Paul Fitzgerald

Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. teaching.

To the Editor:

My esteemed colleague, Prof. Don Greenberg, wrote last week to defend freedom of the press and to invite the campus community to a deeper consideration of the burdens we must bear to protect this fundamental right.

I agree with him wholeheartedly. The free flow of information and its critical analysis are hallmarks of Jesuit education. Another hallmark of Jesuit education is the defense of the worth and dignity of every human person, especially the vulnerable and the marginalized; this latter stance leads us to condemn words and deeds that demean persons or foster an atmosphere of oppression.

Regarding the current controversy concerning content that some students, staff and faculty, including Prof. Greenberg, found offensive, content that appeared in the “He said” column and the “FML text” in the 35/4 issue of The Mirror, my beliefs were clearly stated in the text of the message to the university community that Dr. Mark Reed and I sent out on Nov. 5: no prior censorship, student editorial autonomy and responsibility, and quality post-publication advisement.

Bringing freedom of the press and community standards of justice together in The Mirror obliges the student editors to generate and live by a code of ethics that coheres with the community standards of Fairfield University.

Dean Pellegrino determined that the content of the 35/4 issue published by the student editors was not in compliance with their own ethical standards.
While the student editors disagree with Dean Pellegrino’s determination,they are taking steps to change their policies and procedures to prevent this from recurring, evidence that they are indeed learning from this series of events.

While The Mirror is an independent student newspaper, the writers and editors are Fairfield students, and their education is my chief concern. I have confidence in Prof. Fran Silverman, faculty advisor to The Mirror, and in Prof. Jim Simon, head of our Journalism program.

It has been suggested that an Advisory Board be created. I see a real value in such a group, made up of on- and off-campus people with interest and expertise, chosen with the accord of the student editors, to engage in periodic post-publication review to help our student journalists to continue to learn their craft and to hone their skills.

I would welcome this additional educational support for our students as they exercise their rights and responsibilities as independent journalists within and for the Fairfield University community.


Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

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