Committee revokes Kotran's commendation
Published: Monday, May 3, 2010
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 01:06
Last Thursday night, The Lantern Publications Committee passed a resolution 3-2 to commend Lantern photographer Alex Kotran for his behavior while photographing escaped cows April 21. By Sunday night, Kotran's commendation was invalid.
At 11:15 p.m. Sunday, Publications Committee Chair Felecia Ross informed the seven committee members that student members of the committee cannot vote. Lantern Editor-in-Chief Collin Binkley's vote was not counted, so the vote to pass Kotran's commendation failed.
"The vote was in error, so it was a split vote. It never passed," Ross said.
The Publications Committee had already rejected a policy that would provide Kotran with legal assistance, so Kotran faces possible criminal trespassing charges without university support.
Len Downie, Ohio State alumnus, retired executive editor of The Washington Post and journalism professor at Arizona State University, said he is outraged by the treatment of the student journalist.
"I cannot fathom how professors of journalism could not support a student journalist in carrying out his duties as a journalist," Downie said. "This calls into question the integrity of the School of Journalism."
Ross has been chair of the Publications Committee for four years, but said she had never noticed that student members couldn't vote.
The rule "is something that has always been there," Ross said. She said allowing students to vote has been a "mistake we've had all along."
Ross also said that with the exception of Kotran's commendation, none of the previous votes the committee has made will be reversed. So far, there is no move to allow students to vote.
"The Lantern is a student-run newspaper, so I think as editor I should have a say in The Lantern's policy," Binkley said. "And if the Lantern adviser is allowed to vote on the Publications Committee, it seems like the editor should be able to, as well."
Ross was informed of the error by Carroll Glynn, director of the School of Communication. Glynn was unavailable for comment.
Glynn "saw the vote breakdown in The Lantern and that was the first she became aware that students were voting in the Publication Committee," said Glynn's assistant, Renda Radcliffe–Sullivan, in an e-mail.
Sullivan said that all committees, including the Publications Committee, are governed by OSU's Pattern of Administration.
According to that document, "this ‘non-voting' student member status applies to all committees in the School."