Director loses job for refusing to permit prior review

NORTH CAROLINA -- Officials at St. Augustine College in Raleigh confiscated almost the entire press run of the student paper and fired the adviser because he refused to allow "administrative review of the student newspaper prior to its publication," said Sevealyn Smith, communications department division chair, in a memo sent to the former adviser.

Calvin Hall, former director of student publications at the college, said administrators told him they wanted to begin reviewing the publication in February. Smith said officials were concerned with typographical errors in The Pen.

But after The Penran a front-page story and photo about a student who was stabbed in his dorm room, a school official was told to take all the newspapers off campus, Hall said.

When Hall learned of the theft, he went to the president's office with the editor and managing editor. While there, he said he found approximately 100 papers, of the 1,200-paper press run, in the trash can.

According to Hall, St. Augustine President Dianne Suber said the photograph and story were "inappropriate" to publish because the school has a very strict anti-drug policy.

The photograph was of a student lying in a hospital bed showing his stab wound. The student was charged with felony possession of marijuana, and the stabbing was drug-related, according to Raleigh police.

College officials did not return phone calls made by the Report.

Because student editors decided not to allow the school to review the newspaper, Hall's superiors fired him.

Hall said he was upset at first but decided he does not want to be a public relations tool for the college.

"They don't want a director of student publications; they want an administrator of propaganda," Hall said.

Fall 2000, reports