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Hampton’s Acting President Accepts Task Force Recommendations

Hampton’s Acting President Accepts Task Force RecommendationsHAMPTON, Va.
Praising a faculty/student task force for “effectively and efficiently carrying out (its) charge,” the acting president of Hampton University, Dr. JoAnn Haysbert, has accepted a series of recommendations regarding the roles of the school, the staff and faculty advisers in the operation of the student newspaper, the Hampton Script.
The 11-member committee was chaired by veteran journalist and Scripps Howard Endowed Professor of Journalism Earl Caldwell and consisted of the student leadership and faculty advisers of the Script, the director of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism at Hampton University, three faculty members outside the journalism school and the special assistant to the president for operations analysis. The task force was appointed in late October following a decision to suspend distribution of one issue of the newspaper. Haysbert had objected to the Script’s decision not to print a letter from her on the front page. The letter concerned health violations that threatened closure of the school’s cafeteria. Those violations had recently been corrected (see Black Issues, Dec. 4, 2003).
After holding a series of meetings over the course of six weeks, which included a review of operations of student newspapers produced on other campuses, the task force made four policy recommendations:
•  No administrator, faculty member, student or university-affiliated organization will confiscate and/or halt distribution of the Hampton Script.
•  Student journalists on the staff of the Script have the right to a free press in order to practice their craft in the unfettered fashion envisioned by the framers of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
•  Oversight and guidance from a faculty adviser (or advisers) with adequate journalistic knowledge and an appreciation and commitment to the Hampton model are necessary.
•  An advisory board be established and empowered to resolve issues between the editors and advisers.
The task force recommended that the new policies be adopted by the university and made part of the official guide for publication of the student newspaper.
Haysbert, in a letter to all task force members, accepted all the group’s suggestions and made them effective immediately. “I have learned a great deal from this experience in regard to freedom of the press, especially as it relates to student-managed newspapers,” she wrote. “The work that you have completed and the report you have produced can only help to strengthen the great legacy and tradition that are Hampton University’s.”
Haysbert also praised the journalism school, saying “it offers the best academic and professional journalism preparation one might find at any college or university.” 

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