Judge Reinstates Advisor To N.J. College Paper

By: E&P Staff

Karen Bosley — whose removal after 35 years as faculty advisor to Ocean County College’s student paper sparked a press debate throughout New Jersey — will be back at the paper this fall.

Ruling on a lawsuit brought by three former editors of the Viking News student newspaper, U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler ordered that Bosley be temporarily reinstated as faculty advisor.

Removing Bosley would have had a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression, Chesler said, according to an account by Associated Press writer Chris Newmarker.

E&P chronicled the fight over Bosley’s removal in a column (“Hubbub at “Hooper High”) (http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/newspaperbeat_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002540996)
in late May.

In December, the college’s board of trustees decided not to renew Bosley’s contract as advisor, and she learned that she would be reassigned from teaching journalism.

College administration officials said Bosley, 61, had resisted suggestions to update the technology and design of the Viking News, and would not write a strategic plan for the paper as they ordered.

Bosley and her supporters, including many at the paper, said her contract was not removed in retaliation for the paper’s reporting about the college President Jon Larsen.

An exhaustive report by a Society of Professional Journalists task force, headed by former Newsday Editor Paul Schreiber, took both sides to task, calling the affair “a case study in suspicion, frustration, escalation and the hardening of positions on all sides.”

College Media Advisers, the organization for professional faculty advisers, censured the school, and called for Bosley’s reinstatement.

College spokesperson Tara Kelly did not immediately respond to a message for comment from E&P, but in a written statement quoted by AP said the college would comply with the order, but would not comment further because the matter was in continuing litigation.

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