Guidelines for Student Publications

I.      Statement of Ownership

Responsibility and authority for the publication of the student press at Roanoke College is vested in the Board of Trustees which delegates such authority to the president of the college.  The president, in turn, delegates certain responsibility and authority to members of the administration.  The policies and regulations of the college regarding the student press have been established to support the educational mission of the college.  While attempting to grant maximum freedom of expression, the college reserves the right to control content, change editors and staff, and terminate any or all of the student publications.

II.     Statement of policy.             

Students are protected in their exercise of freedom of expression by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that reads:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

        Therefore, it is the responsibility of Roanoke College to insure the maximum freedom of expression to all students.  It is the policy of the Roanoke College Student Life Council that The Brackety-Ack, the Rawenoch, the literary magazine, and the satirical newsletter, or other official student publications of Roanoke College, are established as forums for student expression.  As such, each publication should provide a full opportunity for students to inquire, question, and exchange ideas.  Content should reflect all areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be dissent or controversy.

III.    Responsibilities of the Student Life Council.

Student Life Council (SLC) is charged by the president of the college to periodically review all student organizations and recommend to these bodies and the Vice President - Student Affairs actions necessary to promote efficiency or ensure adherence to the stated purposes of the college.  In addition, SLC is charged with appointing the student officers of the student communications media and recommending policies governing operation of the student communications to the Vice President - Student Affairs.

A.     To select editors of The Brackety-Ack, the Rawenoch, and the literary magazine based upon the applicants' past experiences and capabilities.  In this capacity, the Student Life Council shall:

1. Advertise openings for editorships;

2. Review written applications and set interviews for applicants;

3. Interview student applicants for editorships of student publications;

4. Make final selection based upon experience, ability, interest, and performance of the applicant during the interview;

5. Notify in writing the successful candidates.

B.     To remove student editors for gross negligence in the performance of prescribed duties.

C.    To make budget allocations to student publications based upon requests made by student editors.

D.    To periodically review each student publication.

E.     To review and approve each student publication's annual printing schedule

F.     To ensure funding is available for printing of the student publications

G.    To allocate funds to The Brackety-Ack as compensation for its status as the legal newspaper of Roanoke College.

IV.    Objectives of student publications at Roanoke College.

A.     The Brackety-Ack

1.     To report fairly and objectively appropriate campus and community news.

2.     To establish and maintain a climate for free and responsible exchange of ideas about current events and issues.

3.     To provide a vehicle for the exploration of intellectual concerns on campus.

4.     To provide an outlet for a representative sampling of student thinking.

5.     To provide an opportunity for student experimentation with written expression of new and original ideas.

6.     To provide a vehicle for the exchange and formulation of student opinion on current issues on the campus and in the world at large.

7.     To bring representative concerns of students to the attention of the faculty and institutional authorities.

8      To serve as the legal newspaper of the college, thereby being obligated to print official announcement of the college.

B.  The Rawenoch

1.    To provide a pictorial and text record of the history of one year in the lives of students, professors, and administrators at Roanoke College.

2.     To provide a vehicle for the experimentation of written expression, photographic techniques, and artistic arrangements.

3.     To provide an opportunity for students to learn orderly development of information and ideas.

4.     To provide an opportunity for students to learn the problems and techniques of publishing.

5.     To create a product that will be a source of reference for future generations.

C.    The Literary Magazine

1.     To provide a forum for creative expression by Roanoke College students.

2.     To provide an opportunity for students to learn the problems and techniques of publishing.

3.     To provide a vehicle for experimentation in written expression, photographic techniques, and other artistic endeavors.

V.     Responsibilities of student journalists.

A.     Duties of student journalists who work on official student publications shall:

1.     Determine the content of the student publication keeping in mind that ideas can be conveyed and news can be reported accurately        and honestly without the use of pictures, words, or descriptions that a significant portion of the readership finds offensive.            Tastefulness is part of the trust a journalist holds and applies to all contents of a publication, including advertising and reader contribution;

2.     Rewrite material, if necessary, to improve sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation;

3.     Check and verify all facts and verify the accuracy of all quotations;

4.     In the case of editorials or letters to the editor concerning controversial issues, provide space for rebuttal comments and opinions;

5.     Make a clear distinction between news accounts and editorial comment or any other kind of writer opinion;

6.     Make every effort to correct significant mistakes with reasonable prominence.

B.     Editorial freedom.

1.     The student press shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy;

2.     Editors shall be free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage;

3.     Editors shall be protected from arbitrary suspension or removal because of student, faculty, and administrative or public disapproval                 of editorial policy or content.  Only for proper and stated causes shall the editors be subject to removal and by the Student Life Council.

C.    Legal responsibilities of student journalists.

        The editorial freedom of student editors entails adherence to the canons of responsible journalism:

1.     Students shall not publish or distribute material that is obscene, libelous, an invasion of privacy, or which would cause a substantial                 disruption in college activities;

•2.        Students shall not publish undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, or use the techniques of harassment and innuendo.

3.     To publish and adhere to the annual publication schedule as approved by SLC.

D.    Financial responsibilities of student editors.

1.     Editors shall prepare a budget for the publication they edit.

2.     Editors shall stay within their allocated budgets.

VI.    Responsibilities of student publications advisers.

A.     As supervisors the advisers shall guide rather than censor;

B.     Advisers shall let it be known they are willing to give guidance, provide counseling, and be there when needed;

C.       Advisers shall share their knowledge of journalism with the staff, stressing that professional standards and ethics be followed at all times;

D.    Advisers shall offer pre-publications advice when it is sought and shall offer post-publication criticism;

E.     Advisers shall approve payment of bills, student payroll, and other necessary expenditures and provide general budget supervision.

F.     Advisers shall participate in selection of editors and in any decisions the Student Life Council may make regarding student publications.

SLC May,1983  - Revised July 2022