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By Justin Pulliam and Morton Blackwell
When Gene Nichol became president of William & Mary College in 2005 he was already a star among liberals on campus.
He arrived with an activist agenda for progressive reform and immediately moved to lower admission standards, reward political allies, and punish his opponents.
In October 2006 the Virginia Informer, an independent conservative student newspaper launched with the help of the Leadership Institute, revealed that Nichol had secretly ordered the removal of a two-foot gold cross from the college chapel on the grounds that it was offensive to non-Christians.
The student newspaper targeted Nichol, conducted investigations into his conduct, and demanded an explanation for his decision. When he gave excuses like "I am not in the office," their investigative reporting revealed he was just avoiding their questions.
The newspaper also hosted a debate about the removal of the cross and invited Nichol to spar with prominent conservative speaker and writer Dinesh D'Souza. Nichol falsely claimed he had not received the invitation in time, and pressure increased as he continued to act like he had something to hide.
Finally the Informer broke the story that Nichol had deceived his own staff by including a $12 million donation in a development report even though the contribution had been revoked as a result of his decision to remove the cross. The Informer's steady stream of stories exposed Nichol's willingness to stretch the truth in pursuit of his radical agenda and resulted in a public relations disaster for the school.
The official campus newspaper and national news media soon picked up the Virginia Informer's investigation. As a result, William & Mary terminated Nichol's contract in 2008.
An independent conservative student publication can be an effective activism tool for you.
The students who started the Virginia Informer were successful because they used their conservative paper to activate a base of conservative alumni and donors. Influential alumni and high-dollar donors - along with negative press attention - pressured William and Mary's Board of Visitors to remove Nichol.
You can inform and activate your school's influential donors by starting an independent conservative publication to expose your school administration's "progressive" agenda.
The left dominates almost all official campus newspapers, which are funded by taxpayers, compulsory student fees, or unwitting donors to the colleges and universities. Official campus newspapers, afraid of biting the hand that feeds them, avoid investigative journalism, allowing university administrations to advance leftist agendas.
Quietly harboring conservative beliefs on campus will not reform your college or university. The left has gained control of the administration, culture, and newspapers on most campuses, but you can use the resources and networking offered at CampusReform.org to fight back.
CampusReform.org's Campus Leadership Program can help you start a conservative publication on your campus. Contact the Campus Leadership Program to hold an LI Student Publication School on your campus.
CampusReform.org offers a $750 Balance in Media Grant once your first issue hits the presses. But once you get started, CampusReform.org won't leave you hanging. The Campus Leadership Program will work with you to develop effective news reports, recruit staff, and find donors.
Working for student publications started the careers of numerous conservative figures, including Dinesh D'Sousa, Ann Coulter, and James O'Keefe. CampusReform.org provides assistance to 100 student publications around the country. They regularly train and graduate great editors, reporters, designers, cartoonists, and opinion columnists.
Put your energy and talents to work for a cause that will make a difference for you and your campus community. Using an independent student publication to reform your campus will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your college career.
CampusReform.org is a project of the non-profit Leadership Institute. Please consider supporting our efforts.
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