An appeal from the ‘Record’ board

Tonight, at CC’s final meeting of the semester, CC representatives will vote on whether or not to supplement the Record’s weekly income next semester. CC will first decide whether or not it wants to channel Student Activities Tax money to the Record at all. If so, the proposal brought forward will involve CC compensating the Record for a full page of advertisements each week, on the condition that half of the page they sponsor be dedicated to the Record’s “One in 2000” feature. This proposal not only jeopardizes the Record’s editorial independence but also fails to give CC its money’s worth in terms of ads. We encourage CC representatives to amend this proposal and to instead vote to purchase and utilize a full page of advertisements each week.

As we have reported, the Record has been accumulating a deficit over the last several years due to flagging ad and subscription revenue as well as overspending from previous boards. It is important to us that our peers know that this irresponsible overspending on things like food, alcohol and banquets occurred under previous editorial boards that were uninformed of their financial situation. The Controller’s Office brought the debt to the Record editorial board’s attention for the first time last fall. As soon as we were made aware of the debt, we instated aggressive cost-cutting measures and revenue campaigns. The Record is dedicated to turning over a new leaf and attaining financial sustainability, if given the chance.

In its current financial situation, the Re- cord needs the stability of a regular baseline income. CC, as steward of student funds, can provide this buffer. But independence is too high a price to pay. Editorial independence allows the Record to be a check-and-balance in this small-scale, high-stakes community. Purchasing ads does not jeopardize this lib- erty. Sponsoring a full page and stipulating that the page contain an article of any kind – even the generally non-polarizing “One in 2000” – does.
CC functions as the voice of students on campus. It can best fulfill this duty if students voice their opinions to representatives.

Fellow students and Williams community: If you feel strongly about this issue, if you believe the Record should continue to look and function as it does today, please take the time to e-mail, call or chat with your CC representatives. We believe that there is value in having an independent student newspaper on campus – we wouldn’t dedicate ourselves to publishing the Record otherwise. Now, more than ever, we need your support.