Editors quit to protest censorship
TEXAS — Editor in chief John Tedesco and three other top editors quit working for Logos at the University of the Incarnate Word as a protest over censorship of the paper.
The story in question was about an employee who had been accused of sexual harassment and had since resigned from his position at the university.
School officials stepped in before the story went to press, asking Tedesco not to use the former employee’s name in the story.
“We could have done what we’ve always done, which is just ignore them,” Tedesco said. “The problem is that our bylaws make it clear that they can’t interfere with editorial policy, but if they break the bylaws there is no recourse for us as students.”
Tedesco says he wanted to leave a clear message to school administrators before he graduated, so that the newspaper staff would not face similar problems in the future.
“I feel that as a reporter I shouldn’t have to ask their permission to write a story because they are the subjects of what we are writing about,” Tedesco told the San Antonio Express-News.
A university statement about the issue said that they had based the request to withhold the former employee’s name from the story on their “responsibilty and rights as publisher of the newspaper.”
It is this stance that Tedesco finds unbearable.
The editors are talking with the administration to reestablish their control over the paper’s editorial policy, and say they will return to the paper if a resolution is reached in their favor.
In the meantime, Tedesco and his staff are working to put out an underground newspaper.
“We’re coming out with the underground paper because we don’t want to deprive the students of a newspaper altogether.”
Tedesco said there was some danger of his decision to quit being seen as a form of acquiescence
“The message here is not that we gave up because of the censorship, but that we are looking for ways around it where we can have control over our own editorial decisions.”
reports, Spring 1997