[I first posted this at SWC Board Must Go! a few hours ago.]
It's no secret to anyone that the Governing Board of SWC has major issues with its school newspaper, the Southwestern College Sun. The Sun, which is unquestionably one of the finest student-run newspapers in the country, has received numerous awards for its writers, its advisor, Max Branscomb, and for the paper itself.
Why does the Board have problems with it? Because the Sun insists on printing the truth.
This time, the board and the administration have gone several steps over the line past just complaining about it, to...
I'll let the following letter speak for itself. As a person highly interested in the Sun, I received a copy of this letter today and have spoken with the writer.
As usual, I have edited it only to remove the writer's phone number.
Some of you may or may not know me. My name is Lyndsay Winkley and I am a senior staff writer for the Southwestern College Sun. For quite some time, we have been experiencing difficulties with the administration allowing us to print our school newspaper. Currently, our advisor Max Branscomb is attempting to diffuse the situation with Vice President Mark Meadows, however, he has been threatened with a "cease and desist" notice and has been informed through an e-mail that there may be ramifications if we print our newspaper. This is not acceptable. The students of the Southwestern College Sun feel it is our right and responsibility to continue to produce our paper whether the district is planning on supporting us or not. Until we receive official word from the college that we may continue to print our paper with freedom from any possible repercussions, we have taken it upon ourselves to fund the paper independently as a staff, separate from the Southwestern College institution. I will be speaking at the Eastlake Bonita Democratic Club Meeting at the Bonita library tomorrow night at 7:00pm. I will be requesting the support, both financial and ethical, of the citizens in our community to help us, as student journalists, fully employ our constitutional rights. Please join us tomorrow evening if you are available.
(As recently as Monday, I blogged about the Board and its relationship with the Sun. Read about that here.)
I will also add that today I learned that numerous Sun journalists had been harrassed by campus police, and that the "Cease and Desist" order was filed.
By their actions, the Governing Board and its goose-stepping adminstration have directly attacked one of the news organizations that is critical of them. They can't shut down the Union-Tribune, or the San Diego Reader, or La Prensa, but they believe they can shut down the Sun.
A student newspaper is a newspaper, and the people that work for it are journalists.
And in this case, these journalists are of the highest quality, and they are willing to fund their continued work of printing the truth.
This is intolerable. The school cannot be allowed its assault on one of the fundamental rights of all Americans.
It is time for action. Stand up and be counted among those who will not let the administration and their puppetmasters get away with this appalling act.
It's time to vote these ridiculous incumbents out of office. Let the Sun set on their careers. The SWC Board Must Go!