Conservative Student Newspaper Overcomes Vandals' Attack · 03 October 2006

Filed under: Georgia

Writers for The Georgia GuardDawg ensure free speech on campus

By The Leadership Institute--Press Release--09/29/06

ATHENS, GA - Today conservative college students at the University of Georgia are redistributing 1,500 new copies of their student newspaper, The Georgia GuardDawg, after vandals destroyed much of the original press run.

On the evening of Thursday, September 21, vandals trashed 1,200 copies of the GuardDawg. They also scrawled hate-filled graffiti on the GuardDawg's distribution bins. The estimated loss to the vandalism was $700.

David Kirby, publisher of the GuardDawg filed an official report with the campus police. The police are investigating the incident.

"Our September issue focused on the issue of free speech," Kirby said in a press release issued last week. "Perhaps these violent individuals should read our paper first to learn the importance of free speech."

The young conservatives from the GuardDawg, with help from the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program, immediately began raising money to reprint the destroyed newspapers.

This morning members of the paper personally handed out the 1,500 copies to students on campus to prevent similar damages from happening again.

"My initial reaction was overall disbelief and shock at the intolerance of some of my peers," said Sean Berger, the distribution director for the paper. "But, this is why I joined the GuardDawg in the first place -- to combat the intolerance of campus liberals."

"I am proud of the perseverance and professionalism displayed by the students at the GuardDawg," said Morton Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute. "They exemplify the principles of free speech and free press as they face such blatant intolerance on campus."

The vandalism came just one week after Kirby published a letter to the editor in another student paper, The Red & Black. In his letter, Kirby criticized the Red & Black for publishing an article in the 9/11 edition about prejudices faced by Muslim students. Kirby's letter also pointed out that the paper ignored campus events which commemorated the lives lost on 9/11 -- and, in fact, did not mention the anniversary at all.

In an email sent to Kirby after the letter appeared, Lauren Morgan, the opinions editor at the Red & Black, told Kirby that she had "received a ridiculous amount of hate mail" for publishing his letter. Morgan also suggested that Kirby reach out to the Muslim Student Association, "Maybe not in a formal apology, but at least maybe something to lessen the muslim [sic] student hostility towards you."

The September issue of The Georgia GuardDawg is available at http://guarddawg.com/index.php along with past issues and additional information.

Kirby and the GuardDawg staff plan to continue printing the paper monthly throughout the school year.

The Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program helps conservative students start newspapers and organizations on college campuses. Between September 2004 and the end of September 2006 the number of active CLP groups at colleges and universities grew from 216 to 777; a 360 percent increase. These groups fight extreme leftists on campuses in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Currently, the Leadership Institute has 60 full-time field representatives organizing new conservative student groups in all 50 states.

Students who would like to start a conservative group or campus newspaper should visit www.campusleadership.org. Additional information on the Leadership Institute is available at www.leadershipinstitute.org.

Contact: Michelle Miller
(703) 247-2000