Letter from the Editor: A call for support

Dear members of the Lafayette community,

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspaper, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”—Thomas Jefferson

For years, student government has underfunded The Lafayette student newspaper. Until now, this has not been a problem. The Lafayette had a reserve account that was used to cover the majority of the newspaper’s core expenses.

But now that money is gone. After multiple meetings over a period of months, student government did not vote to allocate the newspaper sufficient funds to print until the end of the semester.

There are now serious concerns about the future of the oldest college newspaper in Pennsylvania.

Some members of student government questioned the value of The Lafayette to the campus. A college newspaper is an integral part of any college, and Lafayette has a long tradition of supporting the newspaper’s publication.

The Lafayette newspaper has provided a voice to the Lafayette community since September 1, 1870. We shine a light on the information that students, staff members, administrators, alumni and faculty have a right to know.

 

Without a newspaper, the Lafayette community loses its voice.

 

If you value freedom of the press, an independent news source on campus or believe The Lafayette is a fundamental part of campus life, please let student government know. Email them at lafstugov@lafayette.edu or post on their Facebook or Twitter. It can be something as simple as “I support The Lafayette” or #SupportTheLafayette. Right now we need your support in order to ensure the future of the college’s student newspaper.

 

Sincerely yours,

William W. Gordon ‘17
Editor-in-Chief

About William Gordon

William Gordon '17 is the editor-in-chief of The Lafayette. He writes about student government, law, financial aid and music. He's studying English and government & law with a minor in economics.

8 comments

This a shame, and it is completely unclear what exactly student government means by”value,” especially as something that is allegedly lacking in the newspaper. I think it might be important for faculty and students to ask the members of student government what specifically has more, or better “value.” Assuming that the budget has not gone down, what is this money being reallocated for? Bigger end of the year concert acts? More campus clubs? And even if the budget has gone down, I have hard time believing that anything could be as important as funding the school newspaper. This has been an important part of Lafayette’s history and an activity particular students dedicate their time to which many other students use socializing. Pathetic.
–Robert Blunt
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies

Dear Lafayette Community,

It is always great to see students rally together behind a common cause and express a common Lafayette identity. The #SupportTheLafayette is a great display of such, and Student Government agrees with you all that the newspaper is a vital part of our institution. This is why Student Government supports The Lafayette and this is why Student Government funded The Lafayette this past Wednesday.

First, a brief background. Prior to this year, the newspaper had been operating at a gross deficit and was shedding advertisement and subscription revenue at an alarming rate. The leadership of the paper was simultaneously draining their reserve account figures on weekly and expensive dinners for the editorial staff. This leadership is no longer in charge of The Lafayette.

The current managers at the paper have proven themselves to be resourceful, responsible, and forward-thinking. However, that does not absolve the organization of past mismanagement. Student Government has a longstanding precedent of holding clubs accountable while also providing an educational experience for the officers.

Student Government remains committed to equitably and appropriately funding the Student Activities Fund. As stewards of the student body’s money, we take this duty very seriously. The Lafayette requested $5,300 of us, and we granted it. For every dollar of revenue The Lafayette brings in (in 2012, they brought in $14,000; today, they bring in under $2,000), Student Government will match it. The newspaper is capable of generating this revenue, as previous years have shown, and we are confident in their ability to do so. In fact, the paper stands to receive more funding from us than they initially requested! If the paper is unable to raise this sum, they have more than double the money required to continue their operation in their reserve accounts.

If there were a risk of them not being able to print, we would have allocated the full sum post haste. But, there is not this risk.

So, we funded the newspaper. The current editorial staff, however, decided that they wanted the money now instead of at the end of the semester. If we granted their request this past Wednesday, we would have been unable to fund the other student organizations on campus for events they work hard to organize, and we believe this would have been a disservice to the entire student body.

The Lafayette was never and is not in danger of going under and no longer printing. If this were the case, Student Government would allocate the funds necessary to keep a part of the College afloat.

Student Government has always and will always serve the students. We remain steadfast in our rationale and believe we made the right decision for the student body. As always, welcome student input, either here or via email (lafstugov@lafayette.edu). We hope that you understand our decision making now that you have the full story.

The Lafayette is not going anywhere. #SupportTheLafayette.

Sincerely,

Lafayette College Student Government

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