A response from the Editorial Board

By Gauntlet Editorial Board

Student print journalism is no stranger to controversy. Nor should it be.

Student journalism has the freedom to push conventional limitations. As one of the last forms of media not influenced by corporate agendas, big-business advertising dollars and the conglomeration of ownership plaguing mainstream journalism, student press has an obligation to publish what will not or cannot be printed elsewhere. The Gauntlet has a proud 45-year tradition of challenging established boundaries and this will continue.

The recent controversy surrounding the Gauntlet’s publication of a certain nude photo is no secret, neither is the Gauntlet’s Board of Directors’ decision to suspend our top two editors over this controversy. Many individuals and groups on campus have responded on both sides of this issue, including some who are actively campaigning students in an effort to see the Gauntlet’s levy withdrawn. While this is their right, it is a grave mistake to threaten the existence of a campus press over any single issue.

Every student at this school is free to express their legitimate concerns over any content printed within the Gauntlet. Letters are printed or placed online, verbal concerns or complaints are always taken into consideration. The Gauntlet mandate is two-fold: to inform and educate our readers, and to serve as the only means on the University of Calgary campus for aspiring print journalists to learn their craft. As a primarily volunteer-run organization, every student is also free to come up to the Gauntlet, get involved and have direct and valued influence on our content.

It may be an exaggeration to suggest a campus without a student press would be tyrannically exploited by a students’ union or university administration. But, by completely eliminating a student press or placing restrictions on what can and should go to print, is to effectively remove the only watchdog students have to keep these institutions accountable. After all, student funds have been abused in the past, university administration has pushed through damaging budget and staff cuts and the Gauntlet has reported on it.

The Gauntlet Board of Directors does not produce this paper. It does not take photographs, it does not write stories, it does not make editorial decisions and it does not speak or act on behalf of the Gauntlet itself. The Board of Directors is in place to draft our bylaws and policies, and to ensure they are upheld. This paper has a responsibility to students: to continue producing the highest quality publication possible from one week to the next. Regardless of controversy or temporary loss of experienced staff, we will continue to do so.

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