We won’t be silenced

IUS Horizon

Censorship, in all of its forms, is something we take very seriously.

Shortly after delivering The Horizon for the week of Oct. 20, I was told all of the newspapers in the newsstand across from the student organizations were missing.

I’m generally an optimist, but I know our newspaper isn’t popular enough to fly off the stands within the first half hour of being delivered.

We immediately filed a police report for theft and notified Ruth Garvey-Nix,  vice chancellor for Student Affairs. By the end of the week, the IUS Police had helped us track down who had taken at least some of the newspapers.

So, what’s the big deal about taking all the newspapers out of one newsstand? We run 2,000 issues every week and put them in 18 newsstands across campus. There’re still 17 newsstands full, right?

Emptying a newsstand is one of the easiest forms of censorship to execute. Someone tried to prevent other people from looking at our newspaper, and that violates our right and obligation to inform the student body of what’s going on around them.

It still surprises me that anyone who attends or works in a university has difficulty understanding the concept of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Sometimes, we’ll print something, not on our opinions page, which we know might upset someone. We don’t do this for the sake of making people mad, but we feel there’s a compelling reason to run a story, and the university community can benefit from knowing those facts.

The First Amendment preserves our right to do just that and we do so as responsibly as we can. We’re not out to slander anyone, and we’re not out to smear someone’s reputation for the sake of smearing it. We’re trying to be responsible journalists and printing items such as names in the police blotter is one of our obligations.

I know we keep bringing up the blotter on our opinions page, but it’s something that seems to be a regular issue this semester. We’re not trying to hurt anyone. Rather, we’re doing everything we can to keep students safe and informed.

If you’d like a more detailed explanation of why we feel this way, either check out our archives on our Web page or drop by the office in University Center South, room 020. Either a member of my staff or I will be more than happy to speak with anyone who comes in.

Just keep in mind that we’re the only ones who can make decisions on what we run and what we don’t run. No one else has any power to decide what shows up in the newspaper. We’re open to suggestions, but we can’t promise we’ll change our editorial policies.

Even if my name is the first one on the list of editors, I don’t arbitrarily make the decisions on my own. We work together as a staff and discuss all of these issues in great detail. I may be the one who takes the responsibility for those decisions, but we make the decisions together on The Horizon.

Part of our integrity stands on how we treat the First Amendment, and we have to stand up for our rights every time an issue facing them comes up.

We’re not backing down on our stances, and we’ll fight with everything we’ve got to make sure everyone in this university has the right to speak their mind and stay informed.

I can understand how emotions can run high when there’s something in the paper that might bother someone, but keeping everyone else from seeing it isn’t the answer to that issue. Since we serve as a forum for public opinion, it’s the right of students and staff to write in to us and tell us what their gripes are.

I have no problem running opinions that differ from mine. Actually, it’s my job to make sure everyone has an opportunity to get their say, whether I agree with them or not.

Who knows, someone might even sway how I feel about an issue.

However, it’s going to be awfully difficult to change my thoughts on censorship.

By JEROD CLAPP
Senior Editor
jlclapp@ius.edu