Several Southern students collaborated with administration to spark the removal of the April Fools’ edition of the student newspaper hours after the issue was distributed around campus on March 30.
Student workers from the Student Development office proposed pulling the newspapers from campus after objecting to some of the issue’s content. By 5 p.m., all extra issues of the newspaper had been confiscated from campus. No statement was issued by administration informing the student body. The Accent staff was not contacted before the decision was made.
Mitchell Griffin, student development worker and senior public relations major, said that he and several other students were concerned about the image of the school and the reactions other students may have had regarding some of the content in the issue. The students came to a consensus to pull the Accent from campus and took the idea to administration, which approved of the decision.
David Smith, president of Southern, said that the issue would not be redistributed around campus and asked that the issue not be uploaded on the Southern Accent website without the removal of a few articles.
“As far as I know, this one incident is the only one that has created an issue between school administration and the Accent staff [this year],” Smith said.
Several Southern students expressed frustration about the removal of the controversial issue. “I was in the nursing building and I saw Mitchell Griffin,” said Fayth Hargrove, junior nursing major, “When I was leaving I looked back and I saw the stack of newspapers in Griffin’s arms. He didn’t leave; he just went around collecting more papers. I was upset that I didn’t get a chance to read the issue.”
Karly Peckham, senior computer science major, said that her copy of the issue was removed from her desk.
“While I understand the empathy and anger that motivated those who confiscated the copies of the Accent to, quite literally, pull them out of students’ hands, I don’t believe that it was the professional or correct thing to do,” Peckham said.
The Southern Accent staff typically writes fictitious news stories for the front page of the issue nearest to April Fools’ Day; however, this year, the staff produced an entire issue of fabricated stories.