From the archives, Nov. 1, 1947: ‘Polar Star still voice of ASUA, Honor and integrity insulted’

Twenty-five years of tension between the Farthest North Collegian and the student body finally built up to an [sic] irresistable [sic] force. The resulting earthquake, which threw the student body meeting into an uproar Wednesday noon, caused more comment in one hour on the campus than all the real earthquakes of the past ten years have caused together.

No advance notice of the subject matter to be considered at the special meeting had been given to the student body; so consequently the students were ill-prepared to refute the carefully prepared plea by Editor Thomas of the Collegian for a return to cooperation between the student body and the faculty paper. In this plea allusions were made to the effect that the makeup, printing, editorship, etc., of the Polar Star were inadequate. Question was also made of the adequacy of Jessen’s Publishing Company’s plant to do a good job of printing our paper. Mention was made that the background (background of 24 years of censorship of student articles) of the Collegian fitted it to be the organ of ASUA and the University. Admission was made that the Farthest North Collegian has been operating at a loss for some time. A pleas was made, in effect, to the students to take hold of the Collegian and resurrect it once again.

We do not question your integrity, Mr. Thomas, and we sincerely appreciate your attempts to put the University on the map and in a place where it rightfully belongs.

However, we point out to you that:

The Polar Star is still the official organ of the ASUA.

The Polar Star is operating at a profit.

The Polar Star is a completely free press.

That our columns are open to any member of the student body.

That any member of the student body may express any opinion, or contribute an article on any subject so long as neither is libelous, [sic] salnderous [sic] nor pornographic.

That the Polar Star is distributed FREE to anyone on the campus including the faculty.

That even with a student subsidy in the form of compulsory subscriptions to the Collegian at a buck a throw per year from the students, the Collegian has never been so widely read nor appreciated on this campus as the Polar Star has been since its inception one year ago last week.

That the advertisers in the Star reach the students directly and in greater numbers than they ever did in the Collegian.

And lastly, that the Polar Star will ever be vigilant and on guard against any proposition that even hints of administration control over the right of free press on this campus. We submit to our readers the fact that the entire student body voted by an overwhelming majority last year to sever student body participation in the Farthest North Collegian, and that they subsequently adopted the Polar Star as their organ of expression. We point out that this action was taken after 24 years of attempting to cooperate with the Collegian, and after 24 years of complete censorship.

The record of the students speaks for itself. If anyone is genuinely interest in seeing this University advertised in a manner that will appeal to the prospective students it is our student body. An administration or faculty sponsored newspaper cannot and will not give the student body freedom of the press.

We are grateful for the vast amount of help given to us by Jessen’s Publishing Company, and while Jessen’s may not have all the equipment and conveniences of a modern newspaper plant in some of the larger cities in the States, they still manage to publish the best newspaper in Alaska. Jessen’s Weekly reaches the largest paid circulation of any newspaper in the Territory, and since a paper is measure by its public support, its advertising circulation, and whether it operates profitably, we can say it is the best without danger of contradiction. Jessen’s Weekly and the Polar Star are both doing the best we can with the equipment we have.

Since we have both been criticized by a faculty member when we have done everything in our power to uphold the honor and dignity of the free press, we feel that our honor and integrity has been attacked. We will do all in our power to uphold both; so if the Collegian backers and stooges want war—then let it be—we accept the challenge.

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