Censorship Redacted


[3C] Farron Ager - Censorship - thelukewarmerswaydotwordpressdotcomArticle: Farron Ager – Op-ed Editor

So, for this week, I was going to write about my experiences as a Teaching Assistant and a Tutor on campus – jobs I’ve been doing for three and four years, respectively. I was going to write about the triumphs and failures I’ve seen in students over the years – their highest pinnacles of motivation and their lowest slumps of apathy. But now I’m going to save that for another issue because a slightly more meta one came up.

To prep myself for writing the article I had in mind, I went to my two places of employment here on campus and I thought I would ask them about their thoughts on me writing about my experiences here as a both a student and “instructor.” Perhaps I was being selfish in hoping that I’d get green lights all around. One was all for it and was more than happy that I write the piece. The other, well, not so much. My one boss said that before I publish anything about them, she’d want be able to read over it first and give me her approval.

To say I was surprised at the second response is an understatement. After much debate on what to write, I decided to throw caution to the wind, as all I could think about was censorship on campus. I had absolutely no intention to bash either of my places of employment. Perhaps I can chalk the second response up to just being a little extra careful. I mean, if someone came to you, asking if they could write something that somewhat involved you, wouldn’t you want to make sure it wasn’t something negative?

This kind of CYA (cover your ass) tactic made me realize two polar attitudes towards what one can really say here on campus: the academic encouraging me to write and the administrative strongly suggesting to me to receive approval beforehand. We are in a place devoted to encouraging freedom of thought and yet, outside in the practical world, such things are allowed, but mostly have to go through the proper channels. The academic in me grumbles at that notion, but it seems to be a necessary evil we have to endure.

Of course, this kind of thought is too big for a 450 some word article. Is the university able to censor its own students who pay to be here? Am I student first or an employee first? I honestly don’t know the answer and perhaps I won’t. One thing I do know though is regardless what stake you have in the university, you shouldn’t feel hindered in expressing what’s on your mind because that’s what this place is all about.

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