Student media in Hutchinson, Kansas, came under attack recently when copies of the paper were heisted from the racks and hidden from public view in order to prevent an unflattering story from being widely read during a campus event.
The Hutchinson Community College Collegian, a weekly student-run newspaper, published on April 5 a story about a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student who stole a drawing of the school’s mascot, the Blue Dragon, during a forensics tournament.
Before another forensics tournament was to take place, the issue was distributed Fearing judges would look down on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln team, “HCC debate and forensics coach Travis Roberts directed some students on his team to collect the free Collegian newspapers from racks, so the papers could be hidden while the national tournament was on campus,” according to The Hutchinson News’ report by Mary Clarkin published April 30.
This is a clear violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Collegian adviser Alan Montgomery told The News it was a “shameful, despicable desecration of the U.S. First Amendment.”
“Anyone trying to infringe upon or take away the First Amendment rights of any of my journalism students might liken the experience to smacking a hornets’ next with a stick,” Montgomery said in a statement as reported by The News.
In response to Roberts’ actions, The Collegian published a rare, 8-page edition with a banner headline proclaiming: “Hijacked.”
No theft charges have been filed at this time, though in similar cases student publications have won and perpetrators have been charged with Class A Misdemeanors and been forced to pay more than $300,000 in damages.
Read The Hutch News Article:
Read The Collegian’s Coverage:
- Forensics steals press run to shield Nebraska school
- Collegian staff meets with forensics coach
- Newspaper thieves sought refuge from reality
- Theft of free papers result in hefty charges
- Campus eyed by 270 security cams