JMU charges Breeze reporters

JGFitzgerald -- October 24th, 2009

According to reports in the Breeze and a local paywalled publication, two Breeze reporters face University charges after interviewing students about a peeping tom incident. University spokespersons have been silent on the issue.
ETA: Breeze editor Tim Chapman, one of the two journalists charged, said later that the Student Press Law Center and other legal advisers, on campus and off, have suggested that he and the other reporter not respond to the charges through official University channels. Instead they will ask through a faculty member or through an attorney to have the charges dismissed.

Chapman said he and the other journalist were asking in the dorm for facts about and reactions to the incident. He said many students were creeped out by the incident, and that the Breeze journalists respected the wishes of anyone who asked not to be interviewed.

58 Responses to “JMU charges Breeze reporters”

  1. Josh says:

    And even more coverage–

    College Media Matters: Schools Fight Back! – James Madison Charges
    Student Journalists, Butler Sues Student Blogger

    Technician (NC State): The failed Amendment

    DNR: ACLU Likely To Support JMU Reporters (requires subscription to read)

    Collegenews: Student Journalists Reprimanded at James Madison University

    Richmond Times-Dispatch: Extra, Extra

  2. Oh yeah. One more person who needs to be fired is the Hall Director. Out, out, out, damned spot!

  3. Josh says:

    The latest opinion from the DNR sorta makes reference to…

    DNR: Editorial – JMU In The Wrong (doesn’t require subscription to read)

  4. I should add that the caveats I made about the RA should also apply to the Hall Director. While student gossip says no students complained, I have been informed that there may have been students complaining to the Hall Director about the reporters knocking on their doors. If that is so, then it is a more complicated situation. One obvious solution would have been to have the reporters hang out in the lounge to talk with those who wanted to talk with them. In any case, there should not have been any charges brought. This was very poor judgment.

  5. The DNR calls for “the university” to drop the charges. However, it has been pointed out that once charges have been initiated, only certain parties have the right to drop the charges, which does not include the upper administration, which must keep hands off. As it is, the only people able to drop the charges are those who brought them. I am publicly urging those who did so to drop the charges and save everybody involved any further hassle or embarrassment.

  6. BANDIT says:

    Unless there is more to the story… JMU is being ridiculous.

  7. Josh says:

    The latest–

    August Free Press: ACLU backs JMU student reporters

    ACLU of VA: PR Nov. 4, 2009 ACLU Supports Student Reporters Facing Disciplinary Charges for Interviewing JMU Dormitory Residents
    (includes letter to university)

    The Breeze: A November 5 to Remember

  8. JGFitzgerald says:

    The reporter was found “responsible,” presumably the equivalent of “not innocent.” The biggest loss, if it’s fully accurate, is Chapman declining to comment on the details. Silence implies consent.

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