New CMA program to help advisers

The College Media Advisers organization unveiled a new program in March that will help advisers who have been punished by their schools for doing their jobs.At the annual spring convention, the board of directors unanimously approved the Adviser Advocate Program. A committee comprised of former CMA presidents will respond to grievances filed by advisers who have been fired or otherwise sanctioned by their school for performing advising duties in accordance with CMA principles, according to a CMA press release.Committee Chairwoman Jan Childress of Texas Tech University, said the committee will first determine if job actions against advisers were about First Amendment issues or other institutional personnel issues and then would mobilize if free press issues were involved.”I think its a great opportunity for CMA to provide a process for our advisers to use to initiate and investigate a situation that impacts on the First Amendment,” she said.There are numerous actions that the CMA committee can take to mutually resolve the issue. If it decides that the college involved was not willing to allow its adviser to adhere to the standards of CMA, it could condemn the institution as “oppressive of student rights to free expression and hostile toward those professionals it employs to advise the student press,” the measure says.CMA Vice President Chris Carroll said that the CMA bylaws have always implied that the organization would go the distance in support of a member.”People made it known that it was not all that uncommon for advisers to be retaliated against for being vocal champions of student rights,” he said.