Dozens of community members, former KHSU employees and volunteers gathered on the Arcata Plaza during the Farmer’s Market today to voice their anger with the University’s recent decision to pull its financial support for the radio station, firing nearly all KHSU employees and eliminating all volunteer programs.
“I’m disgusted and in shock,” KHSU volunteer Danielle Orr told the Outpost. “It’s a sad day for HSU and the community.”
Orr has volunteered for the station for 39 years and said that she was angry to see the university’s lack of transparency and lack of respect for the community
“They’ve been in secret making these plans to change, while telling us different things,” she said.
Orr mentioned that this decision was made not long before the departure of HSU President Lisa Rosssbacher and Vice President Craig Wruck, who have both announced plans to retire in May. Orr also mentioned that KHSU General Manager Peter Fretwell has not been around for a while. “Now we know why,” she said.
Longtime KHSU supporter Alan Sanborn told the Outpost that, although he was angry about evisceration of the station, he was not surprised, especially after the firing of Program Director Katie Whiteside. He was shocked, however, by the abrupt and insensitive nature of the decision.
“There has been a lot of opportunities for them to divest of the station in a kind, gentle, community oriented way,” he told the Outpost. “But instead they took the most heartless route they could possibly take.”
Only two local employees were spared after Thursday’s mass firings, both of whom quit shortly after. Longtime KHSU Development Director David Reed announced his resignation on Friday and morning host Natalya Estrada submitted her resignation earlier today.
“Ultimately I had to think of my health, well being and integrity as a journalist,” Estrada told the Outpost during today’s protest. “Staying in a position like this would compromise all of those things.”
Photos of today’s demonstration: