CMA Censured Schools
Corrective Action Lifts WOU Censure
The College Media Advisers’ Board of Directors voted 6-0 to lift the 2009 censure of Western Oregon University. The situation surrounded the university’s decision not to rehire then-adviser Susan Wickstrom, a CMA member, as well as other issues related to the student media. Members of CMA’s Adviser Advocate group, led by past presidents Ken Rosenauer and Mark Witherspoon, investigated and monitored the situation and subsequent changes. They concluded that conditions for student media at WOU appear to have improved considerably. Reports from student journalists and others close to the student media noted that the newspaper’s relationship with WOU administrators had improved, with the administration working appropriately with the student newspaper even when it published negative stories about the university.
The CMA Board of Directors has censured Morgan State University in July 2009 as the result of investigations conducted under CMA’s Adviser Advocacy Program. Censure in place against Kansas State University was lifted this summer after policies and procedures at the school were rewritten to provide more protection for advisers. CMA’s board acted to remove the censure of Barton Community College, also in Kansas.
Since the inception of the adviser advocacy program in 1998, the CMA Board of Directors has censured nine schools. Five of the censures (listed below) remain in effect.
Morgan State University: Censured in July 2009. Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md., was censured for its firing of the student media adviser at the school and its attempts to deny students their First Amendment rights. The board of directors of College Media Advisers voted the censure following a careful investigation by CMA into the June 30, 2009, firing of student media adviser Denise Brown.
Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland: Censure remains in effect. President and provost in power at the time are no longer at the college, nor is the adviser who was penalized, Dr. William Lawbaugh. Dr. Lawbaugh was denied a salary increase and later removed as adviser because he refused to exercises content control.
Le Moyne College: Censure remains in effect because of the removal of Alan Fischler as adviser to the student newspaper for content reasons.
Ocean County College: Censure remains in effect because of the removal of Karen Bosley as adviser to the student newspaper for content reasons. Bosley was removed effective in spring 2006 after more than 30 years. CMA believes her removal was related to content issues and has called for her reinstatement, along with the preparation by the college of documents to protect future students and advisers. Through legal action, Bosley now has been returned to her position.
STATEMENTS OF CONCERN
In addition, CMA has sent statements to the following schools challenging the dismissal of advisers, though censures have not been issued:
Marquette University where adviser Tom Mueller was dismissed. CMA has challenged the process and criteria and suggested the firing may have been prompted by administration unhappiness over news stories.
LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION
Oakton Community College where our member Dennis Polkow has been removed as adviser.
Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon, Censure removed, May 2011. Western Oregon was censured after seven-year adviser Susan Wickstrom was removed after students reported about a computer security breach. CMA concluded that conditions for student media at WOU appear to have improved considerably. Reports from student journalists and others close to the student media noted that the newspaper’s relationship with WOU administrators had improved, with the administration working appropriately with the student newspaper even when it published negative stories about the university.
Barton County Community College in Kansas: Censure was removed in summer 2009. The censure was put in place after adviser Jennifer Schartz was removed from her position as adviser after refusing to prohibit students from running letters to the editor criticizing school employees.
Kansas State University: Censure was removed following a revison of policies and procedures at Kansas State. The censure originally had been imposed due to the removal of former adviser Ron Johnson for content reasons. Subsequently, the college had worked to rewrite operating procedures to protect future advisers, but succeeding court rulings have posed other problems for student journalists. The process now in place at KSU satisified CMA, and the sanction was lifted in summer 2009.
Oklahoma Baptist University in Oklahoma: Censure was removed after the current interim president, the adviser and student staff reported that students have freedom to control the content of their own newspapers, and the adviser is not being pressured to control content. Censure initially had been invoked after adviser Philip Todd’s contract was not renewed when he refused to exercise prior review or editing of the student newspaper The Bison.
Fort Valley State University in Georgia: Censured, but censure later removed after adviser won a court judgement and after college revamped its operating procedures to protect students and advisers in the future.
STATEMENTS OF CONCERN RESOLVED
College of Southern Nevada, a consortium of 14 campuses near Las Vegas, where adviser Adrian Havas was removed after students wrote about reorganization of the newspaper’s reporting structure.
Montgomery College, Germantown, Maryland, where six-year adviser Stephen Newmann was removed after refusing to review the content before publication