Texas State leaders form review committee following controversial opinions piece

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS - The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University announced Friday that it has formed a review committee regarding action after the school paper, The University Star, ran a controversial opinions piece entitled, "Your DNA is an Abomination."

The piece quickly garnered a heavy amount of backlash from readers, who said the writer, Rudy Martinez, expressed racist ideals. The University Star editorial board officially cut ties with the writer on Thursday.

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In a Facebook post published Monday, Dr. Judy Oskam, Texas State's director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the review committee would be chaired by an experienced journalist, a Board of Regents chairman and a distinguished alumnus, and that the school plans to report on the progress of the review process until the committee makes recommendations in spring 2018.

See the full transcript of Dr. Oskam's post below:

"Message from the SJMC Director regarding University Star column

An opinion column in the November 28 issue of The University Star titled, “Your DNA is an Abomination,” has generated a significant amount of controversy, and we have a responsibility to respond to your concerns. The subject of race, the polarizing nature of the column, and the resulting reaction challenge us to find ways for freedom of the press to be balanced with our Bobcat values of inclusion and respect. I have received a number of messages from Bobcats upset by the column and understand their concerns. After my initial review, it is clear that the student editorial process was not followed. At the same time, it’s essential to recognize that independent student-run publications such as The University Star operate under the same constitutional protections afforded to other newspapers. It is appropriate, however, to examine the framework under which the Star operates to determine how its editorial review process may be strengthened.

To this end, I have formed a review committee to be chaired by Dr. Don Flores, a Texas State graduate, a longtime journalist and former newspaper executive at the El Paso Times, former president of the Texas State Alumni Association, chairman of the Texas State University System Board of Regents and a Distinguished Alumnus. This review committee will include University Star alumni, student editorial and professional staff, industry professionals and faculty. We expect to receive recommendations from the review committee in spring 2018, and I plan to report on the review committee’s progress throughout its process.

Your feedback, continued interest and perspective are welcome as well. If you have questions or input, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at jo18@txstate.edu.

- Dr. Judy Oskam, Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication"

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