Hampton U. president limits authority, changes makeup of newspaper task force

VIRGINIA —- Less than a week after agreeing tocreate a task force that would redefine the role of the Hampton Universitystudent newspaper, the school president has changed its composition and limited its power.Editors of The Script and actingPresident JoAnn Haysbert agreed to create the task force late last Friday aftercontroversy erupted on campus when Haysbert confiscated the entire print run ofthe newspaper because editors refused to run her memo on the front pageof the Oct. 25 issue.At the time, both sides agreed that the task forcewould have the power to make binding recommendations on the future of thenewspaper and that it would consist of seven members. However, in aletter to task force members Wednesday, Haysbert wrote, ”As ActingPresident, it is not within my purview to change the institutional model onwhich this outstanding paper was founded.”Talia Buford, editor ofThe Script, criticized the letter Thursday, saying that it backtracked onthe school’s initial promises.”It makes it seem as if shedoesn’t have any power to change anything in The Script,”Buford said. ”We drafted a letter with the newspaper staff saying wedidn’t agree to this and want to go with the originalplan.”The original agreement called for the task force to becomprised predominately of people with a journalism background, includingBuford, the director of the journalism school, a journalism professor, the threeScript advisers, a school administrator and an additional student on the newspaper staff. According to the letter sent Wednesday, Haysbertappointed three additional members to the task force without discussing it withScript editors. The three new members are professors from the psychology,sociology and nursing departments.Buford and others at The Scriptdelivered a letter protesting the changes to Haysbert Thursday through taskforce chairman and journalism professor Earl Caldwell. The letter requested thatHaysbert follow the initial agreement.Buford said Thursday that thoughshe would prefer the task force maintain its original composition, she wouldconsider compromising by adding alumni involved in the media or other mediaprofessionals.Caldwell said Friday that the university maintained itsright to change the task force and students on the task force agreed toparticipate in the new task force.”All parties are on board andwe’re going ahead next week with the first meetings,” he said.”The university’s position is that they alone can decide the makeupof the task force.” Buford said Friday that she agreed to the taskforce changes because she believed the task force would still have the abilityto make binding recommendations.”I have mixed feelings,”Buford said. ”[Haysbert] did say [the task forcewould]

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