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By KC IFEANYI kni002@latech



Grambling State University’s recent controversy involving their student newspaper, The Gramblinite, is finally over.

A temporary ban was placed on the paper Jan. 17 but has now been removed. The Gramblinite and its staff came under fire last semester after The (Monroe) News-Star threatened to sue because of a supposedly plagiarized story about the Bayou Classic.

“My guess is the only reason they lifted the ban was because it got so much negative attention,” Darryl Smith, editor of The Gramblinite and a senior mass communications major, said.

Even  though the ban has been lifted, many new regulations have been set in place. According to an article on, 14 regulations have been enforced, one of which requires all editors on staff to take a grammar, punctuation, spelling and style test before resuming duties.

Smith said Robert Dixon, vice president of student affairs, imposed the ban on the paper for the month of January not only because of the alleged plagiarizing incident, but because he wanted “an assurance of quality control,” claiming the paper constantly contained too many errors.

After defying the administration by publishing the paper anyway the day after the ban, Smith and his staff quickly backed out of the fight.

“It became increasingly clear that [the administrators] were trying to get rid of our advisers,” Smith said. “We didn’t want to be responsible for their dismissal.”

Even though the recent controversy of The Gramblinite has affected many people in the mass communications department at Grambling, Kendra McMurry, a junior nursing major at Grambling, said it has influenced the campus, and city, as a whole.

“[The Gramblinite] is the source of information for a lot of students on campus,” McMurry said.

Wayne Bradley, a ’93 alumnus of Grambling, said as a former member of The Gramblinite staff, he is shocked at what has taken place and that even if one of the reasons behind the ban was indeed because of too many errors, the administrators should realize even the big-name papers make mistakes.

“Working on The Gramblinite is a learning experience,” Bradley said.

In a letter to Horace Judson, president of GSU, Valerie White, chair of the Black College Communication Association, expressed her support of The Gramblinite staff and encouraged the administration “to stop breaking the law” in regards to the first amendment.

“I think the whole episode was unnecessary,” White said. “Had the provost been educated and knew how to interpret the law, it wouldn’t have happened.”

White also said the administration needs to allow the students the opportunity to gain experience in journalism without all the new restrictions.

“They need to realize there are some things they can’t control,” White said.

However, some people, such as Sharita Bowers, believe the reason for the ban had to do with plagiarizing or too many mistakes, but because the paper exposed shady business at the university.

“I think the students should know what’s going on,” Bowers, a junior nursing major, said. “They don’t want us to tell the truth, but truth hurts. It’s going to happen.”

Smith said the whole experience has been stressful and time consuming, but he is glad it is over.

“I really wish it never occurred,” Smith said. “[But] it’s a battle we fought, and it’s a battle we won for free speech.”

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