Opinion: NewEnglander staff supports student press freedom

We stand with the two student journalists from The Dartmouth who were unjustly arrested while covering a pro-Palestinian protest.

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By: Tommy Doe and Kyle Dobrie

In light of the protests that have impacted student journalists within our state and throughout the country, we, members of The NewEnglander, the student run newspaper at New England College, believe that these actions are complete violation of the First Amendment. 

As a reminder, the First Amendment states: 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”  

On May 1, two student journalists were arrested at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, while reporting on a pro-Palestinian protest on the college campus. Charlotte Hampton and Alesandra Gonzales were taken into custody while reporting for The Dartmouth, the student-run newspaper. According to The Press Freedom Tracker, both students displayed their press credentials, held professional cameras, and had reporter notebooks. Traditionally, these are used to signal to law enforcement that an individual is associated with a news organization and therefore, distinguish reporters from protestors. Both students were charged with criminal trespassing and released that night, according to The Dartmouth.

According to NHPR, despite backlash over the charges against the student journalists, the charges have not been dropped. The Press Freedom Tracker reports that both students are currently barred from multiple campus locations, including the president’s office, the administrative building, and the campus green, where the protest took place.

The president of Dartmouth college released a statement following the protests but did not directly address the student journalists.

The initial court hearings for Hampton and Gonzales are scheduled for August 5. 

This situation is not unique to Dartmouth College, it has been going on across the country:

Student and professional journalists deserve the respect and freedom to report information and should not live in fear of prosecution.

Signed,

Kyle Dobrie ‘25, Editor-In-Chief 

Thomas Doe ‘24, Assistant Editor 

Parker Dube ‘26, Reporter 

Ryan Merrill ‘24, Reporter 

Alissia Corona ‘24, Reporter  

Leah Bohling ‘27, Reporter 

Katelyn Arp ’24 Social media

Suzette Pujols ’26 Reporter

Lucas Woods ’26 Editor/designer

Colleen McElveen, Advisor

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