Dear UMass Boston community, 

Since September 2021, the Mass Media newspaper stands have frequently been tampered with and moved. Staff members constantly find our more popular stands in the Campus Center and University Hall turned around or stuffed into corners, with the newspapers themselves turned over to hide the headlines.

This is not an action that the Mass Media takes lightly. As a public university, the Mass Media is protected under the First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom of the press and speech; "The courts have ruled that if a school creates a student news medium and allows students to serve as editors, the First Amendment drastically limits the school’s ability to censor. Among the censoring actions the courts have prohibited are confiscating copies of publications, requiring prior review, removing objectionable material, limiting circulation, suspending editors and withdrawing or reducing financial support. (The Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood ruling gives administrators at K-12 schools added leeway to censor some publications, butwith the exception of one federal court ruling impacting only Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinoisno court has given college officials the Hazelwood level of authority over student media.)" (Source: Question One, FAQ page at SPLC.org)

If a member of UMass Boston’s staff or faculty is tampering with our stands, that is a violation of our Constitutional rights as a newspaper. If the tampering is being done by a student, they are violating the Code of Conduct which they agreed to follow by enrolling in the university—one that states that students “must uphold the Code and obey University policies, rules, and procedures as well as federal, state, and local laws”.

Our newspapers are written with the highest standard and effort put into them. The Mass Media employs a team of student writers, photographers and editors to ensure that we produce a reliable, relevant and factual paper every week. We pride ourselves on being the voice of UMass Boston.

We at the newspaper are not taking this violation of our rights lightly. We are working with the university’s administration to determine who is tampering with our stands and how to put a stop to it. We ask for the help from the student body—if you see any stands that appear to have been tampered with, or if you see any non-Mass Media staff moving our stands, please email us at massmedia.umb@gmail.com

If the person tampering with our stands is doing this out of malice or retaliation against the Mass Media, please come talk to us about why. We are always open to the opinions and suggestions from our community—but we are not receptive to our First Amendment rights being infringed upon.  

Sincerely yours,

Adrienne Harris-Fried and Grace Smith

Managing Editor and Editor in Chief of the Mass Media

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