Editorial: The Daily Campus is free from outside authority, and that’s a good thing

Although UConn has threatened to cut funding to the paper, The Daily Campus maintains its editorial independence and will keep it that way. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

With press freedom becoming a national concern due to the new president, and with ongoing conflicts at UConn that are begging for media coverage, The Daily Campus Editorial Board would like to formally state that this newspaper is editorially independent from any external force, and must continue to be.

In the past, The Daily Campus has conducted original and impactful reporting on the UConn Foundation, the Co-op (or lack thereof), the campus natural history museum, the Board of Trustees, Transportation Services and campus racism, among other important issues. Writers, contributors, copy editors and designers have worked to fulfill their duty to students, as university enrollees each pay the newspaper $10 a semester so that we might keep them informed, and so that we might keep the university from abusing its money, power and prestige to shirk the responsibility of transparency to the community it serves.

The Daily Campus is entirely student-run. Colleges and universities across the country have threatened or fired students/faculty advisers of student papers for muckraking coverage that administrators would rather not have printed in the public domain. For example, “A March 2016 survey of college and university media advisers affiliated with the College Media Association revealed that over a three-year period more than twenty media advisers who had not previously shared their stories reported suffering some degree of administrative pressure to control, edit, or censor student journalistic content,” according to an American Association of University professors report. At Butler University, Mount Saint Mary’s University and Fairmount State University, to name several, instances of institutional repression have punished student papers and their staff for publishing the truth.

The University of Connecticut administration engaged in its own version of this oppression when, almost two years ago, they told The Daily Campus that if the paper didn’t convert to an all-student Board of Directors, per Tier III organization rules, funding would be cut heavily. The alumni advisers on the board were against this move and thought that The Daily Campus should have fought the university on this decision. But, while these advisers were highly knowledgeable and helpful to running the paper, their role within the organization hurt Daily Campus sovereignty from outside influence. To the administration, they were a bargaining chip.

The departure of these professionals officially made The Daily Campus a completely student-operated endeavor. The Daily Campus does not have a newspaper adviser, or even advisees on the Board of Directors any longer. The former is for a myriad of reasons: the adviser could either function as a censor, or push for valuable, watchdog journalism, which could end up in their being scapegoated. We are in good shape financially, a rarity for many college newspapers. Without exception, The Daily Campus is a student organization. This characteristic, as well as our financial viability, makes certain that The Daily Campus can continue reporting without reservation on stories that matter.

We, at The Daily Campus, recognize and emphasize the importance of being student-run and editorially independent. Our foremost concern is informing students. This means preventing misinformation, presenting vital news that has a direct effect on the student population, acting as a voice for those who attend school here and holding those accountable who determine the laws of the land and the campus. We are fortunate to be in stable financial condition and to still operate autonomously from any university influence in terms of content, and we thank our readers for their continued support.