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Education, Ithaca College

Students Protest New Ithaca College Media Policy

By: Noreyana Fernando

On Friday, Ithaca College students lined the halls of the college’s Campus Center, calling on the Board of Trustees to repeal the newly introduced student media policy.

The policy requires that all student reporters interested in contacting one of the 84 listed administrative officials go through the Media Relations staff to schedule an interview.

While the policy is not optional, student reporters will not be penalized for direct contact.

Student protesters first gathered in the campus Peggy Ryan Williams building. Credit: Michael Schwartz

Student media worry about the increased time it will now take them to schedule an interview with sources and meet deadlines. Some even say the new policy is aimed at controlling student media.

The peaceful protest, which started out with a dozen students, slowly gathered momentum and 50 protesters join the rally. Organizers of the protest believe their voices were heard.

“I was nervous about numbers, but I think that the numbers really showed up,” Brennin Cummings, one of the organizers of the demonstration said Friday. “Our voices were really heard today.”

Other students question what prompted the college’s administration to put this new policy into place.

“They’ve produced a policy for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Ayla Ferrone, another organizer, said.

Several faculty members were also present at the sit-in. Jason Tucker, lecturer at the college’s writing department, was one of them.

“It seems that this group of students feels that the media policy that this administration is putting forward is not in their best interest,” Tucker said. “They’re here to express that in the ways that are available to them.”

However, President Tom Rochon rejects the idea that this policy will hinder student media access to college officials.

Rochon stressed that professional journalists are also required to contact a media relations official who will facilitate the interview. He went on to say that the new policy replaces a system where reporters were more likely to focus on looking for quotes the president or vice president, while there may have been other officials better informed to comment.

Organizers of Friday’s protest say that though their presence should not be seen as a personal attack on the officials involved, getting their voice heard was important.

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