How Obama Got Me Fired

Posted on August 26, 2008

Remember almost a year ago when I got that job to run the school’s TV station? Well that ended. I got fired (sort of). By 30 people.

For a little recap, I got hired as the General Manager of the on-campus TV station. The station was a mess – no consistent schedule, terrible PSAs played between films, lots of equipment that wasn’t allowed to be touched, and no online presence.

So I made the schedule consistent, with movies playing on the quarter hour and getting varied play at different hours.

I made a deal with the Film School to play old student films in between movies.

After months I finally convinced the Director of Student Affairs to restart original programming, and started recording lecturers who came to campus.

Only 6,000 students get the channel while 40,000 attend the school, so online content was a must. I started a YouTube channel and Facebook group to get things going.

I even got funding for a second channel to play documentaries and anticipated student programming.

So when I had to reapply it didn’t really cross my mind that there would be an issue. A new President and cabinet had been elected, so I interviewed with the new Chief-of-Staff.

What she would later call a thorough interview lasted about five minutes and were questions from a form that had gems such as “what’s your weakest trait?” (Giving people more credit than they deserve)

In Student Government world, once you get forwarded by the executive branch (Chief-of-Staff), the Senate Internal Affairs (IA) committee interviews you and forwards you to Senate, where Senate votes and you’re given the job.

So I was kind of surprised when I didn’t get a call from Senate to setup the IA meeting. It wasn’t long before I found out I wasn’t forwarded and instead it went to someone who’d been vying for my job for a long time.

The worst part was I found out from an email from the chair of Internal Affairs asking me questions about the applicant. The applicant who wasn’t me.

To skip the boring bits, the IA chair started investigating, talking to people, and learned that the job was much more technical than the description described.

He said he supported me, but for some unknown reason they still forwarded her. End of story? Nope, just getting started (just to clarify, the point of IA is to filter out candidates so Senate doesn’t have to. Senate is kind of a rubber stamp).

He still supported me, so at the Senate meeting that week, where she was supposed to be forwarded as the candidate of choice from IA, which he runs, he would speak out against her and say she should not be forwarded (it’s been years since Senate has not forwarded a candidate).

When Senate got started, the newly elected President (whom I’ve never met) gave a speech basically saying things need to change, old people need to go, and Senate should approve whoever he wants. Yes, this kind of defeats the purpose of checks and balances, but we won’t go there.

He was riding on the back of Obama’s change craze, even though I had only been there a few months and, you know, done a lot of change. Oh, he also said they thoroughly interviewed me. Again, five minutes. I didn’t even finish my cappuccino.

The candidate was brought up and questioned. They asked what she would do with the station. Here’s where we differ – she told them what they wanted to hear while I told what was realistic.

She was going to have three shows a week, contests, advertisers – a real NBC. Good luck with that ((My goals, if you were wondering, was a stronger online presence, some original programming, and more guest speakers)).

They even had my adviser answer some questions. Sad to say, but he undersold what I did.

Even more sad was I wasn’t allowed to defend myself.

After about an hour of pro/con debate they went to a vote. Keeping with precedence (and not making a change), they forwarded her.

So I wasn’t fired, per-se. I just wasn’t rehired. By 30 people.

But as someone says, things work out. I have a new, better position now that would have required me to leave anyways. And could things really get worse than a room of people voting against you?

And for the record, I don’t hold this against Barack. Despite my grandparent’s wishes, I still like him.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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  1. Keonne

    Hence my stand that all government is evil. Even student ones.

    You know Roberts Rules of Order… I’m sure you could have figured out how to at least take the floor to defend yourself.

  2. C47

    Oh man, these people take Robert to the next level. I could have only talked if someone made a motion for a Non-Senator to have the floor. No one did.

    Student Governments are the most evil.

  3. bud

    Student Communications often has TONS of politics, and someone brought in to SAVE a mess, were often only really called in to help Kill the mess, by biding time, to give administration time to pull the plug.

    Was the college private or publically funded? I’m sure you could dig up plenty of similar stories if enough see your tweet. Obama seems entirely secondary to your story, a metaphor at best.

    Sometimes there are additional factors, between student alumni, non alumni staff, and community locals that would want to set up their own public analog to the college stream/ broadcast. Our Radio Station, 20 years ago, was squatted by non student locals, allowing no access from student body, and instigating a lot of sabotage when they were ousted. It ends up, such broadcast ends up either dead, or in the hands of Clear Channel Styled automatons.

  4. C47

    It’s funded from student fees that are part of every credit hour. I’m sure there are a lot of similar stories, which is sad.

    They buy all this good equipment but never want it to leave because it might break. What was the point of buying it, then?

    Take chances.

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