Adviser receives award for refusing to censor college newspaper

NEW YORK — An embattled college professor and newspaperadviser was presented with the Columbia Scholastic Press AssociationGold Key award Friday in recognition of his "outstandingdevotion to the cause of the student press."

William Lawbaugh, a professor and adviser to the student newspaperat Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmittsburg, Md., received theaward for his refusal to censor The Mountain Echo.

"Selecting Dr. Lawbaugh to receive the Gold Key awardis an excellent decision on CSPA’s part," said Carolyn HakesDawson, secretary of the Mountain Echo Editors Group, a supportgroup composed of former Mountain Echo editors. "Notonly is the award well deserved, but it also sends the strongmessage to both high school and college newspapers and their advisersto continue to fight the good fight and never back down."

Lawbaugh has been involved in an ongoing battle with schooladministrators since February 2000 when he was reprimanded anddenied a $3,800 raise for refusing to review the student newspaperprior to publication.

"I feel pretty good about winning this award," Lawbaughsaid. "It’s been almost a year, and I was getting weary.Now I’m re-energized."

In addition to the penalties already received, Lawbaugh saidhe is expecting to be denied another pay raise next month.

College Media Advisers, an organization that represents collegestudents and advisers, voted in August to censure Mount St. Mary’sfor its treatment of Lawbaugh after conducting an investigationinto Lawbaugh’s complaint that he was reprimanded for refusingto censor the student paper.

Along with the Gold Key, Lawbaugh received a certificate whichrecognized him for "encouragement to the student editorsin their several endeavors, service above and beyond the callof delegated duty, leadership in the field of education, and supportof the high ideals from which the association has drawn its strengthand inspiration."

Lawbaugh has also received a First Amendment award from theSociety of Professional Journalists and a Distinguished Adviseraward from CMA.

Previous Stories:

CMAcensures Md. college, Winter 2000-01 Report

CMAcensures Maryland college for treatment of adviser (8/31/00)

CMAthreatens to censure college, Fall 2000 Report