On Tuesday, two hours after I posted the story about Bryan College student editor Alex Green publishing a story on his own after it was killed by the school president, I got a call from the young journalist.
Nervous and apologetic, he asked if I could remove the post. He said he was concerned about how it reflected on Bryan, a Christian liberal arts school in Dayton, Tenn.
I told him that I don’t unpublish items and explained why; he said he understood.
This morning I talked to Bryan College Triangle adviser John Carpenter and asked: Are you aware that Alex Green called and asked me to remove the post?
The adviser said he was.
Did you or someone else at the college tell him to make that call? I asked.
“I can’t comment on that,” Carpenter said.
OK, that answers that question, I thought. (Someone else I talked to this morning believes the editor “has been guilted” by the college president to believe he did something wrong by publishing a story about a professor charged with trying to hook up with a minor. Green hasn’t returned a message that I left this morning.)
I had other questions for the newspaper adviser, but he declined to answer them. (“It’s a horrible thing to do to a fellow journalist, but I think I have to do that.”)
Meanwhile, this is what one of my tipsters reports:
Dr. Livesay, the president of the college, held a “press conference” of sorts [on Tuesday afternoon] with the students and faculty where he read a short statement and took questions for about an hour. However, he quickly called it “family time” and demanded that there be no camera recordings. The Bryan Triangle staff were set up to film the proceedings, but were required to take down their equipment. Dr. Livesay said that the issue was a private one and should be dealt with as such.
As of right now, the administration has not answered any questions regarding the type of punitive action that Alex Green may face. Speculation among students is that he will be forced to publish an “approved” apology on the Triangle website and “step down” from his position as Editor-in-Chief.
UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed account of Livesay’s meeting.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press quotes college spokesman Tom Davis — he’s also a Times Free Press correspondent — saying Green’s story about the professor’s arrest shouldn’t have been published because it contained unverified facts. The student journalist used public records for his reporting.
Messages I left for Davis and president Livesay haven’t been returned.