University of North Alabama: Newspaper Adviser’s Job Eliminated After Critical Stories

Category: Cases, Free Speech
Schools: University of North Alabama

The student newspaper at the University of North Alabama, The Flor-Ala, has received numerous awards for its news coverage since 30-year news veteran Scott Morris signed on as their non-tenure track adviser. After a series of Flor-Ala stories accusing UNA of not fully complying with open records laws, Morris was informed that his position was being eliminated at the end of the academic year, when it will be replaced with a tenure-track position that requires a Ph.D. UNA then reminded its employees to clear responses to journalistic inquiries with the public relations department. Investigations by the College Media Association and the Southeast Journalism Conference resulted in censure from the former and a call for Morris to be reinstated by from the latter. FIRE wrote to UNA on November 27 calling on them to rescind their unwritten “media policy,” and again on December 7, calling on UNA to formally reinstate Morris as adviser going forward.