Editorial board: Evergreen changes tagline to emphasize mission of pursuing truth

No PR. No BS. No Retreat. WSU watchdogs since 1895

EDITORIAL BOARD, The Daily Evergreen

WSU’s only independent news source is at risk. The effects of university-wide budget cuts have trickled down to The Daily Evergreen. In an effort to combat a massive cut to our print and campus presence, we have changed our tagline to more accurately reflect what our mission has always been.

We don’t feed into the vocabulary of the administration to soften the blows of their mismanagement, especially spending cuts. We don’t sugar-coat the actions of anyone on campus. We don’t bulls— our readers. The staff of full-time students work more than full time for part-time salaries to deliver the information that the public needs to know.

We do this because we have a passion for journalism. We do what we do because we know no one else will.

We rely on advertising to fund most expenses, but the campus-wide 2.5-percent spending cuts disproportionately impact our ability to bring in that revenue. Advertising and marketing are often the first cuts made when departments face budget reductions.

We are projected to spend $130,000 if we continue at our current pace, according to Student Media Director Richard Miller, Fiscal Specialist Denise Boyd and Student Involvement Executive Director Brian Shuffield. We have about $136,000 in reserves.

To avoid draining our reserves, we face unilateral cuts to decrease our projected deficit of $130,000 to $100,000. Miller’s solutions include cutting three days from the print week, cutting print for The Summer Evergreen, completely cutting Fridays and switching to a smaller tabloid size.

The student journalists at The Daily Evergreen were not consulted on these “options.”

The Evergreen has created potential solutions. We plan to propose a referendum to ASWSU for a small student fee. We are pursuing voluntary subscriptions from faculty, staff and alumni. We are exploring grants offered by ASWSU.

Miller promised The Daily Evergreen spring 2018 to accomplish these tasks. Now we are told the change needs to happen immediately because it’s just “business.”

Without the Evergreen, WSU’s public relations arm — WSU Insider Beta, Washington State Magazine and WSU News — will have full control over the information students receive.

These “news sources” exist to highlight the university’s successes and downplay its failures. WSU-provided information discourages students and alumni from thinking critically.

University spokespersons would argue there is no mismanagement. Instead they say eliminating programs, limiting staff and cutting everything by 2.5 percent contributes to WSU’s so-called “fiscal health.”

We’ve brought light to corporate interference in publishing academic work, specifically in the case of wolf researcher Robert Wielgus. Many faculty in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences said business interests influence the politics within the college and damage staff morale.

We’ve reported on the struggle of marginalized students and their fight for fair treatment. We covered the fall semester sit-in, the negotiations of their presented demands, and every march and protest along the way.

We’ve investigated and presented how the proposed spending cuts will affect each of us. Some departments considered reducing pay for graduate students, others are decreasing funding to environmental centers. Performing Arts has been eliminated, and several retention counselor positions nearly met the same fate before Student Affairs ultimately found them permanent funding.

Even after we were barred from entering two Student Affairs budget meetings, we persisted. We attend forum after forum, reporting on cancellations and abnormalities, such as for student conduct, which has been operating under emergency rules for about six months.

Outside of our reporting, we increased the number of public records we request and added a public records page, titled Transparency, to our website to give readers access to the same information we have, so they can evaluate the documents for themselves.

We do not allow anyone or anything to scare us away from the truth. You deserve to know what is happening behind the veil WSU would like to raise between itself and the public.

The Student Media Board will hold a public meeting at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday in Murrow 123 to decide the Evergreen’s future. Anyone can attend to show support for our mission.

We are still the student voice of WSU. That means standing up to those trying to silence us, and holding the administration accountable. That means fighting for what we believe. That means giving your voice a chance to be heard.

Correction: An earlier version stated the student conduct board has been operating under emergency rules for over a year, but it has for about six months.