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Dailey says the committee's goal will be to review outdated newspaper guidelines, to look at how to improve journalism education at the college and to establish a new publication board at the college's other campus in Clarkdale, which has a paper but no publication board. The committee will not replace the Prescott campus publication board.
The committee will consist of several experienced journalists with no connection to the college, Dailey and Riefsnyder say. And both say they had been thinking about creating such a committee for several years.
"It will be people who also will be interested in defending the First Amendment," Riefsnyder says. "We need to provide students with the best possible instruction. That's all this is about."
Verbout and other faculty members aren't so sure.
"We wrote back that this seemed to be re-creating something that doesn't need re-creating," Verbout says. "Then we were told we misunderstood it. It felt like somebody was blowing smoke."
To Sanders, it sounded like the Rough Writer would be gutted this summer. So he published Dailey's letter. He called First Amendment attorneys in Phoenix who now, as one of the attorneys puts it, are "watching with interest what happens with this case."
Sanders then published the summary of The Britton Report, a 1997 $40,000 study conducted by counselors to assess the relationship among faculty, staff and administration at the college. The report was damning of Dailey's policies and tactics, and, because of that, Sanders says, the report was buried.
Indeed, according to one division chairperson speaking at the January meeting, high-ranking college employees were told to destroy their copies of the Britton Report.
"I got the only copy left," Sanders says.
As school ends, so does Sanders' stint as editor of the Rough Writer.
"You don't think a little thing like that would kill the truth, do you?" he asks.
In early May, Sanders found a building to rent near downtown Prescott. By the time school starts in the fall, he hopes to have his own newspaper up and running in the building.
"I got this journalism stuff in my blood," he says. "The people in this area need somebody who will give them the straight truth."
A top concern: watching the goings-on at Yavapai Community College.
The faculty will be watching, too. Ten of the 80 remaining full-time faculty members are leaving this spring, Verbout says. Many more want to quit or are biding their time until retirement. And many more may quit if the administration "does what it always does in the summer," Verbout says.
Every summer, when faculty is away, that's when the big bad stuff happens," she says. "Something will probably happen with the paper while we're away. And we're afraid, too, that division chairs, who are faculty, will be replaced with administrators so that nobody will be talking at all anymore."
"We'll be watching -- we'll keep the light on all this," Sanders says, holding up his microrecorder. "There will be accountability."