Calif. college paper ordered to halt printing

CALIFORNIA — A student newspaper in California had its printproduction halted this week after administrators began enforcing a 20-year-oldpolicy.

The student newspaper at Southwestern College, The Sun, was informedit was in violation of a policy regarding the paper’s printing contractand would have to comply before it could print its first issue. The policyrequires the paper to follow the same “purchasing policy” of thecollege, which requires a bidding period and approval by the SC GoverningBoard.

Max Branscomb, adviser to The Sun, said earlier in the week the deanof the School of Arts and Communication relayed the message to him from the vicepresident for student affairs. The soonest the paper could get approval would bein November.

“Well conveniently, the next available Governing Board meeting is inmid-November,” he said. “In the meantime, there’s a very, verycontroversial election on Nov. 2 that involves three of the incumbent boardmembers.”

But college spokesman Chris Bender said the elections had nothing to dowith the decision to halt printing of the paper. He said he was not sure why thepolicy had not been enforced before, but college officials discovered it duringan annual check of its campus policies. The policy is dated July 1990.

“Once you find out this policy exists, you have to comply withit,” Bender said.

Diana Inocencio, editor of The Sun, disagrees that the timing is acoincidence.

“I personally think it’s obvious that they don’t want usto print our papers because they feel like the community vote would be swayed bywhat we say in our paper,” she said.

Branscomb said he was under the impression the policy was removed in 1999.However, after a turnover in personnel, the policy remained unchanged.

Regardless of what happens, Branscomb and Inocencio said printing the paperwould go forward with or without funding from the college. Branscomb said thepaper has received support from the community and has raised enough privately toprint their first issue.

“We are definitely going to put out our first issue, with theblessing of the administration or not,” Inocencio said.

Bender also said The Sun still has the ability to publish on itswebsite, and pointed to a story it ran about the current situation.

“I think the key here is that we’re not preventing, and no oneis discussing, the newspaper’s ability to publish or report out theirstories,” he said.

But both Branscomb and Inocencio aren’t satisfied without the printedproduct. Inocencio said The Sun just recently got the website and thestaff is still learning the potential of the online medium.

“We still believe the heart and soul of The Sun is a printedpaper,” he said.

Three editors from The Sun were also detained by police earlier thisweek on the suspicion of theft. The editors were taking an old computer to theApple Store to have its memory wiped clean. After the situation was explained topolice, the students were let go. However, a few days later, the police returnedand said they had been ordered to pursue a criminal investigation, Branscombsaid.