Seattle college paper returns to print four years after censorship controversy

Four years after its print edition was canceled, The New City Collegian is back in business — for one day, at least.

On Tuesday, the student newspaper at Seattle Central Community College published its first print edition since 2008, when it found itself at the center of a national censorship debate that resulted in the elimination of all funding for the newspaper and the resignation of the faculty adviser.

The newspaper has been operating as an online-only publication since that time. It received funding for the one-time, 12-page print edition on Tuesday from Cupcake Royale, a local Seattle business.

The newspaper returned with a bang, running a bold headline with the words “WE’RE BACK” displayed prominently on the front page.

Tuesday’s publication was a long-time coming for The New City Collegian. The newspaper’s First Amendment debate began during the 2007-08 school year when, in response to some recent controversial content, the school’s administration formed a Publications Board that was given “general authority” over the newspaper. Some controversial stories included an investigation on the school’s failing to report Clery Act crime statistics, a story on questionable student government spending and an editorial about African-American crime.

Among other things, the Publications Board would, in time, restructure the school’s student publications policy and revoke funding for the newspaper. Jeb Wyman, the newspaper’s former adviser, resigned in protest of the changes.

Sebastian Garrett-Singh, executive editor The New City Collegian, told The Seattle Times that he hopes to print at least one more edition of the newspaper over the summer. He also has plans to sustain a print edition either biweekly or weekly during the school year by generating advertising revenue and collecting student fees.

As Garrett-Singh wrote in his front-page column in Tuesday’s newspaper: “We’re back, and we’re not going anywhere.”