If you're a student at Coastal Carolina University, you won't see a copy of the Sun News' free “alternative-type” paper, “The Weekly Surge,” on campus.
The college banned the paper because of its alcohol related content, as part of what CCU calls its “Initiative to bring awareness to alcohol and its effects.”
“I can see where they're coming from but I don't necessarily think the magazine itself is promoting alcohol,” said a Coastal student.
The Surge was dropped off informally on campus, but when they approached CCU to add distribution points at the University, Debbie Conner, the Vice President of Student Affairs, denied the request.
“I found that most of the articles dealt with conversations about alcohol or drinking and almost all the advertisements were advertisements related to establishments that are serving alcohol,” said Conner.
Conner said since most students are under the legal drinking age, she said it didn't make sense to promote that type of weekly on campus.
“We limit very strictly any other type of brochures and those type of things. Obviously, it's a publication that students can pick up in multiple places they're not just on campus,” said Conner.
“I think on campus we've pretty much got a relatively good grip as far as alcohol is concerned. Most of our problems lie off campus,” said Lt. Rodney Sessions, a criminal investigator for the campus department of public safety.
A problem police Lieutenant Sessions said has led to serious consequences.
“I've been too many incidents, too numerous to just count, where young people have chose to use alcohol and it's lead to some pretty serious incidents,” said Sessions.
Conner said she understands this decision is not going to end underage drinking, but she said it wasn't what they wanted to promote to students.
News13 contacted “The Weekly Surge” for a comment, they wrote:
“I spoke with Conner today and she said she reviewed copies of Surge and felt that the editorial and advertising content was geared too heavily toward alcohol and not a good fit for CCU's campus.
Whereas I can understand where she's coming from, and alcohol abuse is a serious matter as is underage drinking, I disagree with this apparent ban of Weekly Surge on CCU's campus and suppression of the First Amendment.
It completely ignores other aspects of our content, including regular columns devoted to local crime news, local music scene, local dining, the local gay and lesbian community, local entrepreneurs and craftsmen, and cover stories that have ranged the gamut from dealing with the pains of addiction, to harnessing offshore energy off of our coast, to CCU's women's athletics programs, Quidditch team, rugby club and HTC Center to this week's cover story which urges men to get screened for prostate cancer.
It sounds like CCU students are not being allowed to think for themselves – which is the opposite of what I was taught in college.”
Conner said this ban is not permanent. But for now, she said the paper did not fall in line with the educational goals for this semester.