Christian Colleges Guilty of Suppressing Press
Learn how administration at Christian colleges are silencing their students.
At Taylor University, a Christian college in rural Indiana, their student newspaper, The Echo, is governed by a policy that states, “the university cannot afford for questionable or negative Echo reporting to reach a worldwide audience.” While a representative from the university claims that this policy is a mere formality, every week, the paper is vetted before it is allowed for publication.
Disillusioned by the system, Taylor journalists conducted a survey of student press at other Christian institutions across the country. They found that administrators often pressured, guilted, or dissuaded students from posting potentially controversial stories that could affect the values of their institutions.
While this type of censorship is not limited to Christian institutions alone, it is especially prevalent on these campuses that place particular emphasis on maintaining a wholesome, community image.
Frustrated by the restrictions set upon them, a group of Echo staffers and their supporters decided to survey other student editors who attend Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) member institutions. The groups named themselves the Student Press Coalition and originally intended to keep their questions private. However, after the group found widespread reports of suppression, they took the information public.
Stories from Christian institutions across the nation revealed the various ways that administers silenced student reporting. The accounts ranged from explicit censorship (confiscating and locking up papers) to the application of more subtle, cultural pressures (guilting writers with the idea that their articles could hurt individual students and create tension on campus).
While institutions are generally required to pledge to protect free speech on their campuses, these rules often go unenforced, allowing administrators to silence students in an attempt to paint a positive public image. A former student editor of The Echo reveals her wish that Christian institutions relinquish editorial control and allow student publications to function as they would in the real world. However, until this occurs, she continues to openly question the value of a journalism degree from one of these institutions.
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