University of Mary Washington Cancels Newspaper

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The University of Mary Washington, located in Fredericksburg, Virginia (a couple of hours south of Washington, D.C.), is a small liberal arts university bearing the name of George Washington’s mother. It was recently embroiled in a freedom-of-the-press controversy, Greg Piper of The College Fix reports. The school administration zeroed out (i.e. axed or slashed completely) the printing budget of the student-run newspaper, The Blue and Gray Press although the cutback would not affect the newspaper’s online publications.

When asked about zeroing out the newspaper’s printing budget, the administrators claimed that the newspaper’s publishing was harmful to the environment. Prior to that, the administration had said it was concerned with the quality of the newspaper’s reporting and were considering the formation of a task force to investigate and suggest improvements.

The Blue and Gray Press has been in operation for the past ninety-six years and had run into trouble with the school administration recently on its reporting. In one instance, the administration apparently did not appreciate the student reporters writing a story on multiple students becoming intoxicated and getting arrested. The Blue and Gray Press published the mugshots of several students, which allegedly irked the university administration.

Now, the administration agreed to restore funding to the newspaper’s printing budget after a national outcry by journalists and alumni, which alleged the administration was retaliating and punishing the newspaper for exercising its First Amendment rights.