Editors group pulls funding from Hampton U. after president seized papers

VIRGINIA —- Three weeks after seizing the entirepress run of the student newspaper, Hampton University officials learned Tuesdaythat they have lost a $55,000 grant from the American Society of NewspaperEditors.The grant, which funded a program to train high schooljournalism teachers over the summer at Hampton, will instead fund other highschool journalism grants, said Peter Bhatia, president of the ASNE.Thedecision to defund the grant stems from an incident last month when ActingPresident JoAnn Haysbert halted distribution of The Script becausestudent editors refused to run her letter to the editor on the frontpage.”Our point here is not designed to harm anyone or wag ourfingers at anyone,” Bhatia said. ”It’s just that the ASNE isan organization of newspaper editors, and in our view, [the university’sdecision] flies in the face of the press freedoms of our nation and oursociety.” On Oct. 24, editors of The Script and Haysbertagreed to reprint the newspaper with the letter to the editor on the front pageand form a task force to make recommendations regarding the future role of thenewspaper at Hampton.Less than a week later, Haysbert changed thecomposition of the task force by adding three additional members withoutconsulting students.In a press release, Haysbert said she wasdisappointed the ASNE decided to withdraw funding.”It isunfortunate that the American Society of Newspaper Editors has decided to pullthe funding allocated to Hampton University for the 2004 High School JournalismInstitute,” she said. ”I am pleased that 19 high school teachersfrom all over the country successfully completed the program at HamptonUniversity in the summer of 2002.”This would have been the fourthyear that Hampton received grant money from the ASNE. It was one of sixuniversities originally selected to receive the grants.

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