Daily Kansan Editor-in-Chief: Unjust Censorship at the Paper ‘Would Really Suck’

Earlier this week, Daily Kansan editor-in-chief Vikaas Shanker at the University of Kansas presented a spirited editorial of support for student newspapers worldwide and their need to remain free of administrative control or outside censorship.

As he contends, “The college student newspaper is a legitimate source of campus news. It’s also the testing ground for tomorrow’s reporters, from political muckrakers to entertainment tabloid writers.  It’s a chance for students to exercise their rights to free press, granted by Supreme Court interpretation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

Among the challenges to those rights, according to Shanker: “adviser removals, editorial takeovers, newspaper thefts, and threats to cut funding.”

He specifically cites two examples: 1) The odd recent regulatory battle royale at UNLV revolving around The Rebel Yell editor-in-chief selection process and an overzealous student government president.  2) Last summer’s abrupt removal of the longtime student newspaper adviser at the College of DuPage in Illinois, an administrative decision criticized by editors and others as a “sly attack on free speech and college media.”

Closer to home, Shanker also references the just-plain-misguided push roughly two years back by the KU student body president to cut roughly $83,000 in student fees directed toward the paper due to perceived conflict-of-interest issues.  Fortunately, the student senate saw the failures in that logic and fees funding continued.

As Shanker writes to KU readers, “The Kansan covers everything KU, from men’s basketball to campus crime.  It keeps you updated on changes to the enrollment system, and gives you the lowdown on student elections.  And the freedom a college newspaper runs on is tied to the same rights given to you.  So when you hear or read about any student newspaper dealing with unjust censorship, give the newspaper your educated support.  Because having that happen to the Kansan would really suck.”

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