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Joint editorial: LACC’s student-run newspaper is being reduced to ashes

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Photo Illustration by Zara Aleksanyan / Staff Photographer

Los Angeles City College’s student-run newspaper, the Collegian, is an award-winning publication that has been in continuous print for 80 years. Its staff of approximately 30 students works tirelessly to publish high-quality content while adhering to rigorous journalistic values. The Collegian is a training ground for writers, reporters, columnists and editors, as are thousands of other student-run publications that hold to the same principles, standards and ethics.

But LACC’s president, Jamillah Moore, has made calculated attempts to hinder the students’ right to a free press. She has tried to forbid a company working with the college from speaking to the student press; she has tried to pressure student reporters to sign releases for recording public meetings; she has violated California Open Meeting Laws by requesting that reporters identify themselves; and she has attempted to silence the Collegian by slashing its budget by 40 percent — when the budgets of other student organizations were cut only 15 percent. Adam Goldstein of the Student Press Law Center said that if he had to choose the biggest First Amendment offender in the country, he would most likely choose Moore. And now, Moore is attempting to move the Collegian under student services, where the administration would have the option to edit all content, monitor stories and determine the direction of the paper.

An attack on free speech anywhere is an attack on free speech everywhere. That is why we, the undersigned, have come together to universally condemn the actions of Jamillah Moore and the actions of any administration that makes deliberate efforts to break the free speech of student publications.

As students, we have been taught to expect an environment where freedom of speech will go uncontested. And as student journalists, we expect our administrations to understand that we strive to be an objective voice of reason. But we also recognize that any publication that disturbs the comfort of the comfortable will be challenged. Student journalists at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of New Mexico and the University of Oregon, as well as countless untold others, have seen such assaults on their rights. This cannot stand.

We, as student journalists, come together today with a single message: We will not tolerate administrations that, for their own benefit, try to silence the voice of the student free press. We will continue to rebuke those in power who attempt to diminish that freedom, and we will not be silenced.

For more coverage go to: http://is.gd/41OcZ, http://is.gd/41Oqb

This editorial was published in and endorsed by the following student-run newspapers:

The Collegian, Los Angeles City College;
The Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell University;
CU Independent, University of Colorado;
The Daily Orange, Syracuse University;
The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University;
The Daily Sundial, California State, University, Northridge;
The Daily Titan, California State, University, Fullerton
East Los Angeles Campus News, East Los Angeles College;
FSView & Florida Flambeau, Florida State University;
The GW Hatchet, George Washington University;
The New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire;
Oregon Daily Emerald, University of Oregon;
The Rocky Mountain Collegian, Colorado State University;
The Roundup, Pierce College;
The Stanford Daily, Stanford University;
The University Daily Kansan, University of Kansas;
Washington Square News, New York University

Editor’s note: The Daily Sundial is supporting The Collegian in their fight for collegiate freedom of speech. It is our duty as journalists to fight for our freedoms under the First Amendment.

6 Comments

  1. mary eng May 6, 2010

    http://thereallacc.blogspot.com/ for more LACC corruption

  2. david goodstein Oct 14, 2009

    well kids, it seems as if you are upsetting the rank and file then you are doing your jobs as far as i’m concerned. they say college is meant to prepare you for the real world, and you are getting some amazing lessons. when you stand up and fight the corporate interests controlling this country AND your school, this is what happens. they lie, the hold money, they spread misinformation, and they try to intimidate and silence you. you see what republicans do all the time, don’t you? you see how large an audience limbaugh and beck have, right? this is the american way. there is no room for anything REMOTELY resembling truth in this country, so it is only fitting you would all be subject to these efforts to silence you. i wish you the best, but it is a tough road to trudge. most people throw in their integrity towels at your ages and start towing the corporate line. the one’s who don’t end up facilitating the change that will inevitably happen when we stand up for honesty and truth. fight the fight. my hat is off to all of you..

  3. Heidi Nelson Oct 14, 2009

    Post Script…

    Did you notice where I said ‘has’ instead of the grammatically correct ‘have’ in my opening statement to you? Nothing is ever perfect, not even the LA Times or the New Yorker. People need to start realizing what is important- such as your first amendment!

  4. Heidi Nelson Oct 14, 2009

    Dear Nancy and Grant (In response to your wildly silly, un-called for comments),

    First of all, there have been no fabricated quotations. There has not been any misleading lies. It is a general consensus that we have gathered the truth- hence why America’s journalists are helping us, without us asking for it.

    I am a student at LACC. I am a writer for The Collegian. I draw cartoons for the paper, also. I gather information to create our column about scholarships that can aid in the furthering of education for my fellow peers. I state my opinion, and I check all of my facts. I read everything I submit at least five times, because that is what Rhonda Guess has taught me to do. I have studied my rights as a journalist and I have learned their true values because of HER. I previously attended SFCC and The Brooks Institute of Photography as a journalism major… in the past few weeks since I joined LACC and The Collegian, I have learned an impressive amount of information because of all of the extensive experience that Professor Guess has acquired through her years as a journalist. She worked for the Associated Press and also as a Fox News reporter, amongst a myriad of other media outlets. Before YOU go posting comments that are radically unjustified, perhaps you should heed your own advice and do some research before you stake claims.

    We work really hard to learn how to do all of this. We work really hard to make a paper that countless students read all over our campus every time it is printed. We are PROUD to show our parents what a great education we are getting- and how amazing it feels to see it in print and be able to watch people read our work. This is how we will become great journalists. This is where your future news correspondents will be getting their initial training. This program is an amazing tool for us. Professor Guess strikes me as an amazing teacher. When I leave her classroom, I feel as though I am getting a serious bang for my buck. Every class meeting teaches us how to do something new, how to do it better, how to learn integrity, how to acquire the boldness to stand up for our freedom of speech, etc, etc…

    In conclusion, we all love professor Guess. She does NOT need to be at LACC teaching us, but through her wish to teach young journalists how to hone their skills and become employed in the future (hopefully by such prestigious places such as AP and Fox). It really breaks my heart that random people such as yourselves are out there on the internet making false claims.

    We did our research. We documented everything. We have a solid stance, and obviously a nation-wide movement has started because it needed to. This was all illegal. Never stop the youth of America from saving their rights. Never attempt to silence a group of individuals that is just doing what is honest, and real. I do not appreciate your comments, and neither do all of the people who have stood behind us and made this awareness possible. If you cannot realize why the unfortunate events are wrong, then you are blind.

    Thanks to the help of The Sundial and many, many other publications… our award-winning student newspaper, and our beloved Professor are going to continue to produce quality work. Thank you.

  5. Grant Oct 14, 2009

    I want to thank Nancy for being one of the few voices of reason on this story. I would also point out that there is a reason no professional news agency has picked up on this terribly misinformed joint editorial – it is full of lies. This editorial is the result of a systematic campaign of misinformation perpetuated by Rhonda Guess and the poorly trained staff of the Collegian. The press release by Senator Yee was full of inaccuracies and outright falsehoods that his staff refused to correct even when they were given accurate and truthful information. This join-editorial is a sad commentary on the poor state of student journalism in our country. This so called “educator” refuses to teach her students journalistic ethics and the importance of accuracy in reporting but rather tells them that the first amendment gives them the right to lie and fabricate quotations. Other student papers around the country should check their facts before jumping on this bandwagon of misinformation. Maybe that would restore a little integrity to what you are all trying to do.

  6. Back in the olden days when I was a journalism major there (pica sticks and manual typewriters were all the rage), we were taught that ACCURACY was the first rule of journalism. Perhaps it’s a value worth revisiting before rushing to judgment and running an editorial without checking the “facts.”

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