SCSU adds requirements for student journalists
Students returning to Southern Connecticut State University to work at the school paper found a surprise this semester – one that most journalism professors at the school were not pleased with.
School administrators are requiring the students to attend a re-education camp before they are paid for their work on the paper. Seminars are led by instructors who have been chosen by the administrators, and the seminars are required of all student editors and managers of the Southern News.
The program changes resulted from articles in the paper the previous semester that criticized the administrators’ relationship with members of the journalism department. University president Mike Adanti and Dean of Student Affairs Richard Farricielli bypassed the journalism department’s media board in announcing the new “strategic planning workshops.”
Students who work for the paper will not receive their stipend until they attend the meetings.
“Our staff is pretty pissed off,” said Tyson Kaczmarek, the Southern News’ editor. He said the plan is just a setup to rid the paper of staffers critical of the administration, replacing them with more administration-friendly writers and editors.
Farricielli responded that, since the University began collecting a $20 media fee from all students, “we do need to demonstrate that we have [management] in order.”
Journalism professor Frank Harris III, who was the paper’s adviser before being removed last semester, said the actions of the administration violate students’ First Amendment rights and infringe on his own academic freedoms. “We think it’s really dirty what they’re doing,” said Harris. “Students have a right to criticize the administration. [Administrators] are trying to license journalists by making it mandatory to attend these workshops.”