarge)

(Click here to view more screenshots from this video. NOTE: Some may not consider these images work-safe and/or child-safe.)

Jenna_Larissa video

Note the description below the video. Screenshot: Taken Sept. 14, 2011 (click to enlarge)

(Click here to view more screenshots from this video. NOTE: Some may not consider these images work-safe and/or child-safe.)

FAU’s name is also all over the dozens of public tweets that Jordat has made in order to promote his entries. (The contest winner will be selected based in part on how many hits his entries earn.) For example:

Screenshot: Taken Sept. 14, 2011 (click to enlarge)

(Click here for more such tweets.)

I doubt FAU’s Division of Marketing & Creative Services — which tightly controls the university brand — would approve of Jordat’s including logos in his entries.

“A key component of FAU’s brand, the University’s visual identity is the sum of all the images and visual impressions associated with FAU,” their web page reads.

And I doubt the head of FAU’s Division of Student Affairs, Charles Brown, would approve of Jordat’s entering the contest as an FAU student and remaining in it as a student leader.

“In terms of when you take on leadership roles, everything that you do represents the university. You don’t want to create a bad impression,” Brown told me when I was editor-in-chief. “I tell students that all the time.”

Plus, if the editor-in-chief entered the Playboy contest as Jordat did, Student Government leaders would be up in arms, and the heads of Student Affairs would call him into their offices for a series of lectures. The EIC even gets dirty looks when FAU and Playboy happen to make news together and the University Press simply reports that news.

When I reported in October that FAU may party Playboy-style, I caught more cold shoulders and upturned noses than usual in the halls of the Student Union. When we reported in our 2010 New Student Edition that FAU’s quirky former students include porn star Mary Carey, I (EIC at the time) heard all about how badly we made the university look.

What’s funny about that last example is that, based on his public tweets, Jordat actually knows, is friends with, and hangs out with Mary Carey — and has the photos to prove it.

He plagiarized. By entering the 2011 Playboy Producer For A Day Contest, you “agree to the terms and conditions,” as it says beneath the contest directions.

Those terms and conditions state that “all Videos: (a) must be a wholly original, audio-visual performance created by the Contest Entrant” and that “all elements used, incorporated into or otherwise appearing in a Video must be entirely original, created and performed by the Contest Entrant or be in the public domain.”

But Jordat was but one of at least nine people involved with the creation of the Owl TV footage that he compiled to create his contest entries, according to the original footage credits.

Jordat denies plagiarizing and told me that he edited all of the original Owl TV footage himself. “I put those [other] people’s names on the credits because they gave me creative input,” he said.

The thing is, by entering the contest, Jordat didn’t agree that he did all the editing himself: He agreed that he did all elements himself.

But Jordat admitted that he didn’t take the photographs in the first and third videos above and that he didn’t film the footage in the second video. And taking credit for someone else’s work is the essence of plagiarism.

No wonder

In Jordat’s defense, I’ve heard positive reviews of his efforts as station manager from the student media director. (Granted, Gaede supported the student body president’s closed appointment of Jordat.)

“I’m trying my best,” Jordat told me. “I’m trying my best with what I’ve got.”

And it’s not Jordat’s fault that what he’s got still doesn’t include an adviser.

SMD: We have a winner?

June 1, 2011

[UPDATE: The hiring manager has confirmed that Gaede officially accepted the job, is already in Florida, and indeed starts on July 5.]

Michael Gaede may or may not become FAU’s second-ever student media director on July 5.

The SMD search committee and hiring manager have settled on the communications instructor at Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University. Gaede has not yet officially accepted the gig, however, so I will update you as soon as I have further information.

In the meantime, check out my “Paper-pushing” post if you aren’t already familiar with Gaede’s background. The post contains the cover letters and resumes of Gaede and the two runners-up.

====================

From: Corey King [dean of students and chair of the search committee]
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2011 2:38 PM
To: Terry Mena [associate dean of students and hiring manager for the SMD position]
Cc: [every search committee member except the University Press editor-in-chief]; Charles Brown [head of Student Affairs]
Subject: Search Committee for Director for Student Media (recommendation for hire)

Greetings!

The search committee for Director for Student Media met today (Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 2 pm).  The search committee after discussion of evaluations on each candidate, voted to recommend to you, the hiring authority, to hire Michael Gaede for the position of Director for Student Media at Florida Atlantic University.

We look forward to your response.

Dr. Corey A. King
Associate Vice President & Dean of Students
Student Services Building (SS #8), Room 226
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991
Office:  561-297-3542
Fax:  561-297-2502

Confidentiality Notice: This E-Mail is intended only for the use of the Individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, please do not distribute, notify the sender by E-Mail at the address shown above, then delete the original message with any attachments. Thank you for your compliance.

[Note: The above notice is false because FAU, as a public university, is an agency of the state. As the Office of the Attorney General of Florida puts it, "'E-mail' messages made or received by agency employees in connection with official business are public records and subject to disclosure in the absence of an exemption."]

====================

From: Terry Mena
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 7:37 PM
To: Corey King
Cc: [every search committee member except the University Press editor-in-chief]; Charles Brown
Subject: Director for Student Media

I want to thank the members of the search committee for your commitment and diligence in completing your recommendation.

After conducting the reference checks for all of the candidates, I spoke with Michael Gaede. He has unofficially accepted the director position with a proposed starting date of July 5, 2011. We hope to complete the official offer letter by earlier next week. An official announcement will be sent out to faculty, staff and students, shortly thereafter.

Sincerely,

‬Terry C. Mena
Associate Dean of Students
Office of Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
Florida Atlantic University
Student Service Building, Room. 226
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431
(561) 297-3546 phone
(561) 297-2502 fax‬

====================

TOMORROW: Deja vu

LATER: A skeletal excavation

SMD: Paper-pushing

April 15, 2011

In February, I asked Terry Mena what Student Affairs is looking for in its next student media director. I figured the dean who’s doubling as our interim student media director would have a pretty good idea.

They’re looking for a “press journalist,” according to him. “Press experience” is “high on the radar,” experience in a “college setting” is preferred, and TV and radio experience would be an “added bonus.”

I wondered if he was just telling me what he thought I wanted to hear by prioritizing journalism experience. After all, when we were searching for an assistant student media director, Student Affairs was clear that TV and radio experience was most important.

We’ll know soon enough, though: The search committee should recommend a hire before the month is out. In the meantime, the finalists’ documentation is below.

====================

UP NEXT: If past is prologue


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