15 April 2009

The CCSU Recorder and the Faculty Assault on Student Sovereignty

An email I sent to the CCSU campus today...

Let's, for a moment, all pretend that this latest Recorder "crisis" is about one student's freedom of speech.

(This, of course, is far from the case, since Ms. Blaszko can in fact write for the Recorder anytime she wants; she just cannot serve as editor because she refuses to follow duly ratified policies that follow well promulgated professional and educational standards, but let's pretend for a moment anyway).

From the perspective of student clubs, students at CCSU should be very wary of the pressures being exerted from external forces (and, yes, that's the faculty who have signed the petition, spoken out publicly for Ms. Blaszko's reinstatement, etc).

The real danger to free speech is not Ms. Blaszko's losing an editorship, but all the clubs' losing the sovereignty of their decisions.

Would the PSA, WFCS, LASO, PRIDE, or the Sociology, History, or Art clubs, really want folks from outside that club (be they SA/LD, the President, the Provost, the faculty moderators, the University Senate, powerful alumni, or even other students) to have the power to overturn a duly executed decision by its membership?

If they wouldn't want that (and, golly, I hope they don't), students had better hope the Recorder doesn't cave to the pressure of the specious arguments that have been mounted against it.

If they don't care about their sovereignty, then the precedent for external influence will exist, and then student speech will be in real danger.

In the end, therefore, please remember that the Recorder, like all other student clubs, has a constitution that has been written and ratified by its members, and then vetted by the experienced staff of Student Affairs.

(Yes, folks, along with faculty experts in, say, JOURNALISM, on this campus, there are, in fact, professionals in the areas of student activities who research and write about such topics, attend conferences, and keep up on current case law.)

Perhaps those of us who can't say that about ourselves should just keep out of this.

Good night, and god bless!

(I was going to go "Good night, and good luck," but that was way too Edward R. Murrow-y, so I went Red Skelton-y instead)!

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