A Questionable Quote About ‘Rich, White Males’ Led to a Student Newspaper’s Demise (& Rebirth)

In fall 2014, a reporter for the Bulldog Weekly student newspaper at the University of Redlands asked a student source what they thought of a new $35 million scholarship for UR students. The source’s response: The scholarship was “intended for a certain type of person.” The reporter asked if the source meant “rich, white males”? The source agreed. The quote — including the “rich, white males” portion — appeared in a story about the scholarship. The student government soon after suspended the paper’s $40,000 funding and fired the adviser.

In a piece published earlier this month on The Billfold, Leah Smith tells the tale of how that quote — which the reporter admits was “questionable journalism” — led to the Bulldog’s demise. The happy (at least for now) twist in the tale: A crowdfunding campaign has launched a new, totally independent student pub. According to its staffers, the outlet’s independence allows them to investigate and rightfully criticize U. of Redlands without fear of retribution.

Taylor Holmes was co-editor of the old Bulldog and is co-founder of the new Bulldog. His take: “[The student government] definitely would have shut us down for running a budget story that reveals that the president is making more than half a million dollars per year, and meanwhile we don’t have any tenured faculty being hired. We never would have been able to publish some of the stuff we published in the last few weeks had we still been working with [student government] oversight, so overall I think it was the best possible outcome in the worst possible way.”

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