Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Talk about a Tin Ear

Ed.Update Dec.2008: Quinnipiac has backed down.

How the heck did I miss this?

Apparently the administration at Quinnipiac University either has a real thing for smacking down student media, or they're not the swiftest taco in the value pack when managing them. Either way, it appears that it took national embarrassment heaped on them by the New York Times to get them to back down on a censorship crusade against the student newspaper journalists.

This is only a few years after Q-Pac waited until summer, when none of the students were around, to tear down the campus radio station's broadcast tower without any provisions or plan to replace it, or to allow the station to transmit from somewhere else. It took quite a lot of pressure and outrage to get the college to rebuild it...apparently they never bothered to learn that moving an FM radio station to a different location is always very expensive and often not legally possible thanks to a crowded radio dial.

Isn't Quinnipiac supposed to be known for having a good communications program? Yeesh, not anymore I guess.

I mean, granted, often you hear a story about an administration seemingly putting the smackdown on the poor little student newspaper/radio station/etc for "no reason". And then you dig a little deeper and you find a long and sordid history of the administration trying to work with a recalcitrant student group that refuses to be reasonable in the slightest. Or, at the very least, the story conveniently overlooks that the administration is actually not reducing total student involvement, they're just restructuring things to meet legal/practical realities that the students had neglected for years. I can name no fewer than three examples right off the top of my head of situations like those.

And there are cases where a college really had the best of intentions, but badly managed the execution and the subsequent negative press. The whole WUML debacle comes right to the forefront here...there were dozens of wasted opportunities in that fiasco - from BOTH sides - and while it was most definitely a war...ultimately nobody won it.

But even after factoring that in, this whole Quinnipiac deal smells really awful. When you have everyone (students, alumni, professional organizations, local news outlets) telling you that you're wrong and you need to back down, and you STILL don't do it until months later when - as I said - the New York Times fires the nuclear option (a scathing editorial) on you and it embarrasses your entire college on the national stage?

Ouch. That can't be good come the next fundraiser.

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