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Haskell School Paper Recognized For Defying University President

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The Indian Leader, the student newspaper at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, is being recognized with a national award.
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The Indian Leader, the student newspaper at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, is being recognized with a national award.

The Native American Journalists Association has selected Haskell Indian Nations University's student newspaper to receive the 2021 NAJA Elias Boudinot Free Press Award.

The Indian Leader, the student publication at Haskell Indian Nations University, received the award for its battle with Dr. Ronald Graham, the university's former president.

During his tenure, Graham was accused by both faculty and students of suppressing free speech rights, after sending "directives" to different members of the Haskell community.

He ordered Editor-in-Chief Jared Nally to stop reporting on negative stories about the university and threatened to take action to stop it. Then, he sent out a similar directive to faculty members after they criticized university administrators on social media.

With support from the Native American Journalists Association, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Student Press Law Center, the newspaper pushed back and Graham was ultimately removed from his post after a vote of no-confidence by the Haskell Faculty Senate.

Nally and faculty advisor Rhonda LeValdo of The Indian Leader break down what happened and discuss how they feel about winning the national award.

  • Jared Nally, editor-in-chief of The Indian Leader
  • Rhonda LeValdo, faculty advisor of The Indian Leader
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