Over the past weekend, we received a report of the College of Business Dean Jeffrey Stinson and Associate Dean Keke “Coco” Wu actively attempting to throw our papers in Shaw-Smyser into a recycling bin in response to our budget story that reported on 2023 budget cuts. It is disheartening our paper was discarded in an attempt to make the university appear in a positive light.
Stinson said out loud, while walking with Wu, the Observer’s Social Media Editor Crystal Clausen and her coworker, “I’m going to put these papers in the recycling.”
After being asked why the papers were being thrown away, Wu told Clausen, “Why did [The Observer] think it was smart to print that [budget] story on the day that we have so many students coming to campus?”
We reached out to Wu and Stinson at the time of publication. Wu stated she was involved in a meeting that went past our deadline, so she declined to comment at the time; Stinson responded in an email.
“In preparing our building for the CWU Preview Day on Saturday, I moved remaining copies of The Observer from the entry foyer,” the email stated. “Preview Day is critical to our recruitment efforts. Our desire is to present our prospective students and guests with a positive portrayal and outlook for the college and university. Our event day set-up and event delivery was organized to that effect.”
The story in question regarding the 2023 budget was published one week ago. Vice President of Financial Affairs, Joel Klucking, provided information for this story and has not reached out regarding non factual details in the article. The budget is important to both the current CWU community and future CWU students.
Observer staff also witnessed incidents in the SURC where our paper was placed on the lowest shelf and another publication, the HYPE magazine, placed on top of ours.
The Publicity Center confirmed they did not make this change. While we can’t confirm who did this in the SURC, two separate incidents against our paper in one day is upsetting.
I spoke to the Student Press Law Center regarding this incident, and they confirmed it impedes us in many ways. There is monetary value to what the offenders did. The amount we paid for those copies to be printed, the money we pay our staff, the amount different groups paid for their ads to be in our paper and so on.
I would like to take this time to give a reminder that censorship of the media is a real issue that should not happen to any publication, let alone to a student publication from administration within their own university. The First Amendment is to have freedom of speech and freedom of the press. There is no justifiable excuse to attempt to censor our reporting.
Our purpose is not to make people happy or to have the university, town or state look amazing. We are reporting on the facts of our campus community.
Reaching out to us by either a phone call or email is the correct form of action if upset, not throwing away our paper. You may also write a Letter to the Editor that will be published, and if necessary, we will have a response published with it.
Please know this is not going to make us alter our reporting in any way, shape or form. Our publication is here to present necessary information to the public. We are here to stay.