School Commends Student Journalists, Condemns Police Attacks

June 8, 2020
The Lantern Newsroom

The School of Communication issued the following PDF icon faculty statement commending The Lantern student-journalists and condemning police attacks. The statement is signed by 36 faculty members.

We commend our student-journalists working on behalf of The Lantern who have been reporting on the local protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The students have shown great courage, fortitude, resilience and professionalism, and in doing so reflect very well on the School of Communication and support the university’s mission to serve the public interest. At the same time, these student-journalists have had to overcome far more adversity than we would have expected, in the form of overzealous police enforcement.
 
On June 1, student-journalists reporting on an active protest were confronted by police who mandated they vacate the campus area. These journalists showed their press credentials clearly, which were dismissed by police, who then responded with physical violence and assault by chemical deterrent. We deem these actions to be, without question or hesitation, completely unacceptable.
 
Journalists have a vital role in democratic society under the First Amendment, which provides important rights of freedom of expression and a free press. These rights include reporting about and filming the conduct of government agencies and law enforcement. Even under conditions of civil disturbances, officials are usually careful to exempt working journalists from restrictions. The order of Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther declaring a state of emergency in Columbus during widespread civil rights protests specifically exempts media personnel from enforcement during curfews.
 
Actions that interfere with the ability of citizens to be informed about vital issues of the day are damaging to our democratic system. A free society thrives on the free flow of information, which enables citizens to understand what is being done by government, business and other leaders. This vital work must go on without the threat of harm, harassment or arrest. This concern is heightened when the threats come from those who are charged with safeguarding people under their care. Accordingly, we call upon the city government and police leadership to improve the training and performance of police so that they can do their work of providing security for all and protect vital constitutional rights at the same time.
 
We stand firmly for the rights of all journalists to document the first draft of history. We call upon officials at all levels of the state and local governments to end attacks by police on journalists and their institutions, and to protect the First Amendment rights of all citizens, especially those from communities of color. This includes those who gather and engage in peaceful protest, those who report on such events, and those who rely on the work of journalists to be informed about the actions of their officials and the conditions in their communities.
 
Signed by:
Dr. Michael Slater, Professor; Director, School of Communication
Dr. Gerald M. Kosicki, Associate Professor; Chair, Journalism Program Committee
Spencer Hunt, Lecturer; Lantern Media Director/Advisor
Dr. Nicole Kraft, Associate Professor (Clinical), School of Communication
Dr. William “Chip” Eveland, Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Matthew Grizzard, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Roselyn J. Lee-Won, Associate Processor, School of Communication
Dr. Golnoosh Behrouzian, Research Associate, School of Communication
Dr. Jesse Fox, Associate Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Brad J. Bushman, Professor, School of Communication and Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication
Jeffrey N. Trimble, Lecturer, School of Communication/Department of Political Science
Dr. Susan Kline, Associate Professor; Chair, Communication Program Committee
Tonya Forsythe, Lecturer, School of Communication
Dr. James Alex Bonus, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Graham Dixon, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Teresa Lynch, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Hillary Shulman, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. David C. DeAndrea, Associate Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Nicholas L. Matthews, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Joseph B. Bayer, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Mary Sterenberg, Lecturer and PRSSA Adviser, School of Communication
Kaylea Annen, Lecturer, School of Communication
Dr. Bethany Barker, Senior Lecturer, School of Communication
Dr. Jason C. Coronel, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Emily Davidson, Senior Lecturer, School of Communication
Jasmine Roberts, Lecturer, School of Communication and NABJ-OSU advisor
Dr. Robert M. Bond, Associate Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Shelly Hovick, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Dr. R. Kelly Garrett, Professor, School of Communication
Katie Holmes, Lecturer, School of Communication
Dr. Emily Moyer-Guse, Associate Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Melissa Foster, Senior Lecturer, School of Communication
Dr. Amy Nathanson, Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Joyce Wang, Professor, School of Communication
Dr. Felecia Jones Ross, Associate Professor, School of Communication, Chair, Diversity Committee