At the same time, the embattled Speck was refusing to give comments to reporters, including those from the Joplin Globe, he was closeted in closed door sessions with newly-minted Joplin Globe Publisher Michael Beatty.
The campus newspaper, The Chart, which has taken the lead and for the most part has been the only source for information about the ongoing problems at the university, discovered the meetings through some good old fashioned shoe leather work- an examination of Speck's appointment calendar.
Speck also spent more than eight hours in leadership academy meetings, and seven hours, 45 minutes with administrative council, according to the documents. Speck spent six hours and 15 minutes total on five listening meetings, and his calendar also includes a total of four hours meeting with either Faculty Senate President Roger Chelf, or Faculty Senate president-elect Cheryl Cifelli, four hours spent in Steering Committee meetings for a proposed medical school branch, and six hours with Steve Plaster in late February. He’s traveled to Jefferson City twice, dined with Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw, attended three meetings with Joplin Globe Publisher Michael Beatty and had one 15-minute appointment with U.S. Representative Roy Blunt.The problem here is the concept that these meetings with Beatty may be affecting the Joplin Globe coverage of Speck and the university. During these past few weeks, the Globe has almost totally discontinued what little scrutiny it had been giving to the shenanigans of Speck and his supporters on the Board of Governors.
That time has also seen a change in the reporters covering the university, Greg Grisolano, who had been taking baby steps at least to get at the root of the university's situation, is no longer on the beat. It is not that the Globe has replaced Grisolano with a lightweight. That has not been the case, but the perception is still there that Beatty has come into Joplin playing the Country Club/Chamber of Commerce cheerleading publisher who plans to steer away from any "bad" news that might have a negative effect on the perception of Joplin.
Hopefully, I am reading too much into Beatty's meetings with Speck and the Globe is just continuing the same kind of coverage of the university that caused it to miss the Speck story in the first place.
The inside story of how Bruce Speck came to Missouri Southern State University needs to be told. How did the most important job at MSSU come to be given to the only man interviewed for the post? How was it that no one took the time to thoroughly check Speck's problems at Austin Peay?
And let's not even get into the pie-in-the-sky Joplin medical school issue, one that really never stood to benefit the university, but would have paid huge dividends to the same member of the Board of Governors, Dwight Douglas, who cleared the path for Speck to become university president.
The next few weeks should provide Joplin Globe readers with a clear indication of whether Michael Beatty is going to lead the charge for providing the Joplin area with the truth or if he is more interested in playing the backdoor power games that have subjected Missouri Southern State University to ridicule over the past two years.