MYRTLE BEACH — Coastal Carolina University has banned distribution of the Weekly Surge from its campus.
CCU’s Vice President of Student Affairs Debbie Conner decided Monday not to allow the free weekly to be distributed on campus because of the publication’s articles and advertising related to alcohol.
Surge editor Kent Kimes acknowledged the alcohol-related content, but pointed to additional types of stories featured in the paper, such as columns devoted to local crime and music as well as cover stories ranging from dealing with addiction to CCU women’s athletics programs. Surge is a publication of The Sun News.
“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,” Kimes said. “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.”
Conner said most of the school’s students are under 21, the legal drinking age.
“We’re working diligently to have positive conversations about alcohol abuse and alcohol consumption,” she said. “Several of the articles were about fixing cocktails and reviewing happy hours. … That’s not something we want to promote to our students.”
Conner said there were times when stacks of Surge papers could be found in the library, but there was no distribution rack. She said she was not aware of any discussion regarding the distribution of the weekly on campus until recently.
“If there was some distribution of the paper, it had not been approved,” Conner said.
Kimes said, “That’s news to me.”
Kimes said Surge approached the school about having expanded distribution during the first two weeks of the school year, which began Monday. Instead of expanded distribution, the paper was banned outright.
“It sounds like CCU students are not being allowed to think for themselves – which is the opposite of what I was taught in college,” Kimes said.
Surge was founded in 2006 as an alternative weekly publication for entertainment, news and lifestyle information for locals in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.