Emails warn workers at Colorado Capitol not to speak to the press

KUNC (Greeley): More than 100 Senate staff, aides and interns have been warned against speaking to journalists about workplace issues, including sexual harassment, and the trainings aimed at preventing it.

At issue are two emails obtained from Senate sources that say it is a violation of the chamber’s policies for workers to grant interviews to reporters. A third email, sent directly to us by the top Senate administrator, asked us to tell members of other news organizations not to approach aides and interns for interviews, but rather to speak with communications secretaries. We didn’t act on that request because it’s not our role to direct the reporting of other news organizations.

The emails have raised the issue freedom of speech for some at the Capitol at a time when people are speaking out against sexual harassment in hopes of improving workplace culture.

Senate Secretary Effie Ameen, the chamber’s nonpartisan administrator, sent the first email last month to 103 aides and interns. The email came a time when four legislators — including three senators — faced independent investigations into allegations of sexual harassment. Harassment trainings were also being conducted and journalists sought interviews with aides and interns about the trainings.

“I know the press has been requesting interviews from aides and possibly other staff,” Ameen wrote on Feb. 2, 2018. “If you could please remind aides of our policy in the aide handbook.”

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