The Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) and the_x000D_
Forum, a news and opinions_x000D_
publication that focuses mainly on the CMC community, officially_x000D_
separated as per a revised amendment to the ASCMC constitution on Monday. Over the past few semesters, the Forum has grown_x000D_
into an increasingly popular source of information and discussion for CMC and the wider 5C community. This constitutional amendment marks a crucial milestone in its_x000D_
journalistic history: clear separation from the governmental_x000D_
bodies it covers.
There is an inherent tension_x000D_
between journalists and those on whom we report, for it is in our job_x000D_
description to view the influential people in our communities with a_x000D_
critical eye. In a democracy, freedom of the press and critical reporting is important for maintaining transparent and accountable government structures. On a college campus, reporting on student government is crucial because of its control over the fees that students pay each year. In either case, the separation of journalists and media outlets from these governing bodies is essential to avoiding the propaganda and misinformation campaigns all too common in state-run media across the world.
When the ASCMC executive board elected the editor-in-chief of the Forum, who also held a position on the executive board, there existed an inherent conflict of interest for the entire publication. The Forum‘s_x000D_
coverage of ASCMC and the 5Cs as a whole does not suggest heavy-handed oversight by other student leaders, but the_x000D_
possibility for interference is still a real concern. By gaining true_x000D_
autonomy, the Forum is_x000D_
no longer vulnerable to those pressures.
TSL also covers ASCMC, along with the other student governments, so we know how delicate the relationship can be between student government and the journalists who report on them. Despite some inevitable moments of_x000D_
tension between the paper and students on these governing bodies, there exists a mutual respect between our staff and these student leaders. The functions that we perform on campus—whether that is making decisions on club allocations or deciding which story should make the front page—are of a nature that may include occasional friction but whose intentions are positive and not fundamentally opposed.
It is telling that this amendment to separate Forum from ASCMC passed so decisively. The vote demonstrates an unequivocal respect for journalistic integrity and encourages a more critical look at ASCMC’s own governing practices. It can only increase people’s trust in government any time those with authority willingly strengthen the checks on their own authority.
A community as small as the_x000D_
Claremont Colleges with so many ambitious students can foster a sense_x000D_
of competition, as we all aspire to be the best at what we do. While the Forum is in that sense a rival news organization, we_x000D_
always like to see the ideals of journalism being upheld, and we hope_x000D_
that its independence improves the news coverage of the 5Cs. We all benefit_x000D_
from the increased scrutiny that objective and thorough journalism provides, and we_x000D_
applaud the steps taken by both ASCMC and the Forum_x000D_
to promote such news coverage.