Mark Trahant. Photo: Trahant Reports
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Mark Trahant quits post after university stifles discussion on Dakota Access Pipeline





Veteran Native journalist Mark Trahant is quitting his job at the University of North Dakota after he said officials stifled his efforts to discuss the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy.

Trahant, a citizen of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, was appointed the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the university in 2015. But in a post on his personal Facebook page, he said he won't be renewing his term because he wasn't able to host public forums where the #NoDAPL movement would have been discussed.

"It really comes down to this: I am disappointed and disgusted that the university is not an institutional leader in this state. It should be a beam of light, shining on the protected realm of rational discourse," Trahant wrote in the post. He said one request last year was "put on hold" and another this year was met with concerns about how politicians in the state would react.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the university did not outright deny Trahant's account. A spokesperson for merely said President Mark Kennedy had no "knowledge" about alleged retaliation from politicians if Trahant went ahead with his efforts.

Trahant has worked in media, both Native and commercial, for more than 30 years. An excerpt of his Facebook post follows:
Some news.

I have decided to not renew my term as an endowed chair at the University of North Dakota. It really comes down to this: I am disappointed and disgusted that the university is not an institutional leader in this state. It should be a beam of light, shining on the protected realm of rational discourse. Last year, for example, I was asked to coordinate a journalism lecture series. I proposed hearing from the journalists who covered Standing Rock. Nope. Instead the series was “put on hold.” This year I suggested a conference on technology and society, again leading with a conversation about Standing Rock and social media. Again, no, and I learned about senior administration fears that the legislature might retaliate.

I understand that it's important to keep fighting, but when your institution is absent, well, for me, this chapter ends.

Read More on the Story:
Professor quits over denied Dakota Access pipeline seminars (The Associated Press October 26, 2017)