This remarkable passage comes from MassLive.com, whose reporter was turned away:
Alyssa Mata-Flores, a 21-year-old Smith College senior and one of the sit-in's organizers, explained that the rule was born from "the way that media has historically painted radical black movements as violent and aggressive."
"We are asking that any journalists or press that cover our story participate and articulate their solidarity with black students and students of color," she told MassLive in the Student Center Wednesday. "By taking a neutral stance, journalists and media are being complacent in our fight."
Smith organizers said journalists were welcome to cover the event if they agreed to explicitly state they supported the movement in their articles.
Wait, it gets better/worse:
Stacey Schmeidel, Smith College director of media relations, said the college supports the activists' ban on media.
"It's a student event, and we respect their right to do that, although it poses problems for the traditional media," Shmeidel said.
Schmeidel went on to say that the college reserves the right to remove reporters from the Student Center because it's a private campus.
Smith is, indeed, a private school — $63,950 per year worth of private school — which is a relevant differentiator from the state-run University of Missouri. And if students and faculty need to discuss sensitive issues behind closed doors, they’re certainly entitled to do so.
But to welcome some reporters and not others — and to make support for the cause the price of admission — is to disregard not only the fundamental principles of journalism but also the school itself (though Smith is the place where the student newspaper censored "crazy" in a published transcript last year, calling it an "ableist slur").
From the Smith College student handbook: “All members of the Smith community are obligated to provide, protect and promote the free exchange of ideas in every form on the Smith College campus. … If the campus is to be truly free, legitimate exchanges of dialogue must proceed without obstruction or coercion from any quarter.”
The reaction from journalists has been, well, what you’d expect: