Wesleyan Cuts Newspaper Funding, Apparently Hates Free Speech

MV5BMTc0MzQ1MDE4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTAyNzYyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_Oh, Wesleyan. Are you actively trying to become a parody of yourself? Or maybe you’re just hoping Jeremy Piven will star in another movie about you? We can’t imagine why anyone would want to be associated with Piven — so we’re going to assume you have your heads so far up your art history studying tushes, that you’ve forgotten about the importance of free speech, especially on college campuses.

For those of you who are not following the shenanigans going on at Wesleyan, here is a rundown:

  • In September a student wrote an arguably stupid Op-Ed criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement
  • The liberal sensibilities of a bunch of sheltered college kids were offended
  • Instead of just, say, being satisfied to write their own Op-Eds in response, and getting a healthy dialog going — where even dissenting opinions are allowed and encouraged — “student government members also called for the paper to be boycotted altogether over the decision to publish the op-ed” according to Jezebel
  • Then the Student Assembly voted to slash the newspaper’s funding from $30k to $13k…or did it

The Student assembly claims, via Twitter, that it did not vote to defund The Argus.

wesleyan

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really buy it — especially considering the dearth of significant details at the other end of that link. We take more of a McEnroeian view on it:

colinAny Student Assembly could have foreseen this reaction to this action. If you honestly believed this was not about punishing the paper, it would have been wise to get out in front of the backlash — talk to the editors, get editorials in the paper and on the site explaining the action, and getting the newspaper to express its support (if that actually exists). It’s just good PR.

Apparently the good folks in Wesleyan’s history department need to do a better job of teaching the student population about the American right to freedom of speech and the important roll a free press plays in the system that ensures our right to say stupid stuff that other people don’t agree with. Or maybe we should blame sites like the DailyDot (and Jezebel, and a whole host of others…along with Twitter) who give voice to the kinds of people who call for the firing of pretty much every person who says something they don’t agree with.

Here’s the upside to all of this. The Student Assembly is framing this as a way to reduce “paper waste” — basically by cutting the number of physical copies of The Argus that are distributed. The joke is on them, because what college student even picks up a physical newspaper anymore? It’s all about the web, and the site is still going strong.

We encourage you to visit the site and leave comments…lots of comments.

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