Thursday, March 4, 2010

Free Speech Tested

Many of us know one of Conway's economic jewels, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), for its party-related practices. Another bit of fame for the school came in 2009, when a fraternity (Alpha Phi Alpha) was banned from the campus for three years following reports of hazing practices.

The school paper, the Echo, has also gained some attention. In 2007, the student newspaper was named, "best in state." Lately, the accolades have been a little different for the newspaper.

Basically, the opinion section of the Echo ran a story entitled, "Rough Sidewalks Match Administration's Tactics," in February of 2010. The story criticized the UCA administration (specifically, school President Allen Meadors) for misappropriation of funds, inappropriate administrative practices and doctoring of documents--all revolving around President Meadors' decision to install decorative stamped concrete on the UCA campus.

By itself, the story does not seem very interesting. The actual story to the story is how, though he had knowledge of the article, UCA President Meadors let the story run. That is correct. It is possible for school administrators to have the testicular fortitude to own up to whatever action he/she has committed when students, learning the powers of the media, call him/her on it. A freepress advocacy group has even commended the university for leaving the paper alone. Inspirational, yes? [Note: link is a teaser]

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