Syracuse University disinvites Washington Post photojournalist over Ebola fears

The Washington Post’s Michel du Cille was supposed to critique student portfolios at Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications this week, but the university told him today to stay away. The reason: The photojournalist was in Liberia last month covering the Ebola crisis.

Michel du Cille

Michel du Cille

“I am pissed off,” says du Cille, who returned from Liberia 21 days ago. “I am disappointed in the level of journalism at Syracuse, and I am angry that they missed a great teaching opportunity. Instead they have decided to jump in with the mass hysteria.”

Donald R. Winslow reports:

Since his return from Liberia, Du Cille has been following CDC guidelines and monitoring himself closely for symptoms. He has been taking his temperature at least twice a day (but actually more like on the hour, every hour) for the past 21 days.

Just yesterday, du Cille spent all day with Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Thomas Frieden at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

And this afternoon du Cille just finished photographing Dr. Frieden on Capitol Hill where he testified before a Congressional Hearing on the Ebola crisis.

It was Syracuse provost Eric F. Spina who decided the photojournalist shouldn’t attend this week’s Fall Workshop.

“I heard by phone around 10:30 a.m. [Thursday],” du Cille tells me in an email. “Late last night I received an email from the Dean, essentially recapping what we said on the phone when we finally spoke directly at 5 p.m. The earlier [10:30 a.m.] call came from [Newhouse School photography professor] Bruce Strong, who was very gracious and apologized.”

Du Cille says he was booked for the workshop during the summer, and that he’s done several of them over the years.

Update — Newhouse School dean Lorraine Branham tells Winslow:

[Du Cille] was disinvited because of concerns that were generated by some students that led me to believe that it would lead to even more concerns. So it was in the best interest of the students for me to withdraw the invitation.

Lorraine Branham

Lorraine Branham

[Thursday] morning I learned that he had been at the CDC, I learned that he had been back 21 days, and I learned that he had been traveling with the [CDC] director…

But even knowing that, it’s my responsibility to protect the students. Twenty-one days is the CDC’s standard, but there have been questions raised about whether the incubation period is longer. I knew that parents would be upset. And at the end of the day my concern is about the students.

* Syracuse disinvites Washington Post photographer because he was in Liberia 3 weeks ago (washingtonpost.com) | (nppa.org)
* Inside an Ebola Hospital: Photos by Michel de Cille (washingtonpost.com)
* Newhouse School’s Oct. 16-19 Fall Workshop on Twitter

* Update: Comments from my Facebook wall | …and Twitter followers


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