Apparently unsatisfied with their attacks on America’s Freedoms of Speech and Assembly, the Southwestern College administration has taken aim at undermining the Freedom of the Press.
Just before last night’s Governing Board meeting, several different people informed me that less than half an hour earlier, the college administration had decided to handicap one of its prestige programs by refusing to fund the requested printing budget for its nationally-recognized newspaper, the Southwestern College Sun.
In some cases this could be an understandable decision, particularly in times of financial distress. That simply isn’t the case here.
For nine consecutive years, the Sun has been awarded the Pacesetter and General Excellence awards, the top awards given by the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) – the top community college journalism organization in the country. In addition, this year all five of the top college and university media organizations – which also include the Associated College Press, Columbia Scholastic Press, American Scholastic Press Association, and the National Newspaper Association – awarded the Sun their highest awards. Also this year, individual journalists won awards on a national level from the Society of Professional Journalists, and on a local level from the San Diego SPJ, San Diego Press Club, and the San Diego County Fair Media Competition.
This is about an average year for the Sun. This is no scrubby little rag we’re talking about.
Starting publication in 1963 – at the dawn of SWC itself – the Sun is truly one of the best-respected and recognized college newspapers in the country, and is one of the school’s flagship programs; one of those programs that drives students to the school.*
Why would the administration want to attack and cripple such a prestigious program, you ask? Because the Sun has come down, again and again, in opposition to President Raj K. Chopra. This fall, they covered the student rally that Chopra has attempted to spin as a “riot” and refused to fall into the administration’s line. They refused to turn over photos of the event when the campus police came out and demanded they do so. They have done proper journalistic due diligence and have watchdogged this shameful administration.
So, though I’m not terribly surprised that the administration has decided to attack the Sun, I am surprised that they have done so in such an obvious, buffoonish fashion. The fact that clearly none of them realized that they have hit a unique trifecta – stomping on the freedoms of Speech, Assembly, and now the Press – only further proves how absolutely out of touch with reality this administration is.
Check out the Southwestern College Sun online edition here.
*And in mentioning the Sun, I’m not attempting to detract from its talented musical performers and teams, or its debate team, which is another one of SWC’s proud flagship programs.