MARYLAND — The College Media Advisers Board of Directorsvoted unanimously on August 12 to censure Mount St. Mary’s College"for its efforts to control its student newspaper by insistingthe adviser serve as censor."
In his letter informing Mount St. Mary’s President George Houstonof the censure, CMA President Chris Carroll decried the college’streatment of William Lawbaugh, adviser to the student newspaper,The Mountain Echo.
According to Lawbaugh, Mount St. Mary’s Provost Carol Hindswithheld a yearly merit raise and sent him a letter of reprimandfor failing to be "a responsible teacher of journalism."Lawbaugh said administrators punished him because he refused tocensor the newspaper.
College officials said Lawbaugh was reprimanded for allowingstudent editors to take commissions from advertising sales, notfor failing to censor the newspaper’s content.
But in the letter to Houston, Chris Carroll said CMA’s investigationinto the incident caused the organization to conclude that Lawbaughhad been punished solely for his decision not to review the paperprior to publication.
According to a CMA press release, this is only the second timethat the organization has censured an institution for the "oppressionof the exercise of student free expression and related negativeaction directed toward an adviser."