“No internal communications? Nothing at all?” I asked with amazement.
It was Elaine’s turn to shrug. “We had a weekly hard copy newsletter, Insight, but Boyle cut it out of the budget as soon as Mr. Leonard retired. And Ms. Danielle didn’t think it was important. I can have the old copies brought up from archives if you want to see them. They go all the way back to the 1940s.”
“Oh, yeah. I see him at the baseball games,” said Charlie. “Big fan, great guy.”
“Sure thing. Hope you like barbeque,” she said as she wrote herself a note.
Steven answered. “We do, with the help of several students. Our relationship used to be great with local media, but recently we’ve just been handling the normal, everyday news.”
I was puzzled. “How do you mean?”
“We don’t,” Ricky said. “There’s software that can help us do that, but nobody in this ivory tower seems to think the unwashed public employees or students need to know what’s going on, especially in an emergency.”
“I knew I was going to like you,” said Elaine, smiling broadly as the others nodded.
“Not like me. I don’t make it a habit of going for the jugular. It’s gotten where I don’t really believe anything I read in the papers or hear on the nightly news any more.”
“Not many,” I said. “But boy, I remember one reporter from the Fort Worth Star Telegram who was unbelievable. He’d ask leading questions he could twist to get the predetermined answers he wanted for the lies he printed, and then complain when we complained. We called it the ‘Startlegram’ when he worked there. His lies finally caught up with him and the ethical editors booted him out the door. But, personally, I think he did a lot of damage while there.”
After selecting our salads and sitting down at a corner table in the main dining area, I asked, “Do you know our photographer, Charles White, very well?”
“Charlie? Sure. Everybody knows Charlie. Great guy. Awesome photographer. Been here forever and is all over campus getting photos. What about him? Don’t you like him?”
“Oh, no. I like him fine. And he is a great photographer. It’s just that he seems ... well yesterday, we needed a photo shoot done at the Biology Building. I assigned it to him, as usual, and he turned red and said he couldn’t. Steven cut in quickly and said he’d take care of it, not to worry. I sensed everyone in the staff meeting seemed a little uneasy, so I let it go. As they left, I heard Charlie thank Steven, and he said ‘no problem.’ That he was ‘always there for him.’ I just wondered what that was all about?”
“Charlie did have a sister. She was about 10 years younger and was attending Tech when she died.”
“Oh, what a shame. How?” I asked.
“From what I understand, he hasn’t been in the building since it happened. Remember the murder of the cleaning lady a year or so before we came to Tech?”
“Don’t tell me. Biology Building?”
“Now, what about President Stone?” Sharon asked.
“Just the same. People think he’s leaving. Probably will announce it at the next Board of Regents meeting. If he does, there won’t be too many tears shed in my department.”
“Anyway,” I continued, “I met him there and we had a good chat about the department. He’s the one who came up with the current tagline for Tech, From Here It’s Possible.”
“Yeah ... some call it a branding slogan or marketing one-liner. One of the better ones across the country, in my opinion,” I said. “And Leonard confirmed the staff does quality work but for the last couple of years their hands have been tied. He was extremely unhappy with his replacement and said he went to Stone about it, but obviously it did no good.”
“Tom and Bingo’s Bar-B-Q. He’ll love it. You know, Maggie, maybe if and when President Stone leaves, it will get better for you guys. Heard anything about who the new president might be?”