As of August, the buzz in the journalism world went a bit chaotic. Coming from a university with a student-run newspaper, The South Texan at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. I can’t help but feel for The Kernel at the University of Kentucky (UoK).
If you have not heard, UoK is suing their newspaper, The Kernel, for having a story about a sexual assault case involving one of their professors. This is absurd. If you have been following this news, you would know that The Kernel had sources, wrote the story after the case has been closed, and requested to have the documents about the case. The university denied their request for documents and that, in itself, is a violation of Kentucky’s Open Records Act.
As of now, they are still fighting on this but from what I have read it all comes down to the university’s reputation. They started with sweeping the sexual assault under the rug, have the professor quit instead of fired (if they quit they still get benefits), and are not following the Open Records Act they have because they want to keep it a secret.
In my opinion, UoK is just digging themselves a deeper hole every time. Keeping university secrets from your students and community is a big mistake, especially when you have future journalist in the making and when you have victims without justice.
Letting the professor walk away is a horrible way to cover this because that action shows others that it’s okay to assault students and get another job without having a dent on their career. Suing the newspaper is another bad action because it shows that the First Amendment is frowned upon. The First Amendment Right protects the newspaper and all media.
Fortunately, if such things were to happen on our campus, the university and the newspaper would cooperate with each other legally and efficiently. Certainly, all signs point to that cooperation. I applaud The Kernel for staying strong and true to themselves during this hard time.