News & Politics

Journalism Students at Christian Colleges Cry 'Censorship'

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Proving that Christian college students are no less susceptible than their secular counterparts to SJW hand-wringing, a new survey complains about the censorship of college newspapers at Christian colleges.

The survey is the brainchild of a group of journalism students at Taylor University in Indianapolis. Formed as a group titled the Student Press Coalition, the participants claim, “We are advocates for the free press. We conducted informal research on censorship and the free press policies and practices at 136 schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).”

The organization’s mission statement says that “the Student Press Coalition promotes a free press in higher education through research and advocacy on issues related to media censorship in Christian colleges and universities.”

Reaching out to the editors of school newspapers at CCCU member colleges, SPC asked a series of questions related to the censorship of school-affiliated publications. Forty-nine schools out of nearly 150 participated in the survey. And according to the survey, 72 percent of the respondents say that a faculty advisor can stop a story from being printed. Forty-nine percent say that their publication has been censored by someone who is not a student.

My initial response is: why aren’t those numbers 100 percent?

For one thing, they’re Christian colleges with a much more important mandate than allowing kids in their late teens and early twenties the ability to publish whatever they want on the college’s dime. Secondly, shouldn’t a faculty member be riding herd on the students seeing as, you know, they’re students?

I understand how attractive the siren call of claiming censorship is. Except, in this instance (like in many other instances) it’s both a true and a pointless complaint. Of course, colleges are censoring student newspapers. I could make that same claim. In fact, I will.

My editors at PJ Media censor me. It’s what they get paid to do.

Now, to be clear, my editors give me great leeway. A quick perusal of this site will reveal that there isn’t total agreement among the writers. In fact, about a year and a half ago, PJ Media published an article titled “Trump is Right, John Ellis is Wrong,” taking to task an article of mine that had also been published by PJ Media.

That being said, while PJ Media is very good about allowing their writers freedom, there are limits. For a variety of reasons, I’ve had article pitches rejected. What’s more, I’m fairly certain that there are certain topics and perspectives that the editors of PJ Media will not allow to be published on the site. Likewise, if I heard that HuffPo’s Queer Voices was hiring new writers, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to apply. Know why? Because they would not want my perspective, nor would I be willing to place myself under their editorial bent and control.

I’m curious if the members of the Student Press Coalition expect HuffPo’s Queer Voices to publish anti-LGBTQ articles from their writers?

While recognizing that neither PJ Media nor HuffPo is a newspaper, editorial control exists at the traditional outlets for journalism, too.

When the Constitution speaks of a “free press,” it’s not talking about newspapers and other publishing platforms providing writers carte blanche. The Constitution forbids the government from intervening with what is written and published. The editors of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and your local newspaper are free to exercise editorial control as they see fit. This is something that these journalism students need to learn before they graduate. Otherwise, they’re in for a rude awakening when their first editor sends back an article while snapping, “We can’t publish this nonsense!”

What’s more, these students are at Christian colleges. It boggles my mind that they believe that their schools shouldn’t exercise their institutional right to control what gets published under the auspices of the school’s mission statement and overall philosophy.