A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

Journalism Education In-Brief

By Quill

University of Kentucky to release records

After being informed that the Kentucky Kernel planned to file suit against the University of Kentucky in Fayette County Circuit Court in October, university officials decided to release information they previously denied to the student newspaper. UK will release information containing the race, gender and ages of all employees, though employees will remain unidentified, said Jack Blanton, senior vice president for administration. “This allows the Kernel to do what it wants to do and at the same time preserve what is important to us, which is the privacy of the individuals at the university,” he told the paper. The university agreed to release the information under one condition: if the Kernel discovers the identity of an employee, it will not publish race, gender or age without corroboration from the individual or other sources, said Kim Greene, an attorney with Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, who represents the Kernel. The Kernel staff plans to use the records to analyze equity of pay based on gender, race and age, as well as for other investigative reports. “It makes it much easier for people to follow how UK is doing with gender and racial diversity,” Joan Callahan, the director of women’s studies, told the Kernel. The Kernel is a daily, student-run publication of the University of Kentucky.

Students sue high school over yearbook

Eight high school students are suing a California school district for the cost of publishing a replacement yearbook, saying that administrators censored the original one. The lawsuit, filed in Monterey County Superior Court, alleges that Salinas High School removed pictures of pop stars Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears with bare midriffs and cut quotes such as “School is like a lollipop. It sucks until it’s gone.” The students are seeking $51,000 so they can reprint the yearbook “in its uncensored form” and have cited state law that grants free speech rights to student publications.

Berkeley protesters stage sit-in over cartoon

Dozens of students staged a daylong protest at the offices of the University of California, Berkeley in September after a student newspaper ran an editorial cartoon depicting Muslims in hell. The protesters had decried what they called a racist cartoon run in The Daily Californian. According to the Associated Press, the cartoon showed two Muslim Arabs wearing turbans sitting in a demon’s hand, about to be consumed by the flames of hell. One said to the other, “We made it to paradise. Now we will meet Allah and be fed grapes and be serviced by 70 virgin women …” In a statement reported by the AP, the Senior Editorial Board of the newspaper said it would not issue an apology for the cartoon. The board said the cartoon represented the opinion of the cartoonist and “in no way reflects the views and opinions of The Daily Californian” staff. “Although the concerns of appropriateness and timing are understood, we maintain the cartoon falls within the realm of fair comment,” the board said. “Cartoons are usually exaggerated, sometimes satire and almost always meant to spark a discussion. We are willing to begin a reasoned discourse on this issue with a representative group of student leaders.” Robert Chala, a member of the UC Berkeley Arab Student Union and Students for Justice in Palestine, told the AP, “Freedom of speech should not come at the cost of anyone’s safety. This cartoon is a license for violence against Arab, Muslim, Sikh, Iranian and other communities.”

U-Missouri station policy irks lawmakers

Following KOMU-TV’s decision to ban news presenters from wearing signs of patriotism, a few Missouri lawmakers are threatening to take a closer look at the University of Missouri’s budget. Stacey Woelfel, news director for KOMU Channel 8, issued a notice Sept. 17 via e-mail to most of his on-air news staff, telling them they should not show signs of support for any cause, according to the Digital Missourian. “Our news broadcasts are not the place for personal statements of support for any cause – no matter how deserving the cause seems to be,” Woelfel’s memorandum said. In an e-mail, Rep. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, said, “As a member of the state legislature in Missouri, I am going to be evaluating far more carefully state funding that goes to the School of Journalism. If this is what you are teaching the next generation of journalists, I question whether the taxpayers of this state will support it.” Although KOMU is owned by the university, University of Missouri spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said the station’s funding comes from advertising and the university does not fund the station.