COLLEGE

Pima Community College Newspaper Says School 'Stonewalled' Them Over Loughner Coverage

03/24/2011 08:30 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A student newspaper at an Arizona community college is criticizing administrators for keeping "a tight noose around release of information," including remaining silent about the school's connection to infamous shooter Jared Lee Loughner.

In a recent editorial, the Aztec Press described a "misguided and counterproductive" culture of secrecy at Tucson's Pima Community College. In the newspaper's view, PCC's free press and free speech violations run long.

As the piece charges, "When a media outlet, including the Aztec Press, requests an interview or even a comment from any college employee, PCC's marketing department insists on first granting 'permission.' Further, the marketing department consistently requests a list of advance questions. More often than not, a marketing department spokesperson answers the questions via e-mail instead of allowing a reply from the appropriate source. . . . In the rare case when a face-to-face interview is approved, a public relations person sits in. That can intimidate both the reporter and the interviewee.

Apparently, the noose has been pulled so tight by officials that PCC faculty and staff decline to speak about even non-sensitive topics. According to the Press, "They've been cowed by pressure from the top."

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