Campus Reform | Student booted as newspaper's editor-in-chief over mask mandate editorial

Student booted as newspaper's editor-in-chief over mask mandate editorial

The editor-in-chief of a student newspaper at Oklahoma State University was forced to resign after writing an opinion piece critical of the school’s mask policy.

Her fellow editors nevertheless claimed that they believe in the First Amendment.

Maddison Farris, editor-in-chief of a student newspaper at Oklahoma State University, was forced to resign after criticizing the school’s mask policy.

“I think that this whole event truly shows that not all opinions are valued and that diversity of thought is falsely advertised here,” Farris told Campus Reform.

On September 9, Farris wrote a column for The O’Colly explaining that she had been removed from a classroom for not wearing a mask.

Farris had previously researched Senate Bill 658, which affirms that a mask cannot be required within a school setting in Oklahoma. She noted that “multiple phone calls with the governor’s office confirmed what I already knew.”

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“If I believed that it was just a mask, then, of course, I would simply wear it for an hour or two and then go about my day,” Farris explained. 

“But it is more than a mask. It’s control. It’s control over my choices, desires and body," she continued. "I will not allow any institution to take away my right to decide for myself what is best and to make my own decisions, or to take away the rights and decisions of others.”

Two days later, The O’Colly’s editorial board added a “correction” to the article stressing that Farris’ article was indeed an opinion piece. It claimed that though Farris’ explanation of the law was “misleading," they supported Farris’ freedom of expression.

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“As American citizens, we affirm our belief in the First Amendment and the right as journalists to express our personal opinions no matter if our viewpoint is different from those around us,” the correction stated. 

Nevertheless, Farris submitted a letter of “forced resignation,” explaining that she had been called into a September 13 meeting with the rest of the editors and pressed into leaving her post.

Farris told Campus Reform that although most students at Oklahoma State support free speech, but there is a “portion of students who value free speech until it makes them uncomfortable.”

Campus Reform reached out to Farris, The O’Colly, and Oklahoma State University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.