FLORIDA — Editors of the Gargoyle, Flagler College’s student newspaper, are calling university President William Abare’s actions inappropriate after he pulled copies of the paper from racks last week.
The paper published a story last Tuesday with the headline “Campus Growth Forces Tuition Hike,” which co-editor Glenn Judah admitted was a mistake because it indicated an increase in tuition had already been approved. The story described how tuition rates will rise in the future because of the growth of the college, but an actual hike has yet to be decided on.
According to Brian Thompson, director of public information for the university and adviser to the newspaper, Abare made the decision to pull the issues Wednesday night. By morning time, the empty racks caused some to suspect censorship, he said. But Thompson said the only reason the papers were removed was because of the factual error in the headline.
“There was a lot of debate, but the reality is, the only thing that mattered was that we needed to correct [the headline],” Thompson said. “The president thought [the headline] was important enough that it couldn’t be out there.”
But Judah said the university should have allowed Gargoyle staff members to correct the mistake themselves. By Thursday, 3,000 copies of the paper were reprinted with a new headline along with a formal correction.
“We should have had the chance to fix our own mistake instead of [the university] taking the authority away from us,” Judah said. “We still stand behind the story, we just disagree with the way the administration went about it.”
Judah also said the excitement over one bad headline overshadowed the overall content of the paper.
“We screwed up,” Judah said. “The [other] articles and photographs, when [the paper] was pulled, you could not see that any more. It was one story, one headline and all that hard work disappeared.”
Thompson said it is still unclear how the incorrect headline got printed, but he said Gargoyle staff members will be taking a look at their system in order to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.