The new editor-in-chief for Florida Atlantic University’s student-run newspaper, the University Press, has been denied his job simply for saying he would do his job.
Joe Pye — a senior at FAU who could’ve graduated this semester, but instead decided to take more classes just to be the UP’s editor — was unanimously voted in to serve as editor by the paper’s staff and the Student Media Advisory Board earlier this month.
This week, however, the student government senate denied his appointment at a confirmation hearing.
Michael Koretzky, SPJ Region 3 director and the volunteer adviser for the UP, notes that in the decade since this confirmation hearing has been established, no editor has not been confirmed. But it was a question Pye answered during the hearing that caused the denial of his job.
Pye was asked what he planned to do as the editor, and told the committee of seven senators: “keep watch over all you guys.” He lost the hearing 5-2.
SPJ Florida President Dori Zinn — an FAU and UP alum — condemns the denial.
“As an FAU alum, I’m embarrassed. As a journalist, I’m disgusted,” Zinn says. “To deny a journalist the very right to do their job because they answered a question that they would do their job is upsetting and unsettling. It’s a hindrance on our basic First Amendment rights.”
Pye says he’ll comply with the appeals process, which means he will first file a petition with the student court to request a hearing. While doing so, he’ll document everything through the very medium he runs: the student newspaper. He says other writers on staff will still report and cover student government as the paper has always done while he will stick to editorials on the process.
Zinn is interested to see how FAU plans to hold back a student from simply doing the work they have applied to do and been approved to do.
“I am in utter disbelief that there are so many hurdles in place for a journalist to jump over just to let them do their job,” she says. “I very much look forward to seeing how FAU will defend such horrific limitations on student media and free press.”