Daily Texan Barred From Endorsing Student Candidates

In a political ruling that must have the word ridiculous buried somewhere in its bylaws, the student-led Election Reform Task Force at the University of Texas has barred The Daily Texan from endorsing student candidates.  (Thank you to a friend at UWIRE for the heads-up.)
Why?  Because the newspaper receives student fees as a minor portion of its funding.  Read the following, and see if you can follow the logic.  According to the task force: “[S]uch endorsements, which are published on the opinion page, force candidates to monetarily support their opposition because every student is required to pay fees. . . . [As one task force member said] ‘You can’t expect another candidate who didn’t get endorsed and who pays student fees to in some ways pay for something that is detrimental to their campaign.'”
The decision reeks of desperation and literally elicited an aloud “Eww” from me upon first learning about it.  The problems it creates are FAR greater than whatever it is they are hoping to solve:
1) A stifling of student press freedom.  Make no mistake: This task force is effectively censoring the Texan.
2) A loss of an important independent voice in the student election process.  Contrary to what the task force is asserting, candidates are not funding themselves or their opponents when they pay student fees that help support the Texan.  They are funding a student voice, an objective one, one whose political endorsements offer an honest, reasoned take on student politics (and politicians) of the moment.  On a campus level, the student newspaper endorsement is the closest thing we have to a credible alternative to campaign posters and lollipop-giveaway-vote-for-me shill-fests.  It’s not partisan.  It’s not paid advertising.  It’s called honesty, or at least objectivity.
3) A slippery slope.  First, endorsements are banned from appearing in the paper, so as not to upset opposition candidates.  What’s next?  Will the paper be stopped from running negative articles on the football team because it offends fee-paying student sports fans?  Task force, take note: Censorship is NOT a road you want to begin traveling down.
4) Students left with a bad impression of student politics and the pressThe Daily Texan is a terrific paper known nationwide for its gung-ho editorial independence.  This ban implies its endorsements somehow are tainted and that student fees allow the school to exert control over college media content.
A word of advice to the task force: Feel free to clean up your politics.  Steer clear of the student press.  And by the way, I bet at least a tiny bit of your student fees goes toward the holding of campus elections.  So since we’re doing away with endorsements, I guess we have to stop holding the elections too, all for the same reason.  I mean, it’s not fair that the losers should have to fund an event that leads to their opponent’s victory!  Don’t understand?  Google the word ridiculous.
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  1. […] link is courtesy of College Media Matters, who rightly decries the decision as a censorial measure. As a fan of the Wildcat, I would hope it […]