Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | May 11, 2010

End of semester review

Finals are upon us at Towson, and the semester is winding down. This crazy wild semester, which was filled with material for my “Let my pupils go,” is finally coming to close. Also coming to a close, as it happens, is my undergraduate career.

I honestly don’t know how much I’ll continue to update this blog. Probably not a lot, maybe not at all. However, it’s really been interesting to put together some of the posts and stories that are now on this page.

Thank you all for reading, and if you have an idea for an update, run it by me. Maybe I can cram in some more cool stuff here.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | May 11, 2010

Photo madness over the Towson Glen Garage death

As most Towson students and many others already know, a 44-year-old graduate student died Monday morning after falling from the Glen Garage. It appeared to be, but has not yet been ruled, a suicide. However, this story from The Towerlight has ruffled some feathers among readers, mostly because of the photographs that were chosen to appear as expandable thumbnails alongside the story. The comment section contains mixed reactions to the coverage, with some readers demanding the photos be removed.

“It added an important visual element to the story,” editor in chief Daniel Gross said. “We had a number of other photos that we chose to hold.”

One anonymous source, echoing many others, wrote: “I understand the importance of keeping the rest of campus in the know whether it’s via news articles or photographs from a given scene. but WHY a bloody picture?”

Photographer Christopher Curry, who was at the scene for The Towerlight and took many of the photos used for the online story, said there was really nothing wrong with what the paper did.

“It’s perfectly legal to take the pictures,” Curry said.

Gross said that students should be aware that a story like that could present some graphic images, but that it’s up to them to decide if they want that experience.

“It’s kind of their choice whether or not they want to see it,” Gross said.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | May 4, 2010

New Towerlight EIC on free speech

The Towerlight, which is supposed to write headlines at Towson University, has in fact made headlines much of the school year for a variety of reasons. The publication had its ups and downs (during this blogger’s time as sports editor there), but one thing remains constant.

The Towerlight is self-sustaining.

The paper makes all of its revenue from ads, makes decisions internally and does not take orders from administration. Part of the key is the editorial board elections. Newly elected editor in chief Dan Gross said this process helps The Towerlight stay autonomous and keep moving forward.

New editor in chief for The Towerlight Dan Gross has inherited the leadership role at a self-sustaining, student-run newspaper. (Photo by Tyler Waldman, courtesy Facebook))

“It cycles a lot of energy, so we have a lot of new ideas coming into play as the new positions take over,” Gross said. “Regardless of who takes what position, the process of having that election sparks a lot of initiative and new ideas.”

Gross said that past methods of having students or administration make personnel and editorial decisions don’t measure up to the quality of the decision-making process used now.

“Now the administration isn’t involved in the process, nor is the student body,” Gross said. “I think that’s the way it should be because the internal staff knows how we work and where we need to go with the paper. We know better than the administrators who are advertising in the paper. We don’t want those outside sources getting involved.”

However, this year the administration gave the paper plenty of flak, scolding its leaders for a sex column called “The Bedpost,” among other things. Gross said The Towerlight has to balance its relationship with school authorities and its duty to report on events and publish pertinent information.

“That can be really hard because we want to build that relationship, but at the same time we want to preserve the right to free speech,” Gross said.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | May 4, 2010

Ehrlich hits Towson

Here’s a link to a Towerlight story about gubernatorial candidate (and former Maryland governor) Bob Ehrlich. Ehrlich attended a class period with Richard Vatz (I know, I’m shocked too) and talked to students about critical decision-making.

By the way, a story on the Towerlight’s election process and protection of free speech is coming tomorrow morning.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | April 27, 2010

Tennessee and Wisconsin feelin’ the F.I.R.E.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has overturned a couple of policies at universities this week. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville put into place a rule that comes down hard on “activities that harass, degrade, intimidate, demean, slander, defame, interfere with or threaten others.”

FIRE correctly points out that this is a breach of free expression, since the words “degrade” and “demean” are unacceptably vague for a complete shut-down rule like this one. What do those words mean? Whatever some kid with a vendetta says they mean?

And at Wisconsin-Madison, an antiwar speaker panel was nearly canceled until the Campus Antiwar Network asked FIRE for help. FIRE intervened, advised some of the supporters for this panel and helped overturn the cancellation. The panel took place last night.

The folks over there at FIRE are pretty high on themselves, but they do get things done.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | April 22, 2010

Pro-Life group gets by Arizona bullying.

The University of Arizona has allowed a pro-life group on campus to be recognized in a decision reversal this week. The group was denied access to equal funding from the university when it applied to become an official student group, but was turned away based on its political leanings.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervened and has claimed that this is a victory for freedom of expression and association.

It’s another sticky situation. Arizona was bully-ish and unfair to this group, and since the university is publicly funded, this group does deserve equal funding. However, it’s also privately run, and some of the funding is private/donated, so do those in charge not have the right to tell students what they can and cannot do?

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | April 20, 2010

Drinking keeps Tigerfest staff, planners on toes

Here’s a link to my new feature story on rules and regulations for Tigerfest. You can also check it out by clicking on this headline in the header above.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | April 20, 2010

Early conflict from Tigerfest

In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to remind my readers that I do in fact work for The Towerlight. However, the peculiar request that was made of the student newspaper here at Towson University was too much for me to ignore on this blog.

Bridget Chase, assistant director of student activities, wanted to only allow six members of The Towerlight’s staff to be on the third floor of the union during Tigerfest, where our office is.

The reasoning, by itself, was sound. The Tigerfest bands use that floor as their meeting place, and they use the Chesapeake Rooms as their changing rooms. So limiting entrance to that floor is a pretty good idea.

However, The Towerlight pays for that space. Its employees have a right to be in their office, especially on such a newsworthy day as this Saturday.

We’ll see what gets made of this. I really doubt it becomes a big problem, because Chase has her orders, and she can’t just break them because a few student journalists complained about it. She’s not just trying to ban T-Lighters from their newsroom.

However, it should be noted that once again, a one-size-fits-all rule is ineffective in practice despite sounding nice in theory.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | April 15, 2010

Results are in: United Stripes sweeps clean

The United Stripes ticket celebrates after a clean sweep of Towson's SGA executive board elections. Photo by Pete Lorenz

The United Strips ticket won all five executive board positions, it was announced Wednesday. Nicole Kazanecki won the position of president, while Angie Hong took vice president, Darryl Glotfelty treasurer, Mark Droter Attorney General and Antwan Little chief

of staff.

Posted by: pardonmyfrench88 | April 14, 2010

Voting closed, Droter optimistic about student turnout

After two days that included the voting site going down and rain dampering turnout, voting for SGA positions for the 2010-2011 school year has concluded. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m. Wedneday at the University Union.

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