Editorial: The Daily Campus should remain independent
Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2003
Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 17:01
"In-de-pend-ent, adj. 1. not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc; thinking or acting for oneself. 2. not subject to another's authority or jurisdiction; autonomous, free" - The Random House Dictionary of the English Language
Independence is the goal of every student-run newspaper. And while being completely, financially independent is something few papers are able to achieve, being free of the control of the administration is something that is imperative for a student newspaper if it is to live up to its role as a watchdog.
The Daily Campus is currently set up in such a manner as to be protected from the administration by a Board of Directors that was set up by the Board of Trustees in 1973; it is a mix of students and professionals that oversees the finances and acts as a buffer between students and administrators. The Board of Directors is prohibited by The Daily Campus constitution from overseeing content. All the day-to-day work of The Daily Campus is done by dedicated students. From the selling of ads and their placement on the pages, to the choice of stories, the photos, writing and layout, The Daily Campus is the students who produce it.
This set-up is crucial to allow The Daily Campus to function with maximum credibility and integrity, and at the same time give students a place where they can learn how to run a newspaper. The recent appearance of a study group appointed by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Vicky Triponey threatens to destroy the independence that is so important to the survival of The Daily Campus as a valid, honest, credible voice for the students. The Daily Campus is the watchdog for the administration. If the newspaper becomes subject to the whims of the administration, if they are able to change the structure as it suits them, then The Daily Campus will lose the ability to report responsibly on the administration's activities. The Board of Directors and the Staff Publication Board, which is made up of the student editors and managers of The Daily Campus are, collectively, the only bodies in a position to make changes to the structure of The Daily Campus without threatening the autonomy of the organization. Aside from the fact that these two groups are the only ones that have a grasp of the nature of not only this newspaper, but of any newspaper, the constitution is set up so as to provide avenues of change should those in charge deem it necessary.
The Daily Campus struggles every day to be taken seriously and to act professionally. If the administration were to enter into our operations in any way, they would irrevocably obliterate the credibility and independence that the students who work at the paper fight to achieve on a daily basis. Appointing any personnel to The Daily Campus that would answer directly to the university and not to the student executive officers would be incredibly devastating: devastating to the independence of the newspaper and devastating to The Daily Campus as it exists today. Even if this personnel was only in charge of finances, it has been said by many that whoever controls the money controls the news. Student-run newspapers cannot allow anyone besides the student editors to control what goes into its pages. To say that placing a person who answers to the university within the infrastructure of any student newspaper to oversee the finances and in the same breath say this would not affect the editorial content is more than naïve, it is ignorant.
The independence of The Daily Campus is in serious jeopardy. The voice of the students may be silenced. Student journalistic integrity is being threatened, and we refuse to sit idly by while it is stolen.