Quinnipiac withdraws threat against campus chapter of Society of Professional Journalists

CONNECTICUT — After an editorial in the New York Times urged Quinnipiac University, in Hamden, Conn., to withdraw a threat to banthe Society of Professional Journalists’ campus chapter, Lynn Bushnell,vice president for public affairs at the university, retracted the threat.

The New York Times editorial said that while the students said thatthe university retracted the threat, it would be better for the university toput the statement in writing.

“Such intimidation does not speak well of Quinnipiac’scommitment to freedom of speech, open-mindedness or academic inquiry,” theeditorial read. “Instead of encouraging the students for their remarkableinitiative, the school tried to retaliate against them for resisting its controland not toeing the line.”

The threat came after the Quad News used university rooms reservedby the SPJ campus chapter. The registered student organization lent theirsupport to the Quad News, only to receive a letter for universityofficials threatening to ban the chapter.

Kendra Butters, co-managing editor of the Quad News, said that inthe description for the room’s use, the Quad News was mentioned.While the reservation was initially approved, it was later revoked.

Bushnell issued a press release regarding the New York Timeseditorial explaining the situation involving the Quad News.

“While there were some disagreements, occasionally vigorous, with thestudent newspaper (Quad News) last year and at the beginning of thisyear, those differences were resolved,” Bushnell said.

Even though Bushnell said the New York Times editorial came afterthe situation with the independent newspaper was resolved, she acknowledged the

New York Times editorial as the reason for the retraction of the threat.She said that a “poorly-worded” letter by a university staff membercaused the threat controversy and that she has already publicly acknowledgedthat there was no intent to punish the SPJ.

Jaclyn Hirsch, president of the Quinnipiac chapter of the SPJ andco-managing editor of the Quad News, said she received the letter fromstudent center director Daniel Brown, the administrator who initially issued thethreat.

“I appreciated the letter,” she said. “And, I lookforward to working with the administration.”