Ironically, at James Madison University:
Two scribes who work for The Breeze, the semi-weekly newspaper at James Madison University, have landed in hot water for doing what they are supposed to do: report campus news. The school has placed “judicial charges” against the pair because they supposedly trespassed a verboten dormitory while reporting a story. . .
The facts of the case are thus:
Two Saturdays ago, sophomore Katie Hibson went to Hillside Hall, a dormitory, to interview residents about a “peeping Tom.” After speaking with Hillside residents outside the building, young Hibson, with the permission of a resident, went inside to interview more students. This, apparently, upset the resident assistant at Hillside, who ordered Hibson to leave. The RA escorted her from the building.
Hibson called her editor, Tim Chapman, a former reporter for the Daily News-Record sports department, who showed up at Hillside. With an escort who lives in the building and works at The Breeze, Hibson and Chapman went to the RA’s room to assert Hibson’s rights as a journalist. He showed the RA the school policy on dorm visitors: Guests are allowed as long as a resident is with them. The journalists refused to leave, and the RA and her supervisor threatened to call campus police. The pair left the building before police arrived.
You’d think that would have been the end of it, particularly given Chapman’s correct explanation of school policy, but alas, the pair received an e-mail detailing the following infractions: trespassing, disorderly conduct and noncompliance with an official request. As of now, the Breeze has not received an adequate explanation of why the RA ordered Hibson out of the building or why the school filed charges. Remember, the reporter followed the rules for visiting the building.