In the Wesleyan Student Assembly’s Spring 2013 Survey, we urge everyone to vote “yes” to funding Argus student workers through the Student Activities Fee. In past years, the Student Budget Committee (SBC) has funded Argus student workers (our layout staff, copy editors, business team, and distribution), but this spring, going against past precedent, the SBC declined to fund payment for these workers, effective halfway through the semester. We hope that this decision will be reversed in future semesters, and we need your support to try to make that a possibility.
The majority of the Argus staff does not get paid—staff writers, section editors, and editors-in-chief all work without pay. (Editors-in-chief used to get paid but opted in 2010 to dedicate their pay to copy editors.) Those who do get paid work late nights, following a strict production schedule that does not allow for flaking out when staff members have a big test the next day. Copy editors and layout staff members do the behind-the-scenes work that doesn’t get a byline, but they are expected to treat the position like a job, go through training in Argus style, and spend significant amounts of time improving the paper. Without pay, many students are not able to devote the effort and time that these positions require, and without these workers, The Argus cannot function.
The continuation of SBC funding for The Argus ensures that we can remain independent from the University, which allows us to be objective, truthful, and critical when necessary. The SBC was concerned that payment for these workers would use student funds to benefit only a small segment of the Wesleyan community. While a relatively small number of students receive a direct benefit from this payment, the resulting product benefits many, many people. All members of the community (including faculty, staff, and alumni) can submit a Wespeak like this one and voice their untempered opinion (so long as it is not offensive); additionally, any student can work with the Opinion editors to craft a strong op-ed piece. The Argus also offers free advertising space for all students to promote their events and will fill extra space within the paper with announcements for student groups. The Argus covers sports games, theater and dance performances, student activism, and student group events, promoting student life and creating a lasting record of campus happenings. The Argus also helps inform students about the actions of the WSA and administration and pursues in-depth investigations into the workings of the University.
Without paid staff, none of these services could be offered. We don’t mean to be excessively alarmist, but The Argus, which has been an important part of campus life since 1868, could cease to function without your support. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact any of us. Please support Argus workers by voting “yes” to question 11 in the WSA Spring 2013 Survey (wsa.wesleyan.edu/voting).
Olivia Horton ’14, Claire Bradach ’15, Rebecca Meyer ’13, Alex Wilkinson ’13, Max Brivic ’13, Shannon Welch ’14, Josh Cohen ’14, Miranda Katz ’15, Roxie Pell ’15, Lily Baggott ’15, Christina Norris ’14, Andrew Ribner ’14, Adam Keller ’14, Josh Neitzel ’14, Chloe Jasper ’15, Michelle Woodcock ’14, Noor Tell ’14, Billy Donnelly ’15, and Ali Rosenberg ’15.