College Media Rights
My own experiences with college campus media sparked a deep interest in the horrible injustices being done to the freedom of the press at 2-year and 4-year institutions around the United States.
When I was the editor-in-chief of the Courier, the College of DuPage student newspaper, I was woken up by the slap of the iron palm of a college administration that seemed to despise student media. With a swift motion administrators removed the Courier’s adviser of 24 years, and in the eyes of her students, they humiliated her and cast aside her long-term commitment and service to the college teaching journalism. She was told she needed to concentrate on restructuring the journalism program, a feat she could have done in one summer. An unfair replacement process first brought in a college public relations employee, then after protest, a local journalist who doesn’t have enough time to advise a student newspaper.
I fought hard to get our adviser reinstated. I went to the local press, attended and spoke at Board of Trustees meetings, and created an online petition that received over 700 signatures. But this administration wouldn’t budge. They found a loophole in the Illinois College Campus Press Act, and they canned an adviser who encouraged us editors to research and report on news of the college, even if it involved scandals like the allegations of sexual misconduct against a board president or criticism of administrative actions.
I left that college with a “welcome to life” experience, and now enjoy writing for the University Daily Kansan at the University of Kansas.
Ever since that incident, I’ve been finding ways to get involved with college media rights. I hope to be a part of a growing movement to encourage student journalists to know their rights and not be intimidated by administrations of higher education, or governments that don’t acknowledge freedom of the press.
I hope this blog will inform you about the issues related to collegiate media and that it encourages you to support a fundamental freedom that has kept local, state and the federal governments in check.