Outrage over dean altering story in Santa Clara campus paper

Mar 9, 2017 by

Student journalists and alumni of the private Santa Clara University are expressing outrage that administrators have forced students to remove a section from a published story after a dean objected to the content.

The portion deleted on Feb. 9 included criticism of the dean by a wealthy donor to the university, raising questions about why censorship that would be illegal on public campuses is acceptable at private colleges.

California is the only state that extends First Amendment protections to private colleges, universities and high schools under the 1992 “Leonard Law,” named for its author, then-state Sen. Bill Leonard. But at Santa Clara University, students said they didn’t know about the Leonard Law and said faculty told them they had to comply with what the campus lawyer called a “request” to alter the article.

The students complied, but also posted an editorial called “Censored But Not Silenced” in the student newspaper, the Santa Clara.

By censoring the article, administrators “prioritized their own interests at the expense of honoring the values of free speech and journalistic principles,” the students wrote. “We are not in the business of arbitrarily protecting reputations or controlling public perception. We present the facts as we find them and allow our readers to develop their own informed opinions.”

Source: Outrage over dean altering story in Santa Clara campus paper – SFGate

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