It’s your Sun Star. It’s your voice.

Heather Bryant / Editor-in -Chief
Nov. 8, 2011

I’ve heard a number of people say that this is best they’ve seen The Sun Star in decades. We’ve had some great stories this year already and have many more planned.

But to ensure this quality in the future, we need to make some changes. The Sun Star needs to stand separate from outside entities like ASUAF. It needs to have the budgetary backbone that will allow it to cover the stories of UAF, your stories.

We’ve started collecting signatures to get this initiative on the ballot. It has been years since students were able to have a say in the Sun Star decision-making.

Students have the right to vote and decide what type of newspaper they want to have.

This fall we are asking everyone to vote to eliminate the current governance agreement with ASUAF and create a $7 media fee.

This is a fee that you have a say in. A fee that ensures you will continue to have an avenue to have your voice heard. The Sun Star is the main way that students on campus can share their stories.

If the vote passes, you will get an independent newspaper with a restructured publication board. The budget would start a new chapter in the way The Sun Star covers UAF.

This change will also reshape the Sun Star and allow us to catch up to most college newspapers.

The majority of college newspapers, including the Northern Light at UAA, are separate entities from student government and are funded by their own media fee.

I’ve been impressed with UAF’s student government this year. I think ASUAF President Mari Freitag has done a great job and is exactly the type of leader that group has needed. The Sun Star has a better relationship with ASUAF this year than we’ve had in past years.

Despite that, there is no good reason for ASUAF and The Sun Star to continue to have the arrangement that currently exists. We have to report on a group that also partially funds us. Those are not the best circumstances for running a newspaper.

As I’ve talked to students over the last few days, it has been fascinating to watch the reactions of students when they are told that The Sun Star gets part of its funding from ASUAF and that ASUAF has two seats on the Sun Star publication board. Most of you are surprised, and more than a few have said that’s not right.

Though that hasn’t been a problem this year, it has been in the past. Let’s remove the issue altogether and separate the groups. It’s what’s best for everyone.

The amount of the fee is what’s been calculated to meet the needs of The Sun Star. It’s also a relatively small amount. For $7 a semester per student, we can finally cover all the events and stories that you want to see but often go uncovered because money runs out.

The Sun Star is accountable for what and how it spends. At the end of the last year, I posted what was spent on every issue and how big that issue was. I totaled how many people had been interviewed and the amount of content, photos and graphics. I keep excel charts for every issue of the paper where I record every piece of content, photo or graphic. I do my best to make sure that you are getting your money’s worth.

The new structure of the Sun Star will ensure that accountability remains. Readers will be able to see exactly what they are getting for their money.

I’ve had a couple of people tell me that it’s easy to ask for change when its other people’s money, and that I’ve got nothing riding on this.

I do.

As editor, I am paid for 20 hours of work each week. In reality, I work close to 50 hours.

That is a lot of time that I could be paid for if I worked somewhere else. Those are hours I could spend on homework, having fun or sleeping. 

But I’m here because I believe in The Sun Star and what it can do.

Most of the people here work well beyond what we get paid for. We do it because The Sun Star matters. It’s an important part of UAF and we work hard every week making it happen.

If you want to sign the petition, come by The Sun Star office or come see us at our table in the Wood Center every Tuesday from 12 to 2 p.m.

We want to hear from you about what you want to see happen, so come by and talk to us.

It’s your Sun Star. It’s your voice.

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