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Virginia Quarterly Review gets a new publisher and deputy editor

By Harriet Staff

In the wake of last year’s controversy, Virginia Quarterly now has a new publisher and deputy editor.

From the Daily Progressive:

Jon Parrish Peede will take over as publisher and Donovan Webster will take on the role of deputy editor for the award-winning literary journal. The appointments come more than a year after the university completed an audit of the publication’s operations following the suicide of its managing editor, Kevin Morrissey, and subsequent allegations of workplace bullying.

“I have found the VQR work environment to be pleasant, positive and energizing,” Peede said. “There has been a great spirit of collaboration and mutual commitment to the value of the journal’s mission. We are publishing talented people who are committed to literature and long-form journalism.”

Then, a bit about the audit that took place over the past year:

The nine-page document noted that there were no specific allegations of bullying or harassment within the VQR prior to Morrissey’s death. It added, however, that Genoways had been reported over the years for “not being courteous or respectful with some contributors and colleagues, as well as problems with certain employees, but none ever seemed to rise to the level of a serious, on-going concern.”

Genoways’ lawyer, Lloyd Snook, issued a four-page response shortly after the audit’s 2010 release. The investigation, Snook pointed out, found no support for the widely publicized accusations that Genoways was a workplace bully.

The audit recommended “corrective action” be taken against Genoways for his management style and his level of responsiveness on administrative matters, as well as an unapproved $2,000 expenditure to subsidize the printing of his poetry.

Snook responded that the $2,000 expenditure occurred in April when Genoways asked Morrissey to make the payment from a research account maintained in the president’s office.

The audit, which cost $26,016 and was paid for by state funds, involved the examination of 23,000 e-mails, as well as financial records and interviews with 25 people, including current and former VQR staffers.

Susan Carkeek, UVa’s vice president for human resources, pledged to develop a structure within her office in which employee complaints about their supervisors could be taken, registered and followed up on.

Guiding the new structure, the report said, would be protections for employees from potential retaliation and protection for supervisors from negative consequences if complaints were determined to be unfounded or trivial.

The university also promised to create form a task force to “strengthen the institution’s policies and structures with regards to acceptable workplace conduct.”

Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 by Harriet Staff.