I wrote a column for last week’s paper. I hesitated before giving it the thumbs-up for publication, and there have been times then when I wished I hadn’t written it, but in the end, I told readers how I felt about the new initiative from Student Government to raise the semesterly student health fee.
I did not mince my words. I figured there must be people like me out there and that my feelings were important as a student at Truman State University. It’s important to remember I wrote what I wrote in that role. That piece expressed the thoughts and feelings of a student — not the official stance of this publication nor information obtained from a source for a news story. Anyone reading this piece right now is welcome to do what I did and submit their written opinion for publication, as long as they follow the editorial submission policy.
I quickly got a response from a few members of Student Government. Because the fee is an important, meaningful issue to many people in this community, The Index will be reporting on it this week in a news capacity. I have interviewed sources for and written that story, but I’ve done it in my role as a news reporter. In that article, I am not sharing my own opinions, I am taking information given to me exclusively by others — experts on the topic — and putting that information in a format you can easily read and interpret.
One of the experts who gave me information for that story is senior Joe Slama, a student senator who has been very supportive of this initiative. I’m sure I’m not his favorite person right now — and I can’t blame him because I said some pretty bad things about the plan he’s been working hard to get passed which he thinks will help the community. You can read his response to the column I wrote last week in this week’s paper. But there’s something else Slama did this week — he sponsored a Student Senate bill calling for a change to the way Truman Media Network, including The Index, is funded so we, as a network, can keep the portion of our funding which is currently in jeopardy. In the midst of an unpleasant exchange, he recognized the importance of student media though he could have let his emotions get the better of him. I know that’s what would have happened to me were I in his shoes. If Slama stands up for student media, I’m sure he won’t hesitate to stand up for countless other programs he thinks are beneficial to campus.
I hate being the bad guy. In student media, I’ve chosen a role where my job is to be as neutral as possible and seek the truth. Slama has chosen a role where speaking his mind is encouraged, and he’s given a significant amount of influence on campus in that respect. I’m very thankful to him for recognizing the importance of what we do at The Index, even though it might mean funding the very publication which published a piece bad-mouthing his initiative. He acted, in both of our opinions, in the best interest of the student body. That’s what an outstanding activist and representative does. I appreciate the commitment of Slama and all of Student Senate to student media in the face of criticism.