The outgoing Editor-in-Chief, then and now. Photos provided by author.
The Daily Campus has had a profound impact on my life for the past four years. I showed up to an Opinion meeting after the involvement fair in fall 2019 and I’ve been there almost every (academic) Sunday since, writing all the way. Rather than cramming inside jokes and references in this final column, I’ll discuss some realizations I’ve made during this time.
I began in the Opinion section because I was pissed off at the University of Connecticut, mostly at the administration. I now see how our problems — lack of democracy and student services, increasing tuition and fees and unethical industrial connections — are very similar at every other large state university in the United States. I’ve also realized how UConn can’t be meaningfully viewed in isolation from the state and regional economies which determine basically everything here.
I see the political inactivity of the student body compared to the championship win celebrations and reflect on “who” UConn is. UConn isn’t filled with oppressed, working-class people. Most people here are very well off as a result of global oppression, if they aren’t its direct perpetrators. Those at UConn who are oppressed or working class face many institutional obstacles to articulating the systemic roots of these problems, much less challenging them. We attend a prestigious, predominantly white institution in one of the most unequal states in the U.S..
Such a student body doesn’t lend to student groups having voracious public participation and involvement; thus, nor can an organization like The Daily Campus easily be a tool for political change. In spite of the amazing work many of our writers continue, today, functionally speaking, we are a business and newspaper production company long before an advocacy group.
It’s much more relevant to our material position as a Tier III student organization to make peace with the administration and their many harmful activities and associations. Although we are ostensibly an independent student newspaper, the UConn board of trustees decides our yearly funding and sanctions our continued existence as a Tier III. That group governs the university with only one-in-21 undergrad representatives, who haven’t exactly been the most outspoken for student interests in the past. If the board of trustees wants, they can shut us down entirely without public input. It’s a bad situation for any student organization, much less a group of muckrakers.
Over the past four years, my naive hope for encouraging radical politics within a business —albeit a student-run one — was curtailed. But not only is The Daily Campus as much a political outlet as it is a cultural one, it is also filled with beautiful journalists who should continue discovering their skills, attempting to expose and analyze the truly disgusting contradictions in our community. I say with love that they should look for outlets beyond Tier III student groups to seriously affect political change. Ultimately, everyone should be realistic about our ability to build any political movements in the confines of a truly racist, bloodthirsty, money hungry and apathetic, predominantly white institution like UConn.
I’ll send nothing but love to my Daily Campers from beyond the grave (now that I’m unemployed). Shout-out to Zach, Grace, Maddie, Nell, Owen, Maggie, Kevin and plenty others without whom I wouldn’t have found such an amazing home for the past four years. Love you guys, eat your vegetables, be kind to one another and even as fun and profitable as it is, try not to cook up too much fake news after I’m gone. Bye!