Editor of student newspaper out after publishing controversial articles

The editor-in-chief of a student newspaper at the University of New Brunswick is out after publishing an op-ed and interview with the head of a group that posted what were described as racist posters on campus.

Anna De Luca had defended her decision to publish the articles in The Baron by saying the newspaper believes in “unfettered freedom of speech and expression.”

She could not be reached for comment Thursday, but the paper’s board apologized “for the negligence and oversight in these articles being published.”

READ: Outspoken professor stokes free-speech debate at East Coast university

In the articles, Michael Thurlow, leader of the National Socialist Canadian Labour Revival Party, makes comments about Jews and what he calls historical exaggerations and lies involving the residential school system.

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The articles were met by a backlash, and on Wednesday, the board of directors of the paper – which is produced on UNB’s Saint John campus – issued a statement saying Thurlow represents points of view that are harmful and in many cases not factual.

“While the board of this organization appreciates that editors need to be afforded the opportunity to explore journalistic expression, it does not support, nor will it tolerate the publication of what is, at the very least, content deemed as hate speech towards any group,” the board wrote.

“The board has taken corrective measures for the actions regarding the publication of these articles, and subsequent comments that were made.”

The board later posted a tweet saying business manager Logan Johnson had been appointed as interim editor-in-chief.

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“We apologize for the negligence and oversight in these articles being published, and any comments that were made and were perceived to have come from The Baron as a collective voice, as they were not. We commit to strengthening our process to ensure greater accountability and oversight as we move forward,” the board wrote on The Baron’s website.

David Stonehouse, senior manager of media relations for UNB, said Thursday the university did not interfere in the running of The Baron.

“The Baron is an independent student-run publication overseen by its own student board of directors, making its own decisions on its affairs. We understand the board has undertaken a number of commitments, including an affirmation of freedom of the press and editorial accountability, that we hope will renew and strengthen the publication for the future,” he wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.

Earlier this month, a series of posters were removed from buildings on the university’s Fredericton campus after they were deemed to be “racist and bigoted.”

The posters made inflammatory statements about the former residential school system and called on readers to reject what it called “an anti-white narrative being pushed in media and academia.”

“Overwhelmingly, Native Americans are beneficiaries, and not victims, of the society built by Europeans,” one poster said.

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The initial posters were anonymous, but later posters showed they were the work of Thurlow’s group, and included statements such as “Multiculturalism is a destructive delusion.”

Campus security is still investigating, and Fredericton police were made aware of the posters.

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