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Censorship…No Comment

Classes are back in session, and The Outlook is back in pursuit of upholding the ideals of Freedom of Speech.

In our Nov. 20, 2019 issue, our editorial brought to light an attempt to censor The Outlook. Before Homecoming weekend and President Patrick Leahy’s Installation, The Outlook was removed from its dedicated stands in the Student Center and was replaced with copies of Monmouth Magazine, in what appeared to be an apparent attempt to censor the paper.

Subsequent to an Outlook editorial, on this very page, exposing the incident featuring a photo of the newsstand, the paper did not receive a single response from administration, faculty, staff, or students.

One would think that at an educational institution that values the students and claims to hold the First Amendment in high regard, someone, anyone, might have commented on this incident; perhaps, with a letter to the editor.

In fact, it’s not outrageous to think that whoever perpetrated this deed, might have also responded with a letter to the editor explaining why they felt they alone were entitled and empowered to silence one of the University’s most important voices.

We at The Outlook are perplexed and disappointed with the absence of any reaction to an incident like this. 

We invited our editors to fill the void left by those who saw no need to comment. Our staff described various actions that they might have taken had they not been associated with the newspaper.

“If I worked for the university (and were involved in the situation), I would probably only speak up if it were a misunderstanding so that I would be able to explain the real reason for removing the newspapers. Silence implies fault,” said one editor.

Another editor pointed out that the removal of the newspapers diminished the general readership and exposure that the paper might get from those who pick it up in the Student Center. This publication is a product that the members of the newspaper are proud of as student journalists.

Our paper publishes information that is pertinent to the student body and the University community. Maybe there is a story about a new minor that is being offered, a new career club that is coming to campus, or even an explanation as to why tuition rose. But, the paper is not just about educational opportunities. Stories about where and why to get a flu shot or healthy dining options directly impact readers’ wellbeing. How some misguided person at the University would deny them that, is unconscionable.

The editors agreed that they were surprised that nothing was said of the editorial. But most of all, The Outlook staff wished that faculty members had shown support for us as student journalists.

“I would have liked the faculty and administrators to vocalize their support of The Outlook on this issue,” another editor said.  I think that it also would have been good to have heard from the President about the issue, especially since he has expressed his support for The Outlook,” added the editor.

“The newspaper is an official way for students to speak their minds and opinions and removing the newspapers is removing the voices of the students,” said an editor.

Another editor added that, “Although it limited the voice of us as students, it limited the voice of the entire University, which is something much bigger.”

It is our hope that this situation never arises again on our campus, or campuses across the country and world. The voices of students and young professionals deserve respect and deserve to be read.

If you did respond to our editorial and we failed to recognize it, or you wish to submit a response at this time, please do so and we will do our best to publish it, if that is the will of the writer. 

Below is the link to our original editorial on the attempted censorship of The Outlook.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University