University newspaper editor forced to resign after Mask editorial

After a 20-year-old college editor wrote an op-ed opposing the use of masks in the classroom, she was forced to resign her post, drawing national attention from Kansas City Star and other organizations that protested against his ouster.

Maddison Farris, editor-in-chief of Oklahoma State University The O’Colly, wrote in an op-ed about a classroom experience when a teacher asked him to wear a mask. When she refused, he told her to leave the class. She had done her “research,” she wrote, and knew that “a mask could not be required of me in a school setting in the state of Oklahoma.” She therefore decided to “take a stand”. She made several phone calls to the Oklahoma governor’s office and contacted the Oklahoma state legal counsel, but received no response. According to the Oklahoma State website, the university “expects” the use of masks indoors in public spaces.

Farris wrote that her problem was not with wearing a mask, but with “controlling,” and she urged students across the state of Oklahoma to “wake up and realize they have a voice.”

Since the publication of the editorial, The O’Colly released a correction indicating that the state of Oklahoma has guidelines for faculty to decide whether or not to require masks when teaching in person. When university health services report a positive case of COVID-19 in a classroom, the professor is allowed to move the class online or remain in person and require students to wear masks.

The correction came with a major backlash on social media, Farris told the Star, with half of the staff at The O’Colly saying they would strike until she resigned. She did so reluctantly, she said, after several staff members stopped working on the paper. The state of Oklahoma has no say, the Star reports, but “appears to have taken sides against Farris, even denying that she was forced to resign.” “

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