Pennsylvania college confiscates student paper; president says article cited inaccurate national ranking

A campus newspaper staff accused Albright College administrators of censorship after campus security officials confiscated all copies of the newspaper’s Nov. 9 issue from bins around campus and entered the paper’s newsroom to steal additional copies and news gathering material, including unpublished notes.

Matt Kemeny, editor of The Albrightian, said he believes the paper may have been confiscated because of an article Kemeny wrote about the college’s low ranking in Barron’s College Guide and U.S. News and World Report. The article was published during a weekend when the college was hosting prospective students. Kemeny believes the school may not have wanted these students to see that the school’s rankings had fallen.

School officials said Col. Henry Zimon, university president, ordered the confiscation because he was concerned about the accuracy of the rankings article and was concerned that the newspaper may have violated copyright laws by reprinting some articles from the Reading Times, a local newspaper. Zimon said the rankings cited in the article are wrong because a college official gave the guides the wrong information, and that the correct information would place the college at a higher position. He did not, however, dispute the facts in the student paper.

The papers were returned to The Albrightian staff on Nov. 13 after student editors and some faculty members spent an hour arguing with school officials. Administrators wanted the rankings story retracted and evidence that the paper had the right to reprint Reading Times articles, but the editors refused.