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STOP the sly attack on free speech and college media at College of DuPage

This petition had 714 supporters

In a meeting with journalism Professor Cathy Stablein on May 26, the College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) administrators removed her from her position as the college newspaper's (Courier's) adviser.

Their reasoning for this is because they want her to spend more time revamping the journalism program at the college.

This makes no sense.

They did not so much as ask Cathy if she could fulfill these extra duties (which she could) without leaving the Courier. They also did not ask her if she was willing to give up her position as Courier Adviser. Also, no one on the Courier was consulted to see how this action would affect student editors and the journalistic learning at the Courier.

This action against her comes a semester term after the Courier effectively found and reported on administration’s shortcomings. Through our publication, we called out administration when it excluded student input, exposed a strategic failing of new signage on campus, and gave recommendations on the Board of Trustees election that administrators clearly did not like among other criticisms.

According to the Illinois College Campus Press Act, “A collegiate media adviser must not be terminated transferred, removed, otherwise disciplined, or retaliated against for refusing to suppress protected free expression rights of collegiate student journalists and of collegiate student editors.”

Cathy offers decades of experience as a reporter and teacher, over 20 years of which have been spent at College of DuPage as the adviser to the Courier. She also has helped advise the paper towards many awards and achievements including an ACP National Pacemaker award, finalist, and most recently, a national SPJ Mark of Excellence award. The newspaper is also considered the best community college newspaper in the state of Illinois as it constantly wins the most Illinois Community College Journalism Association awards every year in the weekly and biweekly category. It’s even a benchmark of success for many four-year university newspapers.

As the former Editor in Chief, and the best judge on the inner-workings of the Courier newspaper, I can say without a doubt that removing Cathy from her position as adviser to the Courier with not even a week’s notice would negatively impact the student editors, newspaper content, the student body, and the college community that relies on our reporting to find out what’s going on at COD. Basically, it will cripple the newspaper, and violate the First Amendment. Please join me with sending a letter to the COD Board of Trustees and the President to stop this immoral and illegal action.

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