A student at Rutgers University claims he was fired from the school’s student newspaper because of his conservatism.
“I was an Opinions columnist for the Daily Targum, Rutgers’ print campus newspaper, until this Monday, when a series of escalating confrontations resulted in my column being terminated,” Rutgers student Aviv Khavich wrote in an article that was published on Tuesday for the online student news network, The Tab.
Khavich claims that his time at The Daily Targum initially started out as positive, writing that he was approached by an editor who claimed that he could bring an “important angle” to the issues that were discussed in the paper’s commentary section.
I became a columnist for the Targum this fall, when I was approached by Opinions editor Maegan Sunaz as a “prolific writer” who had offered an “important angle” the semester before, in which I had written several commentaries. I was flattered, as well as surprised that a newspaper with a reputation for being more leftist than a Marxist slam poetry society would go out of their way to recruit conservative writers. My time there started off uncomfortably: their grammar rules seemed juvenile, their word counts seemed restrictive and I could tell as soon as I was added to the private Facebook group that something like 15 or more of the around 20 columnists were radically left-leaning, with only three that I knew of being explicit conservatives. Some of them were even the very protesters that ransacked the Milo event last year.
Although the staff of The Daily Targum insists that the termination of Khavich’s column was based on his behavior rather than his political beliefs, it seems that Khavich’s greatest sin was questioning edits made to his columns that seem to have been made for the purpose sake of political correctness.
As before, the content of my article wasn’t really altered. However, I did notice a glaring change in my wording: every instance of “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” had been changed to “undocumented immigrant.” Now, this shot up red flags immediately. The usage of these terms is very politicized, with outlets like Huffington Post, NPR, The New Yorker, FAIR and Time weighing in. The argument for using it is typically given in terms of not offending people, with the claim that “people can’t be illegal” or some other excuse like that, but the reality is, “undocumented” is just the latest fad in political correctness.
Khavich was also allegedly reprimanded by the paper’s staff after he made a public comment on an article about sexual assault on campus. In the comment, Khavich argued that the campus’ sexual assault numbers had actually decreased rather than increased, as the article suggested.
Ultimately, Khavich was informed that his column had been terminated on the basis of his behavior.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about Free Speech and Intellectual Diversity for Breitbart. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org