A former college newspaper adviser who fought the censorship of a student-produced publication will serve as the keynote speaker for the 2003 West Virginia High School Journalism Competition being held at West VirginiaUniversity March 6-7.
William Lawbaugh, a former newspaper and yearbook adviser at Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., was named the inaugural winner of the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award presented by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation in fall 2002. He will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday. March 6, in Room 459 of the Business and EconomicsBuilding. His speech is open to the public.
Two years ago, when Lawbaugh was ordered by college administrators to submit the student journalists’articles to prior review and other restrictions, he refused to intervene, saying that”students aspiring to careers in journalism need to understand and respect First Amendment freedom and its intended responsibilities.”
As a result, the tenured communications professor was denied a salary increase, was threatened with removal as adviser to both the newspaper and the yearbook and endured public criticism from college officials. The university also cut the newspaper’s funding.
Despite protests from the Student Press Law Center, College Media Advisers Inc. and other organizations �€as well as coverage by The Washington Post, the Frederick (Md.) News-Post and the Associated Press �€the administration continued its pressure on the media adviser.
Before joining the faculty at Mount St. Mary’s College, Lawbaugh had served as a journalism professor and student publications adviser at BallStateUniversity, CatholicUniversity, University of Maryland and GeorgeWashingtonUniversity.
He also is active in the Maryland Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of College Press Advisers, College Press Review, College Media Advisers, and as a judge for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.