La Salle University Collegian Fights Stripper Story Censorship with Front Page Protest: ‘See Below the Fold’

The La Salle University Collegian censorship story, in 30 seconds: A La Salle University professor hires exotic dancers to participate in an extra-credit seminar for students. The Collegian gets the scoop, plans to publish a report. University administrators say no, ordering a story embargo until an investigation of the incident is complete. As expected, the news breaks elsewhere. Admins. continue to say no to Collegian requests to publish its own story. Outside news coverage continues. The school suspends the professor. Then and only then do the admins. at last give the Collegian a green light, but they say the piece must be vetted by a university lawyer and only run below the fold on the front page. Student editors decide enough is enough.

The top half of the front page of the current issue of the Collegian is almost nothing but white space, save for a single sentence: “See below the fold.” The four-word in-house ad of sorts is also a push-back against the excessive student press control exerted by administrators at the private Roman Catholic school in Philadelphia.

As The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, top editors at the campus newspaper had grudgingly accepted the forced hold on what they recognized as major news — even after professional outlets in Philly began reporting upon it “and most of La Salle was aware of the story.” But they felt compelled to respond to the dean’s command that the finally-approved piece must be pushed to the bottom of the current issue’s front page — the third time such an order has been given during outgoing editor Vinny Vella’s tenure.

Staffers fought back by following the edict literally, running nothing atop the fold except a teaser to check out what was beneath it — the story they had been waiting weeks to print. As Vella (pictured below) said, “You need to stand up for yourself every once in a while. You can’t let authorities intimidate you.”

A Collegian editorial offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the battle for the story’s publication: “In the world of journalism, reporting the news correctly is imperative, but reporting the news correctly first is tantamount. With the incident that took place in Plymouth Meeting on March 21 now being featured in The Huffington Post, you may be wondering why the Collegian has waited until today to publish a story concerning this topic. The reason, however, is simple. It wasn’t because we didn’t have enough information. … It wasn’t because we were unsure of how to proceed. … We didn’t publish a story because we weren’t allowed.”

Comments
8 Responses to “La Salle University Collegian Fights Stripper Story Censorship with Front Page Protest: ‘See Below the Fold’”
  1. Sean says:

    What is first amendment rights for public prints may NOT be first amendment rights for private prints. After the orgy of lawsuits hitting various orders of monks and friars for their idiocy of ordaining sexual perverts or accepting them into consecrated life, La Salle chose to act in a responsible manner, to investigate the matter first instead of opening itself up possible litigation.

    While I applaud the editorial staff of The Collegian newspaper for their creativity, I must also condemn them for their story, written in a sullen, childishly thoughtless manner.

    If those journalism students want a university to attend so they can have a newspaper to write for, they should THINK before they write spiteful, puerile articles. Can they be blind to the fact that the university they attend, because of its Catholic affiliation, is a target for litigeous jackals who wish to destroy Catholic education?

    A piece of serious advice to the editorial staff of The Collegian: Children. grow up and look around at the forces of evil lined up against honest and real Catholic belief. You will find them not only outside the Church but with her as well. Use your eyes and don’t enter the world blinded by the glitter and glamor shielding diabolical forces.

  2. Keith Black says:

    LaSalle University should be embarrassed. Their slogan, “Never Stop Exploring” seems a bit hypocritical.

    And the newspaper is childish for publishing such a story because it might hurt the Catholic faith?

    NO!

    Covering up misconduct is what hurts the Catholic Church. Misconduct and corruption needs to see the light of day and be dealt with.

    Publicity is the cure. Secrets are the problem.

  3. I could not agree with you more

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  1. […] Comments « La Salle University Collegian Fights Stripper Story Censorship with Front Page Protest: ‘See B… […]

  2. […] Vella was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Village Voice, and the industry blog College Media Matters, among other media […]

  3. […] La Salle University Collegian Fights Stripper Story Censorship …Description : A La Salle University professor hires exotic dancers to participate in an extra-credit seminar for students. The Collegian gets the scoop, plans to publish a report. University administrators say no, ordering a story embargo until an …http://collegemediamatters.com .. […]

  4. […] behind the scenes.  My estimate: For each major censorship scandal (like this past spring’s La Salle stripper story prior restraint), there are more than a hundred notes of criticism or threats of censorship from those in power. […]

  5. […] blank front page.  This past spring, administrators at Philadelphia’s La Salle University attempted to stonewall its student newspaper from publishing an embarrassing story about a professor hiring exotic dancers to participate in […]



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