Due South Refused Publication on Upcoming Issue for Religious Reason

By: Sydney McDonald | Managing Editor

Cover of Due South Fall 2019 Issue

[UPDATED 5:15 p.m. Nov. 14, 2019]

This morning, Thursday, Nov. 14, the Vanguard attempted to get a statement in person from Interstate Printing. Tracey Smith commented on behalf of the company saying that it was their “First Amendment Right” to choose not to publish Due South’s Diversity and Inclusion issue based on religious grounds. She then stated that she, or the company, had no further comment. 

On Interstate Printing’s website, they include the quote, “We are a Christian company that will serve the Lord God Almighty in any way we can,” along with a bible verse on the homepage. However, there are no specific guidelines on what they will or will not publish based on these company values. 

After mixed reviews relating to the story were circulated on Facebook, it was found that the owner of Interstate Printing, Dewey Phillips, has posted several memes on his personal Facebook page disparaging Muslims and their religion. 

When asked if South Alabama would be continuing business with Interstate Printing, the university released a statement regarding the concerns.  

“The University of South Alabama is committed to the principles of freedom of expression and the exchange of different points of view. We respect our students for having the courage of their convictions. At the same time, we also respect the rights of individuals and private businesses to make decisions that are consistent with their values. It is our hope that healthy and constructive dialogue can emerge from differing perspectives.”

Aside from the rejection, Due South has decided to continue publication with another company and is still set to release next Wednesday, Nov. 20.

At the time of publishing Interstate Printing has shut down its Facebook page and has made no further effort to comment on the situation. Follow The Vanguard for updates as this story develops.

[Previously Published at 11:00 a.m. Nov. 14, 2019]

Due South is South Alabama’s student-led magazine, led by Editor-In-Chief, Sara Boone. The Fall 2019 Issue was a special topic issue on diversity and inclusion that will include stories related to LGBTQ+, drag culture in Mobile, body positivity and much more. 

Interstate Printing has been working with Due South to provide all printing services since Boone’s career as EIC began three years ago. On Wednesday, Nov. 13 Interstate Printing sent Boone an email stating that they were “respectfully declining” to publish the Fall 2019 issue due to its content. Interstate Printing stated that the content in this semesters issue represented lifestyles that did not adhere to their Christian values. 

“That was very shocking to me considering this issue of Due South is about diversity and inclusion. We are trying to showcase the differences that people have and not hide them under a rug,” Boone said. “We want to show that we are not ashamed that we have different lifestyles present in our community. For a company to decline to print a magazine with this purpose, I find it very ironic.” 

Due South has begun working to find another company to print with to provide students and the community the chance to see the hard work and effort put into this semester’s issue by the Due South staff. 

The hope of this special topic issue was to help implement the ideas and acceptance of the diverse community at South by highlighting the different lifestyles. Due South staff spent this semester working with different people throughout the community to help tell these stories. The stories told in this issue are very important to the staff and were chosen for specific reasons to help promote the magazine’s idea for this issue. 

South Alabama ranks as the second most diverse university in Alabama according to Niche. South ranks in multiple categories of diversity including ethnicity, as well as economic. The university has also made the decision to introduce a diversity and inclusion officer to help implement the plans of the USA Diversity and Inclusion department.  

“I think it goes a little bit deeper than just saying that they’re a Christian company,” Boone said. “The entire point of this issue is to celebrate differences and it’s really hindering us from being able to do that.”

The Vanguard has reached out to Interstate Printing for a statement, but at the time of publishing, they have not responded.  

At this time the release date for the Fall 2019 issue is still set for the original date of Nov. 20. For continuing updates follow Due South on Instagram or any other social media.