\nNEW JERSEY – There is a growing struggle between university\nofficials and a group of alumni, faculty and students at Rutgers\nUniversity over who controls the alumni magazine.
The Rutgers 1000 Alumni Council wants to place an ad in the\nmagazine urging the school to reduce its emphasis on athletics,\nbut university officials are refusing to publish the ad, arguing\nthat Rutgers Magazine does not accept “advocacy advertising.”
In a case that could potentially affect the ability of college\nnewspaper editors to reject advertising, the American Civil Liberties\nUnion of New Jersey is suing the university for rejecting the\ngroup’s ad.
Richard Seclow, a 1951 Rutgers graduate and retired advertising\nexecutive who is a spokesman for the group, said Rutgers 1000\nhas a First Amendment right to publish its ad in the magazine.
“Constitutionally, [Rutgers Magazine] has the obligation\nto publish [the ad] under the First Amendment,” said Seclow.\n”It also has the obligation to let the alumni know … that\nwe have a dissenting view on what we call the professionalization\nof sports at Rutgers.”
Rutgers 1000 opposes the school’s joining the Big East sports\nconference and its renewed efforts to improve big-time sports,\nsuch as football and basketball, at the university.
Rutgers University officials declined to comment on the case,\nbut David R. Scott, an attorney for the university, released a\nstatement saying, “The University feels that the constitutional\narguments made by [the Rutgers 1000] are without merit and that\nthe actions of Rutgers Magazine with respect to this matter\nwill be upheld as entirely constitutional and proper.”
Flavio Komuves, the attorney handling the case for the ACLU,\nsaid that although the university claims Rutgers Magazine\ndoes not allow any advocacy advertising, the university has used\nthe magazine to advertise controversial issues in the past.
“Our position is that this is an alumni magazine,”\nhe said. “They have written about issues of controversy before.”
Seclow said it is important for Rutgers 1000 to advertise in\nRutgers Magazine--which has a circulation of 100,000–because\nit is the only way the group can reach Rutgers alumni. The university\nhas refused to allow the group to rent the alumni mailing list,\nhe said.
Learn more about the Rutgers controversy from the Rutgers 1000 Web site at http://members.aol.com/rualliance/censor.htm