Paper publishes blank copy
Editors protest adviser's censorship policies
WASHINGTON — A student newspaper at Washington State University in Pullman published a virtually blank issue protesting the censorship policies of their adviser last October.
The staff at the Daily Evergreen distributed a newspaper that contained only advertisements and one front-page editorial criticizing their new adviser, Bob Hilliard.
The editorial said Hilliard “went back on two of the most important promises made before he was hired: That he would not censor this newspaper, and that he would not attempt to take the student out of Student Publications.”
The protest was specifically aimed at an Oct. 31 news article about the university’s search for a new provost. According to Tracy Cutchlow, managing editor of the Daily Evergreen, though Hilliard pronounced the copy clean, he requested students not run the story because information it contained might jeopardize the search. Student editors confirmed their sources and ran the story anyway.
One of the candidates for the provost position is Hilliard’s boss, Geoff Gamble. Hilliard claims Gamble, who had called him with concerns about the story, did not ask him to prevent its release.
According to Cutchlow, Hilliard was “livid” when he saw the article. He suspended the newspaper’s editorial adviser, Jeff Hand, for three days for not preventing the article’s publication. Hand is a university staff member who works most closely with the students throughout the writing and editing process.
Students, upset over Hand’s treatment, went on strike. “He was being punished for our actions,” Cutchlow said.
Hand’s suspension was almost immediately lifted.
The next day, the blank issue condemning Hilliard’s censorship appeared. It cost the newspaper over $5,000 in revenue that the advertising department refunded to clients.
In early November, the newspaper editorial staff met with the university publications board which oversees Hilliard and the newspaper. Cutchlow said the board declined to react to the situation. She said the newspaper staff will now concentrate on conforming Hilliardís job description to the College Media Adviser’s code of ethics, which would prohibit censorship.
reports, Winter 1996-97