White. Did that catch your attention? I am not writing this to be the next Rudy, not at all. I am writing to let the entire student body know how Connor Clegg has personally affected the future of thousands of Texas State students, a whole department, a couple dozen members of Texas State Faculty, and me.
When Connor Clegg, the man that 3,500 students voted for, threatened to defund the University Star, it thrust our university into national headlines for all the wrong reasons. When you google “Texas State University free speech”, you are immediately bombarded with several articles about Conner Clegg’s statement. Connor Clegg’s selfish statement that was made worse due to a lackadaisical response to FIRE from Denise Trauth.
When you are a Mass Communications major, you are taught from the moment that you pass the Punctuation, Usage, and Grammar test, that the First Amendment is your career. From that moment on, you eat, breathe, and live the First Amendment. We take Media Law, that specifically spends at least two months emphasizing the importance of the First Amendment to us. Without the First Amendment, we no longer have a purpose in our fields. When Connor Clegg, made that statement he attacked every student, faculty, and staff under the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Every. Single. One.
When we go to apply for Mass Communications jobs, they are going to google Texas State’s journalism and mass communications department. Why wouldn’t they? They obviously have to ensure that we have been taught the essential fundamentals to start our careers. What happens when they see that we have been ranked as one of the worst universities with free speech? What does that do to our degrees?
I’ll save you the googling. It puts us at a disadvantage. An extreme disadvantage. It insinuates that the First Amendment doesn’t matter on this campus. It insinuates that when we step foot on Texas State we are taught to censor ourselves, to add a chilling effect on our speech. It devalues our degrees. For the next 3-6 months, when the seniors apply for a job, and employers see that we are graduates of Texas State University, they are not going to care about what skills we have, they are going to assume that we have been taught that individual voices do not matter. They are going to assume that we aren’t going to allow other people to have their voices, it makes outsiders believe that our voice doesn’t matter.
When professors and lecturers eventually decide to move on from Texas State University, do you think that potential employers are going to do the exact same thing? They most certainly are. Do you think that employers are going to look at them differently now? They most certainly are. The department has so many brilliantly amazing people working for them. Their reputations are damaged. They now have to work under the assumption that they are not doing their jobs correctly, that they are teaching censorship to the next generation of professionals, and that they should not continue to work in this field.
Connor Clegg and Denise Trauth, I deserve an apology from you. The students of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications deserve an apology. The faculty of the School of Journalism deserve an apology. The future students of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications deserve an apology. We all deserve an apology from you because you just made the community that you both are being paid to represent A LOT harder.
Public Relations and Mass Communications