How to handle those who disagree

Thomas Planera

More stories from Thomas Planera

The life of Lamone
March 23, 2016

Less than a month ago, Wesleyan University’s newspaper, The Argus, published an editorial criticizing Black Lives Matter.

The author, Bryan Stascavage, is a staff writer for the newspaper and credited his name to the story.

Not long after it was published, student activists at the university created a petition to bring to the attention of the student government.

It called for defunding The Argus, relocating the funds to support minority publications and diversity training for the publication.

So far, over 170 people signed the petition, and the plan is to cut the $30,000 funding budget down to $13,000.

The makers of the petition also explicitly stated that if their demands are not met, they will take every issue of The Argus that they can find and dispose of them.

The Wesleyan Students Association, who the petitioners are asking to take action against The Argus, says that they can’t do anything until legislation is written.

How these people expect the WSA to actually comply with their wishes is beyond me.

There is simply no basis for why the newspaper should be defunded. You can’t just decide to destroy an entire publication because one student wrote an article that you don’t like.

We are protected by our constitution to say what we want freely, and journalists take advantage of this everyday, as they should.

The Argus made it clear in a public statement that Stascavage’s views on Black Lives Matter does not reflect the entire paper.

The petitioners could have easily just written a letter to the editor like most people who want to complain. Instead, they take drastic measures that are completely unjustified.

Their demands are laughable; they actually expect the staff to attend “diversity training” sessions, whatever that means.

Stascavage should be laughing too. If I were him, I would scold the petitioners for even thinking that I need diversity training.

After reading the original article published in The Argus, I do not personally agree with what Stascavage says. However, he has the right to think what he wants to think and if his ideas are unpopular, that doesn’t mean they need to forcibly be changed.

I’m glad he wrote the article. Diversity of opinion is always needed, especially on college campuses, where a disgustingly vast majority of students and faculty think the same way.

Stascavage should continue to write these types of articles that piss people off. Why would I want to read The Argus if it’s going to give me no insight. I don’t need to waste my time reading something I already know or agree with.

Besides, to quote Social Science Department Chair Carl Coates, “not everyone is going to like you,” and both journalists and readers have to accept this (read Coates’ interview on page 2 of this issue).

If we only write things that will make people happy, our production and potential would be diminished.

I predict that the university will not punish the newspaper based on the petition. Under the First Amendment and common sense, Stascavage is protected.

The bottom line is this: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and no one should bite his/her tongue.