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Murray State University’s Board of Regents ignored troubling questions raised by WPSD Local 6 about university President Robert Jackson in a series of recent reports — and turned a deaf ear to criticism leveled at Jackson by the United Campus Workers Union — in extending Jackson’s contract for another year, and awarding him a raise, at its June 2 meeting.…

The regents were silent when presented with these concerns. Their vote was unanimous. 

“Too many workers,” Union representative Brian Bourke explained to the board of regents, “are expressing fear of retaliation, and too many rumors have spread about workers being blacklisted or worse for organizing for better pay and conditions. We're worried these perceptions have grown, and [they are] certainly more damaging in light of recent reports published by Paducah-based WPSD news station about the administration's treatment of WKMS.”

Open records requests submitted by WPSD news director Perry Boxx disgorged voluminous public records that revealed Jackson’s hostility towards the university’s public radio affiliate, WKMS, and his acquiescence to pressure exerted by state and local officials to obstruct unfavorable WKMS reporting. (

WPSD has since filed suit against MSU in Calloway Circuit Court for additional public records the University refused to disclose in response to its open records requests. 

The regents’ refusal to address Jackson’s role in the controversy, or — at a minimum — to suggest the need for change in his approach to university affiliated news organizations, is nearly as deplorable as Jackson’s conduct, emboldening him rather than admonishing him.

“All governments love secrecy and universities are part of government,” veteran reporter Al Cross observed in WPSD’s June 1 installment of its Murray State University series. “They’re a little bit different and they're supposed to be different. They’re supposed to stand for certain principles and one of those principles should be accountability and transparency.”…

Apparently, this is not a view held by MSU’s president or by its board of regents. 

“What is and what should never be.”


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