Zombies are people too…

16 04 2010

War has been declared on The Orion.

In the wake of the Humans v. Zombies game on campus, an opinion piece was written by an Orion staff member that caused a lot of anger and controversy. It hasn’t cooled down yet, either.

Words were used referring to the players as “assholes”, “chump”, “moron” and “mentally incompetent”. Understandably, many people weren’t happy with the descriptions.

This is where the First Amendment runs smack into reality.

Many people think that the amendment gives them the right to say whatever they want. That’s not the case. What it says is, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

Congress can’t do that. Private citizens? Not included in that little part of the Constitution.

No, you don’t always get to say what you want. The university is a little fiefdom of sanctuary in the middle of the real world. Student journalists enjoy protections, especially at Chico State, that regular journalists simply don’t have.

Leave the confines of The Orion, and what you thought was funny will never make it through the editing process.

There seems to be a tendency lately for college papers to print things simply because they can. I’m not sure if it’s a reaction to not having parental supervision, or if some editors just thought that this inflammatory column was a good idea.

If words like “mentally incompetent” were used to describe PRIDE members, there’d be an uproar. That would be a good thing.

I’d like to know that some thought was put into whether this should be printed. I’d like to believe that there was discussion once the final product was turned in.

Or maybe I don’t. Because if there was discussion, and it still was approved, that would concern me more than anything else.

The First Amendment isn’t a club to beat down others. It’s a shield to protect people from those who seek to take away our rights.

Future journalists should keep that in mind.




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