EDITORIAL: Southwestern Sun ‘under fire’

Ernesto Lopez

The United States Bill of Rights clearly gives complete freedom of the press, even if journalists poke into cases or injustices better left uncovered. This right has recently been stripped away from fellow and local college newspaper, the Southwestern Sun.

At the beginning of September, the Southwestern College administration threatened adviser, Max Branscomb, with “ramifications” if the production of the Sun’s current issue was not held from printing, stating the newspaper is out of compliance with printer selection policies.

Section C.4 of the student newspaper policy, which was established in 1990, states that “final selection of a printer will be in accordance with standard college procedure for all bids … and in compliance with the business department.”

According to Branscomb in E-mail correspondence, the college administration is trying to sensor the Sun’s coverage as the governing board elections near and an upcoming crucial accreditation visit.

In initial communication between Branscomb and Dr. Marc Meadows, the suggestion was made that the Sun adviser publish their first issue after the November elections.

Is it possible that funding is being pulled to strictly appease government officials?

Chris Bender, the Southwestern College media relations officer, has denied the allegations and said “this is about protecting tax payers dollars.”

Branscomb disagrees and has repeatedly said the Sun is “under fire” due to the students reporting on members of the board.

After being threatened with ramifications, the Southwestern Sun attempted to collect private funding to publish their first issue of the semester, and on Sept. 28 it was announced that the Sun’s first issue has been financed by Southwestern alumnus J. Michael Straczynski while the college goes through the bidding process for future printing.

It is a shame that the college administration sat back as the Sun’s editorial board sought private funds to print.
We stand alongside our colleagues at Southwestern and will continue to support the progression of free speech in a society that may wish to censor an unbiased voice.

We stand alongside our colleagues at Southwestern and will continue to support the progression of free speech in a society that may wish to censor an unbiased voice.