An amazing friend and mentor to all of us here at the Indiana Daily Student passed away Saturday. David Adams, director of student media, died from causes yet unknown.
His job title and description cannot begin to describe the many duties this great man did for student media nationwide. As a student press advocate, Dave was a vehement supporter of free student press at all levels of education. As such, he was an outspoken critic in a recent scandal involving the retaliatory firing of the Woodlan Junior-Senior High School newspaper adviser in East Allen County. Lately, we had developed a ritual of sitting in his office together debating the case’s ramifications for the First Amendment. In the precious little time I was privileged to know the man, he instilled in me his tremendous knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of student media, for which I am eternally grateful.
The first time I met Dave was while he was investigating the unwarranted firing of Karen Bosley, the adviser at my former college newspaper, the Viking News, at Ocean County College in New Jersey. When the story blew up onto the national press scene, Dave, along with Tom Eveslage of Temple University, came to OCC to investigate her firing on behalf of College Media Advisers. Due in part to Dave’s tireless efforts, Bosley was eventually reinstated by a temporary restraining order issued by a federal judge.
Dave met with me and former editors of the paper to ask what we believed to be the true causes for Bosley’s dismissal. Then he proudly provided me a copy of the IDS. When I saw the paper, I was awestruck by how professional it looked. I knew I had to be a part of it. When I told Dave I wanted to apply to IU and write for the IDS, I sensed he was more excited than my own parents would be.
Even after the investigation was over and Dave released his findings in a report with College Media Advisers, he and I kept in touch via e-mail. He always tried to keep my spirits up, despite the incredibly depressing retaliation I experienced from administrators at OCC.
When two other editors of the Viking News and I filed a lawsuit against the college to address Bosley’s dismissal, Dave found a way to make me feel proud of my decision to go up against that administration. “Certainly, this will be a year you will remember the rest of your life, Alberto, and I’m blessed to have come to know you through this difficult situation, too,” Dave wrote to me in a May 12, 2006 e-mail. “I really, really hope we get to work together next year or in the future.”
And I did get to work with him. He and Bosley pushed me to apply to IU so I could hone my craft and be a part of an amazing staff. But the reason I came here was because I knew Dave would take me under his wing and teach me everything he knew, from student media to First Amendment issues. Unfortunately, at the time of his passing, he had only just begun.
While looking through my collection of e-mails from Dave, I found more words of encouragement regarding my fear of IU – and gosh, I was afraid. But like he did with so many other students, Dave told me to keep my chin up and not to be scared.
“I do understand your fear,” Dave told me in an e-mail, “but, sometimes, it’s important to walk on through your fears and know that sometimes, fear is often a myth that disables us from doing what we need to do.”
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