Well, it ain’t Truthin’…
One of the main purposes of this website is to simply archive all of the information surrounding the proposed Vanderbilt Student Communications (VSC) sale of WRVU so everyone can have access to the facts.
What makes the recent events so galling to so many, is that this license sale is not the work of a group of students, but largely rammed through by two ‘adults’: Chris Carroll (VSC Media Adviser), and Mark Wollaeger (VSC Chair). Note that you will be hard pressed to find any public statement without one of these two as the source. To legitimize selling-off a student asset, the VSC was recently reconfigured under the direction of Chris Carroll, such that a VSC Board could ‘vote one of its members off the island’ without that member having a vote or representation – or simply, the VSC and the student control of WRVU was hijacked by a few ‘adults’ that were entrusted to protect WRVU. This new VSC and their growing paid adult staff have strong-armed control away from the students and into paid ‘professional’ (and expensive) hands. Unsurprisingly, this adult bloat adds a crushing financial burden in unnecessary staff salaries on formally largely self-sustaining student organizations.
A natural outcome of this ‘adult’ take-over of a student-run VSC is this cash-out of VSC’s sole valuable asset, WRVU, which you will notice has two, and only two, vocal proponents in Mark Wollaeger and Chris Carroll. Other than the insipid comments of student Justin Tardiff, there has been little to no vocal support of this sale idea from ANYONE. Yet, against the avalanche of protests and complaints opposing the sale, Wollaegher and Carroll clearly have been actively conducting the sale, all the while, at the same time stiff arming students out of the process.
Numerous efforts in all manners have been attempted to get the VSC to provide more information, to answer direct questions, and to consider better options. Some of these attempts are included here in this site. The record shows that these attempts and student concerns where routinely ignored by the self-anointed masters of WRVU, Carroll and Wollaeger, who, it turns out, are, evidently, the only people who’s opinion matters. WRVU staff members were repeatedly denied entrance to VSC meetings, direct questions were provided uselessly evasive answers, and letters were never answered.
Take the following quotes from Chris Carroll in the recent June 8 Student Press Law Center article:.
[...] For Carroll, though, the decision-making process has
been 'more open and public than any I’ve heard of before.' '
We wanted just the opposite of secrecy,' he said. 'Anyone who
asked [VSC] any questions was given an answer. We could not
have been more visible and accessible.'
Apart from a formal discussion with WRVU supporters at an
October board meeting, Carroll said VSC has never been
presented with any 'legitimate' feedback.
'There were a lot of people who said ‘don’t take away my
radio station,’ but there weren’t any who presented a viable
solution,' he said. 'The reality is that, in nine months
since our initial announcement, there have been no attempts
to communicate with the board.'
Most attempts to advocate for WRVU, Carroll added, have been
directed toward the university’s administration, which he said
is not the legal license holder of the station.
Each sentence by Carroll above strays heavily from ‘truthin”.
1) ‘For Carroll, though, the decision-making process has been more open and public than any I’ve heard of before.’
The glaring omission here, of course, is that the bar is set very low due to the despicable ways that college radio (see KTRU and WUSF) has been treated as of late. With the bar set so low, it is easy to show improvement, but, alas, Wollaeger and Carroll have found a way to trip over it.
By using ‘at least I am less evil than Hitler’ type logic you can say that that he and Wollaeger are indeed ‘more open and public’ than the public relations disasters that are the University’s actions in regard to KTRU and WUSF. The truth is, that Wollaeger and Carroll employed the exact same deceptive methods as these shameful other examples, but with the added benefit of a public display of doe-eyed hand-wringing. Bravo.
2) ‘We wanted just the opposite of secrecy,’ he said. ‘Anyone who asked [VSC] any questions was given an answer. We could not have been more visible and accessible.’
There might be some truth to the above statement, if you are grading on a heavy curve. Wollaeger and Carroll provided half-truths, promised follow-up that never came, and otherwise stonewalled any intelligent discourse. For starters, the following letter sent to Carroll never received acknowledgement, much less a response. You can listen to Wollaeger provide a series of empty promises that were never followed up on here
3) Apart from a formal discussion with WRVU supporters at an October board meeting, Carroll said VSC has never been presented with any “legitimate” feedback.
This is a bald assertion. The following are some of the opinions Carroll deems not ‘legitmate’:
*The Nashville Community and Vanderbilt Students: The VSC has admitted that they have received well over 600 letters (a small sampling HERE) all against the sale of WRVU along with a petition against the sale signed by over 2000 Vanderbilt Students.
*Former VSC Board Members: The VSC received 2 letters (see Sept 27 and Oct 4 entries in Timeline) from alumni with combined over 136 years of WRVU dj experience and 28 years of combined VSC Board experience.
*Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music: A letter was sent to the VSC from 21 faculty members and deans of Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music as well (see HERE).
*Vanderbilt Music Fraternity: A letter Vanderbilt’s Music Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha
*International and Local Artists: Peter Guralnick, Chuck D (Public Enemy), and many others. HERE for more.
*Industry Leaders of TV, Radio, and Digital Media.
Wollaeger and Carroll provided no acknowledgement of receipt and certainly no intelligent response. We also know that the VSC has received letters from internationally known titans of TV, radio, print, and digital media who got their formative experience at WRVU, that illustrated the importance of WRVU very clearly, but the geniuses at the VSC couldn’t be bothered. The arrogance and abusive attitudes of these ‘super-geniuses’ were even openly mocked in Vanderbilt’s humor magazine, The Slant (see here).
4) ‘There were a lot of people who said ‘don’t take away my radio station,’ but there weren’t any who presented a viable solution,’ he said. ‘The reality is that, in nine months since our initial announcement, there have been no attempts to communicate with the board.’
How is this for a viable solution?
Return WRVU and VSC BACK to the students, where it belongs! We at SaveWRVU know that the real drive for the poaching of WRVU is financial, and a major motivator is the bloat associated with the growing paid VSC staff. An endowment created by the WRVU license sale is simply a means of sustaining an ever-increasing professional (i.e., non-student) and utterly unnecessary VSC staff – not to protect student media into the future, as Wollaegher and Carroll contend. Do the math: At 5% yearly return on this $3.35M sale price the annual $170k endowment is considerably less than the recently added annual ‘professional’ salary outlays.
You want a solutions? Revert the VSC and associated media groups back to the students and you will save more per year than you will gain from this wretched license sale and killing a treasured student organization. Again, go HERE for thorough reasoning against the license sale.
5) Most attempts to advocate for WRVU, Carroll added, have been directed toward the university’s administration, which he said is not the legal license holder of the station.
We must admit, there is a smidgen of truth to this. It became clear to any reasonable person that the VSC had their minds made up and held a contemptible position to the value of WRVU and held added contempt to its supporters. What is someone to do if they want their voice heard and find themselves being stonewalled by the VSC? They go to the Vanderbilt administration.
To say that Vanderbilt University has no say in this is also false. WRVU and the VSC is funded by student-paid activity fees. Vanderbilt remains the owner of WRVU and must sign-off on any transfer per FCC guidelines. It is no accident that WRVU stands for We aRe Vanderbilt University.
These series of quotes from Carrol as indicated above are a microcosm of Chris Carroll and Mark Wollaegers, VSC’s spokespeople pushing the WRVU sale, in dealing with this shameful process – in sum, deceitful and unbefitting the ethical behavior expected at an institute of higher learning such as Vanderbilt University. Wollaeger and Carroll are sophisticated con men, in fact, Wollaeger literally wrote the book!. [This is not a joke.]
Please join us and thousands others in stopping this travesty.
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