The Lanthorn and its staff is no stranger to criticism or push-back from administration. Unfortunately, it seems to come with the profession of journalism. However, there has been a concerning trend occurring at Northern Michigan University in regards to how its student newspaper, The North Wind, has been treated.

For nearly the entire academic year, The North Wind staff has been looking into the inner workings of NMU and has been questioning the actions of the university’s administration. The student journalists have questioned the expense reports of certain administrators and campus dining vendor contracts, among other things. In short, The North Wind has been practicing good journalism. The response to this from the administration in question has been repulsive.

Throughout the course of this school year, NMU’s administration has sent out multiple campus-wide emails publicly disputing articles published in The North Wind. They have charged a ridiculous amount of money for the acquisition of public records, only backing down after widespread public outcry.

Even more unwarranted were the actions taken by the newspaper’s board of directors, which fired the current newspaper adviser, Cheryl Reed, behind closed doors and denied the position of editor-in-chief to the sole candidate for the upcoming school year. In an article by the Detroit Free Press, current Editor-in-Chief Emma Finkbeiner said, “(The administration) are trying to take control of the content of the paper. They want us to write what they want – less questioning. This is a massive blow to our First Amendment rights.

“We’re just asking questions and looking at documents. We feel that students should know how the university is operating with their tuition funds.”

The Lanthorn agrees. While nothing nearly as drastic as what is happening at NMU has happened at Grand Valley State University, we’ve had our own problems with administrators. After questioning donor relations with the university, the Lanthorn’s then editor-in-chief received a call on her personal cell phone from a top administrator suggesting that if the Lanthorn employees had a problem with donors, they could give their scholarships to those who were more thankful.

It is absolutely unacceptable what NMU’s administrators have done to The North Wind and its staff, and the Lanthorn congratulates The North Wind staff for refusing to back down on their investigative reporting – despite constant backlash from the university.

Administrators must make a conscious decision to support student media, even when that media is critical of the administration. The Lanthorn stands with The North Wind staff, and we sincerely hope GVSU administrators view what is happening in Marquette as an example of exactly how not to deal with criticism.