As Northwest College in Powell faces a $2 million budget crunch, its president is recommending cutting a handful of programs to save some money. One is the school’s journalism program, which supports its student newspaper.
Professor Rob Breeding is the entire journalism department at Northwest, and advisor to The Northwest Trail student paper. He says the move to cut journalism is about more than cost-savings.
“There are ulterior motives,” says Breeding. “It relates to silencing the first amendment rights of this student newspaper.”
Breeding says his students reported on things like resident advisor misconduct and the mishandling of firearms by college employees—and administrators weren’t always pleased.
Breeding says his job was already threatened this year, when the College said he wasn’t qualified and needed a master’s degree in journalism. He says he has a liberal studies master’s degree and a decade of journalism experience.
Northwest President Stefani Hicswa also recommended cutting two other programs. A Northwest College spokesperson says all decisions were made based on costs versus revenue, job prospects, and other factors.
But Breeding says, the journalism program is cut, the valued student newspaper will crumble.
“If you don’t have a journalism program, you don’t have students who are getting training in the techniques, in the concepts, in the ethics of doing good journalism,” says Breeding. “What you’ll end up having is student-produced public relations for the college.”
The College’s board of trustees will consider these cuts at its Monday meeting.