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VIEWS AND VOICES
Left-wing writing purged from Kent State newspaper
We will not be silenced

April 14, 2006 | Page 4

ALL COLLEGE students think the campus newspaper is the worst around, but students at Kent State University have a firm foundation for that belief.

Last semester, letters to the editor from progressive students submitted to the Daily Kent Stater were edited to death, or not printed at all. The editorial board strictly followed conservative ideology. Very few of the left-minded columnists wrote anything remotely political. Much of this right-wing governance continues. Moreover, the Stater has shown a reluctance to employ progressives and a tendency to censor those it does hire.

From August to December of last year, I wrote for the Stater. During that time, I wrote a weekly column and never missed a deadline. I covered issues such as abortion, immigration and Kent State student Dave Airhart's right to free expression from the viewpoint of an activist and revolutionary.

In mid-December, I reapplied for the job for the spring semester. I turned in my application without samples of my writing. After all, the editor already had the 15 columns I had written during the fall semester. Because I didn't print from the Stater Web site some of the columns I'd written and attach them to my application, it was rejected.

But judging by the content of the Forum page, the paper was, and still is, in dire need of columnists. Since the spring semester began in late January, the Stater has run multiple U-Wire columns from other colleges and universities on its Forum page, at least one day almost every week.

So on February 22, I spoke with Ryan Loew, editor of the Stater. I handed him another application, this time with the stories I'd written for a local professional newspaper. He took the writing samples, but said he still had my original application and would use that to judge whether I was qualified for the job. He also said he was hoping to look at the applications that weekend.

I e-mailed him three weeks later to see if he'd made a decision. He never responded.

Then on March 23, I went to the Stater production office to talk to Loew, and he said the paper wasn't looking for more columnists because it was doing better in terms of running columns written by Kent State students.

This isn't exactly true, however. During the first two weeks of March alone, the Stater twice printed multiple U-Wire columns on the same day.

The issue is not whether the paper needs columnists, because it obviously does. The issue is whether the editor will hire columnists who challenge right-wing thinking.

Stater editors have proven their unwillingness to hire progressives in the past. Greg Schwartz worked as a columnist for the Stater in the spring of 2005. He wrote concise, politically relevant columns, but he, too, took a progressive stance in his columns. When he reapplied to write during the fall semester of 2005, he included samples of his writing, but still his application was rejected.

International Socialist Organization (ISO) member Chris Kok currently works for the Stater. He writes one half of the Point-Counterpoint, which pits a conservative bigot against the one real progressive the paper will hire.

Recently, Kok wrote a column about abortion in which he said, "If you think Democrats are going to save abortion rights, you better start collecting coat hangers now." What actually came out in the paper was "[i]f you think Democrats are going to save abortion rights, don't hold your breath." This may seem like a small change, but it is just one of many ways in which conservatives on campus are trying to silence progressives.

This week, the Kent ISO will kick off a "Take Back the Stater" campaign. Action against the Stater is long overdue. We cannot allow the tyranny to continue any longer. We must take back the Stater for Kent State students.
Allen Hines, Kent, Ohio

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