Paul Brown, program director for Wake Forest University’s public radio station, WFDD, announced his resignation today.
Brown, who has been on paid leave at his request since Sept. 27, told Wake Forest officials that he was resigning to pursue other interests. He indicated he had been considering a move for several months.
A controversy arose in September when Wake Forest Vice President Sandra Boyette asked the station to restrict its coverage of a report by university trustees. In interviews with the news media, Brown and some members of the station’s news staff voiced their objection to the request.
Brown has said Boyette initially planned to remove his news supervisory duties after the incident. The plan was never implemented, according to Boyette.
“I told Paul that he would be relieved of his responsibility for overseeing the work of the station’s news director, but we would keep in place his other responsibilities as program director and morning host, and make no change in his compensation,” Boyette said. “He went on leave, and that change in responsibilities was never implemented.”
“Throughout his paid leave, which was granted at his request, Paul has had the opportunity to return to the station at any time as program director,” Boyette added. “On October 1, I informed Paul that he could return to the station with all of his responsibilities intact, including supervision of the news director.”
WFDD Station Manager Linda Ward said, “We are grateful for Paul’s 12 years of service to the university, and all of us wish him well in his new endeavors.”
WFDD News Director Michelle Johnson resigned from WFDD on Oct. 19 to accept a position as a reporter at the Winston-Salem Journal.
On Oct. 25, Wake Forest President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. announced that he had moved supervision of WFDD from the Office of University Advancement to the Office of the Provost. Hearn assigned Associate Provost Samuel T.Gladding to oversee the station, after considering recent recommendations from Boyette, vice president for university advancement, and an interim faculty advisory committee.
At a meeting of the undergraduate College faculty on Oct. 11, Boyette announced that she was recommending that Hearn “consider a different administrative oversight for the station.” Boyette, who supervises Wake Forest’s fundraising and public affairs activities, had been responsible for WFDD for 11 years.
In the same faculty meeting, a spokesman for the faculty committee established by the president recommended that responsibility for WFDD be moved to the Office of the Provost.
Boyette has repeatedly apologized in faculty meetings for inserting herself into the editorial process at WFDD in September.
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