Student press essential, vulnerable

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This week at the University of Missouri, President Tim Wolfe stepped down after months of calls for his resignation by the student organization Concerned Student 1950. The organization, which is made up predominantly of students of color, believed that he had not done enough to end racism on campus and had not taken their complaints seriously.

On Nov. 9, members of Concerned Student 1950 refused to allow student photographers to document their public demonstration. Communications professor Melissa Click was caught on camera telling a student filming the demonstration to leave and calling for “muscle” to remove the student.

The Hullabaloo staff believes that student media should not be prevented from documenting events happening on campus, no matter how controversial. At public universities, students cannot legally be stopped from documenting anything, as they are on public property and their rights are protected by the First Amendment. These rights, unfortunately, are not extended to student journalists at private universities, including Tulane University.  

Student journalism is essential to disseminating information to the student body. Private universities should extend the same First Amendment rights to student journalists as public universities. It’s important that students know about what’s happening on campus, even if it might reflect negatively on the university or other students or student organizations.

The Hullabaloo in no way wants to take away from the events that have affected students of color at Mizzou, but the conversation surrounding the freedom of student media on college campuses is an issue that is also worth discussing.