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Letter to the Editor: We, the author and co-sponsors of The Collegian Charter Resolution

Inéz Anais Nieves Suárez, Class of 2024

Cameron Cole, Class of 2023

We, the author and co-sponsors of The Collegian Charter Resolution, would like to unequivocally affirm the central role of a free and independent press in the democracies of the world, especially those formed and constituted by students, academics, and the future leaders of our generation. We not only believe, but know to be undoubtedly true, that free journalism is the food of democracy; without it, our communities would starve under the threat of repression, authoritarianism, and persecution. It is heartening to know that so many of our peers and classmates would agree to what, in many areas of the globe today, would be considered a controversial belief. In our mission to uphold the ideals of the Constitution of the Associated Students of Willamette University and to faithfully represent the needs and wants of our cohort, we have unanimously decided to withdraw The Collegian Charter Resolution from consideration by the Senate.

I speak on behalf of my fellow senators when I express my sincere regret for the miscommunication and great concern caused by this resolution. In our attempt to address what we saw as a clear deficiency in the current bylaws to protect the editorial independence and free practices of The Collegian, a student-led institution that has served this campus for more than a century, and which has enriched the lives of not only the student body but a number of the senators involved in the drafting of this resolution, we inadequately considered the reactions, thoughts, and concerns of those most impacted by the extensive restructuring we had proposed. For this, we are deeply apologetic. Our oversight led to miscommunication of the purpose and intent of the resolved charter; the move to withdraw it from the Senate floor is one we hope will allow for more productive revision of the ideas put forward by my peers and greater cooperation with the student body in executing them.

In light of these events, my fellow senators and I would like to take the opportunity to dispel any misunderstandings of our intentions and purposes for this charter by addressing the most pressing concerns raised thus far by our peers. You may read the full statement at your convenience here.

We would like to close by thanking the student body of Willamette University for taking an active interest in the proceedings of your student government. We are always happy to hear your thoughts, concerns, and opinions about what is happening on and off campus. We sincerely regret that our good intentions for this resolution fell short of true and sincere progress, but we vow to continue to actively listen to and heed your concerns as your elected student senators. Non nobis solum.

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1 Comment

Inez Nieves
Inez Nieves
Feb 04, 2022

It is not ASWU’s responsibility to determine the structure or practices of a student organization like The Collegian. As the governing body made by and for the students of Willamette University, we have been entrusted with the important duty of ensuring that student organizations are conducting their campus affairs and activities according to the best financial and ethical practices (see Article 3 of the Constitution). It is because of this duty that we so thoroughly regulate how student organizations may apply for and receive funding. Important examples include the recent institution of anti-racism plans and required EDI training for all club leadership (see Articles 5 and 6 of the bylaws). This does not preclude the existence of internally constructed and…

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