Magazine article The Quill

Fired Adviser Gains, Loses Court's Backing

Magazine article The Quill

Fired Adviser Gains, Loses Court's Backing

Article excerpt

A U.S. federal judge who initially reinstated Kansas State University's Ron Johnson to his position as adviser of the university's student-produced newspaper, The Collegian, rescinded his request to be returned to the position, stating there was insufficient evidence to proceed in the matter.

A few weeks after Linda Puntney was named interim adviser, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson temporarily reinstated Johnson, who was fired following issues with the paper's diversity of coverage.

Robinson issued an order July 6 that let Johnson return to his position and that also prohibited the university from hiring a new adviser, the Student Press Law Center reported.

That decision essentially removed Puntney, a 14-year KSU veteran, from the post.

But Robinson threw out that order on July 14, stating that the plaintiff was unable to show that his reassignment within the university had "caused irreparable harm and violated his rights," the Associated Press reported.

Johnson maintained that his reassignment was "executed without due process and fairness," AP reported.

He was fired in May after students and others complained earlier that spring that the Collegian failed to cover the Big 12 Diversity Leadership Conference, along with other diversity-related issues. Students in the school's Black Student Union protested Johnson and the newspaper after the incident in February and demanded Johnson's resignation because they believed he didn't do enough to promote diversity-related events and issues, the SPLC reported. …

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