By: Mark Fitzgerald

School Officials Say They Worried About Copyright Violations

Call it Rashoman In Reading: Depending on who’s talking, Albright
College officials either pulled a fire drill at the student
center for the first time in two decades so they could sneak into
the offices of the Albrightian to seize copies of the
student paper to keep visiting parents of prospective students
from seeing embarrassing Page One news – or concerned school
officials at the Pennsylvania college acted responsibly to
investigate apparent glaring copyright violations.

Oh, and the fire drill? It didn’t happen like that at all.

“That fire drill thing is an unbelievably erroneous rumor,” said
Barbara Marshall, director of college relations for the Reading,
Pa., school. But Marshall confirmed that administrators did seize
1,000 copies of the paper. She said it appeared that the biweekly
had reprinted articles from the Reading Eagle. As the
paper’s publisher, she said, the college was concerned about
copyright liability.

“There was absolutely no intention to censor. They were always
going to get the papers back,” she said.

Censorship is the only word for what happened, countered the
paper’s editor in chief, Matt Kemeny. He said the college seized
the Nov. 10 issue because it didn’t want 200 high-school kids and
their parents, who were due the next day at an open house for
prospective students, to see a front-page article about
Albright’s ranking in the latest “Barron’s Profiles of American
Colleges.” He also said administrators should have known that for
years the Reading Eagle has allowed the student paper to
reprint articles.

The papers were returned after a rancorous meeting at the student
center. “I feel they’ve definitely learned their lesson because
of all the publicity about it,” Kemeny said. “But I still feel it
was definitely censorship.”

Mark Fitzgerald ( is editor at large for E&P.

Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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