Former East Carolina Student Media Director Considers Lawsuit, Other Options to Contest Firing

As I confirmed in my last post, East Carolina University officials have fired Paul Isom, ECU’s student media director, without warning or much explanation.  The sudden termination has prompted speculation among the college media community that it was related to the The East Carolinian‘s infamous ‘streaker’ photo published in November on its front page.

Journalism’s uber-aggregator Jim Romenesko has now jumped in with a post.  As Isom told him in an email on the day of his firing, “When [the paper] ran the streaker photos . . . I immediately felt my job might be in jeopardy. I was asked by the vice chancellor for student affairs to delete the photos from the web and told her as politely as possible, if we do that this will go from being a controversy that will die in a few days to a slam dunk First Amendment issue that will drag on for years. . . . At the end of a meeting that included me, the editorial staff and several administrators, the vice chancellor said ‘there will be consequences.’  There were none until today.”

 —

In his initial comments about the decision, Isom has indicated he intends to fight this consequence.  Five possibly helpful options for this fight have emerged in messages written by Isom and in related chatter among the college media community:

1) Filing a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination.

2) Working with the Student Press Law Center’s FACT (Fired Advisers Comfort Team) to weigh various legal remedies.

3) Sending messages of complaint to related ECU administrators.

4) Operating under open records law to obtain ECU admins.’ messages and any documents related to their ‘streaker photo’ response and the decision to fire Isom.

5) Using Isom’s termination as a last-stand symbol behind a renewed push for states to adopt laws offering greater student press protection– thus making it much more difficult, if not impossible, for school officials to can a campus media representative simply because they do not like what their students have published.

Comments
3 Responses to “Former East Carolina Student Media Director Considers Lawsuit, Other Options to Contest Firing”
Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] from the journalism community and advocates involved in First Amendment organizations.  As I have previously posted, Isom’s unexplained firing last week has prompted speculation that it was related to […]

  2. […] Former East Carolina Student Media Director Considers Lawsuit, Other Options to Contest Firing Advertisement LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_text", "333333"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_link", "265e15"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_border", "ededed"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_url", "996633"); LD_AddCustomAttr("LangId", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "technology"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "entertainment"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "movies"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "college-media-journalism"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "free-press-fights"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "journalism"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "student-newspaper"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "college"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "education"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "free-press"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "student-journalism"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Tag", "technology"); LD_AddSlot("wpcom_below_post"); LD_GetBids(); Share this:StumbleUponDiggEmailTwitterFacebookTumblrRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. […] Former East Carolina Student Media Director Considers Lawsuit, Other Options to Contest Firing […]



Leave A Comment