Faculty contracts are being negotiated at Pensacola State and the administration has told faculty they will be violating the law if they speak to student journalists.

Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed has the story.

Gag Order in Sunshine State

Administrators at a Florida community college are leaning on faculty and student journalists to prevent coverage of an ongoing labor dispute.

In doing so, they are adopting a questionable interpretation of Florida law that could be used to squelch student journalism in high schools and colleges across the Sunshine State.

Administrators at the 11,000-student Pensacola State College have told faculty members they are violating state law by speaking with student journalists about contract negotiations, which are currently at an impasse.

In response, the faculty union said the administrators are harassing union members. An editor at the student newspaper said the college’s president is also lying about the paper’s reporting.

Administrators at Pensacola are using a section of state code that has been ruled unconstitutional by both a state and a federal court. The code is intended to prohibit unions from using students to promote union activities. If Pensacola’s reading of the law is heeded, the administration’s effort could provide a way to choke off student reporting on labor disputes at educational institutions across the state.

Most journalists would argue that quoting union officials is not equivalent to promoting their cause.

Read the original article:
Gag Order in Sunshine State (Inside Higher Ed)