Last week I wrote about the uproar developing at Central Connecticut State University over the publication of a three-panel cartoon that many have found offensive. FIRE continues to follow the case, and we sent a letter on September 20 to embattled President John W. Miller encouraging a dismissal of all charges filed against the Recorder and its staff and reminding him of CCSU’s legal and moral obligation to respect First Amendment rights.
The university’s responses to the newspaper’s purported offenses have already contributed to a chilled atmosphere for the student press in Connecticut. It was disheartening to see the editor-in-chief of the University of Hartford Informer opine:
I don’t know how the Recorder runs its newspaper but at the Informer, I know if I ever publish anything remotely offens[iv]e like the comic all of our funds would be taken away and I would most likely be forced to resign.
Well, at a public university, that kind of punishment would be unconstitutional. The University of Hartford has at least a moral obligation, perhaps also a legal obligation, to protect the Informer as much as the Constitution protects the Recorder.