The price of free speech

By Chris Ryndak
It’s not fair what happened to Generation.

For my first assignment, I decided to look into what has transpired between the magazine and its publisher, Sub-Board, I.

To sum it all up, SBI suspended Generation’s editorial charter, which gives it freedom to print whatever it wants (within legal reason, of course), twice in a six month span.

The first time was in April, when SBI basically said they didn’t like what the magazine was printing — specifically the personals and “I’m Right, You’re Wrong.”

Without giving proper notice to anyone on staff, the SBI executive board met to suspend the charter and decided to change the way the editor in chief was selected.

Instead of a majority vote by the editorial board, SBI would hire the editor in chief.

So SBI eventually hired Joshua Boston for the position. But when the hiring process was called into question, as well as why Boston didn’t reach out over the summer to the 2008-09 Generation staff for positions, SBI launched an ethics committee to investigate.

In September, the committee decided that things could have been done differently on both sides (going back to the original suspension of the charter in April) and suspended the magazine’s charter yet again. Generation printed one issue this semester and won’t it the stands again until after winter recess.

Suspending an editorial charter should be a “last resort” type of action. The fact that Sub-Board has done it twice in such a short period is frightening. If Generation has true editorial autonomy, SBI should either back off or stop pretending that the magazine has free reign.

What Sub-Board has basically said is, “We don’t like the way this is going, so we’re shutting you down again.”

They’ve essentially censored a student publication by suspending its charter and cutting its funding.

Cases like this have become more and more frequent around the country from Minneapolis to Tallahassee.

SBI has been pretty tight-lipped about the entire situation save for a few letters published in the Spectrum. No one on the executive committee responded to my interview requests.

Generation is slated to return for the spring semester with a new staff and (drum roll, please) a new direction.

How long that lasts until Sub-Board changes its mind again is yet to be seen.


One response to “The price of free speech

  1. Great use of a blog here, Chris. This is what reporters are doing more and more — using blogs to articulate reasoned opinions established through the researching of a story.

    The question is, if you still worked for The Spectrum, would you publish this in a Spectrum blog? Should reporters use blogs to state their opinion on topics they cover? Do they lose their veil of objectivity by doing so? This is a good topic for class discussion.
    Content: 4
    Links: 3
    Grammar: 3 (one missing h in hit)

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