Controversy rages over bill limiting newspaper content

By DaKota Hilburn

Kyle Thompson/Collegian
Kyle Thompson/Collegian

Every once in a while, instructors and professors of colleges will write a column or editorial for the school newspaper, The Hutchinson Collegian, for example, or for the city newspaper, like The Hutch News to get their opinion out in the open.

This may be about to change, however.

A new bill was recently introduced stating professors will no longer be able to state who they work for or their credentials, in their columns or editorials.

This bill has already shown controversy on many levels, as it should. Some say it infringes our First Amendment rights by telling colleges and professors what they can and can’t post in the paper. Others though, believe this is a good idea.

James Teeter, McPherson, commented on this situation.

“Instructors should be able to voice their opinion,” Teeter said. “It shouldn’t matter where they are from.”

This bill has elicited interesting emotions from students and instructors alike.

“I guess it makes me a little angry,” Teeter said.

But maybe we need to take a step back and think about it though, there are some good points to this, but there are disagreeable parts also.

I can see why this would aggravate people, but it doesn’t necessarily take away the First Amendment rights. They can still write whatever they please, they just can’t say who they work for.

City and college newspapers should not be told what they can and cannot put in their papers. If this were to be passed it would cause a lot of people to get mad.

This almost seems a little Hitler-like.

Instructors deserve to flaunt their brains in a way by saying what department they are in charge of or the school they are employed at. If you’re a professor that might make a difference in how people view your opinion.

The only good reason for passing this is some idiot somewhere is going to sit there and think that just because a college professor believes that something is bad, then that means that the entire school believes it and they will start talking crap about the school.

Some who disapprove of the bill think it doesn’t matter if one or two people dislike the college because of something like that.

Students could potentially tell their friends and try to convince them that the college is bad.

This shouldn’t make a difference, because a professor’s opinion does not necessarily equal their school’s opinion.

But some of these people are convincing and pretty soon some of the smaller colleges will no longer have many students, except for the logical ones who honestly couldn’t care less.

I realize that this situation would probably never happen, but for the sake of argument, let’s pretend it would.

All in all they probably shouldn’t pass this bill, as it would only cause more issues between Kansans and legislators — because there are already enough of those kinds of dust-ups.

After all, we Kansans do love our Constitutional rights.

Free speech is an important right and one that our country was founded upon. Let’s protect it.

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