Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FIRE On the Colorado State Profane Editorial

FIRE takes notice of the free press matter at Colorado State. Apparently, the stuent newspaper has lost some $30,000 in advertisers (which is unusually necessary for most student newspapers because they are usually circulated for free).
Based on media coverage of this incident, there seem to be conflicting reactions from the university. On the one hand, CSU released an encouraging statement that “While we understand that the editorial in today’s Rocky Mountain Collegian is upsetting and offensive to many people, CSU is prohibited by law from censoring or regulating the content of its student media publications.” On the other hand, CSU’s Director of Student Media told The Coloradoan that “he is planning to launch an internal investigation into ‘the decision-making process’ followed in publishing the editorial.” I hope that the first statement represents the university’s most current view of the controversy, because an internal investigation based solely on the exercise of free speech rights is itself an infringement upon those rights. (In fact, the College Republicans at San Francisco State University are currently suing the university for dragging them through just such an investigation and hearing, despite their eventual exoneration).
I have to agree, an internal investigation will lead to calls for a sanction by the University, a dangerous step. However, if the school lets the market dictate things, my guess is that the editor who penned the profanity will soon be out of a job and will be out of a job when he graduates regardless of anything that happens in the next few weeks.

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