Professor concerned after show cancellation

Concerns have been raised over who decides what shows will be produced for the local cable channel by the media services at Northern Kentucky University.

The issue was brought before the Professional Concerns Committee at a meeting held on March 28, after Michael Washington, director of African American Studies, wrote a memo questioning the cancellation of his show “Afro Centricity,” a show that has been aired for the past 16 years. Washington said he wrote the memo after being told by Mike Mimms, media production manager, the show would be taken off the air because it was not diverse enough. Later, he said, he was told the reason was lack of staff, not diversity. Washington said he explained the show was diverse in that it was the only show dealing with issues of the African-American community. “We have not had the resources this semester to provide these services to all the faculty that has requested it,” said Craig Agneberg, associate director of learning systems. “I don’t know if it was ever determined it (the show) would be canceled.”

Ray McNeil, chair of the PCC, said that the committee discussed the general situation, not the specific incident. Washington also said that Agneberg and Mimms admitted at the meeting they had violated faculty members’ academic freedom by an arbitrary decision to deny the faculty access to NKU cable. Then they presented a proposal to the committee to create a fair selection process for faculty. According to Agneberg, information technology is currently working on the specifics of an open application process. McNeil said the application process will state specific criteria for faculty members to conduct a show. Then the PCC will look over the application and criteria. The committee will make suggestions and list concerns about the process if there are any. “I will remain concerned if technocrats will still be involved in making those kinds of decisions about faculty service to the community through cable television, ” Washington said. “I will remain concerned if faculty were not a part of reading those proposals and making those decisions.”

Agneberg said it is still unclear who will make the final decisions.

According to Agneberg, the Learning Advisory Committee, which consists of faculty members, will be part of the decision making process. “We are looking for that group to have a more active interest determining the guidelines and ultimately the application process will go through that committee,” Agneberg said.