Fairfield Academic Council: Divorce The Mirror From Student Affairs

Share

Fairfield’s top faculty body, the Academic Council, sent a strong message of support of The Mirror’s freedom of expression this week and voted to recommend moving the paper out of Student Affairs and into the Academic Affairs division.

In adding up the votes on five different issues surrounding The Mirror and the issue of free expression, there were 67 faculty votes on motions supporting the paper, one opposed and one abstention on the five motions.

The council’s deliberations focused on The Mirror’s role on campus, not on the content of the He Said satirical column on the ”walk of shame.”  One of the council members supporting all five motions was politics professor Jocelyn Boryczka, adviser to the Just Us Residential College, which had helped organize protests against the column.

The Academic Council did not consider the actual content of the “He Said” column in question or The Mirror in general, but instead voted in defense of free expression. The Council was clear in its vote that it supported the protesters right to protest, but did think that the harassment charges were the wrong way to approach a settlement. Most of the Academic Council were excited to see students protesting a topic that affected them and the bravery they showed in taking action against free speech they found offensive.

“The Academic Council sent a strong message to support of faculty rights to manage the curriculum on campus and to recognize the value of an independent student paper that can be a forum for student opinion on campus,” said Dr. James Simon, English chair and long-term adviser to the Mirror, who presented the motions to the Council.

The near unanimous votes came on five issues:

1. In recognition of the academic value of a student newspaper to a university, the Academic Council asked President von Arx to transfer administrative control of The Mirror from Student Affairs to Academic Affairs.

2. Given a free and independent student newspaper is an essential component to student’s learning and provides a voice for students and a place where issues can be debated, the Academic Council asked President von Arx to assure that the funding agreement reflects the independent nature of The Fairfield Mirror.

3. The Academic Council considered the filing of harassment charges against The Fairfield Mirror to be in error since, according to the University’s harassment policy, charges can only be brought against individuals. (The charges have since been dropped.)

4. The Academic Council recommended that student news-gathering operations be specifically exempted from the current Fairfield harassment policy in recognition of the watchdog role they can play in protecting the rights and the voice of students. Such news gathering operations shall be bound by their own published codes of conduct, by ethical standards in their field, and by all state and federal laws regarding libel/slander, hate speech and harassment.

5. The Academic Council recommended that a new ad hoc committee of faculty and administrators be convened to examine the current harassment policy on campus because of demonstrated problems with its broad prohibitions against any verbal or written communication that could cause “embarrassment” or be seen as “demeaning.”

The Student Affairs office had declared its annual contract with The Mirror, supplying $30,000 a year to print the newspaper, to be “null and void” due to problems stemming from a He Said satirical column on the ”walk of shame.”  The column prompted a protest outside the newspaper; four of the protesters filed complaints that the column was a form of sexual harassment and generated a hostile environment for women on campus.

Fairfield’s English Department voted Dec. 4 to authorize Simon to take whatever action was necessary, including a possible severing of the department from any oversight of the paper, to protect the faculty’s role in setting curriculum.  English offers academic credit to some staff members for supervised work on the newspaper, ties work in some classes to the newspaper as a practicum experience, and schedules faculty members to advise the paper. All such efforts would be jeopardized if Student Affairs ended funding.

National journalism groups like College Media Advisers, Society of Professional Journalists and FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) wrote to President Jeffrey von Arx, saying Fairfield’s crackdown on The Mirror was out of step with best practices in managing college newspapers.

Hours before the Academic Council vote, Dean of Students Tom Pellegrino, who has supervised prosecution of The Mirror on harassment charges, issued a conciliatory letter that endorsed the idea of a new ad hoc committee to look at the current harassment policy and see how it intersects with guarantees of free speech on campus.

Pellegrino also said that with a fresh look “into our system design for advising and supporting the paper, we will be able to better demarcate the role that student affairs, academics, and the advisory board play in responding to the many and varied claims/concerns/questions that may be raised towards the paper in the future.”

“The Mirror was one of the first examples of a living and learning initiative on our campus with cross-divisional involvement. That is a positive feature and should be maintained. However, there is a counterbalancing need to have a candid assessment of the roles that individuals and departments play with respect to the paper and the impact those are having on the experience,” he wrote. He also asked for a chance to address the Academic Council in January on these issues.

(Compiled from varied sources, including participants at the faculty meeting)

Comments

221 Responses to Fairfield Academic Council: Divorce The Mirror From Student Affairs

  1. Hello! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  2. As a Newbie, I am permanently searching online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you

  3. Regan Aarons says:

    Precisely. Plus they draw attention from me.

  4. calvice says:

    tratamento contra calvice

  5. mens apparel says:

    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  6. you’ve a great weblog here! would you wish to make some invite posts on my blog?

  7. Wm Booher says:

    This really answered my downside, thanks!

  8. There is visibly a lot to identify about this. I believe you made certain good points in features also.

  9. Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  10. I actually wanted to construct a note so as to express gratitude to you for these awesome hints you are sharing on this site. My time-consuming internet

  11. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  12. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is just great and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  13. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.

  14. I in addition to my friends have already been taking note of the excellent guides found on the website while quickly I got an awful feeling I had not expressed respect to the site owner for those techniques. All the young boys appeared to be consequently warmed to read through all of them and now have in truth been making the most of them. Appreciation for really being indeed thoughtful as well as for making a decision on varieties of superb things millions of individuals are really desperate to know about. Our honest apologies for not saying thanks to you earlier.

  15. There is apparently a bunch to know about this. I assume you made certain nice points in features also.

  16. I have to express my respect for your kind-heartedness for visitors who absolutely need guidance on this content. Your very own dedication to passing the message up and down ended up being pretty helpful and has continuously empowered individuals like me to reach their aims. The informative report signifies a great deal a person like me and far more to my peers. Many thanks; from everyone of us.

  17. Very interesting details you have noted , regards for posting . “Death is Nature’s expert advice to get plenty of Life.” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

  18. We stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to going over your web page for a second time.

  19. mortgage key says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  20. Commonly I don’t go through article on blogs and forums, although My spouse and i choose to express until this write-up pretty commanded everybody to consider and additionally practice it! A way with words has become shocked all of us. Many thanks, really quite amazing page. Appreciate it, Florencia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

(Spamcheck Enabled)