SCHOOL PAPER CENSORED AT MANATEE COMM. COLLEGE?-Andrew Stelzer

06/21/04

The Dean of manatee community college has shut down the student newspaper, because of what she’s claims was a need to review its editorial policy. But the writers and staff of the paper are calling it censorship, saying the school didn’t approve of articles that were critical of the way to spends its money. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer has the story.

ACT-Zell “The bottom line is there’s a student voice that isn’t being represented…

Sarah Zell, who is also a student at nearby new college, began writing for the Lance this year.

ACT there's no student outlet that isn’t responsible to the college that means there isn’t any opportunity to act without restraint, we thought student freedom of press was protected and were finding out thats not the case.�

The Lance is published twice a month during the regular school year, its around 10 pages of news contributions from students at manatee Community Colleges Bradenton and Venice Campuses. The paper, which publishes about 2000 copies of each issue, is technically a project of a journalism course; to be on staff at the Lance, students must enroll in the journalism 1400 course. But according to Michael Jiminyani, who was the executive editor of the Lance this past year, several clashes with school administrators and faculty advisors have led to the dean suspending the journalism calls for next year, and therefore the existence of the paper.

ACT “It went from something as small as the college logo, to a prior review of our publications.

The main article in question, was titled: Dude, Where’s my Student Activities?�. In which a student wrote about the feeling that he isn’t seeing the evidence of the money students pay that are supposed to go towards student activites. The classes’ faculty advisor wanted to review the article, but the students published it without allowing the advisor to do so.

ACT “In a situation like this, where they asked us to stop.’ They didn’t look at it as these people aren’t being good journalists, they thought that it was about disrespectful students……….�

In A series of meeting with the papers editors, the dean and faculty were unable to come to a resolution, and so in may, the Dean sent a letter to the editors saying the class would be temporarily suspended while policies were reviewed.

ACT Basically it was a letter sent to us, saying the dean was calling a review of the publications department, therefore the paper would not print. We immediately took offense because they didn’t shut the other classed down….double standard

Kathy Walker is the director of public affairs for Manatee Community College. WMNF spoke to Castor about her version of the situation.

ACT “They want to operate more like a university newspaper, whereas the community colleges that have community newspapers operate in a laboratory style..helping students….

Sarah Zell says that it was a strategic move by the school to shut down the paper during summer break, to prevent resistance by the student body, and the yearlong hiatus will diminish the momentum of students pushing for change.

ACT-Zell “Student press is one of the most important rights we have, and this violates students rights and doesn’t allow any arm for the students…�

ACT-Zell “By shutting down the paper, theres going to lose a lot of the momentum of people who are for freedom pf press.�

But Kathy Walker says that’s not possible.

ACT …I spoke to students today.� Kathy cont….

Michael Jiminyani says that if the situation can not be resolved in time to have the class reinstated by the time the school year begins, there will likely be a lawsuit filed with the aim of keeping the Lance newspaper running.

ACT “We were doing the things that most newspapers would..

ACT we were trying to do things and get stories in there that were critical and analytical.

ACT “I’ve definitely seen other schools which are proud of their papers, and it has to do with a misunderstanding of pursuit of the truth.

ACT “The printing cost for the student newspaper was funded by money, so legal action would be about

Manatee community college is scheduled to begin its fall session on August 23rd.

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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