By KC IFEANYI
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 maynardije.org, 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
“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
“Working on The Gramblinite is a learning experience,”
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
White also said the administration needs to allow the
students the opportunity to gain experience in journalism without all the new
“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.”