By: Kyndell Mizell
On January 4, 2012 East Carolina University decided to fire their student media director, Paul Isom. They basically told him that they simply wanted to go in a different direction.
Isom has been the media director for the last eight years and according to the East Carolinian, Isom was randomly met by two representatives from the university in his office who told him that he had “three and a half hours to clean his office and leave campus.”
The reason behind his sudden termination is believed to be the reaction from a “controversial” image that was covered two months earlier. This is where keeping it real goes wrong, on November 8th the East Carolinian published a full-frontal photo of a streaker running across the football field during halftime.
Yes, that does mean the cover showed the entire penis of the streaker and it apparently caused some controversy within community.
Well the firing caused controversy within the journalism community as well. If Isom was fired solely because of the nudity in the picture, that would be a violation of the First Amendment. It was even noticed by the Student Press Law Center who fight for high school and college journalist to cover news without censorship.
Isom said in one of his interviews that after the nude image was published, his relationship with administration drastically changed. They ignored certain requests and abruptly cancelled meetings.
The actions of the administration was not only unprofessional, it was childish. Providing true news to your readers requires showing a picture of a person streaking during the halftime program of a veteran ceremony and is impossible to capture with censorship.
Not only was his first amendment right clearly violated he was fired for something he had no control of. Advisors cannot influence or remove the content from student print because then it wouldn’t be student print.
East Carolina University acted as a parent and punished the older brother for something the little brother did. From the words of The Fresh Prince: “Parents just don’t understand.”