Diablo Valley College: Student Newspaper Adviser Dismissed Following Critical Coverage

Category: Cases, Free Speech

In August 2019, Diablo Valley College dismissed Fernando Gallo, faculty adviser to student newspaper The Inquirer in apparent retaliation for the paper’s critical coverage of DVC. Gallo, who had been slated to teach three journalism courses in the fall term and serve as “lab assistant” for the paper, was fired just eleven days before the semester was due to begin.  Days after Gallo’s termination, DVC advertised a position teaching one of the classes Gallo was originally scheduled to teach. Throughout the 2018–19 school year, The Inquirer had covered student disappointment with the college’s handling of a series of racist graffiti that had appeared on campus, and it appears Gallo’s dismissal may be related to this coverage. FIRE and the College Media Association sent a letter to the college asking that Gallo be reinstated and that DVC recommit to free expression — including freedom of the student press — pursuant to its obligations under the First Amendment and California law.