Editor Resigns Amid Paper’s Battle with Student Government

There is a classic battle brewing in Bend, Ore.: student newspaper versus student government.  The Broadside, the student-run weekly at Central Oregon Community College, has been at odds with the Associated Students of Central Community College (ASCOCC) over an “investigative series on student government corruption” it launched this semester.

Among its findings, according to a Student Press Law Center report, “[S]tudent government publicist Brenda Pierce’s boyfriend made over $19,000 in student fee money for maintaining a Facebook page [see screenshot of story below]- over twice what any member of the actual student government made. A second story alleges that Pierce maintained her post as publicist despite having dropped so many classes that she was no longer considered a COCC student. Pierce later re-enrolled.”

The articles, and the acrimony they stirred, led to official chatter at an ASCOCC meeting earlier this month about possibly cutting student fees going to the paper. No action has yet been taken.

But there is now a new bizarre twist: the sudden resignation of Broadside‘s editor in chief.  He says he felt forced to resign after an anonymous comment was posted on the paper’s website referring to an incident last summer in which he was apparently caught stealing from a former employer.

In his words, “This personal issue has been brought to the light and it has had a substantial effect on the newspaper. . . . It is very suspect that things happened in this manner, however, the coverage in the paper will continue on ASCOCC, even without me.”

The ASCOCC is denying any involvement with the posting of the comment. Regardless, even the ASCOCC’s own finance coordinator is disappointed with the group’s treatment of the paper: “The truth is student government hasn’t been very fair with people.  At least not with the Broadside.”

 

A letter from Broadside's editor in chief prior to his resignation addressed the controversy the paper's investigative series had caused. He writes in the letter, "If misleading and aggressive tactics are used or encouraged by ASCOCC members, they need to stop. I understand how messy politics can get, however that does not mean professionalism should be lost."

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