Unofficial student paper not welcome
Editor says private college kicked him out of school over dispute
MISSOURI — Alternative student newspapers are not welcome at the College of the Ozarks, and Pat Nolan found out the hard way.
After producing three issues of The College Record Nolan says he was kicked out of school for it.
Nolan started The College Record after leaving the school’s official paper, The Outlook. Nolan set up the paper completely independent of the school, obtained a business license to operate in the town of Branson, and set to work at gathering writers and advertisers to put together his first issue on November 11, 1996.
Before that issue even came out, Nolan started receiving threats from the school and was told his writers could be reprimanded if their names appeared in the paper.
“The College of the Ozarks has no written policy banning student newspapers, and we weren’t really set up as a student paper anyway,” Nolan said. “But all of a sudden, they were saying we could be kicked out of school for distributing this paper.”
Nolan put his paper out anyway, but ran a page two disclaimer saying, “The Recordis not affiliated with College of the Ozarks in any way.”
For that first issue, The College Record ran mostly stories from wire services and was generally pretty tame, but school administrators decided alternative papers could not be tolerated.
“They wanted to ensure that the school’s name wasn’t appearing in it,” Nolan said. “It was the only paper in the community that the college didn’t control. They were under the impression that this was an alternate student newspaper, and they couldn’t stand that.”
Dr. Larry Cockrun, a school official at College of the Ozarks, says he received calls from Nolan’s advertisers and was under the impression that Nolan had been using the school’s name and misleading advertisers in order to sell ads. Cockrun then called Nolan’s other advertisers, and Nolan says those advertisers pulled their ads shortly after.
Nolan says The College Record was being run out of town.
“Mr. Nolan didn’t like the paper that was presently here, and didn’t go through the proper channels to change it,” Cockrun said. “They could have gotten involved in the official paper and done what they could have to change it from the inside. Barring that, they could have gone through the formal process of getting a new paper established at the school. Without that, at a private university, an unrecognized student publication can’t invoke the school’s name to sell ads, and we don’t have to allow it to be distributed on campus.”
Cockrun maintains that Nolan was not kicked out of school and left of his own volition.
The circumstances of it are unclear, but Nolan insists he was forced out at the end of the semester.
Nolan ran an editorial about the incident in the third and final issue of The College Record saying, “Rest assured, my removal from C of O was not voluntary.”
“They called all my advertisers, and most of them pulled their ads,” Nolan said. “The school did everything they could to stop my paper, and I was kicked out of College of the Ozarks for this. It’s unfortunately done for now.”
Nolan transferred to Southwest Missouri State University and is currently working for the official student newspaper there.
He still has a business license for The College Record in Branson but is no longer publishing.
reports, Spring 1997