NEW YORK — Le Moyne College’s student newspaper, The Dolphin, resumed publication last week with a new adviser and new staff members — 10 months after its former staff voted to halt publication.
But Andrew Brenner, the paper’s former editor in chief, says the change in staffing and a new adviser was the university’s way of removing students who have opposed the administration and its refusal to renew former adviser Alan Fischler’s contract.
“The whole thing is horrible because if you think about it, the school is trying to get rid of people from an organization because they had a different opinion,” Brenner said.
Staff members of The Dolphin have been in protest since Fischler left his position last year. While the university has said that Fischler’s contract was not renewed because of the quality of the newspaper, Brenner said that the university was actually unhappy that certain articles critical of the administration were published.
Talks between the staff and administration continued throughout the year, but a resolution was never reached.
Shawn Ward, vice president of student development, said that the student senate requested that Brenner submit a new constitution and for staff members to work with a new adviser. Ward said when the deadline passed and Brenner declined to work with the new adviser, the student senate passed a resolution for the paper to be produced.
Ward said he “deregistered”¥ The Dolphin as a student organization after the student senate and Brenner reached an impasse. He said a new group of students later came forward who wanted to work with Ann Allen, a visiting English professor, who was chosen to be the new adviser.
Brenner said that he did not want to work with the new adviser because he still believed Fischler’s contract should have been renewed.
“[The student senate] kept insinuating that I didn’t want to put out a newspaper, when all I wanted to do was make sure that if there was a newspaper, students have a say on content,”¥ he said.
Allen said the changes to The Dolphin were entirely student-generated and that the paper is essential for the campus.
“What I said in the beginning and what I still believe is that the students are far better off having a forum that a student newspaper offers than not having one,” she said.
Olivia Martin, the new co-managing editor, said that during the protest, there was no forum for discussion and that most editors were not involved with the communication going on between Brenner and the university. Martin was the news editor during Brenner’s tenure, and has decided to work with Allen for the new school year.
“By not resuming publication we were continuing to build a gap that was separating the campus,” Martin said.
Martin said the student senate also has approved a new constitution for The Dolphin, clarifying that students will have control over content. She said several former editors from Brenner’s staff are also on the new staff, which published its first issue Oct. 6. Martin said that staff members are ready to move on.
“What’s done has been done,”¥ she said. “There’s no way to change what has been done, but it’s over — Fischler was removed, we chose to accept the new adviser and we’re going to put forth a new Dolphin.”
But Brenner said he will continue his protest and is looking into his options.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing,”¥ Brenner said. “Some students are willing to neglect the things the administration is doing wrong.”