This week is National Newspaper Week, but we aren’t getting any cards.

Instead, we are getting from Missouri Southern the equivalent of a burning sack of dog doo on our doorstep.

Earlier this week, a Chart reporter contacted the Student Health Center about a story on what services it provides for the fee charged. We were told to talk to University Relations and Marketing; that all interviews go through that office. The Chart editor and adviser sat down with Rod Surber, director of URM, and thought we had that settled. Yet only Doug Carnahan, dean of students, is quoted in our story in this edition.

Wednesday, the department of communication accepted an invitation to a college fair at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. That department’s envoy brought to the event copies of the Oct. 3 edition of this newspaper. But she was not permitted to display them or distribute them.


Because Director of Enrollment Services Derek Skaggs deemed that edition’s lead story on Southern’s enrollment drop “inappropriate.” Hey, we get that at a recruiting fair you want to put your best face forward but you don’t don a mask at the expense of the First Amendment, either.

Mr. Skaggs, we have an obligation to report when enrollment goes down. We likewise have an obligation to report when it goes up. And we will fulfill those obligations. You just don’t get the right to sanitize facts to suit your purposes.

We are all Lions. The editors and reporters of this paper and the students and faculty and staff and alumni we serve all love Southern. We wish every story was positive. Unfortunately, not every story is. We have a budget problem. Enrollment is down. Those are news stories and they are facts. We don’t like reporting them. But we have to and we will.

We are waiting for an opinion from Jean Maneke, legal consultant for the Missouri Press Association, about whether The Chart’s First Amendment rights were violated. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say they weren’t. We still challenge this action. It could set a dangerous precedent for administration sanitization of your news.

And it couldn’t come at a more ironic time. National Newspaper Week.

We didn’t expect a card, guys. We just didn’t expect a sack of crap, either.