Permission to ‘Imagine More’ Required

“Truth, Fairness and Accuracy” is part of the slogan the Torch depends on to serve our readers the news and information of the Ferris community.

We understand that being a part of the media world we will have readers from time-to-time that disagree with information, opinions, comics and other coverage. The Torch strives to inform and provide a voice to and for the Ferris community.

The First Amendment protects our freedom of speech and that of those who may disagree with us or our content. This summer, we ran a summer edition that was released May 16 and the content created quite a stir among some parties. It’s great to hear people talking about the paper, it’s sad when that conversation is stifled for others. Our latest edition, that is available all summer long, is typically included in the orientation packets of new Ferris students but that was not the case for this incoming class of Bulldogs.

This was a decision made by the Office of Student Life, which oversees orientation stating our content was “negative, harsh, disrespectful” against Ferris students and the University. Nowhere in the edition do my staff members or I see such, all I see is truth about students’ experiences and their opinions, and certainly nothing that would be out-of-line in other newspapers across the country, college or not.

The letter from the Orientation office stated we had several inappropriate topics and personally biased articles. Some including alcohol and partying, were included, both of which were how to deal with a potentially negative situation if caught in one. Nowhere in the Torch were alcohol abuse or illegal activity promoted or displayed. But our readers are adults and can handle reading such content. It’s not impossible that a large number of students will be involved with a drinking scenario or run into the police, sober or not. This information shouldn’t be hidden from the eyes of new students because having fun while attending college may include alcohol. This is not a dirty, little secret. The rest of the content in question, though true, poked fun at complaints that we have had or heard around campus. Who doesn’t know someone without a parking ticket?

I support the work of our Torch staff in selecting, writing, sharing their experiences stories and information. Though extremely disappointed in the University’s handling of the situation, removing access to information, I respect their freedom to have an opinion regarding the Torch’s content.

The content in the Torch does not mean in any way that we dislike Ferris. We are here and we will be proud alumni. We work, learn grow and ‘Imagine More’ together, as a community. And, a community has the right to a press free from removal as a result of disagreement.

I am confident this won’t be the last time this year that someone has an opinion that is not the same as one printed in the Torch. As such, I am personally inviting you to tell us about it, write a letter to the editor, comment on our website and talk about it with your fellow Bulldogs. But don’t take the newspaper, and the right to read it, out of someone else’s hands.


Another example of arbitrary decisions made by those who are totally disconnected from the students and reality, entrenched in the mind-numbing labyrinth of the university’s various offices, where most staff and administrators spend more time talking behind each other’s backs and entrenching themselves in their personal bias than actually accomplishing anything. The students are going to see the paper once the fall semester begins. Some of them might even see alcohol in person! Why doesn’t the office of student life just flat-out tell the new students not to come here? 

Nicely put.  I congratulate you on constructively and bravely addressing the criticism and challenges you are facing.

Every morning this week that there has been orientation, I’ve woke at the crack of dawn and handed out papers to incoming Freshmen and their parents. It’s been a very rewarding experience. As I hand out papers I see the future students reading them, and their parents reading them, and appreciating them. In the past, the paper was tucked away in a folder, inside the orientation packets. By bringing the paper directly to the reader, we’ve actually increased readership, and future readership. Because of their actions, they’ve actually made the situation much more favorable for us. We’ve handed out more news papers than their are news students each day. This means that not only are the students taking the papers, but their parents are too. 

By acting out of spite and malice, they have given us a power far greater than we anticipated. At the rate we’re handing out papers, we’ll easily blow through the 3,000 issues we budget for orientation packets each year in no time. I guess, in retrospect I should thank them. Not only am I now getting extra hours this summer, but I’m having a wonderful time meeting my new classmates, their parents and families, and informing them about the “finer” aspects of Ferris that they won’t find in an orientation presentation. 

Imagine more censorship? Imagine more tuition hikes? Imagine more B.S.?
You see, I’m already quite good at imagining; I started doing it at a very young age, in fact.  It’s a shame the University feels so strongly that the realistic perspectives presented in The Torch could negatively affect their enrollment rates. It tells us a bit about their motives. Imagine more repression. 

I may be mistaken, but did I see that oh-so-controversial comic reprinted in this issue? I’m a huge fan, but really, what were you expecting by reprinting it? That the University would be nostalgic about all of the controversy and anger and threats they had to deal with, and want to re-live it with every new student they welcome?

I respect the office’s decision to not include the newspaper, and I am excited to hear that the papers are being dispersed by students instead. This seems like a more appropriate channel of distribution- it makes it more clear that these are student’s opinions and work, that students still have a voice, but that they do not directly reflect the opinions and values of the offices of Ferris State University. 

I’m glad you support student dispersion! The cartoon in question was reprinted due to its massive response both communally and world-wide. When that certain cartoon “dropped” The Torch hit an all time record-high of 50,000 hits in one day! We could not refuse such an out burst of support! To bolster our readership numbers we put the “controversial” sorority girl to print once again. During my tenure  as a ‘paper girl’ this cartoon has been enjoyed by all incoming freshmen and their parents, as I can freely watch them read the cartoon and react. I fee privileged to such experience, and thank all those that help me to make it possible by HANDING out papers on orientation days. Thank you, 

-Jax Anger

As a former graduate and alumni of Ferris State I appreciate your defense of the TORCH and the freedom of speech rights that it enjoys.  College however is ultimately about learning and I think the fact that the paper was rejected for the handout packet was a learning experience.  There are many an organization, workplace, local, state, and federal agencies waiting for you in the “after college life” that will try to manipulate, misdirect, and outright over power you.  When that happens what you personally do next really determines if you have the freedoms you think you do.

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