Letter from the Editor: Importance of Truth
As the campus election season kicks off today with the candidates for seats in the Associated Students participating in a public debate, there is a shadow being cast over the proceedings after Monday's AS meeting in the Cayton center.
It was a surreal moment as the board of directors apparently engaged in an intense face off with AS adviser Sonali Bridges. A back and forth came about after the AS board sought to make changes to its constitution and Bridges sought to block the move. The standoff culminated with disciplinarian Deyna Hearn being literally phoned in during the middle of the meeting. With AS President Ali Khan exclaiming "I'm at my wit's end" and Bridges herself saying "I'm done," it left one wondering: What is going on up there at the Cayton Center?
Our student government is elected in a democratic process meant to mimic that of the wider, state and national practice. More urgently, we pay dues and afford the AS economic power to the tune of a $1 million budget. Monday's civil war amongst the board and its adviser raises serious questions about what is happening behind the closed doors of our student government. It was a public eruption that felt like a culmination of hidden disputes we are yet to learn about.
Maybe we should learn soon about what is happening between our student government and its adviser. It is inevitable that in a group setting there will be disagreements and sometimes uncomfortable debates. We know about this well at The Corsair. Whoever wins the AS elections next week will have to prepare themselves and grow skin of steel to take on the challenge of leadership.
In this issue our A&E editor Devin Page also responds to a recent demand by organizers of a #BlackLivesMatters public theater performance to edit out of his report on the performance quotes from performers in the production. When I explained to organizers that the performers chose to share their stories in a public forum, they responded by e-mail blasting SMC President Chui L. Tsang, targeting myself and our adviser, Saul Rubin. They demanded that we not only censor the article but publish an article explaining our self-censorship. The demand raises the issue of our First Amendment rights as a free newspaper in a free society. Personally, I believe the stories the performers at the event were powerful testaments of urban life in modern America and the abuse witnessed being carried out by local police. This is why it was baffling to see the event organizers practice a bizarre form of image control by demanding we remove statements made in public, for public consumption and awareness.
It is our duty to report the facts honestly and accurately. We are not a paper with an agenda, we are not a political vehicle espousing only left-wing, right-wing, or even centrist views, because we run them all. We do not cater to movements or political power, because that would take away our independence. As our campus prepares to exercise a form of democracy, it is vital to remember how vital the chronicling of truth is. Without it, we would be chasing shadows for eternity in Plato's cave.