Chat with the chief: Practice what you preach

The Torch is now required to include a 243-word non-discrimination statement in each week’s publication.

The decision comes on the heels of a federal mandate issued to multiple universities in hopes of bringing them up to a standard when it comes to non-discrimination policies. How the continuous printing of fine legal print in our publication is expected to accomplish that feat is beyond me, however.

The statement is found in every university publication, which is a category—for reasons beyond our control—that the Torch has been lumped into. The Torch has existed as an entirely separate entity since 1931, yet someone along the university’s hierarchy of power line agreed that we would be included in the decision.

To make something clear that should already be obvious, I am not against the university’s non-discrimination policies, nor the statement being put out reinforcing them. The problem that I have with the scenario is the fact that our publication has to surrender space for the unabridged version of it on a weekly basis.

Unfortunately, the Torch must run the category one statement, which is the longest of the three options because it is a publication longer than 12 pages. Yet, this requirement doesn’t seem to account for the fact that the statement is running every week.

Most university publications that run the statement are used as recruiting tools, or are published just once or twice per year. It makes more sense for these publications to include the full statement, since they’ll likely only be read once, if at all.

After almost two months of dispute over the matter, the university agreed to pay a weekly fee for space to include the statement as if it were an ad, so as not to seem like it was controlling what we are able to publish.

Though more space devoted to ads limits editorial content in a newspaper, this conclusion is considered a compromise.

Yet, I can’t help but think that regardless of how often the university slaps a non-discrimination statement on a parchment, it doesn’t mean a thing if it doesn’t live up to the words contained therein.

In conclusion, I’m no longer upset about being forced to include the statement. However, because we have no choice but to run it, I’d like to see that statement put into practice rather than just written out in legalese.

There now exists a beautiful example of irony in the Torch. Check our newspaper for the same non-discrimination statement every week. You can pick up a copy in the basement of the Alumni Building, which is inaccessible to anyone who can’t descend stairs.

Did you miss last week’s Chat with the chief? That’s okay, read it here.