MARYLAND –The editor of the student newspaper at MorganState University asked administrators to reprimand the school’sstudent activities coordinator and student government associationpresident Thursday for telling the newspaper’s printer to delaydelivery of the March 16 issue until 5 p.m. — after the day’sSGA elections were over.Kevin Howell, editor of The Spokesman, said SGA presidentJulian Dash called him on the morning of March 16 asking to seea copy of the newspaper. Howell refused, and he said Dash toldhim he would not allow the newspaper to be delivered until 5 p.m.that day. Howell said Dash was concerned that the issue containedcandidate endorsements that could influence the election.
Although the newspaper did not contain any endorsements, Howellsaid this was because the editorial staff did not wish to supportany of the candidates, not because The Spokesman did nothave the right to publish them.
Vivian Ryan, the university’s student activities coordinator,said she instructed one of her employees to call and ask the printerto delay delivery of the newspaper on Dash’s request. She saidSGA regulations prohibit the newspaper from publishing candidateendorsements. She said if she had known that the newspaper didnot contain endorsements, "there would have been no needto have called" the printer.
"[The newspaper] is paid for by student fees, and therules for campaigning say that neither the student governmentnor the newspaper can endorse a candidate," Ryan said.
But Howell said the actions of Ryan and Dash were illegal.He said he asked the printer to deliver the newspaper before 5p.m., but the printer was unable to do so because it had alreadystarted printing other jobs.
Howell said Spokesman staff members tried to publishthe newspaper themselves but were only able to make 25 copiesof the 18-page paper. They distributed the copies at a pollingspot and posted a display of the articles on the college’s maincampus.
Howell said he is asking the administration to reimburse thenewspaper for lost advertising revenue and reprimand Dash andRyan for their conduct. He said he will seek legal action if theadministration does not comply with The Spokesman’s demands.
"I really think it just shows the ignorance, not justof [Dash], but also of the student activities administrator, tothink that they are allowed to do this and think they will justdo it and not have any consequences," Howell said. "Forthem not to understand that the role of the media is to publicizethese candidates, to get the information out to the student bodyor whoever our readers are so they can make their decision basedon the information we bring to them, to me it just shows ignorance."