Twelve months ago, former Editor in Chief Janelle Bitker published a Letter from the Editor that began with: “There will be no issue of The California Aggie outside your lecture the first day of spring quarter. Or the next day. Or the next day.”
I never thought I’d be saying the same thing.
The California Aggie is suspending its print edition and staff pay for Spring Quarter. As of today, everyone who works for The Aggie is a volunteer for a digital newspaper. We’ll still be publishing news online and updating our social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) as if we had a printed edition of our paper.
Yes, the fee referendum passed — thanks to you. Yes, after a couple of weeks, the Office of the President finally has the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor-approved referendum. But guess what: Spring Quarter tuition and fees have already been issued. In the language of the bill, it is explicitly stated that the funds would have come into play in the spring.
The Aggie does not have enough money to continue printing or to pay its staff without going into a larger debt than anticipated. We fought the good fight during the campaign and got our referendum passed by the student population in the name of journalism.
After a debilitating political quarter for The Aggie, we know that with the (hopefully) incoming fee, we have to prepare. And by eliminating expenses, we now have the time to reorganize the staff, approach projects we never had time for and have the conversations that need to happen with regard to the future of the paper.
For the first time, The Aggie will be able to train its incoming managing staff effectively, including an Editor in Chief that will hopefully be selected before the final week of this quarter. During this time, Campus Media Board will also be recruiting the professional business staff member we anticipate hiring with the incoming fee.
It’s an extremely frustrating situation, but we’re not going to spend our time defeated and disappointed. It’s a bittersweet decision, and we hope we have your support. No newspaper should ever have to go through the political wringer that we went through and continue to experience. We hope that this situation never repeats itself within ASUCD or the UC Davis Administration.
ELIZABETH ORPINA is open to questions and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.