Our Opinion: UGA’s Students Should Be Heard

Student editors at The Red & Black, University of Georgia’s student newspaper, walked out after their editorial advisor was given full discretion over the paper’s content earlier this month.

The head of the journalism department at UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and a member of The Red & Black‘s board of directors sent out an email explaining that new, non-student personnel would be joining the staff to manage content and marketing, among other things.

Those who walked out, including the editor in chief, explained that tensions had been rising after facing external pressure to cover certain stories with particular angles.

The crisis made national headlines and support for the editors poured in from all corners of the country. The situation has since been resolved: the board retreated on their demands, the person responsible for many of those demands resigned, and the students returned to their positions.

Such turmoil coming from one of the largest student-newspapers in Georgia is a reminder that having a student-run, independent newspaper is a privilege for both us (editors at the Wheel) and for the Emory community at large.

The Red & Black is financially independent from the University, but they are governed by a volunteer board of directors. While the Wheel does have a faculty advisor, we are not governed by a board of directors and receive no funding from the University.

This precise relationship has not always been convenient. Financially, times have been difficult for all newspapers whether they be The Oxford Eagle or the New York Times. For the University, this campus has not exactly been free of controversy, but thus far the Wheel has maintained the editorial freedom to cover those issues as it wishes.

Moving forward, we congratulate the editors of The Red & Black who held fast in their journalistic integrity and, in the end, won the good fight.

We at the Wheel wish to assure the Emory community of our dedication to editorial independence and journalistic integrity. These are not just goals, but foundational pillars, and without them, a true, honest newspaper that serves the community cannot exist.

The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel‘s editorial board.