In December 2008, ICView published an article by '08 alumna, Emily McNeil. In the essay, entitled "The Violence Must End", Emily provides a scholarly, first-hand account of the atrocities she witnessed last summer working in the occupied West Bank with the humanitarian organization, Christian Peacemaker Teams. The story is both emotionally moving and well written.
Without any substantive explanation, President Rochon hastily committed to implement a heightened "editorial review policy" and "editorial board" to effectively censor an Ithaca College publication. This unilateral action does not appear to be representative of the desires of the Ithaca College community. In fact, President Rochon has not yet responded to the overwhelming public defense of Emily's piece and the decision to publish it. We perceive this to be an inappropriate use of his power as president.
In addition to writing his own response, President Rochon evidently demanded that ICView editor of twelve years, Maura Stephens, publish an apology for running the personal essay. This is despite the fact that the decision to publish the article was consistent with both the stated mission of ICView and the founding principles of higher education.
As students at an institution of higher education, we find these actions to be immensely troubling. They are nothing less than attempts to undermine the very principle that is essential to free society and intellectual progress: the principle of academic freedom.
The Student Coalition for Academic Rights demands that President Rochon:
1. Make transparent all motivations for his apology for the publication of Emily McNeil's article, and for the proposed implementation of a censorship board under the auspices of an "editorial review policy" for ICView.
2. Commit in writing not to implement proposed "stronger internal editorial review policy" and "editorial board" for ICView or any other Ithaca College publication.
3. Acknowledge that controversial dialogue should not be stifled and that the stated mission of ICView should be adhered to in all cases. The mission includes commitment to "offer a candid, accurate, thoughtful, and lively view of College events and people and to stimulate discussion of issues of interest to the College community and the broader readership."
4. Acknowledge that the concept of academic freedom at Ithaca College must be respected in all instances.
5. A public statement responding to these demands should be published in both The Ithacan and ICView.
We, the undersigned, are committed to the fulfillment of the above stated demands:
The Ithaca College Student Coalition for Academic Freedom (SCAR)
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