by Lisa Sorg
The N.C. Central University administration has publicly condemned the trashing of hundreds of copies of the student newspaper, done in apparent retaliation over two controversial stories published over the last six weeks.
“Attempts to suppress unpleasant news are offensive and contrary to everything we stand for at our university, where the free exchange of information should not be impeded,” wrote NCCU Associate Provost Debbie Thomas in a campuswide e-mail.
Campus Echo Editor Ashley Griffin wrote an editorial this week defending the stories, adding, “I am troubled that some of my fellow Eagles would stoop so low as to attempt to suppress news that they find inconvenient. Your behavior is petty and childish. And it will not work.”
“Business School Blues,” published Oct. 6, covered the controversy over the dismissal of NCCU Business School Dean Bijoy Sahoo, who was replaced after a review by a university task force questioned his leadership. Shortly afterward, hundreds of newspapers disappeared from the Willis Commerce Building.
Hundreds of papers also disappeared from near the sociology building and student union and were found in a dumpster after the Echo published a story Nov. 3, “Sociability Shortage in Sociology.” The article detailed a conflict between student Dontravis Swain, later suspended from the university, and assistant professor of sociology, Dana Greene.
Greene, according to the article, had allegedly claimed that a white student of hers, Robert Mihaly, was racist after he wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the likeness of Martin Luther King Jr. that read “UNC system racist” because N.C. Central doesn’t offer organic, non-genetically modified foods in its cafeteria.
Swain and Mihaly got into an argument in the classroom over the T-shirt i, which escalated when Swain allegedly began arguing with Greene. She alleged that Swain pushed her, but some students have disputed that account.
Campus Echo Adviser Bruce dePyssler told the Indy he doesn’t know who is dumping the papers, but according to the Student Press Law Center, it is illegal. Charges include larceny, petty theft, criminal mischief or destruction of property.