In an emotional farewell speech last week, former ASUCD senator Rebecca Schwartz chided The Aggie for the criticism it has leveled at ASUCD.
Schwartz called on Aggie employees to find a more “constructive” way to contribute to ASUCD without complaining. She said Aggie employees should speak up at meetings and get involved to make it clear what changes they actually want to see.
“It is so easy to complain, criticize and judge as an outsider,” she said.
Since Schwartz’s comments are representative of the feelings of many in ASUCD, we thought this would be a good time to clarify what we think our role is in the world of student government.
As dues-paying members of ASUCD, Aggie employees – like the rest of the undergraduate student body – have a right to speak up and get involved at meetings and join commissions. However, as employees of The Aggie, reporters covering campus news have an obligation not to speak up or get involved.
The Aggie is an independent news organization that holds impartiality as one of its highest values. In order to preserve our credibility, reporters are not allowed to be directly involved in the issues on which they are reporting. Campus reporters are prohibited from speaking up at ASUCD Senate meetings or joining ASUCD commissions, because they are not supposed to have an opinion on what they are writing about.
Editorials, on the other hand, are all about opinion. Editorials are authored not by reporters, but by the editors. They represent the collective opinion of The Aggie’s editorial team. Instead of presenting an unbiased report of the facts, editorials are an analytical take on the issue of the day, designed to prompt thought and discussion.
The editorial board strives to write editorials that are accurate, well argued and productive. Almost every editorial we write includes the kind of constructive criticism Schwartz and others have called for. For example, in our non-endorsement of the TGIF ballot measure, we suggested several ways that TGIF could be improved to make it a better program, such as changing the way board members are selected.
By commending ASUCD when it does good things and by offering criticism when it is not performing well, The Aggie’s editorials provide what we think is an important tool in keeping ASUCD officials on their toes and providing the best service they possibly can to students.