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Ryan Golden and Rebecca Schisler Receive AAUP Award for Excellence in Student Coverage of Higher Education

For their reporting in Mount St. Mary’s University’s the Mountain Echo, Ryan Golden and Rebecca Schisler are the recipients of this year’s Martin D. Snyder Award for Excellence in Student Coverage of Higher Education. They will receive the award Saturday, June 18, at an awards luncheon during the AAUP’s Annual Conference on the State of Higher Education. Their story “Mount President’s Attempt to Improve Retention Rate Included Seeking Dismissal of 20-25 First-Year Students” exposed a controversial freshman retention plan introduced by the university’s then-president Simon Newman and became national news. Two professors, including the student newspaper faculty advisor, were summarily dismissed in the wake of the story and later reinstated, and president Newman resigned after much controversy following his reference to struggling undergraduates as “cuddly bunnies” who should be drowned or shot. Their entry was chosen for thoughtful and comprehensive reporting on an important issue. Following the controversy at Mount Saint Mary’s, Maryland followed several other states in passing legislation that protects journalistic freedom for high school and college newspapers and safeguards advisors to student newspapers from retaliatory punishment.

Ryan Golden is a 2016 graduate of Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD, where he earned a BA in communications with concentrations in public relations and journalism. He worked on the Mountain Echo as a reporter and editor for four years, serving as the Echo's managing editor during the 2015–16 academic year. Ryan is the recipient of the 2016 Phillip R. O'Connell Memorial Prize for outstanding work in the field of publications or communications. He is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta honor society and served as president of its Rho Epsilon chapter.

Rebecca Schisler is a senior at Mount Saint Mary’s University, majoring in philosophy and sociology with a minor in legal studies. For 2015–16, she served as the news editor for the Mountain Echo and in 2016–17 she will serve as managing editor. She is also captain of the mock trial team. After graduating from Mount Saint Mary’s, Schisler plans to attend law school and eventually focus on first amendment law.

The Martin D. Snyder Award for Excellence in Student Coverage of Higher Education is awarded for high caliber reporting in student newspapers.

Publication Date: 
Thursday, June 9, 2016