Over the past couple of weeks, the managing editor and I, the Editor-in-Chief of The Mass Media,have been working closely with Lisa Johnson, Vice Chancellor of Division of Enrollment Management to ensure that the First Amendment will never be infringed upon again by admissions staffers. I met with Lisa at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 11, 2019. In the meeting, she expressed her disappointment with what had happened regarding the incident, and she wanted to do what she could to fix it. Per my original letter request, she agreed to do a mandatory training for all staff members in admissions, she found replacements for the entire office, and, down to the last secretary, every person from admissions had to go. Lisa apologized greatly for what had happened and made it known that she had spoken to the staff members involved. She reported that what had happened was individuals making decisions on their own, and it did not come from a source telling them to do this. According to the admissions office, these decisions were made with good intentions, in order to protect the university, but the office agreed it made things a lot worse in the end. The office took this as a learning moment to revisit decisions and think about actions before doing them. The employees involved are disappointed in their actions and feel sorry for what they did, according to Johnson.
At 2 p.m. on April 11, 2019, the managing editor and I met with Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman. She expressed that she was glad we were doing a training and believed that this was a mistake made and a lesson learned. She sympathized with the admissions team and was understanding of both sides.
On April 18, 2019, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the entire admissions staff was called into a training presented by the managing editor and me. We presented what The Mass Media does, how we operate, and what our rights are as a paper on a public campus. The majority of the staff was welcoming and asked thoughtful questions after the presentation. We were also thanked by many staff members for coming and presenting. We received one in-person apology by one of the people involved with the flipping of the papers, which was greatly appreciated.
We are thankful that the admissions staff was compliant with our requests and respecting the First Amendment rights we have as a newspaper of a public university. We will continue to meet with admissions on a yearly basis to conduct trainings to ensure that they know the rights we have as a paper.
The Mass Media has received several responses from students who read my original Letter From the Editor, and I cannot express enough thanks for your support. The students who read the paper and contribute to making the paper great is our first priority. We hope that the steps taken by The Mass Media can inspire you to stand up for your rights, and make strides in making this university great.