Friday, August 30, 2013
James Tedford's thoughts on the ASUSF v Foghorn issue
I just did an interview with James Tedford, onetime Foghorn editor, about his thoughts on the Foghorn's current predicament and his feelings about freedom of the press. I boiled his thoughts down into a few paragraphs, pasted below:
James Tedford, who served as the Foghorn editor from 1993-97 is no stranger to the controlling power of ASUSF, who slashed the Foghorn’s budget in his second year on staff. While this was a frustrating experience, Tedford acknowledged that these budgetary decisions and allocations of funds are entirely within the rights of the student senate. This year’s contention between Foghorn and the senate is a different story.
Tedford asserted that the Senate “has no place” telling the Foghorn how many times they can publish per semester. Mistakes are made and will be made in the paper, he said, and these should be called to attention and fixed, but the senate’s particular course of action was “heavy handed and possibly unethical.”
Tedford asserted his belief that the press has the responsibility to keep an eye on government and hold them accountable, and this role should not be usurped. ASUSF is not the only voice for students on campus, and they should not be trying to shut down the other forums for student action. Tedford also takes issue with the fact that ASUSF is cutting the journalism students’ opportunities to get experience through the Foghorn. “If senate wants to diminish that, that’s denying journalism students what they pay to go to the university for,” said Tedford.
As Tedford does not know the complete context of the situation, nor was he sitting in on any of the conversations between the senate and the Foghorn, he is reluctant to make any absolute assertions about whether ASUSF’s actions were ethical. If it is true that these decisions to cut the paper’s publishing schedule are purely content based, however, Tedford does see this as an egregious issue. As this is a student government body, and many of these students will likely want to be in government in some way, Tedford said, they need to be aware of what our freedoms are. “They ought to know better.”