- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 5, 2016

The campus newspaper at Rutgers University fired a student columnist after he confronted editors who would not let him use the phrase “illegal immigrant” in a piece about illegal immigration.

The term does not actually appear in the final Daily Targum column written by Aviv Khavich, a sophomore engineering student at the New Jersey university. An editor changed every mention of the highly politicized phrase to “undocumented alien” or “undocumented immigrant” without the author’s approval.

The column is titled — ironically, it turns out — “Enforcement of law is not anti-immigrant.”

When Mr. Khavich confronted higher-ups about the alterations, one editor said the phrase is not “AP style.” But, as Mr. Khavich wrote at The Tab, “undocumented” is not “AP style,” either.

Approached about that inconsistency, one editor said “undocumented” is “used more often by legitimate news sources.”

“This was, of course, entirely false as well,” Mr. Khavich wrote at The Tab. “The Center for Immigration Studies uses ‘illegal immigrant.’ The Federation for American Immigration Reform uses ‘illegal alien.’ CBS News uses ‘illegal immigrants.’ FOX News uses ‘illegal immigrants.’ Most importantly, the federal government itself uses ‘illegal aliens’ as its official terminology. So, again, not true.”

After exchanging several emails on the dispute, Mr. Khavich’s column was terminated.

A social-media post criticizing the Daily Targum’s reporting contributed to Mr. Khavich’s firing. That post, written two weeks earlier, took issue with an article that claimed there was an “increase in reported sexual assaults” at Rutgers, despite a drop in allegations in the most recent year for which data are available.

“It appears that the Targum might not be the best fit for you,” the newspaper’s editor in chief said in an email to Mr. Khavich. “As I said in my previous email, publicly disparaging the Targum in a public forum (or attempting to do so) is grounds for termination. Because you have attempted to do so — combined with your overt lack of respect for the editorial staff, and multiple instances in which you badgered our opinions editor following the publication of several of your pieces —I am terminating your column.”

This was not the first time one of Mr. Khavich’s columns ran afoul of the powers that be at the Targum.

Editors watered down a previous piece critical of Black Lives Matter, removing references to the movement’s “idolization of convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur” and “protesters trashing cities while explicitly targeting white people.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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