KAMLOOPS — Christopher Seguin was on the phone, and he was not a happy man.
It was the day before Halloween 2015, and I was giving Seguin the heads-up that I was going to run a story about him. Seguin had been named in a civil suit over a dog fight, and I felt his position as the face of Thompson Rivers University elevated the public interest in the suit. He was incredulous that I was running the story, as he didn't consider himself the level of public figure for whom a run-of-the-mill lawsuit becomes newsworthy. I argued my side, he argued his, and while we both understood each other, we didn't come to the same conclusion. It was an uncomfortable call, and I knew the story would damage my relationship with Seguin. I spoke frequently with him on all issues TRU, and it was clear that after this, future phonecalls would be strained at best.
But here's the funny thing: they weren't. I'm sure Seguin was unhappy with me for a while, but by the time I spoke with him next, it seemed to be water under the bridge for him. For me, it was an elephant in the room every time Seguin and I spoke, even though he never gave me any indication that it still bothered him.
Given the chance to do it over, I may have handled the lawsuit story differently. I regret that I didn't get the chance to at least clear the air with him before his passing. And now I never will. It's a stinging lesson in not leaving business unfinished.
Part of Seguin's job was to represent TRU to the media, and that inevitably led to some tension with reporters. TRU has seen more than its fair share of controversy in the past few years, and Seguin bore the PR burden for the institution during rough waters. He handled the position with grace and dignity, and the school will struggle to replace those qualities. Even if they can, they won't ever truly replace Christopher Seguin.