UNA condemned in dealings with student newspaper

FLORENCE, Ala. – University of North Alabama administrators are being condemned for alleged censorship of their student-led newspaper. Claims have been levied which state, because school administrators were upset about an article this fall, the Flor-Ala adviser is being let go.

The College Media Association sent the University of North Alabama a letter which was delivered this morning. The CMA claims the university is being hostile towards the First Amendment.

The College Media Association represents more than 600 college media advisers nationally. In their letter to UNA, they state this week they censured the University of North Alabama, a move that signals the association’s strongest possible condemnation. The association disapproves of how administrators decided to remove adviser Scott Morris from the Flor-Ala, as punishment for something students published.

On September 6, the Flor-Ala published an article entitled “Administration denies public records, in direct violation of attorney general opinion”. The article was trying to get to the bottom of the sudden departure of Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields and the trespass notice given to professor Gregory Gaston. Students writers with the Flor-Ala wrote on two occasions “open records” requests were made and both were denied.

Two weeks after the article ran, the College Media Association says adviser Scott Morris was told his position was being eliminated and replaced by a tenure-track faculty position which requires a Ph.D.

The CMA said they tried to bring university leaders and the student-led newspaper together for talks to work out their differences. The College Media Association says administrators refused. We have reached out to the University of North Alabama for comment on the condemnation letter, but so far we have not heard back from them.

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