Maryland newspaper adviser gets pay raise after battle with college

A beleaguered college newspaper adviser had $4,000 in pay penalty restored Oct. 1 — good news that was tempered by a new round of sanctions against his student publication.

William Lawbaugh, a professor at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., and The Mountain Echo’s faculty adviser, was denied a raise awarded to the rest of the faculty 18 months ago. Lawbaugh said the penalty stemmed from his refusal to review the paper’s content before it goes to press. Mount St. Mary’s officials claimed it was punishment for a possible misappropriation of funds, a charge they later dropped, as well as Lawbaugh’s refusal to screen “juicy stories” in the 122-year old publication.

Now that the university has decided to revoke the penalty, administrators have made plans to hire an outside consultant to investigate Lawbaugh and his advising. The consultant will also apparently enforce the new sanctions, which range from anonymous evaluations by the college each semester to the demanding “appropriate respect and loyalty to Mount St. Mary’s College.”

“These sanctions are a mystery,” said Carolyn Dawson, vice president of The Mountain Echo Editors Group, made up of Lawbaugh’s former students dedicated to defending their mentor. “The administration finally refunds the money, and then they impose more sanctions. Dr. Lawbaugh and his family are just demoralized, clearly the administration doesn’t recognize the importance of free speech”