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Harsh Student Media Policy Threatens Free Press at Ithaca

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CREDIT: Flikr/The Ithacan

Ithaca College President Tom Rochon recently announced a new university-wide media policy that threatens free press on the New York college campus. The policy requires all student media to navigate through university bureaucracy before interviewing certain faculty members or administrators. Tacked to the new policy comes a list of 84 administrators with whom student media cannot directly interview without scheduling interviews through the the campus media department.

Rochon said in the email to student media that the policy is meant to curb a “tendency to rely too much on just a few people” which, he said, distracts them from their “actual jobs.”

Carly Sitzer, a journalist for Ithaca's Buzzsaw magazine, bemoaned the new policy in an op-ed:

"By instituting this new media policy, President Tom Rochon has successfully gone against everything I have been taught as a journalist. With the new system that filters not only the sources, but also their messages, it completely undermines our ability as journalists to determine who is the most appropriate source to contact."

Buzzsaw, a member of the Campus Progress Journalism Network, decried the new policy in an official statement: “The policy seems to be specifically designed to hinder student journalists from accessing administrators in a timely manner and relaying information about the college to the student body.”

The editorial ends with signatures from the Buzzsaw editorial board, Ithaca College faculty and staff, and Buzzsaw alumni.

Other supporters of Buzzsaw include more than 60 Ithaca College faculty and staff members who wrote their own letter in support of repealing the policy.

Sydney Hofferth is a Communications Intern for Campus Progress. You can follow her on twitter at @squidhoff10.

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