"Other student journalists and I created our own independent newspaper called the Spotlight so we could write investigative news pieces that are controversial. Without the SPLC, the Spotlight would have never gotten off the ground. The SPLC has helped cultivate my love for the universal right of free speech."
About a month after a federal judge dismissed the student editors' request for an injunction, the Calumet student editors drop their lawsuit against the university.
The judge wrote that the student journalists did not show enough evidence of retaliation or intimidation to proceed with a preliminary injunction against the college.
The J-Team, which consists of the SPLC, the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors, traveled to Iowa on Friday to give support to student journalists facing censorship.
A small group of student journalists have raised almost $4,000 so far to start an independent newspaper after facing harassment and intimidation from administrators for articles published in their college newspaper.
Administrators at Muscatine Community College also took actions to remove The Calumet’s full-time faculty adviser and replace him with a part-time adjunct instructor, modify the fall 2015 class schedule “to marginalize the journalism program” and reduce funding to the program, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
Students and their adviser at The Calumet have found themselves in a defensive position this month, but they don’t know against what and they don’t know against whom. Editor Molly Willson said Muscatine Community College’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action officer contacted her and other staff members for information about an article The Calumet published last month.