“Malone College’s student newspaper, the Aviso, recently had its weekly newspaper pulled from the campus area because it was deemed inappropriate by college officials. The Aviso was pulled because they published a picture of naked male students in the hallway of a dormitory.””
Malone College’s student newspaper, the Aviso, recently had its weekly newspaper pulled from the campus area because it was deemed inappropriate by college officials.
The Aviso was pulled because they published a picture of naked male students in the hallway of a dormitory.
Ruth Lang, the Aviso’s editor-in-chief, said that she understood that they had to pull the paper but did not feel it was right.
We do understand, we just were disappointed that they felt they had to take that step, Lang said.
Legally they have that right, she said. I personally don’t feel it was right.
Lang said they ran the photo to address a larger issue on the campus. That of people walking around naked in the dorms.
I was thinking of a stronger way to get some change on the campus, she said. Actually that did cause change. The very next day after they pulled the issue the student development office wrote a student dress code.
For me personally, that change has legitimizes our journalism.
The administration did not infringe on First Amendment rights since the newspaper is funded through the college.
Lang also stated the photo was, in fact, staged for that purpose.
The photographer didn’t walk in and find guys just walking around naked, she said.
While she said students roaming the dorms naked was not a rampant occurrence, it does happen and makes some feel very uncomfortable.
Lang said she was planning on addressing her staff on ethics of photojournalism.
I expected varied reactions from our readership, Lang said. I didn’t expect that much of a reaction.
Lang’s hunch was not far off from the response she received.
There have been a lot of mixed reactions, she said. Some saying it didn’t show anything and some saying it’s pornography.
All editions of the paper were pulled from campus by 11 a.m. last Tuesday. According to Lang there have been no actions taken against her or her staff.
They haven’t said anything about cutting funding, firing me or asking me to step down, she said. I haven’t sensed any hostility in that respect.
Mark Goodman, professor and Knight Chair in scholastic journalism at Kent State University, said that this is not the first time he has heard something like this.
You can go back and see incidents like this, he said.
Goodman was the Executive Director for the Student Press Law Center for 22 years. He said a public institution could not pull something based on the same reasons provided by Malone.
The school’s administration or individual administration clearly could not censor material like this because they find it offensive, he said.
The difference there lies in the public vs. private institution.
Regardless he said that the college pulling the paper was wrong.
Educationally, journalistically and ethically it is simply inappropriate, Goodman said. It’s no different than the dictator in some Third World country telling a community newspaper or television station you can’t run that image or cover that story.
The biggest issue in Goodman’s mind: the administrations actions can’t be justified.
The ultimate question that has to be asked is, in a democratic society where we are supposedly instilling in young people the values of a democracy, including the freedom of press, how can a college or university justify this?
What they are saying is we will only publish material that we find acceptable, he added. It’s not a student publication anymore, it’s nothing but propaganda for the college and they should label it as that.
Goodman discussed his idea on why this certain issue was pulled from campus.
It seems more like to me the college was embarrassed that there was a group of students apparently walking around naked in the dorm, he said. That seems to me to be the motivation.
While the photo was staged by the photographer, Goodman believes that is not reason enough to pull a newspaper.
That’s an ethical issue between the newspaper and the readers and they have a right to question and object but, it doesn’t justify the censorship, he said.
So exactly where can the line be drawn for a newspaper in what is acceptable to run? According to Goodman the line can be drawn at the point of if something is obscenely pornographic.
The kind of thing that cannot even be published in adult magazine sold at a convince store, he said.
However, he thinks that people should decide for themselves and not let the government, or in this case a school, decide what they can and cannot see.
People are better off deciding on their own what is acceptable and what isn’t, he said.
All of this makes Goodman question what exactly student are being taught in today’s school.
When they engage in censorship they are completely defining the values that they are suppose to be instilling in students, he said.
He said that this would make everyone notice what is happening and help keep those from ever trying this.
What I hope happens is enough people will criticize those that censor that they will think twice about doing it in the future, he said. And others will say, ‘gosh I don’t want to be in that situation so were not going to engage in that here.’
“” #1.1361163:3267888755.jpeg:Nudity 4.jpeg:The posed photograph printed in the Malone College newspaper last Tuesday, caused the entire paper to be pulled out of circulation by the college’s adminstrators by 11 a.m.:PHOTO COURTESY OF JEREMIAH STAUFFER / THE ADVISO”