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ECU, former media advisor issue joint statement

April 20, 2012

ECU News Services

East Carolina University’s former director of student media has agreed to drop efforts to get his job back. The university has stated Paul Isom’s separation from his role was because of a difference in philosophy, not for cause and has agreed to accept his resignation, according to ECU’s attorney and attorneys representing Isom.
Isom’s departure on Jan. 4, 2012, came two months after the student-run newspaper, the East Carolinian, published photos of a streaker at an ECU football game that showed full frontal nudity. While the timing drew some criticism from First Amendment advocates, Isom has acknowledged that it resulted from a difference in his professional philosophy and the expectations of the university.
While Isom said he disagrees with his termination, he believes this resolution is best for both parties.  “This allows us all to get on with our lives, without having to drag this out indefinitely,” Isom said.  “I truly enjoyed my time at ECU. The students were eager to learn, and were always very professional.”  Isom noted that under his guidance, the East Carolinian newspaper, and the Rebel, a literary magazine, each received national awards from student media organizations.
“While I am proud of the fact that these awards occurred during my tenure, it was the hard work of the students that garnered the well-deserved recognition,” Isom said. “While I regret that I will no longer be directing the student media, I am encouraged by the University’s statement that it will remain focused on providing students with a quality environment to learn journalism and exercise their First Amendment rights,” Isom said.
“This separation reflected a difference in philosophy and a desire to take student journalism at the East Carolinian in a new direction,” said Dr. Virginia Hardy, ECU’s Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. “East Carolina University acts in ways that demonstrate strong support for the First Amendment rights of its student journalists and has shown it is respectful and protective of those rights,” said Hardy.  “The interim advisor appointed for the East Carolinian is an impressive newspaper editor with a national reputation for journalistic integrity and accomplishment,” she added.
Isom will receive $31,200, which is the cost of health insurance and salary for six months at Isom’s former rate of pay. According to Donna Gooden Payne, university attorney for ECU, and Isom’s attorneys, John Hoomani and Amanda Martin, Isom and the university agreed to issue this joint statement.


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