East Carolina University declines comment on issues involving personnel, so it may never explain last week’s decision to fire Paul Isom, the adviser of the student-operated East Carolinian newspaper. It offered only a brief statement following Isom’s termination though he had helped guide students through the various pitfalls of student media for more than three years.
Left unsaid is that Isom is being punished for the paper’s publication last semester of photos showing a streaker at a November football game, though Isom was legally unable to intervene as an employee of the university. Absent other factors involved in the decision, East Carolina has set a poor example for students and failed to protect the type of open environment conducive to learning.
The editors of the East Carolinian exercised deplorable judgment when they published the Nov. 8 edition featuring unedited front-page photos of a streaker. They contended that the audience, mainly East Carolina students, should have a full account of what happened when 21-year-old John Sieglinger ran naked across the field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at halftime of the Pirates’ game against Southern Miss.
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