Longtime Advisor To N.J. College Paper Gets Job Back In Lawsuit Settlement

By: E&P Staff Karen Bosley -- who gained national attention when she was ousted after 35 years as advisor to the Ocean County (N.J.) College student newspaper -- has permanently won her job back as part of a lawsuit settlement that also guarantees school officials will not interfere with the content of the Viking News.

The settlement also creates a new student media advisory board, with broad powers over budget and staffing of the Viking News and other student media. But it will be prohibited from involving itself in content of the media, according to the settlement.

Bosley had contended in her lawsuit that she was removed as advisor to the school paper in 2005 because of articles critical of the school and its president Jon Larson. The administration said she was removed because she resisted changes to professionalize the look and operation of the Viking News.

Bosley was returned as advisor under a temporary restraining order issued last year.

The settlement was reported Friday by the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press in an article by Kirk Moore of the paper's Toms River bureau, and by the Student Press Law Center in an article by staff writer Tim Hoffine.

Ocean County College agreed in the settlement to a broad statement in favor of student First Amendment rights:

"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."

In addition to the lawsuit, Bosley's ouster prompted College Media Advisors, the organization of student-run media advisors, to formally censure Ocean County College in 2006. An exhaustively detailed, 23-page report from a Society of Professional Journalists task force criticized both Bosley and the administration calling the dispute "a case study in suspicion, frustration, escalation and the hardening of positions on all sides."

Bosley's ouster was the subject of an E&P column in 2006. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002540996


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