Students Lose College Paper Jobs For Pro-Stevenson Editorial Policy

All articles copyright 1953 by The Harvard Crimson

After supporting Adlai Stevenson in the last election the Editorial board of the Daily Kansan, in Laurence, Kansas was discharged under continuing Alumni pressure. The former student editorial board was replaced with a joint student faculty staff. The change was made, according to the Chancellor of the Journalism School, in order to preserve, "a more consistent editorial policy." This was the first time the "consistency" of the Kansan had been a cause of complaint.

The trouble started when the editorial staff of the Kansan, selected by the governing board of the paper, began writing editorials with a Democratic tinge. The editors then requested and received permission from the Dean of the Journalism school to support Adlai Stevenson, provided room was left for an opposition viewpoint.

The pro-Stevenson editorials aroused little activity from the students But alumni of the home-state university of President Eisenhower applied pressure, especially after the paper printed several pro-Stevenson cartoons supplied by the Democratic National headquarters.

The Kansan received threatening letters and phone calls, and the Dean of Journalism was urged through similar calls to take some action. The Student Council publically criticized the Kansan for violating its charter agreement to "maintain a semi-conservative policy and remain neutral in politics on and off the Campus."

The Dean then threatened the paper with outside control unless the Kansan board carried out the Chancellor's wishes for some change. A student committee met, drew up advisory resolutions for the Dean who then wrote the amendment to the Kansan's constitution, setting up the editorial board with five students and two voting faculty.

The Kansan board rejected the proposed amendment even after ridding the proposed faculty members of their vote. But the matter was not dropped. Under strong outside pressure a special meeting of the board was called and in a "precedent setting unique Democratic action," the amendment was finally passed.

The reign of the new board has been mostly quiet, as few controversial issues have come up since the election. Student opinion was described as "apathetic" and the faculty was expressed no overt opinion--except for the Journalism school whose faculty by and large violently opposed the change.