Updated: Warren Wilson College officials announce they are killing business department


UPDATED AT 4:44 pm on Wednesday:

Warren Wilson College spokesman Ben Anderson has the following:

Yes, college officials do plan to recommend to the Warren Wilson College Board of Trustees that the business major be dropped. However, even if the recommendation is approved, current business majors will have the opportunity to complete their business degrees if they choose to do so.

Not sure who your source was/is, but here are a few other points that I hope you will correct on your website:

– John Barry did not resign on the spot.

– Administrators did not say there will be no discussion on this.

– This does not fly in the face of our democratic process. Students were brought into the conversation when a consultant was on campus. There has been considerable consultation on campus.

– Because there was not demand for a course taught by the adjunct, we did not plan to offer it next semester. There is no promise of continued employment to adjuncts. In conversations about this fact, the adjunct did resign, effective immediately.

Our business department is and has been quite small, and college officials decided that it would be better to close the program rather than make a big investment to grow and strengthen it, at a time when resources are finite.



There’s also a Facebook event that’s been created. Here’s that information:

All students and interested parties are invited to discuss the desired response to the “recommendation to our Board of Trustees that we close the undergraduate business major..”

Below is a copy of the email sent out to Sustainable Business students last night:

Dear Students,

I am writing to you today because you are either a business major or have shown an interest in the major. I need to inform you that I am recommending to our Board of Trustees that we close the undergraduate business major, that we “teach out” the program for all of you who are here now, and that we no longer accept declarations of a business major after this semester.

Although I am sure that this is not welcome news, you should know that it is a decision reached after considerable thought. You should also know that the College will honor its commitment to you by offering you the classes you need to finish your major here. Many of you who have been waivering between business and another major may choose to pursue another discipline. For those of you who are committed to finishing your business major, we will meet your commitment with our own to help you finish your major as swiftly and as soundly as possible.

Any of you who have immediate questions about your own business major should talk with Ben Feinberg, Social Science Division Chair. Ben is aware of this recommendation and is poised to help you chart the path to your degree completion. In the coming weeks, I will inform you of more specific plans for offering the required classes.

I want to assure you that I have discussed this recommendation with the faculty, with the Cabinet, with the President, and with the Board. Although I know that many of you can recite numerous things of importance and great personal value about our current program, I want you to know that this recommendation comes after serious vetting.

Please feel free to contact me or Ben with questions about your business degree. And please know that I wish you the best as you complete your work at Warren Wilson College.



Vice President for Academic Affairs
and Dean of the College
Warren Wilson College
P.O. Box 9000
Asheville, NC 28815

And this from Josh Reiss:

Josh Reiss
Rosa Lee Harden:
IMHO, this is a hugely inflammatory article. The best point they make is questioning whether not including students in the decision was correct because WWC has had the history of having that kind of governance.*

But as one who sits on the board and has been marginally involved in this decision, but asking questions about why WWC would have a business major, it makes PERFECT sense to me for WWC to not have a business major. Really, when you think about WWC do you think about going there to learn great business practices and management? Environment, Agro, Sustainability, Creative Writing … those sorts of things are what WWC excels at … and for those going into a business sort of situation in those fields don’t need a business MAJOR, they need Mountain Biz Works …

AND, from my unique perspective in social enterprise and business sustainability, to build THAT KIND of department would be fabulous, but very expensive, and VERY different from the current run-of-the mill business major. So, does WWC continue to offer an out-of-date and out-of-sync degree? Or do we stop that degree and perhaps find a way to build something new? I’m not saying thatWWC is working on that at the moment, to be honest, but does that mean we keep doing something that doesn’t fit our values.

*And, do we really think that students can get into this conversation completely? I’m not sure on that. It seems that sure, we should consult and inform, but college administrators actually have access to information and financials and all that jazz that help inform them as they make very complex decisions. And maybe that was not handled the best it could have been, but I stand behind the administration in having made a difficult, but in opinion, absolutely correct decision.

Anyone wanting a further discussion of this feel free to contact me directly and I’ll be happy to talk with you about it. Not as a board member, but as a person who is deeply involved in cutting edge business practices! And it is in that role as a business person that I am speaking … just being on the board gave me insights into how carefully and wisely the faculty and administration did this work. (Paula Kathryn Garrett )


ORIGINAL POST: I’m hearing that Warren Wilson College administration officials announced on Tuesday that the college has decided to cut its business department. The decision stunned students and professors. John Barry, the department chair, reportedly quit on the spot when the news was delivered by Paula Garrett, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. Students are rallying to try and save the department.

Administration officials said the decision was final and that there would be no discussion. That move was particularly upsetting, considering the college’s reputation as a Democratically run institution that values discussion.

It’s unclear to me why administration officials made the decision to cut the business department. There was apparently tension several years ago, and more recently, there was a blow-up when the administration announced it was cutting a class taught by Heather Lacey, a business department professor. Campus police were reportedly sent to Lacey’s classroom to enforce the decision.

Last year, Warren Wilson College made a list of the most liberal colleges in the U.S. More from wiki, on Warren Wilson College:

Warren Wilson College (WWC) is a private four-year work college in the Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina, United States near Asheville. It is known for its curriculum of work, academics, and service, called “the Triad,” which requires every student to work an on-campus job, perform at least one hundred hours of community service over four years (however this requirement has changed to certain Community Engagement Commitment goals called PEGs, or Points of Engagement and Growth, effective the spring semester of the 2012-13 academic year[4]), and complete a requisite course of academic work in order to graduate.[5] The college offers classes in 30 different departments with the most popular majors in Environmental Sciences, English, and Outdoor Leadership.


Jacques November 16, 2013 - 12:32 am

I echo Steve’s sentiment. Too often this site posts very thin rumors which come off as fact. I understand Jason’s point of this being a blog, therefore not held to the same standards as other outlets, but as evidenced by the comments here, that is not how the readers view this site. What’s the point of posting half-truths, or mis-heard happenings? I’ve long felt I could send in a completely fabricated tip and get it posted here as fact. ( James Franco was in town last week meeting with my brother in law, who’s a realtor. Franco’s plan is to open a vintage 8-track store on the south slope that’s completely farm to table, with project backing by Monsanto.) I definitely know if i send a press release, that it will get copied and pasted with little thought.

Yes, blogs are different, but this site portrays itself as a news source, always wanting to be the one to break the story ( or a non-story, as it may be). I know I’ve been visiting Ashvegas more often since the C-T put up the lame paywall, and I’m looking for news. I get tired of the half-assed “reporting” in the “articles.” Apparently I’m not alone here. Even though it’s a blog, I expect more, maybe because I know Jason has a background as a legitmate journalist? Ashvegas has a real opportunity to fill a void in this town, to shine light on undereported stories, or dig deeper on those that need it–this thread is a great one and I hope the site will improve!

JT November 19, 2013 - 10:26 am

All this attention and traffic from a post like this, and then it is followed up by three days with zero posts. Then four movie reviews that no one gives a crap about!
I don’t take it personally, but it seems like a missed opportunity.

Silver November 15, 2013 - 7:11 pm

You know you’re doing something right when you generate this mix of comments about the state of local journalism, complete with jealous, sanctimonious diatribes posing as moralist high ground.

In fact, the responses here go hand-in-hand with just about every conversation that’s taken place about the role of the online journalist since the traditional media structure of gate keeper was torn down after blog sites became the new sheriffs in town. Whether it’s Drudge or HuffingtonPost, every single blog that has ever moved the needle has had to face this general argument at some point.

This could get into a much bigger conversation, but Jason has no obligation whatsoever, seeing as how this is his blog, to report a story any other way than how he sees fit. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go elsewhere or start your own blog with your own sources. In fact, your presence here and your comments are only making this place into a larger factor locally than it seems you’d like for it to be. But I’ll say this: I doubt you become the most read source of anything in any community if you haven’t built some trust among your readers and the folks in your network. People love this site because they can find out what’s really going on in this area and also have an active voice in the conversation. The initial post of anything on this site always sees like the first word, not the final, conclusive one. At the end of the day, this is just a forum, not the front page of the New York Times, people. So what if it says “news” in the heading? Has anyone ever seriously thought this was supposed to be a hard-hitting, investigative news source? I mean, it’s called Ashvegas for Christ’s sake. What may or may not be “implicit” is really more about what you’re bringing to this site, not Jason.

I look at this site as an ongoing community dialogue, where the readers/commenters play an equally active role in the conversation as Jason does. I appreciate that every single comment gets posted and the moderator never feels the need to get in a pissing contest with anyone over details, he just lets people speak their mind and the reader can form their own conclusion. That, to me, shows that he’s an intellectually honest person. That’s one of the things that makes this blog great – there’s no editorial god who enjoys dominating the conversation or guiding it one way or another, there’s no agenda.

I personally do not know Jason. Has he made some errors in some of his reports? I’m sure he has, but to my knowledge they have all been corrected. You know who else makes errors in news stories every single day? Print journalists with a whole board of editors sifting through every word.

Like it or not, this blog currently fills an enormous vacuum in Asheville and until there’s a viable alternative it’ll stay that way.

not tastie November 15, 2013 - 1:14 pm

I’m on Team Shanafelt. Even thought this is a BLOG, it is true that Jason is known to us – and we read this blog because – Jason has been an investigative reporter at both Mountain X and A C-T and we have some trust in him. A *presumption* that he will bring investigative skills to this BLOG is implicit. So, while it’s certainly fun to have 80 people comment on the rumor that Trader Joe’s is coming to South Asheville only to open in fact in North Asheville, it’s another thing, and not a good thing, to spread rumors about people or situations where a phone call or two – even a day’s time if that’s what it needs – can shed a clear light.

Harry November 14, 2013 - 9:14 pm

Keep up the good work Jason. Ashvegas THE BLOG, rocks!

Yeppers November 14, 2013 - 7:19 pm

Great discussion, actually.

We have skilled reporters in town.

We have no lack of stories waiting for their expose–plenty of fodder there.

We have no working journalistic business model that could employ reporters fairly, not be beholden to business and political interests, and be accountable to the community.

There must be a way.

Dane November 14, 2013 - 4:14 pm

With all due respect to Jason (and other commenters), I have to agree with Steve. The value of this site (and there’s no denying it is an important AVL resource) lies entirely in its ability to inform the community and open a dialogue about local issues. But I see absolutely no value in rushing to publish unfounded rumors, other than coercing the principles involved to speak out in order to counter half truths and baseless gossip after the fact. So why NOT take a few minutes to give those parties a chance to respond or clarify BEFORE you publish? Is that really so difficult and/or unreasonable? If you value community dialogue, would it not be in the community’s best interest to have accurate and sourced information as a foundation for that dialogue? What good is a conversation if it’s built on a foundation of complete speculation?

As for the assertions that this site is a “blog” and is therefore free of any journalistic expectations, Mr. Sandford’s own comments seem to suggest he views the site and his mission as more than a “blog” to post press releases and gossip:

Jason Sandford says:
November 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

” … You should keep an eye on Ashvegas, James. I’ve got a group of just-as-talented writers, photographers and designers volunteering their expertise at Ashvegas and chomping at the bit to help me launch something new and fresh and locally owned. I’m putting out solid content every day in digital form. And there’s more to come.”

Smytty November 14, 2013 - 4:27 pm

I read what you posted there from Jason, but it seems to be missing the word “journalism” or “investigation.”

Jason’s blog provides a great forum for the community. Why not raise hell that the bulletin board at the West End Bakery doesn’t carry enough hard investigative journalism?

Dane November 14, 2013 - 4:50 pm

I hesitate the even dignify your disingenuous comparison between the West End Bakery bulletin board and Ashvegas with a response, but I’ll indulge.

First, I never asked for hard hitting investigation. I simply suggested that a phone call or email to the parties involved with breaking stories would add value to an otherwise pointless exercise in speculation.

Second, the comment DOES clearly state, “I’m putting out solid content every day in digital form.”

To me, solid content would imply more than repeating rumors. The above article makes claims like ” … the department chair reportedly quit on the spot when the news was delivered …” and “Administration officials said the decision was final and that there would be no discussion.” Both of those assertions were quickly refuted by the university and could have easily been fact checked before publishing.

The final paragraph begins with “It’s unclear to me why administration officials made the decision to cut the business department.” It’s unclear because there was absolutely no effort made to clarify. Judging from the college’s response, they would have been happy to present their reasoning for the decision, leaving the community to judge whether those reasons were justified or not. But how are we to engage in any meaningful dialogue without the most basic of facts? Again, what use is a community dialogue if it’s based on nothing more than speculation?

Smytty November 15, 2013 - 6:29 am

The comparison to a bulletin board was not intended to be flippant or glib. If it is a place for people to send press releases, interesting tidbits of information, and blurbs about community events, I think that’s a fair comparison.

I think that if you are taking “solid content” and reading into that “I’m going to be delving into hard questions and becoming this investigative source this community sorely needs!” that you are as guilty of projecting as you claim I am.

Why don’t we take Jason at his word and let him describe his own website? And once he has answered this, let’s all try and stop trying to affix certain expectations on it, based on a (very real) void in the community.

will November 14, 2013 - 10:23 pm

From the About page:
“Since 2005, ASHVEGAS.COM is an independent news blog serving the city and the people of Asheville, N.C., sharing local news, the word on the street, events, and information as it happens. We’re the first place to look for the Asheville news you care about.”

I’m not sure using the word ‘blog’ exonerates someone from the ‘news’ part. Sharing ‘the word on the street,’ perhaps, but then this post is categorized under “Asheville News,” not “the word on the street.”

Jason Sandford November 19, 2013 - 10:08 am

Definitely hear the point you and Steve make about tagging blog posts more specifically so people can differentiate.

yep November 14, 2013 - 3:03 pm

Not surprised by the decision at WWC. Program funding is heavily tuition dependent and enrollment is down.

Ashevegas prints press releases, that’s what they do, but it seems irresponsible to print rumors that name specific individuals.

I understand Mr. Shanafelt’s frustration. Good journalism is nonexistent in Asheville.

Smytty November 14, 2013 - 4:16 pm

The lack of good journalism in this town is true, but that doesn’t somehow obligate Jason to take up that mantle any more than it does you or I.

Angie Newsome November 14, 2013 - 12:42 pm

Thanks to Jason for the forum to discuss this — and many other — issues regarding news and news gathering and the need for investigative reporting.

I’m glad that Carolina Public Press is coming up. I think some of what our nonprofit online news service — and the group of freelance reporters and editors who make CPP happen — have in the works over the next weeks/months will be interesting to this group.

Also, I’m happy to discuss our mission to provide unbiased, in-depth and investigative news across 18 WNC counties anytime.

You can find our work — which spans topics including crime and criminal justice, the environment, the economy, food and food policy, education and state politics — at http://www.carolinapublicpress.org.

You can also reach me at 828-279-0949 and anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

Angie Newsome

Fark November 14, 2013 - 12:36 pm

Hey Steve,
Get your panties out of a wad. I think you are just jealous because of your extremely weak “blog” http://steveshanafelt.com that hasn’t done shit.
Ashvegas is great, I form my own opinions about the worthiness and accuracy about the information presented because this is clearly a blog! I don’t go to the innerwebs assuming everything written is completely accurate, but I do appreciate that this website allows people to share information and gain information about what may be happening around town. Hey Steve, once you do something worthwhile then maybe you could cast stones, until then you may want to work on your extremely informative blog website!

Bensterino November 14, 2013 - 12:19 pm

The problem here is that the college wasn’t transparent about its process and brought unnecessary scrutiny on itself. The decision by Warren Wilson to end its business program is certainly valid and appropriate, but what is also appropriate is to make sure that decision is clear to those who are impacted, including the community at large.

Jason’s story only brings more light on WW’s misstep and should hopefully be a lesson for them in need for more openness.

Big Al November 14, 2013 - 10:04 am

Wow, big surprise that Capitalism is not welcome on the commune.

Alan Kaplan November 14, 2013 - 7:21 am

Reporting Misfeasance,malfeasance and nonfeasance at Warren Wilson could be a full time job.

Keep on keeping on!

Bill Chase November 14, 2013 - 6:46 am

I love this BLOG. Thanks Jason for a great site.

I love Steve’s phony moral high ground though.

There is such a truthiness to it.


Sarah November 13, 2013 - 8:58 pm

I think one of the best things about Ashvegas is the comments and conversations that have been going on lately, especially in these “gossip” pieces. It seems like a really great source for open dialog, and I’m glad to have it in my Asheville life.

Radio Follower November 13, 2013 - 8:07 pm

Jason…Thanks for clarifying what Ashvegas is all about. It’s interesting to see how some of your readers ‘perceive’ what you should be doing, as opposed to what you ‘actually’ do. Perhaps Steve should follow his own advice on due diligence and research what a blog is and what you do before throwing out words like “lazy” and “shady”.

Peter Reiss November 13, 2013 - 7:43 pm

Dean of the College “Paula” should know that “waivering” is not a word in the English language.

Interesting that Dean Paula is making the recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Does the president have a say in this? Shouldn’t the recommendation be coming from him? But on second thought, who in progressive/liberal educational administration would want to “own” this decision?

What a disservice to those students who will be graduating from the college with a business major, to find their program devalued by the institution granting their degree; to those students entering the college, as most students do, without a clue as to what they will want to do when they graduate and find themselves drawn to business, only to find that they must go elsewhere to complete their studies; to the Western NC and Asheville business communities, which would surely benefit by having WWC-educated business graduates in the pool from which they may draw employees; and to the ideals of the college itself, which espouses transparent decision-making, honest and open discourse with students, open minds and democracy.

A very sad episode. Hoping it turns out to be just a bump in the road.

Melissa November 13, 2013 - 4:20 pm

Why is this NOT a news story?

Steve Shanafelt November 13, 2013 - 3:13 pm

Dear Jason at Ashvegas: This is not a news story.

A news story is when you hear a rumor, then pick up a phone and call someone directly involved and ask them questions about whether what you’ve heard is true or not, and then accurately report what they say. When you just repeat things you’ve heard without actually checking to see how much, if any, of it is true, this is called “gossip.” Passing off gossip as news is lazy, irresponsible and unethical. Please reach back into your journalistic training and try, however hard it might be, to remember how to pick up a phone, write an email or otherwise verify all the rumors you’ve heard before passing them along as fact. Some of us still take this kind of thing seriously.

I’ve now seen two major stories “break” on Ashvegas — the staff “Xodus” at Mountain Xpress and the decision by WWC to drop a major — both of which could have been excellent pieces of real news had you done the absolute basics of the reporting job. If you had simply called someone — anyone — for a quote, you’d actually be in a position of helping to inform the public. We’ve both done tons of this kind of work, often on tight deadline, and we both know that it would have added about 10 minutes to the process.

You learn a lot when you call people. Sometimes, they’ll even go on the record to fully state the facts. Other times, they’ll insist on being off the record, but share all they know. As evasive as some sources can be, we both know that a “no comment” can be pretty damning. It’s a lot more meaningful than simply reposting your interpretations of rumors and hearsay in the hopes that at least some if it is based in a truth-ish reality. Is it too much to ask that you make a token effort to get both sides of a story? Particularly when there actually are two sides of story to be told? It’s basic due diligence, and to not make even a half-hearted attempt at it shows a complete and utter disrespect for the people you’re writing about, not to mention your readers.

Again, I’m not asking you to go in depth. I’m asking you to make a phone call, ask a question (even if it’s a tough one) and actually do the basics of the job. This “I’m hearing …” stuff doesn’t read as the last resort of a journalist with a breaking story, and who has run out of sources to call. It reads like the work of an unskilled blogger who is too timid, cynical or lazy to put in more than the absolute minimum amount of effort.

I’ve worked with you Jason, and I know you can do better than this. It makes you seem shady and untrustworthy, which is never a good thing in a field where the only merit that matters is your integrity. Believe me when I say that I’d rather not write this, but if the big guys in town aren’t going to do real reporting anymore, it has to be people like us who will. People may love to gossip, but they can do that just fine on their own. Why not be the guy who gets to the bottom of the story, or at least makes a good-faith attempt to?

Steve Shanafelt

JT November 13, 2013 - 4:14 pm

This town is so ready for a website/blog that does some bare-minimum investigative journalism into local news stories. Follow Steve’s advice and step up to the plate, Ashvegas!

smytty November 13, 2013 - 4:25 pm

I think your criticism is more than fair, if this were a part of the news media. As I understand it, Ashvegas is a blog, not an online newspaper. Jason’s role is passing on news releases, information sent to him, rumors about businesses opening or closing, and a bit of whistleblowing on the side. While this leaves Jason less liable, it also gives him a lot more latitude in what he can report on.

This blog sees a very wide variety of topics tossed out for discussion. I think it serves a great purpose in disseminating information and provoking thoughtful chatter. I know many people who log into Ashvegas first thing rather that some of our other local news outlets to learn what is “really” going on. That knowledge comes from the articles written here, the links, AND the open discussion.

will November 14, 2013 - 7:48 am

The website header says “The news you want” in it. The posturing of the website and its writer(s) leads the casual observer to believe this is a place to go for news about Asheville.

Jason Sandford November 14, 2013 - 11:14 am

Yes, Will. I agree. I have present a mix of information – from rumors and gossip to breaking news. What I was trying to say was that the Warren Wilson College business department post was presented as rumor, not a fully reported “news story.”

Jason Sandford November 13, 2013 - 4:39 pm

Hey Steve,
Thanks for your note. I’ve said from the beginning that Ashvegas is a blog, not a newspaper. This distinction has consistently been lost on some folks, especially some of my friends and colleagues in the news business.

Of course the Warren Wilson College information is not a news story. I never said it was. But it’s true. The same goes for the Mountain Xpress drama. I’m chronicling staff departures. I’ve never posed the information in any other context. And again, what I’ve posted is true.

Thanks for the reminder on Journalism 101. I fully understand the difference between what I do here on the blog and what folks at a daily newspaper do. There’s certainly a difference. But again, this is a blog, not a newspaper.

My reputation stands on its own. If you think I’m “shady,” that’s your judgment. I think people who have worked with me know I’m a fair, skilled and trustworthy.


Steve Shanafelt November 13, 2013 - 6:01 pm

“I’ve said from the beginning that Ashvegas is a blog, not a newspaper. This distinction has consistently been lost on some folks, especially some of my friends and colleagues in the news business.”

Don’t bullshit me, man. The header of your site says “Ashvegas: The City You Love; The NEWS You Want.” News. Not rumor, innuendo or gossip. Those are your words, and you’re hardly pretending in any context that you’re not reporting.

“Of course the Warren Wilson College information is not a news story. I never said it was.”

This story is tagged “Asheville News.” You added that tag. You made specific claims that you knew, going in, would have a real impact on the people you were writing about. Don’t hide behind the manufactured shield of being a “blog.”

“But it’s true.”

Parts of it are. Other parts of it are missing vital context, and other parts are wildly inaccurate. It’s gossip, but presented as fact.

“But again, this is a blog, not a newspaper.”

THAT DOESN’T MEAN A GODDAMN THING, JASON! You know that it doesn’t. If you’re going to be presenting stuff like this — things that impact real people’s lives in this community — it’s not too much to ask that you put in some due diligence before you report it. It’s not even for the obvious legal reasons, it’s just common courtesy. Calling your reporting site a “blog” doesn’t change this. This IS a NEWS site. It’s a self-declared IN YOUR HEADER.

“If you think I’m “shady,” that’s your judgment. I think people who have worked with me know I’m a fair, skilled and trustworthy.”

Let’s cut to the chase: I know for a fact that much of what you’ve been reporting on both of these stories is sloppy, unfair and deeply inaccurate. In both cases, you could have literally put in a few minutes worth of work and at least gotten responses to those rumors, if not clarifications or additional details.

What you have managed to do is tell incomplete, misleading and speculative stories that don’t really serve the readers in any meaningful way other that to serve up half-baked townie gossip.

Please understand that this isn’t intended to be a personal attack, but it is a professional one. I’ve never had a personal beef with you, and when we worked together I generally respected your work. I’ve seen you turn in fair, skilled and trustworthy work. But you aren’t anywhere near that level now. We both know that you can do way better than this.

Is it too much to ask you to pick up a phone, and ask for a comment on these kinds of stories? Can a “blog” not do that? Do you truly believe that you don’t have some responsibility to your readers to at least put in that level of effort?

smytty November 14, 2013 - 12:49 pm

This is largely user-generated content, and reader-submitted articles. I’m not sure why you are seeking some higher level of accountability. If Jason says his blog is one thing – it is so. You don’t get to define what his project here is.

Clearly, whatever label anyone wants to put on Ashvegas, it is filling a need in the community. When I’m in a meeting and we’re discussing PR or publicity, someone always says “well, let’s see if we can get it on Ashvegas.” It has developed into a touchstone for the community.

Personally, my only issue with Ashvegas is that I’d rather that there were and “e” after the “h.” But, that’s not my call to make.

LEW November 14, 2013 - 1:48 pm

I have to agree with Steve here. If Ashvegas really wants to ‘serve’ our community which I think (maybe mistakenly) it aims to do then publishing rumors and hearsay – especially about heated issues – without even doing a cursory check of the facts does not serve anyone whether you call it ‘news’ or just a ‘blog.’

The Blunder Years November 14, 2013 - 2:59 pm

Could you list, in detail, which portions of the stories in question here are inaccurate?

LEW November 14, 2013 - 4:11 pm

Yes, I can. When I read the original post earlier today – along with many other visitors I’m sure – I read these statements:

“John Barry, the department chair, reportedly quit on the spot”


“Administration officials said the decision was final and that there would be no discussion.”


“Campus police were reportedly sent to Lacey’s classroom to enforce the decision.”

Since then the first two statements have been contradicted by other sources added to the original post. If I had decided not to revisit the original post I might only know what I originally read. As for the third statement from my understanding (as a WWC alumni) this is not a complete picture of what happened. Of course everyone sharing, from Jason’s original sources to the more ‘official’ statements, have their own agenda or slant on the situation and the whole truth probably lies somewhere in between – but it seems to me it would serve the community better to wait to post stories like this until more information is gathered. That’s my opinion.

Media Watcher November 13, 2013 - 7:22 pm

Steve, your points are well taken, and Jason’s response is clear. He’s orchestrating a blog, not publishing an investigative news site. It’s too bad the Citizen-Times didn’t unleash Jason on some really tricky stories, where his unparalleled access to sources and his trustworthiness, could have broken open some really unpleasant truths about what is going on at Mission, UNCA, and even Mountain Xpress. Instead, they wasted him on a gray tuxedo and entertainment fluff.

So the question is, who is doing investigative journalism? Carolina Public Press says they are, but so far only soft-ball stuff, as evidenced by some recent “headlines”:
Haywood Community College developing Appalachian Heritage Arts Music Program
How the federal shutdown jeopardized child care in WNC
Mars Hill plans to construct 2 new buildings

So to turn it back, Steve, are you doing some investigative journalism? Are you making those phone calls? Are any reporters doing it? Did anyone get the Hank Dunn story? Has anyone gotten the real art museum story? Is anyone working on the Ron Paulus story? Is anyone working on the Anne Ponder story? Romando Dixson finally had a good A-1 enterprise piece on the killing of A.J. Marion . . more than a month after it happened . ..and still with none of the questions about this case answered.

Jason doesn’t have a employer. Neither do you. Maybe that means you both could do some real digging without having to answer to Corporate. On the other hand, the real question, for this Media Watcher is, why are the employed professionals not doing the job?

Make those phone calls, Steve. Contribute to Ashvegas if you don’t want to start our own online outlet. Why isn’t your former colleague Jon Ellison doing more hard-hitting stuff at Carolina Public Press?

Melissa November 14, 2013 - 11:27 am


Jon Elliston November 14, 2013 - 3:27 pm

Who is “Jon Ellison”?

The Blunder Years November 14, 2013 - 8:30 am

Sounds like the Old Guard is just jealous of all the scoops this blog makes…

Ed November 15, 2013 - 12:38 pm

Steve – Are you paying for this content? Did you come to this site on your own free will? Quit being a Jack Ass and take this stuff offline with Jason. I don’t know Jason and I don’t know you, but this appears to be personal to me. I enjoy taking a light read of Ashvegas and it serves my purpose and others well.

Trying to figure out your angle…did you attend Warren Wilson? Annoyed at Jason for having a popular site in Asheville? What’s your story?

Kristen Crummett November 19, 2013 - 5:38 pm

Thank you, a million times thank you for this comment. As a graduating business major at WWC and a former editor in chief of my high school newspaper, I’ve been appalled by the poor quality of reporting surrounding these circumstances.

Mine may be an unpopular opinion among my peers, but I believe that this decision is ultimately the best thing for the college at this time. The department has been struggling for some time and if the resources are not available to overhaul and improve it, then we do not need to continue offering a sub-par education to students. I know I found myself severely disappointed in the quality of education I received in this field and if I were a prospective student I would prefer the major not exist if the quality is poor anyway. It’s deceptive and results in students feeling dissatisfied and getting stuck here, having invested so much time and money into their education before realizing they’ve spent 3 or 4 years and know about as much about business as they did when they came in.

This is a tough decision and for administrators at such an activist college as Warren Wilson, this is a brave move. I commend the courage of Paula Garrett and the rest of the board for listening to reason over misguided passion in this decision.

Josh Reiss November 13, 2013 - 2:25 pm

The education of students in the Warren Wilson College Sustainable Business Department are being seriously undermined by a seemingly one-sided decision to cut the entire Sustainable Business program. This decision has been made by only a few individuals, yet will affect a large amount of students. The reasons behind this decision have not been made public, or even shared with those who it will affect deeply.


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