We were censored
The Albany Student Press has prided itself on its independence for 100 years. This independence is a luxury that we have learned how to handle, how to protect and how to cherish. With our independence comes our unique ability to serve this school and this community by doing the thing we do best: reporting the truth. Sometimes the truth is ugly, and sometimes it makes people angry, but we’ve never had our free speech rights taken away.
On Friday there was an appalling incident in which our newspapers were removed from their stands in the Lecture Centers because of a headline. The headline in question read, “Assault reports up 200 percent” and showed that reports of sexual assault on campus are going up because students on campus have better, more efficient ways of reporting those crimes.
That didn’t matter to the person who decided to have the papers thrown away. University tour guides were instructed to get rid of the papers if they were found in the Lecture Centers so prospective students and their families would not see them during the Accepted Student Open House last weekend.
Maybe if the person who made the decision to throw out the papers had bothered to read the article, things would have been different. Maybe not.
The University at Albany has since apologized for this and recovered our newspapers. We as a staff accept and respect their apology, and we in no way want to drag the name of this school through the mud. We also don’t blame the tour guides who were most likely just acting under orders from a superior.
However, the ASP cannot forgive the person who made the decision to get rid of the papers. We don’t know who made this decision, but to him or her, we say this: Your actions were shameful and ignorant. First of all, it’s despicable that anyone would try to hide a newspaper, whether that paper is on a college campus or elsewhere. College is a place where new ideas are supposed to be encouraged and celebrated, not squashed.
The second troubling part is that the person who made this choice did so functioning under the absurd and incorrect assumption that he or she was helping the school. If anything, that story would have been a perfect tool for encouraging students to attend UAlbany. Someone who feels that dishonesty is the best way to get students to come here should have no place at this school. We suggest that the university keep that in mind while dealing with this situation.
While we understand that this individual probably has protections placed on them via the SUNY system, this school continuously tells the ASP they’re proud to have us here, and that our freedom is of the utmost importance to them. This is an opportunity for them to prove that they really care. Prove that you value free speech as much as you say you do, and see that this employee faces consequences.
In conclusion, even though we as a staff were hurt and saddened by this terrible act of censorship, we can appreciate the university’s quick response. We will continue to represent this great university as best we can, as we always have done, and we will continue to investigate this incident. To the person who was responsible for this, we say that we hope you recognize the gravity of what you did not only to us, but also to this university. And if you continue to remain a member of this university community, we, as the place where everyone on campus can have their voice heard, would welcome a story from you explaining your actions.