(VERBATIM PRESS RELEASE and DISCLOSURE: Chronicle publisher Sadie Moore is a member of the Northern Colorado Chapter of the ACLU.)
Northern Colorado ACLU defends rights of student journalists
FORT COLLINS, CO -- Following a controversial editorial in Friday's Rocky Mountain Collegian, the Northern Colorado Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union declared their support for the First Amendment rights of student journalists at Colorado State University.
The four-word editorial, reading "Taser This: F*** BUSH," with the expletive spelled out, ignited public controversy on Friday and calls for official action to be taken against the newspaper and its editors.
"Even though their statement was controversial and provocative, the student editors of the Collegian were well within their legal rights to publish it," said Pepper Judd, president of the ACLU's Northern Colorado Chapter. "They may face public criticism, but they should not face official reprisals for their actions."
Both CSU Director of Student Media Jeff Brown and U.S. Senator Wayne Allard have called for investigations into the incident. Additionally, the CSU College Republicans and the Colorado Federation of College Republicans have called for the resignation or termination of J. David McSwane, editor-in-chief of the Collegian, and CSU’s Board of Student Communications is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to consider charges against the Collegian editorial board.
"Any change in leadership at the Collegian must come from students and adhere to due process, as outlined in the Board of Student Communications bylaws," said Seth Anthony, a board member of the Northern Colorado Chapter of the ACLU and a graduate student at CSU. "For university administration to put pressure on student editors would run contrary to students’ well-established rights."
"We will be paying close attention to the ongoing situation at CSU," commented Judd. Several board members of the Northern Colorado Chapter of the ACLU will be in attendance at the Board of Student Communications meeting, scheduled for Wednesday evening at 7:00 in CSU’s Plant Sciences Building.