A little about a lot

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The thing that happened my senior year...

My senior year in college the adviser of the student newspaper I worked for was fired.

One of my best friends, then the managing editor of the paper, sued the school.

The case is now being taught in media law textbooks at colleges around the country.

I would say the experience in 2004 scarred us all. It still hurts to talk about. However, knowing that K-State's outright disregard for student First Amendment rights will be made an example of in college classrooms lifts my spirits considerably.

A snippet from "Law of Journalism and Mass Communication," by Trager, Russomanno,Ross. Published by McGraw Hill

"In 2004, another fight over content of a university student newspaper involved the court-sanctioned reassignment of the paper's adviser. A federal district court reversed itself to rule that the First Amendment did not prohibit the removal of the Kansas State (University) Collegian's adviser.

The adviser was removed amid controversy over the newspaper's coverage of campus diversity issues and events, both court records and published reports show. Complaints surfaced after the newspaper failed to cover the university-hosted annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government. Ron Johnson had also been removed from his advising post briefly in 1998 after he refused to exercise control over the newspaper's content.

Editors of the Collegian joined Johnson's lawsuit claiming that the removal amounted to censorship. A letter from the head of both the journalism school and the university's publications board from 1997 to 2004 said content analysis of the newspaper supported the recommendation to remove the adviser. University administrators denied the decision was based on displeasure with the paper's content, and members of the student publications board said the vote signaled budget concerns.

The Society of Professional Journalists and the Student Press Law Center both officially condemned Johnson's removal, criticized administrators who recommended the move and urged the university to reinstate the former newspaper adviser."


At 8:43 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Well, at least people will remember me while they are doing their homework long after I am dead.


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