Bravo to The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University (WVU)’s student newspaper, whose editorial board voiced its concern over WVU presidential candidate M. Duane Nellis for free speech issues at Kansas State University (KSU), where Nellis currently serves as provost.
In 2005, FIRE joined an amicus brief denouncing the removal of student publications adviser Ronald Johnson after KSU administrators determined that the student newspaper had “quality issues.” Never mind that the paper won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award at least once as well as two Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown awards. Whatever the case, Johnson’s dismissal was widely recognized as a brazen attempt by public university administrators to influence the content of the paper.
The Daily Athenaeum’s editorial clearly articulated the paper’s stance on Nellis’s standing:
We remain very impressed with Nellis’ long academic and administrative record as well as his commitment to remain “student-centered” if he were president. We’re also glad he emphasizes his belief in student free speech and expression in the student forum.
But if chosen as WVU’s president, we hope he will understand the critical importance of students’ First Amendment rights at WVU and across the country.
Well said. We, like students at The Daily Athenaeum, hope that if Nellis is brought in as WVU president that he fully embraces the freedoms of speech and of the press afforded to WVU students—despite his past actions at Kansas State.