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.
Texas State University, asked to protect student newspaper’s First Amendment rights, offers muted response
December 22, 2017
Earlier this month, FIRE joined the National Coalition Against Censorship and the Student Press Law Center in a letter to Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth, calling on TSU to clearly rebuff threats by its student body president to defund the student newspaper, The University Star. The newspaper faced calls for revocation of its funding after it published an editorial arguing that race is a social construct used to oppress non-white populations, that the concept of whiteness should be destroyed, and that those identifying as white “shouldn’t exist.” As my colleague Ari Cohn explained, the piece was widely criticized […]» Read More
December 13, 2017
Attacks on student newspapers following the publication of controversial articles are unfortunately commonplace. Over the years, FIRE has seen newspaper advisers fired, issues stolen from racks, formal disciplinary investigations, attempted administrative takeovers, threats to newspaper funding, and even complete defunding of all student media, simply because some on (or off) campus did not like what a particular student paper published. But perhaps slightly less common is a concerted attack from administrators, faculty, and students on a student newspaper all at once. Sadly, that is exactly what is happening at Texas State University, and FIRE has joined with two other free […]» Read More