Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Journalism, I shall avenge thee!

So I got a call this evening from a young student working for the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M. I listened to her spiel as she worked up to asking me for money. As soon as the invitation to make a financial gift left her lips, I countered by asking if Texas A&M had re-instituted a journalism degree.

I know what you're thinking: This was an unfair ambush I'd been prepping for years. And yes, it was. But I was nice. We have students just like her at Texas State who have the thankless job of manning phone banks to try and get alumni to give back to the university (and I have to say, the A&M students have a much easier time of it). So I was nice to her. I waited patiently as she checked with highers-up to find out that no, there is currently no journalism degree at A&M, but there are some classes that can be taken. I kindly informed her--pointing out that I had nothing against her personally--that the program had been dismantled in 2004 and until the university re-instituted a meaningful journalism program I would be withholding any direct financial support. She asked if it might have been a state-wide initiative across all universities in Texas. To my credit, I did not laugh (as all you University of Texas, North Texas and Texas State journalism graduates are now doing) but instead gave her a history lesson, how Robert Gates killed off journalism at A&M back in 2004 in an effort to rid himself of an unwanted dean of the College of Liberal Arts. How A&M was made a laughingstock in media far and wide as it was pointed out the school had abandoned the field to the perceived "Burnt Orange conspiracy" in journalism.

Yes, five years on, the bitterness is still close to the surface with me. I suggested she pass my screed along to those who take note of such things, pointing out that many A&M journalism graduates from years past may well harbor feelings similar to my own. Once the university does revive a journalism program with an honest-to-goodness bachelor degree--not, I hasten to point out, a minor or "specialization"--then I will once again be happy to lend them my financial support. But not before. It actually was quite a pleasant conversation, and she confessed to not knowing A&M ever produced journalists at all.

For those of you who might be curious about such things, I did not get into the whole Cepheid Variable can of worms. Yes, I'm bitter there as well, but an entire department/degree carries more weight than a student organization, even one that was so influential on me.

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  1. Scott Cupp9:49 AM

    Gig 'em, Jayme!

  2. Good one, Jayme! Mind if I link to this on the Aggie Journalists blog?