Campus MEChA trashes local college newspaper
The Mexican cultural organization at a local community college did not like the coverage of one of its events by the campus newspaper. So a few of its members went around and gathered up half of the 5,000 circulation from news racks, torn them in half, and dumped them in trash bags at the newspaper’s office, in front of some staffers.
The Pasadena College Courier had covered the MEChA high school conference on campus with a photograph and informative caption, but the group, in a note accompanying the bags of newspapers, stated that “It has disheartened us to see no full length article,” and “was our hope to see recognition of our hard work in the campus newspaper.”
The campus police department is investigating the incident as an act of vandalism, but has not announced any arrests. The college administration has also been silent, until the investigation is completed.
In an unsigned editorial in today’s edition, the paper complained that “censoring newspapers is never the answer” and asked, “When did newspaper coverage become a fundamental right?” With over 40 clubs on campus, “at least some of MEChA’s activities have received positive coverage in each of the last three issues. Apparently that wasn’t enough.”
The journalism department was alerted to the theft of the newspapers about two hours after the racks had been filled. Distribution manager Kris Calnon passed an empty newsstand next to the men’s gym, which had held 300 copies. “I gave it three bundles,” he said. “It usually takes a day and a half to empty.” A reporter and photographer immediately went out to document the empty racks.
Shortly after 2 pm, five students entered the journalism office with garbage bags. One of the female students handed a staffer a hand-written note (pictured), saying “This is for the Courier staff – it will explain everything.” The short message concluded, “As students of PCC, we can not accept this issue of the Campus Courier.” It was signed, “MEChA.”
This incident pales in comparison to the problems occurring at Mission Community College in Sylmar, where the campus is under great tension over the issue of undocumented students and who will control the student government. The state of California provides generous financial aid to low income and minority students, regardless of their legal status.