SMU Kills Column in Student Newspaper

Apparently the administration at Southern Methodist University recently prevented the student newspaper The Daily Campus from publishing one column critical of the school’s board of directors in an issue of the paper that was going out to next year’s students.

According to a piece in The Student Press Law Center:

Though The Daily Campus operates independently of SMU — receiving no funding from the school administration — this particular column was part of an orientation issue, mailed out to all incoming freshmen.

As part of a verbal agreement made in 2007, the student journalists are required to submit the edition to the administration for prior review. In exchange, the newspaper staff receives a list of mailing addresses for members of the incoming class.

Somewhat tellingly, the subject of the article was the need for more transparency on the Board of Trustees.

SMU’s Dean of Student Life, Lisa Webb, explained that she was censoring the article because it “was not germane to the overall content in the issue as a whole. The column… didn’t speak to new students,” Webb said. “If a story doesn’t hit our target audience, our agreement is that it won’t be published.” Whatever that means.

The paper published the column on its website anyway.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer