Texas State University: Independent Student Newspaper Under Fire for Controversial Opinion Column

Category: Cases, Free Speech
Schools: Texas State University – San Marcos

On November 28, 2017, independent student newspaper The University Star published an editorial by opinion columnist Rudy Martinez titled “Your DNA is an abomination.” Martinez’s editorial argued that race — including “whiteness” — is a social construct used to oppress non-white populations. Martinez’s editorial sparked controversy and outrage across campus and online. The article was denounced by the university president, the assistant vice president of communications, the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and the student government president. On November 30, The University Star fired Martinez. On December 7, a coalition of FIRE, the Student Press Law Center, and the National Coalition Against Censorship wrote to Texas State University demanding that the university assure The University Star that its funding faces no risk, clarify to the university community that no student organization will face investigation or de-funding for engaging in protected expression, publicly renounce any formal investigation of the newspaper, and ensure that any recommendations produced by the review committee be advisory rather than imposed.