Group Petitions to Defund Wesleyan’s Campus Newspaper, Saying It’s Not a ‘Safe Space’

Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 22, 2015

A group of students and faculty members at Wesleyan University are petitioning to defund the Connecticut campus’s newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, because “it neglects to provide a safe space for the voices of students of color.” According to an article in the Argus, the protesting group has also pledged to boycott the newspaper until its demands are met. Among them:

  • Space on the newspaper’s front page should be devoted to submissions from minority voices.
  • Positions should be created at the newspaper that count for course credit or work-study.
  • Diversity training should be provided to members of all campus publications.

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The controversy was apparently sparked by an opinion article in the Argus last week that criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, suggesting that it may have sparked violence toward police officers.

Rebecca Brill, a co-editor in chief of the Argus, is quoted in the article as saying she is concerned about the precedent set by a newspaper boycott. “We would love to work with the [Wesleyan Student Assembly] on how to achieve diversity, but editorial independence remains a huge priority for us,” she said, adding that the newspaper would continue to publish if it was defunded.

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