Instead, all requests for interviews are to be routed through the school’s office of media relations.
The policy applies to 84 administrators, directors, deans, associate deans and assistant deans. It also specifically applies to the Ithaca College radio stations (VIC and WICB) and television station (ICTV), as well as the student newspaper The Ithacan.
ICTV reports on Ithaca community news, as do WICB and VIC, and therefore their reporting styles are not greatly affected.
As a daily online newspaper with a weekly print edition, The Ithacan is clearly hit the hardest.
For the sake of full disclosure, it’s important to state that I have a unique position in regards to this media policy: I am a student at Ithaca College, a blogger for The Ithacan, and an office assistant within the Ithaca College administration.
As a student, I think this media policy is a way for President Rochon to gain personal control over the IC administration.
As a journalist, I think that this policy is a way of restricting the news that The Ithacan is allowed to report.
As a member of the Ithaca College administration, I am just afraid.
In addition to Ithaca College’s Student Government Association calling for a repeal of the policy, Ithaca College faculty and staff have signed a public letter voicing their own request for a repeal.
Roughly 65 faculty and staff have signed this letter, though out of the hundreds employed at Ithaca College, this number seems rather small. It’s a small number unless you consider that many of the signees are tenured employees. In that case, the bravery of these people is inspiring.
I have had several off-the-record conversations with students and faculty about this policy, and the two emotions that can categorize them are rage and fear.
Students are incensed because their rights of free speech and free press are being restricted, and they have every right to be. I myself am livid, but as a member of the administration, I am afraid. There seems to be a general consensus and fear that if an administrator speaks out against this policy, they will be fired from Ithaca College.
In any business setting, especially a school, that is just plain wrong.
I am not presenting myself as a spokesperson for students or the administration of Ithaca College, but simply stating that this media policy is fantastically detrimental to Ithaca College as a whole.
The office of media relations told The Ithacan that the policy is simply a formalization, because external media already operates this way, implying that top administrators view student media organizations as a tumor on the school rather than an integral part of the student body.
Any view remotely along that line would be foolish.
Many have acknowledged that this policy is a way of creating a corporate and restrictive environment at Ithaca College. They’re not wrong.
One of my favorite things about Ithaca College is the open and inviting community. This policy has taken that and replaced it with once of fear and loathing and is not fair to any administrator or student. Instead of worrying about the college’s economic success, President Rochon should focus more on the opinions of the students, faculty and staff.
I am an A student. I perform several hours of community service a week. I lead several student groups, have a stellar employment record and can get glowing recommendations from all of my professors, but there is a very good chance that writing this article will get me fired from my on-campus job, and to be frank, I don’t care.
As a journalist, student and human being, I value my First Amendment rights more than my job as an office assistant within the Ithaca College administration.
Ithaca College is not a corporation.
It is not Google or Goldman Sachs or a form of big business that needs to restrict the speech of its employees.
Should the Ithaca College administration act like a corporation, then perhaps it should remember that the business of college finds the most success in excellent customer service. As customers, Ithaca College students are the number one priority.
The Ithacan is a newspaper, but they are still a student newspaper and as a representation of the student body, deserves the same rights as students.
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