Wake Forest University’s faculty chair of the publications committee is arguing that the conservative student newspaper is “propaganda.”
Italian Professor Remi Lanzoni has found himself in a battle with the independent conservative student newspaper, the Wake Forest Review, after Lanzoni called the paper “propaganda” and “negative and divisive” in a September 22 email.
Perhaps what’s more troubling is that Lanzoni wrote that the Review may not be suitable for publication on a college campus. The “content and delivery is problematic for an endorsement on a college campus,” he wrote.
The Review’s Digital Editor Ryan Wolfe expressed concern that the paper has been deemed “problematic” simply because of its political perspective. “The most problematic thing is that he would be willing to discriminate against what organizations get chartered and which ones do not based on the point of view they express,” he accused.
“I think that is the biggest problem with this. No one really knows. There is no real understanding of what the scope of this committee is,” Wolfe added, explaining that it’s unclear if the committee has the authority to end the publication of the Review if it chose to do so.
Out of the fear that administrators may attempt to censor or shut down their publication, the Review launched itself in 2016 as independent of the university. “Wake Forest Review made a choice to be independent anticipating something like this,” Digital Editor Ryan Wolfe explained. “I don’t think we want to paint all professors or administration in one broad stroke, but we did know there were going to be some bad apples.”
The publication initially came under fire from the university’s faculty as a result of their reporting on attempts to shut down a new research center on campus that was to be partially funded by the Charles Koch foundation.
“Do you honestly believe that the tiny free-market minority of faculty that the Kochs support are on the verge of taking over and subverting higher ed?” George Mason University Professor Phil Magness wrote at the time of the controversy. “That is not objective and dispassionate analysis – that’s the ravings of a conspiracy theory.”