“A High School ‘He Said/She Said’ Situation”

September 16- One student editor calls it a “a high school ‘he said/she said’ situation.”


Accusations and angry words are hot off the presses and aboil in the blogosphere from all sides involved in the Quinnipiac free press fight, including: the university administration; the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ); student staffers at The Chronicle student newspaper; student staffers at new indy start-up The QUAD News; and The Yale Daily News, which has been admirably covering and editorializing about the incident like a pit bull without lipstick.


A glimpse at the back-and-forth is below:


First, a portion of a letter of concern sent to Quinnipiac University president John Lahey by SPJ.  It was signed by national SPJ President Dave Aeikens, national Vice President of Campus Chapter Affairs Neil Ralston, Region 1 Director Luther Turmelle and Connecticut President Cindy Simoneau: “The Society of Professional Journalists is extremely concerned that administrators at Quinnipiac University have threatened to ban the University’s student SPJ chapter if its members interact with or endorse the online student newspaper, the Quad News.  While we understand that Quinnipiac is a private university and that administrators have broad powers to control activities on campus, we hope that you will realize that banning a student organization for actions that are not only legal but well-intentioned would send a message across the country that the University leadership does not support the principles of free speech, free press and free association that are outlined in the First Amendment.”


The QU administration response, via a memo written by Vice President of Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell: “Apparently these students [at The QUAD News] want to be independent of the University when it involves student organizational rules and responsibilities, but they want to be part of the University when it comes to having access to University resources and the privileges of being a recognized student organization.  Unfortunately, in the real world, responsibility and playing by the rules go hand in hand with the privileges of membership.”  Bushnell also wrote that the administration “has NEVER reviewed any content in advance of its publication, and … never will.”


And finally, part of a guest column in the Daily News by a student editor of The Chronicle, which has yet to publish and certainly faces a daunting task of reinvention after losing its staff and staring down an impassioned, already-up-and-running competitor: “We few have stepped up to the plate. We may strike out; we may take a fastball to the head. But maybe, just maybe, we can put out quality journalism. It will not be easy, as Quinnipiac has asked every interview with a school official to be channeled through public affairs. It will not be easy, as face-to-face interviews with high-ranking officials are near impossible. It will not be easy, as we have already received from public affairs the advice to ‘send in questions.’ They’ll get back to us eventually.  But we have the students — the core of this university. To not try would be giving an ‘F’ to all of us.”


Stay tuned for more, I’m sure.

One Response to ““A High School ‘He Said/She Said’ Situation””
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