Quinnipiac University: Freedoms of Press and Association in Jeopardy


Quinnipiac University

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Case Overview


Quinnipiac University (QU) threatened a student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists with expulsion from campus if the group associated with The Quad News, an independent student newspaper formed in response to QU's attacks on students' press freedom. The trouble started when QU prohibited the student editors of The Quinnipiac Chronicle from publishing news online prior to the same news appearing in print. QU President John Lahey defended this prior restraint by saying he wanted to be able to read the news in print "before the external world hears about it." After then-Chronicle editor-in-chief Jason Braff challenged the policy, Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell stated that "student leaders, especially those in paid positions, are expected to generally be supportive of university policies." When QU went so far as to take control over the selection of this year's Chronicle staff in an effort to better control the paper, the paper's editors and applicants abandoned the Chronicle and founded an independent online news source, The Quad News, which began publishing this semester.When students in QU's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and student members of The Quad News jointly participated in activities held on campus, Daniel W. Brown, Director of QU's Student Center and Student Leadership Development, wrote to Jaclyn Hirsch, who is both SPJ president and managing editor of The Quad News saying that "any further interaction or endorsements with The QUAD News [sic] could result in the Quinnipiac University Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists losing its recognition status." Although QU is a private university, they should still be expected to hold certain values in high regard, freedom of association being one of them.