The student newspaper, Flor-Ala, at the University of Alabama in Florence says the university is violating their First Amendment rights.
It all started with an article published by Harley Duncan, trying to find out why the vice president of the university suddenly left and why another teacher was put on notice of tresspass. The administration denied them that information. They then reported that it went against the opinion of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions about this type of problem. You can read the original article here.
One week after the article was published, the current Vice President of Student Affairs spoke with the student writers and their adviser, Scott Morris.
Two weeks after the publication, the university declared that the qualifications for the position of adviser increased to include a Ph.D. Something Morris does not have.
"I feel they are retaliating against me for what my students wrote," Morris said.
The University Media Association seemed to agree. They issued a censure in UNA after an investigation into the incident. Censorship has no legal power, but sheds light on concerns about First Amendment violations.
After the censorship was issued, UNA said in a statement: "Since the end of 2014, the University has been discussing an update to the position of Student Media Advisor to a position of professor in tenure."
The former president of the Department of Communications, Dr. Gregory Pitts, told us that this change was not discussed with him in 2014 while he was president of the department. Pitts said: "If someone claims that I made this request, I would describe their claim as FALSE."
Both Morris and Duncan say everyone should worry about this problem.
"The first amendment is very important to all of us." For the government to be accountable, it does not matter who they are, "said Morris
The Flor-Ala told us that you do not have enough money to fight against UNA in this matter, so they will continue to do what they do best. Report information they think the community needs to know.