University of North Alabama: “Protocol” on Speaking With Media


University of North Alabama

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In November 2018, after several staff members said they were prohibited from speaking with journalists, the student newspaper learned that the University of North Alabama’s communications staff asserted an unwritten “protocol” concerning contacts with the media. That “protocol” had “no official documentation,” according to the university, which told the student newspaper that “the protocol requires all media inquiries be sent through” the office of communications and marketing, in order to ensure that statements to the media have “been vetted by administrators.” FIRE wrote to the university reminding them that the First Amendment protects some employee speech, including broad protections for faculty members’ speech.