Central Washington University: Student Media Face Defunding Threat, Onerous Interview Practices

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Central Washington University

In November 2019, The Observer — Central Washington University’s student newspaper — published an editorial criticizing various departments at the university for requiring prior review of interview questions before allowing their employees to be interviewed by student media. On November 21, FIRE sent a letter to the university asking administrators to put a stop to this censorial practice. The evening before, on November 20, 2019, the CWU Services and Activities Fee Committee entertained a proposal to defund The Observer and other student media in response to The Observer making public its concerns about prior review of interview questions. During the meeting, the Committee offered various pretextual reasons for why it might investigate or defund student media in light of this controversy, an action which would violate the First Amendment and Washington state law. FIRE and the Student Press Law Center sent a second letter to the Committee on December 9, 2019, urging it to assure the public that it will not investigate or defund student media because its members dislike some of The Observer’s content.