Editors resign over private college's censorship of student paper in Illinois

ILLINOIS — The editor in chief and two other editors at LewisUniversity’s student paper, The Flyer, resigned today amid disagreementswith school administrators over control of content.

Former Editor in Chief Pete Nickeas said he decided to resign after AngelaDurante, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, decided the paper couldnot publish the names of students or community members involved in allegedcriminal activity, could not publish the word “nigger” in a news story about theword appearing on a flier on campus, and could not run a story about auniversity trustee being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commissionwithout Durante’s approval.

The bi-weekly paper had only begun focusing on hard news and campussecurity last year, and there were no university student media policies in placedealing with the above incidents, Nickeas said. Lewis University, a privatecollege, acts as owner and publisher of all student media, according to theCampus Media Handbook. Durante had the power to make those decisions until theMedia Advisory Board met to discuss policy changes, Nickeas said.

“I don’t feel (I would be) responsible in holding back public informationfrom reporting,” Nickeas said. “I’m not trying to lead a crusade or anything,but I’d rather not play by their rules.”

Durante did not return calls from the Student Press Law Center on Fridayafternoon, nor could the school’s media relations department reach any otheradministrators for comment.

Opinions editor Mike Howlett said he resigned inpart because he could not print an editorial about the university trustee underinvestigation by the SEC.

Howlett said the paper has “to be critical of the school to advance thewatchdog function.”

“It’s outrageous to have a newspaper and pull stuff like this. It goesagainst everything they teach us from day one,” he said.

Senior layout editor Erin Devers also resigned, Nickeas said. New editorswill be chosen to fill the vacant positions in the next few weeks.

By Emilie Yam, SPLC staff writer