Monday, September 03, 2007

Asbury Park Press: The truth about spin at OCC

Asbury Park Press columnist Bill Handleman has written some very entertaining pieces on the state of affairs over at Ocean County College in the past year or so, and he continues to do so with this latest column.

The following excerpt is more than I usually like to extract from a newspaper column, but I feel the need to preserve a good portion of the piece for this blog once the link becomes inactive...
Karen Bosley, a professor who has been teaching journalism at OCC for the better part of 36 years, had settled her lawsuit against the college. She had been restored to her proper position, teaching in her area of expertise rather than in some other field, and she had been awarded $90,000 by the court.

Another suit settled over the summer, brought by three past editors of the Viking News, resulted in Bosley being reinstated as the student paper's faculty adviser. The judge in the case spoke of the "chilling effect" the removal of an adviser could have on students and their First Amendment sensibilities.

In addition, two professors who were fired by OCC in 2005 took the college to court and won the right to know why their contracts had not been "renewed." The ruling was handed down in the spring. Each of the former professors was awarded $50,000 and granted assurances that the college would not speak ill of them to prospective employers. The case set a precedent.

The good guys had won, it seemed. There was cause for celebration. Together, teachers and students had struck a blow for freedom and fairness, two antiquated concepts that sometimes appear to elude the administration at OCC.

"I am relieved the lawsuit is over," said Bosley. "The three former editors and I have been vindicated ..."

She paused for a moment to allow the other shoe to drop.

"But the cost in human pain has been high," she went on. "Several student journalists, valuable members of the OCC faculty and others were disparaged because of administrative hubris ... some of the college's best faculty and administrators left earlier than planned, and two others were fired because ... they dared to exercise their First Amendment right to speak.

"The lawsuits have led to the adoption of a strong policy statement against censorship and reprisals. It remains to be seen whether more employees will exercise that right. I certainly hope they will."

Wait until the president of the college hears about this. His people have been going around telling everyone they got what they wanted out of the Bosley deal.

You know, pretty much.

"We got a lot of things we wanted," Tara Kelly was quoted as saying.

"It was not a one-sided settlement," she insisted.

Kelly is the vice president of college advancement, a title that sounds like a euphemism dipped in a vat of irony.

President Jon Larson, meanwhile, has been notable by his silence on anything pertaining to lawsuits or settlements.

Then again, when you have the power to create your own reality, what's the difference? When you can spin anything you want, any way you want, so what if your insurance company has to pay out all those piddling settlements and you have to concede control over certain trifling matters?

Man, how that must hurt. Not the money, the concessions.

"It's the insurance company that's paying the money," said Randy Monroe, an English professor and president of the faculty association. "But I did notice in the board report the other day that our insurance premiums were going up."

Years ago, when he was president at Luzerne Community College, Larson demoted a woman named Susan Merkel for some fuzzy reasons. She was an associate dean of human resources. She claimed he demoted her because she wouldn't lie for him.

Merkel sued the college. The first day of the trial, the insurance company heard her testimony and promptly offered her a hefty settlement.

For years after that, Larson's friends at OCC continued to spread the fantasy that Merkel's complaint was judged to have no legal merit.

Just churn out your own reality, no matter how far you might stray from the truth, no one will ever notice. They call this a management style.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Boz, OCC agree to settlement

I received word Friday evening that Prof. Karen "Boz" Bosley had reached a settlement in her federal lawsuit against Ocean County College, its trustees and several administrators.

Here are some links to related articles:

Ocean County Observer - OCC, journalism professor settle suit

Asbury Park Press - Professor reaches deal with college

And here is a statement released by Boz on the settlement:

This settlement reminds me of the story of the person who came home to find her house being burglarized and trashed. The police came in time to catch the perpetrators, who were allowed to keep two silver candlesticks. The lawmen were “happy” to catch the wrongdoers, who, themselves, were “happy” to not be shot in being forcibly removed and to be allowed to keep some of the loot, and the victim, while unhappy to have lost anything at all, was “happy” to have the destruction stopped and to have lost just two candlesticks.

I am happy to have the travesty in human dealings this case represents finished. I am relieved the lawsuit is over, the three Viking News former editors and I have been vindicated and I have back both the advisership and my journalism classes. But my joy is tempered by the pain, suffering and attempts at humiliation of several student journalists and by the pain, suffering and even death of several good and valuable members of the OCC faculty. During the course of these proceedings, some of the college’s best faculty and administrators left their employment earlier than planned; two others were fired, and one had serious health problems in the indefatigable pursuit of justice for all.

This case started with my removal as adviser to the Viking News after 35 years on the job and with the arbitrary, unmerited wrenching of my teaching assignment by removing me from teaching the journalism courses I had created and taught for more than 30 years, all with public intimation I was, among other things, incompetent to teach the courses and failed to obey orders. Now, three years later, I have been flattered to discover at recent settlement talks the administration considers me competent to teach at least 13 different courses and 50 sections, and that, although all previous talks demanded my immediate departure from the college (even in the middle of a semester), the new approach became “no one wants her to leave.”

While the agreement results in the restoration of my journalism courses, I will not have the other two beginning communications classes I had been teaching for many years. Since a settlement requires negotiations and “is not to be construed as an admission of wrongdoing,” I could not expect to have the full teaching assignment as it had been. In addition, this lawsuit has never been about money; it is about principle, and the modest financial compensation demonstrates that fact.

In all of these maneuverings, as in almost everything else, sadly, the very last consideration is the welfare of students. From the very beginning, student expression angered and embarrassed the college’s leadership, and the actions against me resulted. All the journalism groups who investigated the college said this. Students, sound educational principles and the First Amendment were trampled.

I am happy and grateful for the national support we received from students, colleges, various mass media, journalists and journalism organizations, especially College Media Advisers, the Society for Collegiate Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and the Student Press Law Center. The understanding and acknowledgment of the First Amendment issues involved in the students’ case and mine by these media people and groups and by our legal counsel (Raymond Staub, Esq., and the Pepper Hamilton law firm) were and are invaluable.

Finally, the agreement is unique in that it has no confidentiality clause because I believe the public has a right to know about the proceedings of its public officials and institutions.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Asbury Park Press: OCC president says both sides "happy" with lawsuit settlement

Jon H. Larson, president of Ocean County College, finally reacts to the OCC-Viking News settlement...

OCC president says both sides "happy" with lawsuit settlement
Student journalists sued college over First Amendment rights

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 06/19/07


TOMS RIVER — In response to the settlement of a lawsuit filed against him by student journalists, Ocean County College President Jon H. Larson said Monday that he "welcomes the settlement and the chance it affords us to give our students a premier learning experience."

The settlement was announced Thursday.

The lawsuit against Larson and his administration — filed by Alberto Morales, Scott Coppola and Douglas Rush, editors of the Viking News, the college newspaper — charged that college administration officials violated their First Amendment rights.

They alleged that the administration was trying to intimidate editors and control newspaper content after the Viking News' periodic criticism of Larson and his administration's policies...

Read full story.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

More on the Viking News-OCC settlement from the Asbury Park Press

Here is yet another Asbury Park Press article about the settlement between OCC and the Viking News:

Adviser "proud" of students' legal victory

OCC journalists fought censorship

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 06/18/07

The longtime adviser to Ocean County College's Viking News said she is "very proud" of her students following the settlement of a lawsuit the students filed against the college.

In the lawsuit, student editors charged college administration officials violated their First Amendment rights.

"There are a lot of students in this country that don't understand the rights and responsibilities of the free press,"said adviser and professor Karen Bosley.

When rights are violated and students "understand they can take legal action, many of them won't or don't," she said.

Bosley said she is proud of her students for exercising "their First Amendment rights without worrying about the administration trying to act against them." She also said she is thankful for the assistance of the Student Press Law Center.

Full story.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Text of joint statement; SPLC article link

Here is the full text of the joint statement from the Coppola v. Larson settlement that reinstated Prof. Karen Bosley as Viking News adviser and resulted in a "First Amendment" statement that says Ocean County College "supports free speech" among other things.

Joint Statement - Coppola v. Larson

And here is an excerpt from an article on the Student Press Law Center Web site...
A college newspaper adviser removed from her position in December 2005 has been permanently reinstated as part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by several students who claimed her removal was an act of censorship by intimidation.

Karen Bosley, who had served as adviser to the Viking News at Ocean County College for 35 years until she was removed, continues her lawsuit against the college for taking away journalism classes she had taught at the college. Bosley is also a previous board member of the Student Press Law Center.

According to an article published in the June 7 issue of the Viking News, the settlement states the college "supports the free speech rights of students and employees and a student press free from prior review, prior restraint, or censorship as well as recognizes all student media as limited public forums."

"I'm very happy with being restored as adviser and extremely happy with the First Amendment statement because it not only protects student journalists and student media workers, but also students in general," Bosley said.

Full story.

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This is absolutely fantastic news! Congratulations to Boz and the staff of the Ocean County College Viking News!

OCC, journalism students reach settlement in First Amendment case
Fired faculty adviser also gets job back permanently

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 06/15/07

TOMS RIVER — A legal settlement announced late Thursday will create a new student media advisory board at Ocean County College and permanently reinstate professor Karen Bosley as faculty adviser to the Viking News, the campus' award-winning student newspaper whose editors charged administration officials violated their First Amendment rights.

The settlement of the case that student journalists brought against OCC President Jon H. Larson and his administration includes a guarantee that "Ocean County College supports the free speech rights of students and employees and a student press free from prior review, prior restraint, or censorship as well as recognizes all student media as limited public forums."

"Therefore, the exercise of these rights or freedoms cannot be the subject directly or indirectly of any sanction or dismissal from Ocean County College," states a section of the settlement papers.

Bosley, reached late Thursday night, said, "I'm delighted to be restored as adviser, and I'm delighted with the First Amendment statement (made by this case). I'm extremely proud of my students for fighting this case."

Bosley, who spoke to the National Press Club in Washington Thursday night about the case, said that journalists there were overwhelmingly in favor of the battle the students had fought, and said she was grateful to them and the Student Press Law Center for its support.

Bosley, who spoke to the National Press Club in Washington Thursday night about the case, said that journalists there were overwhelmingly in favor of the battle the students had fought, and said she was grateful to them and the Student Press Law Center for its support.

The case drew national attention, after Viking News editors complained the administration was trying to coerce them after negative stories ran in the paper. Bosley and her supporters said her adviser's job was taken as payback for that dispute, a charge the college denied.

Read full story

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Asbury Park Press: More fear, loathing at OCC

Bill Handleman of the Asbury Park Press has done it again. I wrote about this piece by Mr. Handleman back in October...and he has written another gem.
More fear, loathing at OCC
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 01/7/07

Quite by accident, two former professors from Ocean County College may have struck a blow for educational freedom in New Jersey.

Karen Veselits and Patrick Mitchell, who were fired by OCC in December 2005, took the college to court and won the right to know why they were dismissed. Imagine that. Before this decision was handed down by Superior Court Judge Eugene Serpentelli in October, non-tenured professors at two-year colleges in the state were never owed any explanation whatsoever.

This set a precedent. It was a big deal. In essence, it meant that autocratically inclined administrators could no longer fire untenured faculty members because they didn't like their looks.

Alas, news doesn't always travel so fast in Ocean County. Aside from the student newspaper, the Viking News, no one really jumped on this story. So, the latest signs of serious trouble at OCC went largely unnoticed.

Read the full story...

Once again...kudos to you, Bill Handleman!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another delayed posting of recent media coverage

Well, I was supposed to put these links up last week, but since I am busy looking for a new job, I just didn't get around to it...but here you go.

The first link/excerpt is from an editorial piece published in the Ocean County Observer on Nov. 12, 2006.
Students educate OCC on free press
Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 11/12/06

There are achievements of many kinds at Ocean County College, not the least among them more awards coming to the "mouse that roared," the student newspaper that is still embroiled in a First Amendment battle with the administration.

The Viking News is the David in this battle with Goliath and, as far as we can determine, the paper is as feisty and independent a voice on the campus as it has ever been.

That is the course its editors have charted, one advisor Karen Bosley helped them follow.

Read full story.

And here is a news story published in the Nov. 9, 2006, issue of the Ocean County Observer about the awards won by Prof. Bosley and the Viking News staff previously mentioned here at Boz Watch.
OCC newspaper, embattled adviser win national awards
Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 11/9/06


TOMS RIVER — The Viking News — the student-run newspaper at Ocean County College — and its longtime adviser have been recognized with prestigious awards for their free press battle with the college administration.

Adviser Karen Bosley, who had to go to court to keep that job after the OCC administration decided to replace her, received the 2006 Louis E. Ingelhart First Amendment Award from College Media Advisers Inc., a group that had been highly critical of Bosley's ouster.

She was recognized for her work as an educator to "defend the First Amendment rights of student journalists."

Read full story.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bosley, Viking News receive awards in St. Louis

While the St. Louis Cardinals were parading around with the 2006 World Series trophy Sunday, Karen Bosley and the Viking News picking up some hardware of their own in the Gateway City.

Bosley received the 2006 Louis E. Ingelhart First Amendment Award recognizing educators who defend the First Amendment rights of student journalists. The award, which is conferred annually by College Media Advisers, Inc., was formally announced at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers-sponsored National College Media Convention in St. Louis, Oct. 29.

Meanwhile, the Viking News earned the 2006 College Press Freedom Award. Sponsored by the Student Press Law Center, the award is given each year to a college student-journalist or student news organization that has demonstrated outstanding support for the free press rights of America's college student media.

Three editors at the Viking News filed a lawsuit in May against college President Jon Larson and several other administrators after the school removed longtime newspaper adviser Karen Bosley. The lawsuit alleges that Bosley’s removal was the result of retaliation for several stories the newspaper wrote critical of the school’s administration.

In July, a federal district court judge issued a preliminary injunction that ordered school officials to reinstate Bosley as adviser while the lawsuit continues.

"Thanks to the Viking News' perseverance and commitment, their adviser — who for more than three decades has put her neck on the chopping block to stand up for her students — is back in the newsroom today," SPLC Legal Consultant Mike Hiestand told the gathering of college student journalists and advisers from across the country.

"Student media advisers everywhere can breathe at least a little bit easier thanks to the precedent their case has established," Hiestand said.

Read the full text of the SPLC's College Press Freedom Award press release.

To read the text of the Louis E. Ingelhart First Amendment Award press release, right-click or ctrl+click on the images below and open the image in a new window or tab. If you click regularly, you may need to sign in to Flickr or Yahoo to view the full-size image.

boz_inglehart_cma_Page1Page 1
boz_inglehart_cma_Page2Page 2

(National College Media Convention graphic from

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Asbury Park Press: Cultural showdown at OCC

Wow! Kudos to you, Bill Handleman!

In this piece from today's Asbury Park Press, Mr. Handleman takes a position in support of Prof. Karen Bosley and the Viking News while taking several shots at Ocean County College President Jonathan Larson, V.P. Tara Kelly and its board of trustees.

Here is an excerpt:
Anyway, I was granted an audience with the president only because I sweet-talked the watchdog. Tara Kelly, a young vice president in charge of riding herd on the media, initially had balked at my request to speak with her boss. She told me he was too busy. She could answer any questions I had. There wasn't much of a story anyway. But if I insisted, she would supply me with any background I needed. That's the way it works, she said.

"I've been doing this a long time, you know," she assured me in a most condescending manner.

I then told her that I would be writing a column with or without any input from her boss, that I would most certainly mention that he didn't have time to see me, and that I, too, had been "doing this a long time."

"Just a minute," she said, and put me on hold.

Moments later, she was back. It was a miracle. She had found a free half-hour in Larson's busy schedule, and he'd agreed to meet with me. Oh, happy days.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unfortunately, Ms. Kelly and I are both products of Rider University. I don't know who she had for her public relations courses, but none of my professors taught the tactics she's disgraceful and an embarrassment to me as a fellow Rider grad.]

Here's another excerpt...
"It was never about content," Larson said, restating his position. "It was never about the First Amendment. It was about her performance. It's time to move the newspaper into the 21st century."

He went on to say that no one pays attention to a student newspaper anyway. "We don't care what they write," he said, adding that "it's a shame to see the professional media can't put this in proper perspective."

Take The New York Times. What were they thinking, running an editorial just last week, titled "Censorship 101"? Dead issue. Tara Kelly told me so.

There are many more great passages in Mr. Handleman's piece, so I encourage you to read the full story.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

N.Y. Times Opinion: Censorship 101

An editorial in last Sunday's New York Times criticized the censorship tactics of Ocean County College against Karen Bosley and the Viking News. Here's an excerpt and a link...
Sometimes justice really does win out, at least partially. Take the case of Karen Bosley, a tenured journalism professor at Ocean County College in New Jersey who has been faculty adviser to the college’s newspaper for 35 years. For most of that time, she was allowed to do her job without interference, and the newspaper won some 70 awards...

...Last December, the college trustees voted against renewing Ms. Bosley’s contract as the newspaper’s adviser for the 2006-7 school year. She was also reassigned from her job as journalism professor to professor of English, a subject she had only limited experience in teaching.

Full story...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

SPLC: Adviser back at work, plans to continue lawsuit

From the Student Press Law Center:
Adviser back at work, plans to continue lawsuit
Student editors say relationship with administration is stagnant

September 21, 2006

NEW JERSEY — Karen Bosley is back to work as the adviser of the Ocean County College Viking News after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in her pending lawsuit, and students say her return has been essential to the paper’s production.

“With no Karen Bosley we weren’t going to be here,” Viking News Editor in Chief Alberto Morales said. “We didn’t even start [planning for the newspaper] until the injunction was placed.”

Bosley was reinstated as adviser of the newspaper last month by the college’s board of trustees after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in July against the college’s attempt to remove her from the position.

The battle between the students and OCC administration began last year when three editors from the paper filed a lawsuit claiming several actions taken by the college administration, including Bosley’s removal, were a form of censorship and unconstitutional.

Full story...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Catching up with Boz

I have been ridiculously busy the past couple of weeks, so here are links to a couple of fairly recent news stories regarding the plight of Karen Bosley and the OCC Viking News...

Bosley "vindicated" upon return to OCC newspaper - August 30, 2006
Asbury Park Press
Karen Bosley, who is returning as student newspaper adviser at Ocean County College after a unanimous vote by the board of trustees Monday, said she feels "somewhat vindicated" and is already working on the first issue of the Viking News, scheduled for publication on Sept. 21.

"I have spoken with three returning students and we are planning our first stories," Bosley said Tuesday. "We are changing the size of the paper and working on news stories about things that have happened on campus over the summer. I have always loved working with students at the newspaper and it will be great to continue."

College reinstates student newspaper adviser - September 5, 2006
Associated Press via
Trustees at a southern New Jersey community college have decided to reinstate a student newspaper faculty adviser whose removal had sparked protests from journalism groups and even criticism from a federal judge.

The Ocean County College Board of Trustees voted Aug. 28 to reinstate Karen Bosley, who has served as adviser of the college's Viking News for 35 years.

The vote was confirmed Tuesday by college spokeswoman RoseAnn D'Urso, who said litigation on the matter prevented her from commenting further.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another group censures OCC

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication has passed a resolution censuring Ocean County College for terminating Prof. Karen Bosley from her roles as journalism instructor and Viking News adviser, according to this Student Press Law Center report from Aug. 14.

Here is an excerpt...
In addition to censuring the college, the AEJMC resolution also calls on Bosley’s reinstatement both as adviser and as a journalism professor — the college has also reassigned her to teaching English courses.

The more general resolution calls for the maintenance of student newspaper advisers’ rights and condemns requiring advisers to review content prior to publication or in any way determine student newspaper content.

The resolution says AEJMC will communicate the association’s concern about student press censorship to the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and urge “that such behavior be given special consideration in accreditation decisions.”

“A threat to accreditation is a powerful weapon in the fight against censorship,” said Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. “This resolution should have some schools very nervous.”

Ocean County Observer: Time for OCC to admit its mistake and rehire Bosley

I'm trying to keep up with all the media coverage surrounding the plight of Prof. Karen Bosley and the Viking News staff, but my real job has been keeping me extremely busy.

Anyway...this editorial was published in the Aug. 11 issue of the Ocean County Observer. Here is an excerpt:
A federal judge has put her back in the position, ruling the paper's student editors are likely to prevail in a lawsuit where they claim she got the ax because the paper has been highly critical of OCC President Dr. Jon Larson and his administration...

...It is a temporary injunction that bars the college from replacing her — an injunction likely to become permanent if the suit continues. The federal court said to allow Bosley to be purged would have an "impermissibly chilling effect on the paper's student editors' freedom of expression in future issues." The suit is one of several swirling out of complaints by the student journalists and their mentor, and other staff members who claim their contracts were not renewed because they were critical of the administration.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Long overdue update...recent media coverage

I apologize for the lack of recent updates. I have just been really busy. But here are some links to recent media stories about the plight of Prof. Bosley and the Viking News.

Student Sues School To Save Advisor’s Job - July 27, 2006
AP via Philadelphia

Judge Reinstates Advisor To N.J. College Paper - July 28, 2006
Editor & Publisher

N.J. campus newspaper adviser wins temporary reinstatement - July 28, 2006
AP via

Judge's ruling reinstates OCC student paper adviser - July 28, 2006
Asbury Park Press

Judge Restores Student Newspaper's Faculty Adviser - July 28, 2006
The Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog

Students happy at Bosley's return - July 30, 2006
Ocean County Observer

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Judge orders Bosley's reinstatement as Viking News adviser

U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler, who is hearing the lawsuit filed by three Viking News student-journalists against Ocean County College, has ordered Prof. Karen Bosley to be reinstated as Viking News adviser through a temporary restraining order issued Wednesday.

From the Student Press Law Center story:
A federal district court issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday that will reinstate a student newspaper adviser who was removed for what students claim was retaliation for stories they printed.

Three editors at the Ocean County College student newspaper, the Viking News, filed a lawsuit in May against college President Jon Larson and several other administrators after the school removed longtime newspaper adviser Karen Bosley. The lawsuit alleges that Bosley’s removal was the result of retaliation for several stories the newspaper wrote critical of the school’s administration. The preliminary injunction is a decision that will allow Bosley to continue to advise the Viking News while the lawsuit is underway. Bosley has filed a similar separate lawsuit.

In his opinion
(click to read PDF of the decision), Judge Stanley R. Chesler wrote that the school’s decision to remove Bosley had violated the students’ First Amendment rights.

Chesler wrote that “granting such an injunction is an extraordinary measure that should only be done in limited circumstances,” but that in this case, “it is clear that such a retaliatory removal would, nonetheless, have an impermissibly chilling effect on the paper’s student editors’ freedom of expression in future issues of the paper, and inflict irreparable harm on the Plaintiffs.”

Read the full story.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Bosley's lawsuit filed

Prof. Karen Bosley has filed her lawsuit against Ocean County College administrators and trustees.
UPDATE (6/30/06, 7:33 p.m. ET)
The Student Press Law Center has posted a story today about Bosley's lawsuit that contains a link to a PDF file of the lawsuit and some examples of articles (PDF) that appeared in the Viking News.

Here is a link to a story from the June 21 edition of the Asbury Park Press.

There is also this story from the June 21 edition of the Ocean County Observer. However, keep in mind that the Observer erred in the story by identifying Joe Adelizzi as the "younger, less experienced" person who replaced Bosley. That is not the case. The "younger, less experienced" person refers to a professor who replaced Bosley in a media law class.

Below is the full text of the press release sent out by Bosley upon filing her lawsuit:
My lawsuit against Jon H. Larson, president of Ocean County College; the college’s Board of Trustees; Tara Kelly, vice president of college advancement; Daniel Duffy, former vice president of student affairs; Don Doran, acting vice president of student affairs; Joseph Adeliizzi, director of student media; Frank J. Wetta, vice president of academic affairs, and Martin Novelli, dean of humanities, fine arts and media studies, was filed at 12:06 p.m. today (June 19) in Federal District Court, Trenton.

The suit charges I am the victim of retaliation and age discrimination and my First Amendment rights were violated by the defendants.

I am saddened the state of affairs at the college has come to this, but I was left with no other option after being fired as newspaper adviser and reassigned from teaching the journalism courses I had created and taught for more that 30 years. I have always taught my students and advised newspaper staff members to be responsible and ethical journalists and to exercise without fear their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and of the press. My actions in this case are consistent with those ideals that have been a part of my teaching at OCC for 35 years.

I am gratified to have the continuing support of so many colleagues, students, former students and journalism organizations. I never dreamed as a member of the board of directors of the Student Press Law Center for several years that I and some of my students would need the legal assistance of the center.

Those students and I look forward to a timely and just outcome to this reprehensible affair.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Editor & Publisher: Hubbub At 'Hooper High'

The saga of Prof. Bosley and the Viking News has made it to Editor & Publisher with this column by Mark Fitzgerald...
Hubbub At 'Hooper High'
SPJ and College Media Advisors condemn the firing of the long-time student paper adviser at Ocean County (N.J) College, once the academic home of Bruce Springsteen and my mom.

By Mark Fitzgerald

CHICAGO (May 23, 2006) -- My mother was in her seventies when she graduated from Ocean County College in Toms River, N.J. "I always tell people I'm in the class of 1990, I never say the year I graduated high school," she says. But for all the years she went there, taking one or two night classes at a time, Mom had no idea the college had a student paper, she told me Monday when I called to say her alma mater was getting famous in journalism circles...

Read the full story.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Recent media coverage

Here are some recent news articles about the plight of Prof. Bosley and the Viking News...
From the Associated Press (via Newsflash), 5/19/06:
College faces ire, litigation over newspaper adviser's removal
5/19/2006, 3:10 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. -- A southern New Jersey community college is receiving more criticism from national journalism groups, and facing litigation, over its removal of the faculty adviser of a student newspaper.

Earlier this week, College Media Advisers, the 800-member national organization serving faculty and staff advisers to the nation's college media, censured Ocean County College for its decision to remove Karen Bosley, who served as adviser of the "Viking News" for 35 years...

Read the full story.

From the Asbury Park Press, 5/17/06:
OCC is censured by college advisers
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/17/06

DOVER — A nationwide organization serving college newspaper advisers censured Ocean County College on Tuesday, calling for the reinstatement of Karen Bosley as the faculty adviser to the Viking News, OCC's student-run newspaper.

"CMA cannot tolerate the tactic of removing the publication adviser for the purpose of instituting more control of constitutionally protected student content," said Lance Speere, president of College Media Advisers, in a prepared statement...

Read the full story.

From the Ocean County Observer, 5/17/06:
OCC is censured by media advisers
Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 05/17/06

TOMS RIVER — Ocean County College has been censured by College Media Advisers for its decision not to reappoint the student newspaper adviser after 35 years.

The censure comes as the 800-member association ramps up pressure on the college following a scathing report criticizing the trustees and administration for failing to reappoint Karen Bosley and for shifting her to teaching English from her journalism courses...

Read the full story.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

CMA censures Ocean County College

Full press release from CMA:

Media group issues censure against Ocean County College

The Board of Directors of College Media Advisers today censured Ocean County College in New Jersey, calling for the reinstatement of newspaper adviser Karen Bosley.

CMA, the 800-member national organization that serves faculty and staff advisers to the nation's college media, says the censure serves as a warning to potential faculty and, by extension, to students that Ocean fails to value the exercise of free speech and the value of a free press on the college campus.

"It is unfortunate that more and more college administrators believe the First Amendment comes with an asterisk that allows them to exercise content control under the guise of quality," said CMA President Lance Speere. "I can't find this qualifier anywhere in the Bill of Rights.

"CMA cannot tolerate the tactic of removing the publication adviser for the purpose of instituting more control of constitutionally protected student content," Speere said.

"Ocean was given the opportunity to resolve this situation with Professor Bosley. They did not, and in the meantime, SPJ (the Society of Professional Journalists) issued a report also concluding that she had been removed for reasons related to content. We have no choice but to censure Ocean County College."

Dr. David Adams, of Indiana University, principle investigator of the case, said, "It's really tragic that Ocean County College administrators have failed to recognize the seriousness of their actions taken against Prof. Bosley and The Viking News.

"In visiting the campus, we found no educationally sound reasons for removing her as the paper's adviser. The administration seemed to want to tame down the criticism of the student press at OCC, and Prof. Bosley was a logical target of their efforts," Adams said.

Dr. Tom Eveslage of Temple University, who joined Adams on the Ocean investigation, noted, "Censure of Ocean County College is unfortunate, but not surprising. Everything I have heard and read in recent months about the way the OCC administrators have responded during the press/adviser controversy echoes the arrogance and indifference that fueled this free-speech battle. It is sad, indeed, when school administrators put on blinders and dig in their heels to turn a journalism exercise in critical thinking into a show of power and control."

The administration's decision to remove Bosley as adviser of the Viking News came after about two years of discussion between Bosley and the college administration. An investigative team sent to Ocean by CMA found that the termination appeared to be related to unhappiness over newspaper content, including a handful of stories critical of the administration of Ocean President Jon Larson.

Professor Bosley said, "It is reassuring to my students and me to have the support of College Media Advisers in these difficult circumstances as we work to preserve a free and vigorous press on the Ocean County College campus."

Last week, three of Bosley's students filed a lawsuit in federal court, asking the court to order the college to keep Bosley as adviser and calling her removal a form of censorship.

In today's censure action, CMA asks specifically that Ocean:

--Adopt language in the college operating documents that clearly protects student First Amendment rights and that designates the Viking News as a public forum for the Ocean campus.

--Adopt additional language in the operating documents that state Ocean's intent to fully protect advisers who vigorously defend student First Amendment rights.

--Reinstate Professor Bosley as newspaper adviser, restore her journalism course load and attempt to resolve past differences so that the program can continue to move forward.

Bosley has worked more than three decades at Ocean, where she built a 12-course journalism curriculum and associate degree program. She is a past vice president of the Community College Journalism Association and past officer in CMA. She also has served on the board of directors of the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C. The Viking News has won numerous state and regional awards under her advising.

Other colleges currently under CMA censure include Le Moyne College in New York, Mount St. Mary's University in Maryland, Kansas State University and Barton County Community College in Kansas.

CMA also has issued a letter of concern to Marquette University and is now investigating a case at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Comments are now open to all

Apparently, I had the comment setting for this blog on "only registered users" instead of open to "anyone." I just changed it this if you have ever tried to leave a comment here and felt restricted, please forgive my stupidity and feel free to comment away now.

SPJ task force recommends Bosley's reinstatement

SPJ releases findings from Ocean County College Task Force report

For Immediate Release:

Paul Schreiber, Task Force Chairman:
Carl Corry, Task-Force Member: (631) 737-1700,
David Carlson, President: (352) 846-0171,

INDIANAPOLIS – After an exhaustive inquiry into the removal of Professor Karen Bosley as student newspaper adviser at Ocean County College in New Jersey, a Society of Professional Journalists task force recommends that Bosley be reinstated.

In December 2005, at the recommendation of Ocean County College President Jon Larson and his chief administrators, the school’s board of trustees voted unanimously not to reappoint the adviser to the campus newspaper. Karen Bosley had held the post for 35 years. She also was reassigned from teaching journalism to teaching English.

Reasons given for not renewing Bosley’s contract included unsatisfactory job performance. The college said she was slow to incorporate new technologies and resisted efforts to modernize the newspaper. Larson and the trustees said criticism of the administration published by the campus newspaper was not factored into the decision.

After hearing of Bosley’s dismissal as campus newspaper adviser, SPJ president David Carlson appointed a task force of SPJ members to investigate the facts of the situation. The task force visited the campus in February and interviewed people on all sides of the issue.

The Ocean County College case is a “study in suspicion, frustration, escalation and the hardening of positions on all sides,” the task force concluded.

“At the very least,” the task force reported, the termination of Bosley as the adviser to the campus newspaper “was handled badly.”

Read the full press release (includes link to full 23-page report)

Asbury Park Press: Three students sue Ocean County College over free speech

Three students sue Ocean County College over free speech

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/11/06

DOVER TOWNSHIP — Three student journalists are suing Ocean County College and the administration of President Jon H. Larson, claiming their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and the press have been violated.

The lawsuit also seeks to order the college to retain Karen Bosley as adviser to the student newspaper, the Viking News.

According to Angelo Stio III, attorney for the three students — Alberto Morales, Scott Coppola and Douglas Rush — the First Amendment complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Trenton Wednesday...

Read full story

Monday, May 08, 2006

More stories from the Asbury Park Press

OCC student journalists snubbed, then assailed at trustees meeting

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/3/06

An astonishing and disheartening sequence of omissions and insults occurred at the Ocean County College Board of Trustees meeting April 26.

First, the omission: The board ignored the eight prestigious state awards the student journalists of the Viking News recently received. Furthermore, the Society for Collegiate Journalists, in a national competition with four-year colleges, gave Scott Coppola, the Viking News editor, first place for the editorial page. Three other student journalists also received national awards. Their reward from OCC? No recognition at the board meeting, although other student groups were recognized, then and in past meetings...

Full story

My stars! Donor saves planetarium

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/6/06

DOVER TOWNSHIP — The lights will not go out at the Robert J. Novins Planetarium, except to prepare for the next show.

Ocean County College announced Friday that an anonymous donor has agreed to give more than $1 million to keep the school's threatened planetarium open and operating.

Calling the donor an "angel," college spokeswoman Tara Kelly said the gift is the largest ever received by the 40-year-old institution.

"I have just breathed a very big sigh of relief," said Gloria Villalobos, planetarium director. "We are thankful to whoever has stepped forward to save us."

All that college officials would reveal about the donor's identity is that he or she is an Ocean County resident and not an alumnus of OCC...

Full story

Monday, May 01, 2006

A few more articles about OCC

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Asbury Park Press: OCC trustees face hostile questioning

Well, it appears that Ocean County College just wants to piss off everybody now...or at least all of those who haven't been hired as administrators yet.
OCC trustees face hostile questioning
Planetarium closing, charges in student newspaper debated

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 04/27/06

DOVER — A story in the student newspaper and the closing of the college planetarium dominated the public input of the monthly meeting of the Ocean County College Board of Trustees on Wednesday.

Board members and school administrators defended budgetary decisions, and denied charges of retaliation against opponents.

The student-operated Viking News, which has been crossing swords with the administration of OCC President Jon H. Larson since at least the start of the academic year, ran a front page article April 6 claiming that of the 10 New Jersey community colleges for which they could acquire data, OCC had the highest number of administrators per 1,000 students — 2.4 — and that increases in administrative salaries since 2000 have far outpaced faculty raises...

Continue reading full story...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

News 12 NJ: Ocean County College professor to fight dismissal as newspaper advisor

If you are a subscriber to a cable company that carries News 12 New Jersey, you should be able to view this story on the channel's Web site. If not, you will have to pay something like $5 a month to subscribe to the site.

However, if you open Windows Media Player and choose File->Open URL..., and then copy and paste into the box that appears, you may be able to view the News 12 report without being logged into the site. It might not work, but give it a shot.

Bosley's plight featured in Sunday's New York Times

The New Jersey section of Sunday's New York Times (April 9 issue) included an article written by Bill Finley titled "No News is Bad News for Adviser." The story chronicles the conflict between Prof. Karen Bosley and Ocean County College Pres. Jon H. Larson.

Unfortunately, the story has not been posted to the New York Times' Web site so I can't link to it. Until I can find an available online source, I'll include some of the article here:
...Over the years, the staff of the newspaper, The Viking News -- which is published 12 times a year -- has included some aggressive reporters who have kept close tabs on the college's administrators. But Ms. Bosley, 63, says she never told her students what to report, nor did she advise them to write uncomplimentary articles about Dr. Larson. On the other hand, she said, she never discouraged them from taking on difficult subjects.

''Being Viking News adviser has been my favorite part of the job," said Ms. Bosley, who was paid $4,856 this year as the newspaper's adviser. ''It has given me great satisfaction to help young people to use their First Amendment-protected rights to develop and practice good journalism by producing a quality collegiate newspaper.''

Here's another excerpt:
This is not the first time Dr. Larson has been involved in a dispute while serving as a community college president. When at Luzerne, he was sued by the associate dean of human resources, Susan Merkel, who accused him of demoting her because she refused to lie on his behalf at the termination hearings of teachers and employees he wanted removed.

Ms. Merkel, who eventually reached an-out-of-court settlement with the college, also claimed that Dr. Larson had instructed her to place false and derogatory material in the files of some employees. ''Jon Larson is a bully,'' she said. ''He intimidates people, and he doesn't make any secret of it. He would mention a person's name and say he wanted that person to retire. I'd say I didn't think that person was ready to retire. His response was, 'I'll meet with them for five minutes, and when I'm done with them they will be ready to retire.'''

In 2000, the faculty at Luzerne passed a vote of no-confidence. About a month later, Luzerne officials announced that Dr. Larson would be leaving after he and the college had failed to agree on a new contract.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Asbury Park Press: CMA reiterates support for Bosley

The comments made by Tara Kelly appearing in this article from today's Asbury Park Press are very disturbing.

Newspaper group urges college to reinstate Bosley
Censure could be a possibility

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 04/1/06

DOVER TOWNSHIP — A national support group for college newspaper advisers is calling for the reinstatement of Karen Bosley, the ousted adviser of the Viking News, Ocean County College's student publication.

"We'd like to see both sides work out their differences and the college reinstate Bosley to her former position," said Kathy Lawrence, director of student media at the University of Texas at Austin and chairwoman of the advocacy program for College Media Advisers.

"That's not going to happen," said Tara Kelly, OCC vice president for college advancement. She added that, because of the school's budget crisis — triggered by a $1.2 million cut in state aid — the administration is not going to assign any newspaper adviser.

Bosley herself said Friday she was pleased that the report supported her position, but she did not expect the administration to give any ground.

"They're going in the opposite direction," she said...


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Let OCC's board of trustees know how you feel

Well, while I was down in Nashville for a Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) conference, I just happened to come into possession of addresses and phone numbers belonging to members of Ocean County College's board of trustees.

Feel free to use this information to let each of them know how unhappy you are about the way Prof. Karen Bosley has been treated. Enjoy!

Mr. Carl Van Thulin, Vice Chair
6301 Bayview Avenue
Brant Beach, New Jersey 08008

Mrs. Eva Smithers, Secretary
1131 West Cross Street
Lakewood, New Jersey 08701

Dr. Louis Aragona, Treasurer
603 Green View Way
Toms River, New Jersey 08753

Mr. Jerry J. Dasti
620 West Lacey Road
P. O. Box 1057
Forked River, New Jersey 08731

Dr. Bruce Greenfield
Ocean County Superintendent of Schools
212 Washington Street
Toms River, New Jersey 08753

Mr. Stephan R. Leone
9 Robbins Street
Toms River, New Jersey 08753

Mr. Harry Jay Levin
1410 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, New Jersey 08754

Mrs. Dolores Lewis
852 Glenwood Circle
Toms River, New Jersey 08753

Mrs. Linda L. Novak
810 Derry Drive
Toms River, New Jersey 08753

Mr. Warren H. Wolf
525 Nicholas Road
Brick, New Jersey 08723

Mr. Jack Sahradnik
P. O. Box 757
Toms River, New Jersey 08754

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A hiatus...and another blog

I am going to be tied up for the next three weeks with work and a conference in Nashville, so my time will be limited until around the second week of April. Therefore, Boz Watch will be on hiatus.

But I would like you to check out The People's Voice blog, by Alberto D. Morales, news and photography editor of OCC's Viking News. When I get a chance, I'll dive into the template and add the site to the links on the right-hand side of the page. For now, you can link to it from this post.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

More letters in support of Bosley

Letters to the Editor - Asbury Park Press, March 9, 2006
OCC leaders authoritarian

Shame on the Ocean County College Board of Trustees and President Jon Larson. ("Group: Reinstate professor; Report cites power struggle at OCC," Feb. 25.)

I urge all OCC alumni to reconsider making financial and in-kind contributions to the college in light of the recent removal of Karen Bosley as Viking News adviser. I was the sports editor of the Viking News from 1994-95, and Bosley acted as a mentor and a guiding light. She has always held the Viking News and its staff to the highest journalism standards and has been cultivating investigative reporters for decades. It is obvious this woman of integrity was dismissed for encouraging her students to pursue the truth.

The position of the trustees and Larson is that there are "too many errors" in the Viking News, and the Apple system is antiquated and not in step with professional newsletters. What a baseless pretext, and what a case of heavy-handedness on the part of these insecure, authoritarian and ignorant administrators. You have taken away her position, but your shameless act will not so easily erase her legacy.

Baltimore, MD
NOTE: Mr. Greenan and I worked on the Viking News together in the mid-1990s and had lost touch soon after our time at OCC. In recent days, I have Googled him and realized he has gone on to have a very significant life, being involved in community revitalization projects while working in Mexico and later serving in West Africa as a volunteer with the Peace Corps. He is now an assistant director for a community-improvement organization in Baltimore.

Letters to the Editor - Times-Beacon Newspapers, March 9, 2006
Firings unfair

I am greatly troubled over the unexplained and arrogant removal of Ocean County College Prof. Karen Bosley as advisor for the student newspaper Viking News, and unfair firings, including that of two highly qualified and well-liked professors.

It speaks volumes of math professor Patrick Mitchell's qualifications, credentials and performance that he was promoted to assistant professor even before he was considered for tenure.

These poorly advised moves are obviously a knee-jerk reaction to their (ousted professors) support of free speech on the OCC campus.

It should be noted that all those individuals waived their privacy rights, requesting a deliberation at the OCC Board meeting Dec. 12, 2005. I understand the board attorney promised deliberations. However, there were none.

Observers at the meeting noted that the board members voted first and then stared into space as agitated professors and students spoke up in protest. It was a meeting that would be perfectly at home in a Lewis Carroll novel, but has no place in an institution that is supposed to be dedicated to helping to nurture the minds of tomorrow's business and political leaders, teachers, writers, professionals, etc.

What kind of a board, whether in the business or the nonprofit/educational sector, only listens to one side?

Back in the day, I worked on the Viking News, and had the privilege and pleasure of working under the direction and tutelage of Karen Bosley.

As an invaluable mentor and an excellent teacher, Bosley was a very helpful influence on my career. Now, not only is she facing retaliation for her uncompromising standards,including her excellent work on The Viking News, a publication that has won accolades from prestigious journalism organizations under her impeccable leadership, but so are the new professors mentioned above.

While the professors facing these unfair sanctions from the board are all willing to answer questions, the same cannot be said for OCC President Dr. Jon Larson, who has remained silent on campus, only to turn tail and take off on vacation.

What is he hiding from?

And the board members? Why aren't they questioning Dr. Larson?

Given these illegal and unethical retaliatory actions against well-qualified faculty, and the board's obvious reluctance to investigate Dr. Larson's insidious actions, I call for a thorough and impartial investigation by an outside and independent body, if necessary, the N.J. Attorney General.

Southhampton, N.Y.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A bevy of new articles on OCC & Bosley

Viking News on collision course?
"There is no communication between you and us," the news editor of the student newspaper at Ocean County College told the college president yesterday.

Alberto Morales accused OCC President Jon Larson of "not communicating with the students," in putting together a soon-to-be-issued statement about press freedoms and a plan for the future of the college newspaper, The Viking News.

By the way, there is something mentioned in this story that caught my attention...
The plan proposes spending $30,000 already budgeted on new technology for the newspaper during the fall semester.
It will be used to produce an online edition hosted by the college to speed up responses over the existing online edition.
This reminded me of something that happened while I was the Web content coordinator at Rider University. The Rider News, for which I served as executive editor in 1996-97 during my days as a student, was looking for a new home for its online edition. It had been hosted on an old server in the communication department, but it was slow and the advisers asked me about moving it to the main Rider Web server. Personally, I had no problems with it, but as a student journalist-turned-administrator trying to "work both sides of the room," I told the advisers that it would be wise to upgrade the communication department server and bring the newspaper site back to it as soon as possible because I didn't like the idea of a student publication being hosted by a server run by administrative personnel. There are all sorts of inherent problems with that and it shouldn't be done. In my opinion, any online edition of a college newspaper should be hosted off campus or on a server administered strictly by the newspaper staff.

Adviser claims probe picks were agreed to by OCC
The embattled adviser to the student newspaper at Ocean County College said yesterday that both administrators and she handpicked the people to be interviewed during a recent investigation by the College Media Advisers into allegations of eroding press freedoms on the campus.

Karen Bosley, who has advised the newspaper for 35 years, said she picked the people she wanted interviewed and OCC President Jon Larson did likewise...

Ousted teacher earned award
Their frontal assault blocked, some members of the English Department at Ocean County College used a flanking movement yesterday afternoon to bring attention to national teaching awards won by four faculty members, one of them just axed by the Board of Trustees.

"We worked on this before this crisis arose," said English coordinator Judith Angona of the teaching programs that brought Diana Hacker TYCA Outstanding Programs in English Awards to her, adjunct instructor Lisa Prothers, and assistant professor Karen Veselits...

OCC fires back, dismisses probe report as "biased"
Ocean County College President Jon Larson dismissed a report that claimed there was an atmosphere of "intimidation and fear" that "permeates parts of this campus" and threatens student press freedoms.

"It's riddled with bias," Larson said.

The claims were among the findings of College Media Advisers after reviewing the decision to oust Karen Bosley from the journalism and newspaper advising posts she has held for 35 years.

That decision was "educationally and legally suspect," the CMA concluded...

OCC report author stands by "unbiased" findings
The author of a highly critical College Media Advisers report on press freedoms at Ocean County College is defending the findings against administration claims he was biased.

"They didn't like the message so they blamed the messenger. I stand by the report," said David L. Adams of Indiana University...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Asbury Park Press: CMA seeks reinstatement of Prof. Bosley

Here is some positive news from today's Asbury Park Press...

Group: Reinstate professor
Report cites power struggle at OCC

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 02/25/06

A report by a College Media Advisers Advocate Program on the firing of Professor Karen Bosley from Ocean County College in Dover Township recommends that she be reinstated to her journalism and English classes and her position as newspaper adviser...

Continue reading...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More bad news for collegiate journalists...Supreme Court declines to hear Hosty v. Carter appeal

Well, when you consider that U.S. citizens are being illegally spied on by their own government and that municipalities can take away your property just to build a strip mall, I guess that little thing called the U.S. Constitution doesn't mean much anymore.

And now, we have the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to hear an appeal in Hosty v. Carter.

From Student Press Law Center:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will not hear a case that questioned the authority of administrators at an Illinois university to censor a student newspaper that published articles critical of the school.

The Court rejected a request by former student journalists at Governors State University in Illinois to review a lower court decision that could give university officials in three Midwestern states the authority to censor some college student speech based on a legal standard that had previously been applied only to high school and elementary school students and teachers.

As is its usual practice when ruling on whether or not to accept a case, the Court did not issue a written opinion to explain its decision.

The Court's ruling lets stand a June 2005 decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that could open the door to providing university administrators with authority to censor school-sponsored speech by public college students and faculty, including speech in some student newspapers, at schools in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin...
Continue reading...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Macs not used in the newspaper industry? Somebody should tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ocean County College officials have said that one of the reasons Prof. Bosley's contract as Viking News adviser was not renewed is because of her use of Macintosh computers in the news office. The administration's stance is that the Macs should be replaced by Windows-based computers because, as OCC Director of Student Media Joe Adelizzi says, "the prevailing standard at newspapers nationwide is a P.C.-based system."

Maybe Mr. Adelizzi and the rest of the clueless members of the OCC administration should take a look at an article on Apple's Web site that describes how the operations of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are powered by Macintosh computers and servers.

Don Morris, manager of publishing technology at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 33 years (so I assume he's more of an expert in these matters than a hack writer like Mr. Adelizzi), has this to say about the newspaper's production of three daily print editions — a process handled by 850 Macs and 38 Apple Xserve G5 servers, running Adobe InDesign and InCopy as part of a DTI editorial pagination system:
“We’re a Mac shop here, from editorial to advertising...we chose Mac in the early ’90s, and we’ve been very happy with it ever since...

...The new system has met every single one of our needs. It’s easily able to keep up with our heavy page flow demand. It’s very fast, very reliable, with minimal if any manual intervention. Our error rates are so low they’re almost negligible. We’re now pretty much on target every morning with everything we’re expected to deliver.

So I urge the Viking News staff members to stand by their Macs!

(Photo: A Mac-based publishing system keeps the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's presses running smoothly.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A few more news articles

Tuesday's Asbury Park Press included a story with the headline OCC wants teachers' lawsuit dismissed.

Well, maybe if the administration didn't try these strongarm tactics in the first place, there wouldn't be any lawsuits. Here is an excerpt:
Calling charges brought by mathematics instructor Patrick Mitchell and English instructor Karen Veselits "without merit" and a "misuse of our legal system for the advantage of a few disgruntled employees," Tara Kelly, the school's vice president for student advancement, said OCC will be filing a motion to dismiss in coming days.

Kelly said the school's attorney, John C. Sahradnik, would not specify the grounds for the requested dismissal before filing.

On Jan. 20, the two teachers, represented by Somerville attorney Stephen Hunter, filed a civil action in state Superior Court, Toms River. In the suit, the teachers allege "there was no educational justification" for the nonrenewal of their contracts, and that the school further violated their rights by never giving the teachers a reason for not rehiring them.

The suit asks that the court void the nonrenewal decision of the OCC board of trustees and let the teachers have another chance to make their cases for rehiring.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a couple of stories that I had not seen until now. The first story was originally published Dec. 15, 2005, and was picked up by Kentucky Community and Technical College System's news site so I can link to that one here:
Professors at 2-Year College in New Jersey Say Criticism of President Led to Their Ouster

In a controversial decision on Monday, Ocean County College's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reassign the adviser to the student newspaper and not to renew the contracts of three untenured professors, recommendations that came from the New Jersey college's president.

The moves, the professors say, are retaliation stemming from articles criticizing the college administration that ran in the student paper, the Viking News.

Jon H. Larson, president of the 8,500-student community college in Toms River, N.J., was not available for comment on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the college, Tara B. Kelly, said that none of the decisions had been made out of retaliation. College officials would not comment further about the three professors, she said, citing a college policy not to discuss personnel matters...

A second story was apparently published on Jan. 6, 2006, but it requires a password to read it on The Chronicle's Web site.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Beach Haven Times: Journalists society to fact- find in OCC newspaper case

Here is an article from Wednesday's Beach Haven (N.J.) Times via the Ocean County Observer Web site:

Journalists society to fact- find in OCC newspaper case
Posted by the Times-Beacon Newspapers on 01/25/06


TOMS RIVER — The Society of Professional Journalists and the College Media Advisors are entering the flap over the decision by the Ocean County College Board of Trustees to drop Karen Bosley as longtime advisor to the college newspaper at year's end.

"We'll give them everything they want," said OCC Vice President of College Advancement Tara Kelly.

"We're confident there is no First Amendment issue here. It is an employment issue," she insisted.

Kelly said she has been in touch with both groups and is trying to coordinate a single visit.

The Society of Professional Journalists will do fact-finding to determine if the decision to end Bosley's 35-year stint as advisor to the award-winning Viking News is an attempt to muzzle the newspaper or, as Kelly insists, is employment-related.

Both groups are likely to visit the campus and talk with the senior staff and others early next month, Kelly said...

Full story

Monday, January 23, 2006

Asbury Park Press: Free press hot topic

Prof. Bosley and three Viking News editors discussed their battles with the Ocean County College administration in a story published Sunday by the Asbury Park Press...
Free press hot topic
Students, advisers walk fine line at college newspapers

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 01/22/06


DOVER TOWNSHIP — Is the free press less free on a college campus? Should it be?

Those are questions the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to answer, because of a controversy involving a student newspaper at an Illinois university. But those same questions have been raised in the Shore area because of a controversy surrounding the recent removal of the longtime faculty adviser to the student newspaper at Ocean County College.

"I have been removed because the college president does not like what's been written about him in the student newspaper," said Karen Bosley, English professor and, until the end of the spring semester, adviser to the Viking News, the OCC student-run weekly.

"He couldn't punish the students because it would appear too blatant, so he came after me," Bosley said. "It amounts to censorship by intimidation..."

Full story...

Friday, January 20, 2006

College stands by personnel decisions

Another letter written by Tara B. Kelly, vice president of college advancement at Ocean County College, that defends the school's position on its recent personnel decisions -- including Bosley's termination as Viking News adviser and removal from teaching journalism courses -- was published in today's Ocean County Observer.

To be fair, I am going to include a link to it here. I find the following line very amusing...
We will not be swayed by exaggerated arguments or public threats designed to push us to reverse our decisions.
The reason I find this amusing is because the only exaggerated arguments and threats I have read about have originated from the OCC administration, which still refuses to actually come out and say its reasons for the personnel moves.

Times-Beacon: Sounds of silence echoed in Ocean

An editorial published Wednesday by the The Times-Beacon newspaper of Long Beach Island, NJ, touched on the Bosley case at Ocean County College...
America was founded by dissidents — men who were unafraid to criticize those who ruled them.

Though our forefathers won the war against the British, the battle against censorship continues today...

...Here in Ocean County, criticism of Ocean County College officials in the college's student newspaper, The Viking News, is believed by many to be the reason four faculty members were either fired or had their duties cut back last month.

Among them is Karen Bosley, a Long Beach Island resident and faculty advisor to the award-winning Viking News for 35 years. Bosley has been told she not only will not be the paper's advisor next year, but will not be returning to the journalism classes she once taught.

Full story...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More support for Bosley

Another pro-Boz letter -- this one from Elana Aron, of Lakewood, N.J. -- showed up in Monday's Asbury Park Press...

Bosley earned student support
As a former student of Karen Bosley at Ocean County College, editor-in-chief of Seascape, the literary magazine of OCC, and a staff writer at the Viking News newspaper, I feel compelled to express my support for an outstanding journalist, teacher and individual. ("OCC trustees oust student paper adviser," Dec. 13.)

Continue reading...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Viking News editors tell their side of the story

Scott Coppola, editor-in-chief, and Alberto D. Morales, news and photography editor, of the Viking News wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in Friday's Asbury Park Press. Here is an excerpt and links to the online version...

Students are focal point of OCC adviser's ouster
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 01/13/06

In the interests of accuracy, we are compelled to respond to the falsehoods by Tara Kelly, vice president of college advancement at Ocean County College, in her Dec. 28 commentary "OCC adviser ousted for not implementing changes."

First is the lie it is "very unfair to drag our students into an issue that has nothing to do with them." We are the heart of this issue. What the students published in the Viking News led to the removal of Karen Bosley as newspaper adviser.

If Kelly's assertion "we don't care" about stories critical of the administration or mistakes is the case, why were some of us summoned to the president's office and subjected to, in a meeting we were not allowed to record, a tirade from (OCC President) Jon Larson over a prize-winning story published last year, a story critical of a decision he had made. Larson demanded a "retraction" or he would "take action."

Continue reading...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ocean County Observer: OCC under fire for firings

Today's Ocean County Observer includes a story about a special meeting of OCC's trustees and administration held Tuesday. Here is an excerpt:

OCC under fire for firings
Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 01/11/06


TOMS RIVER — "We're not going to go away," Ocean County College Professor Elizabeth Mitchell told the board of trustees yesterday as the faculty closed ranks behind four colleagues either fired or trimmed of duties last month.

In a rare special meeting to discuss personnel, contracts and litigation, the trustees huddled behind closed doors for two and a half hours while faculty and union representatives waited outside, ready to press their demands for the reinstatement of the four staff members.

Neither trustee Chairman Carl Van Thulin nor OCC President Jon Larson would say what was discussed or what was decided in the closed-door session...

Bosley responds to OCC comments

An op-ed piece written by Karen Bosley appeared in Tuesday's Asbury Park Press. It was written in response to this op-ed piece written by Tara B. Kelly, vice president of college advancement at Ocean County College, which was published by the Asbury Park Press on Dec. 28.

Here is the full text of Bosley's piece:

Officials don't understand how college press works

Before responding to the recent attacks on my reputation by Tara Kelly, vice president of college advancement at Ocean County College, I must reply to the telling comment made by OCC trustee Stephan R. Leone at the board meeting during which I, as newspaper adviser, and three excellent, non-tenured faculty members were not rehired for the next academic year.

Leone said, "This is not a reflection on the work of the students at the newspaper, but on the supervision there." That remark not only illustrates how out of touch the trustees are with what is going on in the institution taxpayers have charged them with overseeing, but also reveals the ignorance about the college press so prevalent among management types today.

Paid $4,900 for at least 30 weeks of often multiple 12-hour days, I earn my stipend by giving advice to student journalists who are adults and free to ignore what I say. I am not now, nor have I ever been, either the supervisor or the censor of the work of these public-college journalists, who enjoy protection from administrative control.

It is time to look at some of the untruths in Kelly's Dec. 28 commentary "OCC adviser ousted for not implementing changes."

Her reason for my termination: "Three years ago, the college commissioned a comprehensive assessment of all student media by an outside expert with stellar credentials in higher education mass communications programs. Bosley was provided the results of that review, which included excellent suggestions on how to improve the Viking News. She fought the implementation and did not develop an adequate plan to make the changes recommended, although she was repeatedly and explicitly directed, in writing, to do so by her supervisor."

It is good to expose this "comprehensive assessment" to public scrutiny at last. Puzzled by many aspects of it, another adviser and I sent questions to Frank Wetta, academic affairs vice president, asking about the commissioning of and selection process for it. We received different responses, neither of which answered any questions, but Wetta's response berated me for asking questions at all.

Among the information sought: who had commissioned the study, its purpose and scope, who paid for it and how (taxpayers vs. grant), its cost and how the "expert with stellar credentials" was selected. This "expert," a professor at a four-year, church-related college who makes videos, had someone else (who was unnamed, with no credentials given) assess the Viking News because he apparently lacked the expertise to do so.

What Kelly called a "comprehensive assessment of all student media" had been described by Martin Novelli, then dean of humanities, as a study of OCC's television offerings, not of the journalism program or of student media.

During the day he spent on campus, the "expert" spent five minutes with me during a break between my classes. After he was given a brief visit to the newspaper office by Lee Kobus, academic technology director, he snatched two issues of the Viking News as he left.

His "comprehensive assessment" has little merit as either an academic or a student-media evaluation. College administrators who want quality assessments use quality standards and procedures, such as those of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. After reviewing OCC's assessment, a professor at a university with ACEJMC-accredited programs asked me, "Do you know if the evaluator was paid for this? It might be interesting to track the money trail to find out what this cost."

The "excellent suggestions to improve the Viking News" to which Kelly refers included: using the newspaper "as an extension of the classroom," greater adult oversight and changing the layout. According to Mark Goodman, the Student Press Law Center executive director, all three are or can lead to censorship, and layout is something the editors determine.

David Adams, chairman of the board of the law center and director of student media at Indiana University, said, "I cannot agree there should be more direct adult oversight. That would be illegal. If your student newspaper is like ours, it changes from semester to semester in scope and quality. It's not supposed to be a P.R. piece, but a learning piece."

When Kelly said I "fought the implementation and did not develop an adequate plan to make" those changes, she is telling the truth. I have always fought and will continue to fight the implementation of censorship. There is no such thing as "an adequate plan" for censorship.

The five-year plan the college suddenly asked the Viking News for had no due date, and no changes were "repeatedly and explicitly directed, in writing by (my) supervisor." It is hard to tell who this supervisor is. And when the newspaper produced a five-year plan, the same yardstick was not applied to other student media.

The newspaper plan called for the purchase of some new Macintoshes (as replacements) and software, plus computer desks to replace the health-threatening tables now in use. Prior to last fall, no administrator suggested to me or to an editor other PCs had to/should be purchased. Until Kelly said so in her op-ed piece, no one directed me to incorporate PCs into the production process.

One other result of the "comprehensive assessment" is the college's creation of a digital-media program that was intended to replace the existing journalism one, even though there was no journalism in the curriculum. No input from journalism faculty was sought or considered. Although the program claims to prepare students for "a variety of production positions at newspapers and magazines" and give students "hands-on writing, production and programming experience at the college newspaper," no such preparation or experience is included.

Despite Kelly's claim, I have no need to create an "orchestrated campaign of public commentary." Most professional and student journalists are independent thinkers and as outraged by the college's actions in these matters as I. They are quite capable of public comment without prompting.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Articles from The Press of Atlantic City

Alberto D. Morales, news and photography editor of the Viking News, wrote to tell me about a couple of stories in The Press of Atlantic City.

Student journalists reject college's explanation for removing adviser

Student editors at Ocean County College's Viking News have fired back in support of their ousted adviser, calling a letter by a college spokeswoman defending the school's decision not to renew the adviser's contract "lies and half-truths."

In a letter signed by Editor-in-Chief Scott Coppola, News Editor Alberto Morales and Sports Editor Doug Rush, the students rejected the college's assertions that Karen Bosley, the longtime adviser, was removed for performance-related reasons. Since the Ocean County College trustees decided last month not to renew her contract for the position, the school has been under intense criticism from journalistic organizations, who have argued the decision was an attempt at censorship...

Student paper adviser calls OCC trustees 'out of touch'
The professor whose contract as adviser to Ocean County College's student newspaper was not renewed responded to the school's explanation of her termination Friday, calling the schools trustees "out of touch ... with what's going on in the institution taxpayers have charged them with overseeing."

In a letter sent to various media outlets, the professor, Karen Bosley, refuted several claims made by Tara Kelly, vice president of college advancement, which was likewise released to the media last month...

And here is a third story from The Press of Atlantic City that discusses the issue of school newspaper control:

OCC case sheds light on school paper control
For supporters of Karen Bosley, the Ocean County College professor ousted from her longtime position as adviser to the student newspaper, her case is a clear example of an administration attempting to exert greater control over a publication's content...