After a proposal to change the bylaws of the CSU Board of Student Communications (BSC) drew controversy from the Collegian and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), Jim Landers, BSC interim president and journalism professor withdrew the proposal and resigned from his position Nov. 16.
The proposal would have allowed the BSC to punish editors of student publications for printing profanity in student publications — a move the SPLC said would be unconstitutional because it could be interpreted as “de facto censorship.”
Landers proposed the changes in response to a Sept. 21 editorial in the Collegian that read “Taser This . F*** BUSH” drew complaints from students and community members.
Landers said in a statement released Friday that he resigned because, as publisher of the Collegian, the BSC’s inability to punish the editor if necessary was “unacceptable.”
“BSC clearly lacks the authority traditionally vested in a publisher — in this instance, to safeguard the interests of Student Media.
“Instead, the Collegian editor is de facto publisher.” Landers’ statement said. “This is unacceptable.”
Jeff Browne, director of Student Media, said in an e-mail to BSC members that included the agenda for the Tuesday’s board meeting that a new president will be chosen at the meeting.
Landers’ withdrawn proposal can be readopted by any of the BSC members. But Landers said prospective changes that could end the Collegian’s status as a CSU publication would neutralize his proposal.
The changes will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting along with the issue of Landers’ successor.
Collegian Editor in Chief J. David McSwane said student organizations and the CSU Board of Governors would not have approved the proposals.
“I think he resigned because he knew that his proposal would not be well-received . it’s just a sneaky move,” McSwane said.
Assistant News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.