Administrators at the University of Texas have stopped The Daily Texan student newspaper from placing a newsstand inside or even near the new Belo Center for New Media, which houses UT's School of Journalism.
The reason: "environmental concerns." Specifically, as Texan staff writer Bobby Blanchard reported, "The Belo Center for New Media is striving to achieve the 'silver certification' from U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Signage, banners, plaques and other forms of paper have also been banned from being posted outside the building."
So it's not about the newsstand itself. It's about the newspapers that would be placed inside it.
The restriction came from higher-level administrators with the university's College of Communications, not the journalism school faculty or director.
UT School of Journalism director Glenn Frankel told the Texan he thinks the ban is a mistake. Adjunct lecturer Mark Morrison had an even stronger reaction. "I think it is outrageous," he said. "We should make it as easy as possible for our students and faculty to get access to the Texan. The Belo Center is, after all, the home of the journalism school."
The story broke yesterday, leading to a rash of similarly impassioned tweet reactions, along with posts on several popular media blogs further spreading the news.
Responding to the ink-stained anger yesterday afternoon, UT College of Communications dean Roderick Hart told blogger Jim Romenesko, "We're on it. I've asked our architect to design appropriate boxes for the newspapers and to tell us where they might be located on the new building's site. For the record, there was never an intention to 'ban' the boxes. Since they were already located across the street (15 feet away), it never occurred to us that we'd need additional ones. But apparently we do! And so it shall be."