Grambling State journalists cancel homecoming coverage after staff denied passes to events, editor says

The Gramblinite, Grambling State University’sstudent newspaper, cancelled its coverage of the school’s homecoming weekthis month after staff members said student leaders and administrators deniedthem access to events.

Editor in Chief Darryl Smith said the FavrotStudent Union, which sponsors homecoming activities, refused to provide enoughpress passes for newspaper staff members to cover events. Smith said the denialof passes was in retaliation for a “mid-term report card” theGramblinite published, which criticized the school’s student unionboard and the Student Government Association.

The report card, publishedin the opinion section of the newspaper, listed several categories includingadministration, faculty, police and student life. Staff members gave the studentlife category an “F” grade, stating that the student government andthe schools’ student union board need to “provide meaningfulactivities” for students.

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SPLCView: Censorship can take many forms. Particularly for public collegestudent media, where First Amendment protections generally remain strong,attempts to manipulate or punish student media for unfavorable news or editorialcoverage typically involve more indirect acts of censorship, and could include,as the Grambling student newspaper alleges here, limiting press access to newsevents. While the First Amendment does protect against indirect censorship, itis up to student journalists to show that the alleged acts of censorship are, infact, motivated by the news organization’s content. Keeping good records ofadministrative and student government complaints about news coverage can beessential to making a First Amendment case if a censorship complaintarises.

For more information and tips on combatting “indirect”censorship, see: