February 26, 2008

CU Campus Press Faces Censorship

From the student government and administration:
University of Colorado student leaders said Monday they want to see more changes at the Campus Press following its decision to publish a pair of racially charged opinion pieces.

John Ali Sharza, director of diversity affairs for CU's student union, said minority groups, concerned students and staff members met Monday to develop an "action plan" for how they want the community and the Campus Press to continue responding to the controversial columns published last week.

"If it's war the Asians want ... It's war they'll get," by Max Karson, ran in the online-only student paper, www.thecampuspress.com, on Feb. 18; and "No hablo Ingles," by Lauren E. Geary, was published the previous day.

Campus Press editors said Monday that they're planning to publish in today's edition the first news story on the backlash from the articles.

"The news piece will be a full dis-closure of the process between the conception and publication for these articles," said editor-in-chief Cassie Hewlings.
. . .
Sharza, though, said some students are concerned that "There's no formal apology on the Web site."

He said students want the Campus Press to apologize and possibly replace top editor Hewlings.

"There might be pressure for her to step down," he said.

Hewlings wouldn't comment Monday on anything except what her online paper plans to publish today.

On Thursday, student editors and their faculty adviser met with Paul Voakes, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, to talk about how to deal with fallout from Karson's column.

In that meeting, the Campus Press agreed to "provide enhanced coverage on the campus controversy the paper has sparked;" establish a Student Diversity Advisory Board, composed of non-journalism majors, to provide editors with regular feedback; adopt an "opinions policy," with standards and procedures for determining the acceptability of opinion columns or reader-generated content; schedule a series of diversity-awareness workshops for the entire staff; and host a series of workshops for opinion writing and editing, to be presented by professional opinion editors.
In other words, using intimidation, kangaroo PC editorial boards, and diversity-awareness reeducation workshops for the the Campus Press staff.

Publish a juvenile editorial attacking President Bush--no problem.

But poorly written satire or editorial opinion that offends protected minority groups?
Censorship--or perhaps more correctly--self-censorship. The apologies, advisory boards, and "workshops" are all designed to intimidate the paper's student editors and staff into thinking and writing "correctly". The professionally outraged activists on campus will argue that they are demanding "sensitivity"--really a demand for a right not to be offended. That right, of course, does not exist. Free speech should be met with more free speech. Don't like an editorial? Criticize.

Leave censorship to the tinpot dictatorships and and small-minded leftist revolutionaries . . . oh nevermind, this is the People's Republic of Boulder, after all.

Maybe they can drag old Ward Churchill out to do a little lecture on free speech. He is an "expert" in offensive, incendiary speech--and will be arguing that in his coming lawsuit. He is on campus every Tuesday night this semester anyway.

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