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Former FIRE Intern Asks ‘Daily Targum’ Board of Trustees to Respect Student Rights

By February 19, 2014

The Daily Targum, a student newspaper at Rutgers University, has recently been under scrutiny because of the amount of influence the paper’s Board of Trustees exerts over the student staff. The Board acts as an advisory panel and, according to College Media Matters, has the ability to cut out articles and opinion pieces they dislike. (FIRE’s Catherine Sevcenko explained the problem with this last Thursday.)

Former Daily Targum opinions editor Amani Al-Khatahtbeh first brought attention to this issue of censorship earlier this month in an article on The Huffington Post. Now, Rutgers graduate, former Daily Targum writer, and former FIRE intern Alex Lewis has pointed out the problem with censorship at the newspaper in an opinion piece for The Daily Targum, arguing that the Board of Trustees suppresses important discourse:

On Jan. 23, the Daily Targum published a letter by one Colleen Jolly, University senior and casual anti-Semite. It took aim at Rutgers Hillel by way of some low-down Jewish pejoratives. The community responded in short order via the same platform, proving exactly why a newspaper has an Opinions section in the first place — for every abhorrent view, there’s likely to be five commendable ones ready to meet it in kind. This is the norm, not the outlier. It is the process by which we divine our community standards and reach our own conclusions.

Lewis persuasively argues that the newspaper is an important place where ideas can be accepted or condemned, and that the Board of Trustees should not be deciding which opinions are worthy of being printed.

Lewis is absolutely right when he claims, “There’s some kind of elegant, yin-yang style philosophy at play here about needing to consume the offensive view in order to appreciate the worthy,” and The Daily Targum’s Board of Trustees upsets that balance.

Read the full article here!

Schools: Rutgers University – New Brunswick