February 7th, 2008
Update on public event policy from the IU SPJ Web site
By Ernest Wiggins
The Indiana University Student Foundation passed a new policy Thursday that ensures that a public event is open to members of the press.
The policy change comes after Meghan O’Sullivan, a former Bush administration national security advisor, canceled a speech on Jan. 21 at IU when the Indiana Daily Student refused to honor her request that a public speech be kept off the record.
A press release for the event stated that the event would be free and open to the public, but off-the-record to the press.
The Student Alliance for National Security hosted the event and, along with IUSA, paid for the lecture that didn’t happen.
The new policy states: “The ‘public’ includes student journalists and the press. The press cannot be denied entry into any event that is open to the public.”
Thank God for some common sense. “Open to the public” finally means that an event is open to the public, thereby allowing the media to cover the event.
Most universities don’t need policies outlining what “open to the public” means, but I’m glad that IUSA took the steps to ensure that this confusion doesn’t happen again.