62°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ed Board Disregards Admin Edict

Ed Board Disregards Admin Edict

The Mass Media’s editorial board voted the other week to keep employing the editor-in-chief, choosing not to recognize Chancellor Jo Ann Gora’s suspension of him from his duties.

The editorial board unanimously voted to keep on Michael Rhys as editor-in-chief, and issued an oral reprimand to him for having been caught with marijuana in his pocket in late last September, a first offense. The editorial board is made up of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the editors of news, arts, opinion, and photos, the copy editor, and the production manager. Jason Campos, managing editor, was acting editor-in-chief at the time of the vote.

After a lengthy appeals process, Rhys had been suspended by Chancellor Gora from all “co-curricular activities” for a month, lessening Interim Dean Angeline Lopes’ punishment of a year. Rhys has called Lopes’ prosecution “extreme” and “unconstitutional,” comparing it to Boston Mayor Tom Menino firing someone from The Boston Globe.

In an editorial in this edition, the editorial board outlines its argument, stating that the university has no authority to suspend someone from The Mass Media, which is an independent student newspaper.

Lopes disagrees. “The Code of Student Conduct applies to any student at UMass Boston, and so any situation that involves the student in violation of university policy is within the guidelines of the Code of Student Conduct,” said Lopes in a recent interview. Rhys was charged with two violations, one a violation of campus policies on alcohol and other drug abuse, the other for smoking in an area where smoking is not allowed.

When asked for comment on discrepancies in the case and the punishment against Rhys being lessened by the chancellor, detailed in a special report in the March 6 edition of The Mass Media, Lopes declined, citing federal laws, stating she cannot share any aspect of what she termed “protected” and “private” information.

“Like I [have] said… before, I can talk to you about general policies, general procedures, and things like that. I can’t speak specifically to individual student cases,” she said, citing the student’s right to privacy. “The shortcoming of it is that the student can say whatever they want to, but I can’t necessarily defend, collaborate, or deny any of the claims [they make].”