Dinosaurs like Quinnipiac’s President…

September 7: The Quad News debuted recently at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, committed to “the free flow of information on campus.”  It is an ideal to which Quinnipiac administrators failed to adhere.

 

 

Specifically, the independent online student newspaper sprang to life in the wake of increasingly combative administrative stances against the previously unchallenged university newspaper of record, The Quinnipiac Chronicle.  Over the past two years, Quinnipiac bigwigs, led by a president with an abhorrence of student journalism, have instituted a number of policies aimed at controlling or suppressing Chronicle content.  Among the most jaw-dropping: forcing the newspaper to contact all university staffers through the school’s public affairs office; asserting control over the selection of incoming editors; discouraging Chronicle staffers from attending public events at which university administrators spoke so that the events wouldn’t become “a press conference to the world”; threatening the newspaper’s editor in chief after he criticized various administrative limitations; and restricting editors from posting breaking news online prior to the paper’s print edition.

 

In respect to the latter, John Lahey, university president, said “so at least dinosaurs like me who read the hard copy version get an opportunity to read it before the external world hears about it.”  Hmm, the statement is detestable, but the dinosaur metaphor for Lahey and Quinnipiac administrators in respect to their handling of The Chronicle is apt.

 

Chronicle staffers rightly protested the restrictions and then last May finally bolted en masse, many straight to the Quad News start-up.  The new paper has an experienced staff in place, funding (some from the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists), and quality content already available for consumption online.

 

The Chronicle meanwhile, according to The Yale Daily News, “may now be in shambles,” lacking an editorial hierarchy and the institutional memory of past staffers.  It’s a sad situation, made worse by the fact that it was entirely preventable by adminstrators who should have simply let interested students be the journalists that they ultimately had to fight to be.

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