The Sun Star's Independence
Heather Bryant / Editor-in -Chief
Nov. 29, 2011
When you write a story, the most important part of it is the sources used.
If the sources aren’t good, the story won’t be good.
Life works that way too.
When you are trying to accomplish something, let’s say for example, creating an independent newspaper, your process is guided by the information from your sources.
When the information isn’t provided or your source is wrong, it becomes impossible to accomplish your goals.
That’s what has happened to The Sun Star’s independence initiative.
I’ve been honest about my intentions for The Sun Star since I took over in May. It’s never been a secret that I intended to pursue independence and a realistic budget.
It’s something that had been discussed at multiple publication board meetings even during last year.
Based on all the information we gathered from ASUAF and what we knew about the arrangement between The Sun Star and ASUAF, we proceeded with a ballot initiative. And even though we ran the initiative past people at ASUAF to verify we had written it correctly, in this week before the election, ASUAF has come up with problem after problem regarding the wording of the initiative.
At the beginning of November, more than 400 students signed a petition to get that initiative on the ballot for the fall elections.
However, last night I had to request the initiative be removed from the ballot.
Information requested a long time ago, was finally presented hours before the election was to start.
The best way to sum it up is to say that the initiative as it would have appeared on the ballot, would not do anything and could have made independence, at least what the University of Alaska considers independence, to be harder to achieve.
The university structure simply does not allow for a media outlet to stand completely independent of student government. It only recognizes the authority of student government as an entity that collect fees other than the university itself.
At this point, the only way forward in the maze that is a University bureaucracy, is to step back and work on this campaign for the spring election.
What we want–what all you who signed the petition, posted encouraging notes, or talked to us about the initiative want–is a genuinely independent newspaper that answers to it’s readers.
Make no mistake, I am not quitting. I am not backing down.
I apologize to the staffers who spent hours gathering signatures and the students who were hoping that they were finally going to get the newspaper they wanted and that UAF needs.
What has happened over the past few weeks is the best evidence for why The Sun Star needs its independence and a better budget. There are serious issues that need to be reported on. Changes need to happen, and we can’t stop now.
One of my favorite fiction characters once said:
“For us there is no victory – there are only battles. And in the end, the best you can hope for is to find a place to make your stand. And if you’re very lucky, you find someone willing to stand with you.”
Stick with us through this, and help us show the University that The Sun Star is a voice that won’t be silenced.