One of the best ways to fight attempted censorship is to let the sun shine in. And that’s what’s happening this hot summer at Glendale College.
Students for the el Vaquero newspaper wrote an article in the last issue of the school year about a couple of nursing students who committed suicide during the just-ending school year. Beyond just reporting about the suicides and mentioning the name of one of the students, and including interesting quotes from students and teachers in the program, the article also talked about suicide prevention. The school’s health services director subsequently praised that portion of the article.
But the nursing department did not like the article and complained to the retiring college president, who immediately started talking about squelching the story and suggested removing papers from news stands because the story “reflected badly on the campus.” In fact, newspapers started disappearing from stands rather rapidly, suggesting that someone was removing them to prevent anyone else from seeing the story. The president denies he is behind it. (Nursing department?)
The squelching efforts have backfired as the school is getting all kinds of local and national exposure for the attempts at censorship. The attempts are being covered in mainstream media, national media and even area blogs. This type of public exposure should be pointed out to campus administrators every time they try to interfer with campus media. What happened on campus was tragic, but what is happening subsequently to the attempt to control the news is a disaster. What is happening now is far worse than any damage to the nursing department had it just let the story alone.
Another lesson: Instructor Mike Moraeu has been teaching at Glendale for six years without a major problem and when it hit he felt unprepared. Just like an earthquake. But he had the support of JACC and was willing to tap into it early. We all need to be better prepared for the inevitable earthquake. As one who has felt the earthquake a number of times in his career, I say “Thank you, JACC, for being there.”