FREE PRESS -- After 40 years, a student newspaper as old as the Santa Clarita-area community college it covered has been shut down—and with it, five journalism classes, reports Molly Lovelady for the Lumberjack at Humboldt State. Administrators who terminated the Canyon Call blame declining j-class enrollment, declining student interest in newspapers as information sources, and declining job opportunities for newspaper-trained graduates.

President of the (College of the Canyons) Board of Trustees
Joan MacGregor said the classes have always been under-enrolled.

Instead of furloughing faculty this semester, the college
cut classes that were under-enrolled. MacGregor explained the
enrollment rate was so low because fewer students are able to get
positions in print media. The school is writing a new curriculum for
the journalism program that incorporates other kinds of media online.

“Younger people do not support print,” said MacGregor. “I’m not
trying to silence anybody. We have no conflict with anybody. I think
the print media is essential. I read it every morning.”


Superintendent and Vice President of Instruction Mitjl Capet said the paper’s adviser, Jim Ruebsamen,
retired. Now the school is moving the paper to an online version,
something that Ruebsamen didn’t want to do before he retired because he
wanted to finish his career there the way he had always been running
it.

Capet said that they have been working on the new curriculum for
about two years, so it is not a spur of the moment decision. The new
online version of the paper should be ready by February.

Meanwhile
students have no paper this semester.
“This is a transition and not a cancellation,” said Capet. “Our job is to prepare people for the real world, and not what was.”

The student newspaper not only benefited those majoring in
journalism, but all students. On the Save the Canyon Call Web site one
student, Lynette Liberda, wrote, “Journalism is not only important for
students who are majoring in journalism, it is important for all of the
students at COC! If I had not participated in the Canyon Call, I would
have never attended any school functions and realized what a great
school we have. Being able to share that information through the photos
I took and stories I wrote was truly fulfilling. We need our voice
back, please give it to us.”


The Canyon Call is not the only student newspaper in California that
has been eliminated. Dominguez Hills and Cerritos College in Norwalk
have also shut down their papers. In both cases students are protesting
and trying to get them back.

When Ehresman was asked if he agreed that students were missing out
on an important First Amendment opportunity he replied, “Yes, very much
so.”