Don’t Call Me, Alma Mater
To the alumni association fundraisers from the University of Illinois who call me twice a year to see if I might want to write a check: Don’t bother calling now, dickwads, because I am never sending a check to the U of I—not after this bullshit.
An editor who chose to publish caricatures of Prophet Mohammed in the University of Illinois’ student-run newspaper last month has been fired, the paper’s publisher announced Tuesday. Acton H. Gorton was suspended, with pay, from The Daily Illini days after the Feb. 9 publication of the cartoons, which sparked Muslim protests around the world after they first appeared in a Danish newspaper….
The Illini Media Co. board of directors, which comprises students and faculty, voted unanimously to fire the editor after a review “found that Gorton violated Daily Illini policies about thoughtful discussion of and preparation for the publication of inflammatory material,” according to a statement.
Gorton has said he sought out advice from The Daily Illini’s former editor-in-chief and others before deciding to run the cartoons. He has said that accusations he tried to hide his decision were wrong.
On Tuesday, he called his firing a blow against free speech on college campuses….
The paper’s opinions page editor, Chuck Prochaska, also was suspended for his role in publishing the cartoons. He declined to be reinstated, the board said.
Prochaska said he and Gorton moved quickly to publish the cartoons because they were newsworthy.
“We had a news story on our hands, with violence erupting about imagery, but you can’t show it because of a taboo, because of a taboo that’s not a Western taboo but a Muslim taboo?” he said. “That’s a blow to journalism.”
The very first op-ed I ever wrote appeared in the Daily Illini. It was about the gays—it was pro—and it pissed people off. At the time you could even call it “inflammatory material.” Newspapers publish inflammatory material all the time. Gorton should be reinstated and the Daily Illini’s board should be slapped, then fired, then slapped again.