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Open letter to President Lahey
In regards to your comments at last week’s Student Government Association meeting, The Chronicle would like to take this opportunity to respond.
You mentioned at the SGA meeting how it is a “challenge” for you to have a “discussion with students about important topics, but not have it be a press conference to the world, where I have absolutely no control.”
Control of what? Quinnipiac’s image?
In a public forum, whatever takes place, is public. Essentially what is trying to be done by the university is entrap public information so it does not reach the outside world.
We, as journalists, are merely doing our jobs. We are translating the hours spent in our Quinnipiac journalism classes into experience. We would be doing the Quinnipiac student body a disservice if we did not attend public events on campus, and cover them honestly and objectively.
While you are right in that the student newspaper is for the students, this does not mean that non-students should be barred from reading it. Although this is not the main reason we would post breaking news, it is still bothersome. The Web site would be used most importantly to inform students as quickly as possible about what is going on around them. There is nothing we can do if the New Haven Register or any other newspapers pick up our story. In fact, is it not a compliment to the university that established media sources are using our material?
It is apparent from your actions and statements that you are trying (and succeeding) to limit our outreach and access. As a private institution, Quinnipiac is not required to adhere to the First Amendment. However, the administration’s recent actions are a threat to freedom of the press on our campus.
Your reasoning for putting a freeze on our Web site six out of seven days of the week is so “dinosaurs who read the hard-copy version get an opportunity to read it before the external world hears about it.” Well, President Lahey, The Chronicle is published for the students, more than half of whom go to the Web site to get the latest news from The Chronicle. The newspaper is for the students…isn’t it?
A recent memo sent out to faculty advisors for student media claims that “the policy manual here at Quinnipiac clearly states that all contact with the media must be coordinated in advance through the public relations office. Student media outlets are not exempt from this policy.”
If the university would like to treat us as outside media, then we would expect to have the same access to distribution platforms and the same rights that they do.