Saturday, July 08, 2017

Clamping Down On Student Press You Don't Like

It's one thing for President Trump to attack the press that is so unfairly aligned against him, it's another thing altogether to try to stop the ideas in the press from being distributed--especially if the press in question is a student newspaper, and especially if that student newspaper is in California, which has very strong student press freedoms:
Employees from Chico State’s Student Health Center may have violated state law last semester when they removed all copies of the student newspaper after it published an article they deemed offensive, according to internal email correspondence reviewed exclusively by Heat Street.

The op-ed, written by student reporter Roberto Fonseca and published by The Orion in May, criticized Chico State’s Gender and Sexuality Equity Center. Fonseco also challenged the existence of rape culture, systemic racism, and non-binary gender identities.

California law prohibits “the unauthorized taking of multiple copies of free newspapers,” especially “done… to deprive others of the opportunity to read them.” Such behavior “injures the rights of readers, writers, publishers, and advertisers, and impoverishes the marketplace of ideas in California,” state statute says.

But the day after Fonseca’s article ran, the Student Health Center’s nursing supervisor, Jill Cannaday, informed the Student Health Center staff that she and Dr. Deborah Stewart, the medical chief of staff, had removed all copies of the Orion from their lobby “for fear their articles may trigger a patient waiting in our reception area.”

Cannaday specifically referenced “the awful op-ed piece” about the Gender and Sexual Equity Center, which she said “involved negative stereotypes about gender and culture.”
I wonder how long it will be before taxpayers get tired of funding such tyrants, and paying off such lawsuits.
At least two other Chico State employees applauded this possible illegal removal of newspapers.

“Thank you for this. I appreciate it,” wrote Melissa Hormann, a nurse in the Student Health Center.

“OMG. This is amazing. I love you. You’re the best. THANK YOU!!!” wrote Lindsay Briggs, an assistant professor in the Health and Community Services Department. As Heat Street reported last month, Briggs also publicly denounced the student reporter on Facebook, calling him “a repugnant student” and a “sh*tty student,” also writing, “F*ck you Roberto Fonseca.”
Kinda hard to defend that, no?
Email correspondence from Chico State’s Journalism and Public Relations Department also showed concerns that the university would not protect free speech.

“Various faculty are labeling Roberto’s column as hate speech,” Wiesenger wrote. “Two faculty members I spoke with—both of whom claim close ties to the president—said they do not support the First Amendment, don’t support unfettered free speech on campus and are questioning the need for an independent, student-run newspaper on campus. … The university’s Public Affairs Office, led by one of our news alumni, is (and has been) openly criticizing The Orion and has the ear of the administration.”
I can't see that Chico State has a leg to stand on.

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