I want to take this opportunity to address the Letter to the Editor in the October 5th issue of The Pioneer. As I agree that there may be times student journalists must face the difficulties of getting answers, I feel that it is wrong to generalize and make it seem like this is an all-around problem with the entire administration.
Are there times that administrators will refuse to answer a question? Yes. Are there times that the school will demand something to be banned from being published? Yes.
However, let it not be forgotten that there are a plethora of administrators on this campus that are more than willing to cooperate with staff members of The Pioneer. I have very limited experience writing for The Pioneer, but every time I have approached a staff member or administrator, they have ALWAYS been more than happy to help. So, the campus administration does indeed realize the importance of our First Amendment rights. I think it is completely unfair to categorize the entire “campus administration” as being insensitive to the student newspaper’s right to free speech. If they all felt the need to hide under the rule that says they are not authorized to speak with us, then nobody would ever get quotes for their articles. If anything, the rule is just a cop-out excuse because the majority of the time the administrator WILL comment on whatever questions the reporter may have.
Additionally, it should be looked at how the reporter goes about approaching the situation. Are they polite and appreciative to receive cooperation from somebody who holds an important title within our institution? Or do they act disgruntled and annoyed if they don’t get the answer that they want? Are they unbiased in their approach, attempting to get all sides of the story? Or are they disrespectful by attempting to ridicule the person in charge of something that they don’t like?
Anybody who has studied Political Science understands the importance of the First Amendment, but if you are well-educated on the subject matter, you will understand that “the people” are limited to this freedom. If we had full range of the First Amendment, then the FCC wouldn’t fine a radio disc jockey for cursing over the airwaves. Porno would be on cable television. And there would be no witch hunt for the founder of WikiLeaks.
We must all come to the realization that every institution is a bureaucracy. And that bureaucracy is going to hold the power and do what it pleases. If an administrator is told by a higher administrator that they shouldn’t have said something, then it is going to happen. If there is information that is deemed questionable, as in “Do we really want this published in the school newspaper?”, then of course they are going to have it pulled.
This is just the way it is. You can complain about it and hope it may change. But in my opinion, our campus administration has been more than helpful in answering questions and responding to the concerns of the student body and I think its wrong to generalize the entire campus administration into a category of people that don’t like to cooperate.
I will also add two more thing. The conclusion of “Racial Survey” was generalized. I do not think the opinion of the writer should constitute the overall opinion of the student body. There were only a few quotes from Rita Langdon and one quote from a student who identifies themselves as Hispanic or Latino. Nowhere were there any quotes that could depict the overall feeling of the student body about the racial survey. To conclude by saying “Still, others didn’t take it because the answers were unacceptable to them.” I am curious to know whether this staff writer conducted her own survey to see what students found it unacceptable, what students don’t ever use their MyLIU due to the “many times there are problems” , and what students felt it was just too long. I’d be interested in hearing about the sample size of her survey.
Now, to the relationship column. Unacceptable. No quotes from men or other women on the subject matter. We have a pattern of generalization here. Apparently, our entire campus administration doesn’t want to cooperate with student journalists. Our entire student body hates using their MyLIU accounts because there’s always problems with it. And now all men want to have a 1950s housewife and drink beer when they come home from work.
This is not me and I don’t appreciate being put in this category.