Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech Threatens Student Newspaper's Future over Protected Anonymous Comments on Its Own Website
In February 2010, Virginia Tech's Commission on Student Affairs (CSA) threatened the future of its independent student newspaper, the Collegiate Times, because the newspaper allowed "irresponsible and inappropriate" comments to be posted anonymously on its website. The Commission on Student Affairs posited that allowing anonymous comments "counter[s] the Principles of Community," and threatened to violate Virginia Tech's contract by unilaterally ending financial support of the Collegiate Times, as well as threatening to disallow student organization funding for advertisements in the newspaper. After FIRE, the Student Press Law Center, and the ACLU of Virginia criticized these threats--and the Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech, the parent company of the Collegiate Times, responded vehemently--a Virginia Tech spokesman distanced the university from CSA's threats, saying that CSA's position was "not the position of the administration."
- "EMCVT/Collegiate Times Response to CSA Censorship Attempt," February 11, 2010
- "Facing Criticism, Virginia Tech Disavows Efforts to Censor Student Paper," by William Creeley, February 15, 2010: In the face of mounting criticism, Virginia Tech administrators distanced themselves on Friday from efforts to cut the funding of the Collegiate Times, the school's independent student newspaper, because of the paper's refusal to eliminate anonymous comments from its website. A university spokesman told The Roanoke Times that Virginia Tech does not support ending the school's contract with the Collegiate Times or its parent company and is not contemplating a ban on advertising in the newspaper. Both steps had been recommended earlier this month by Virginia Tech's Commission on Student Affairs. The university's prompt clarification regarding the potential censorship follows strong statements of disapproval from FIRE, the Student Press Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.
- "'Roanoke Times' Covers Press Censorship at Virginia Tech; Gets FIRE Totally Wrong," by Robert Shibley, February 12, 2010
- "Virginia Tech Threatens Student Newspaper's Future Because it Allows Anonymous Online Comments," by Adam Kissel, February 11, 2010
- "Va. Tech threatens to pull funding from campus newspaper,"
by Tonia Moxley, The Roanoke Times, February 12, 2010