SG shuts down college paper

Another student government gets angry about criticism from the college newspaper and cuts off funding. This happens at least once a year at colleges across the country, a reason student newspapers should avoid having student government have anything to do with editorial policies. At Eastern, we get our funding from the university and the director of publications reports to the vice president of academic affairs. There is nothing inherently evil about government, but there is an inherent problem when government holds power over the voice of those they serve. As Lord Acton said: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Here’s the beginning of the story in the New York Times. Click here to get the entire sad story.

In a rancorous dispute that has pitted student journalists against student government, the editors of Montclair State University’s weekly newspaper were forced to stop publishing last week after the student body president froze the paper’s financing.

The editors of the paper, The Montclarion, claim that the president, Ron Chicken, improperly used his authority, cutting off the newspaper’s funds to silence criticism of the student government.

The student body president, however, told the Montclarion’s editors that they had violated the by-laws of the student government association by hiring their own lawyer.

On the bruising civic proving ground of higher education, there is nothing novel in the fight between the editors of a college paper and the student legislators they cover.

“Those battles are usually fought on the editorial page,” said Frank LoMonte, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va. “It is unusual to take this extreme step of pulling the plug on funding.”

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