Over a month ago, in a letter to the editor, Nick Hubbard PO ’11 vocalized concern that TSL does not receive any 5-C funding despite the fact that it covers 5-C news and CMS athletics. It would seem fair that in exchange for covering CMS athletics that Harvey Mudd, Scripps, and Claremont McKenna colleges should help fund TSL. As a CMC student, I have enjoyed contributing to a paper that my school does not financially support. However, I believe that there are several compelling reasons why ASCMC, CMC’s student government, should continue spending its money on other things.
Paper Bias: Among CMC students, TSL is notorious for the pro-Pomona slant that it occasionally puts in its news and sports sections. I will admit that although bias is generally not a problem, the lack of confidence in TSL’s ability to maintain objectivity translates into a sense of distrust that only TSL can fix. To receive funding from ASCMC, TSL needs to first gain the trust of CMC to report objectively about 5-C news and not let the rivalry between the schools get in the way. I believe hiring more writers and editors from outside of Pomona will help TSL with its image and bias problem. Nevertheless, I will cite a few examples of pro-Pomona slants on stories in both the news and sports sections.
In the Sept. 26 issue, an article detailed Pomona’s “U.S. News and World Report” ranking, which managing editor, Rebecca Golden, thought was too low. She praised Pomona’s placement in specific subset rankings where Pomona performed well. This praise was of course well deserved; however, when Golden mentioned CMC’s outstanding performance in percentage of classes under 20 students, she dissected that ranking and diminished its significance.
In the Apr. 10 issue, a ridiculous article in the sports section called for a Sagehen-Stag track rivalry. The article accused CMS of hiding and implied that the Stags were *[insert masculine gender diminutive]*. The CMS Stags have won 17 consecutive SCIAC championships and they are trying to branch out to other meets, experience new competition, and improve. To suggest that they are somehow threatened by the Sagehens is ridiculous and unfounded. This article, by Torrey Olson, exemplifies why ASCMC should never think of giving TSL a dime.
In the news section of the Apr. 10 issue, TSL ran an article about stable admissions rates. It stated that Pomona’s admissions rate is 15.7 percent and that CMC’s is around 16 percent. I admit this seems petty, but why couldn’t Becky Scott just say that CMC also had an admissions rate of 15.7 percent? (Maybe I am just bitter because I am sick of hearing P-P fans chant “safety school” at CMS-PP games.) Scott also ignored some of Pomona’s minor admissions difficulties in this last year (the rumor of a January e-mail trying to get late applications), while likewise ignoring some of CMC’s successes (a record number of applicants). Obviously both schools are incredibly (dare I say equally) competitive, and I do not think the rivalry between CMC and Pomona should affect open and honest reporting. Furthermore, earlier this year I wrote an article about CMC’s rise in popularity and prestige. The editors of the Opinions section allowed two response articles and a mean-spirited letter to the editor to be published in the following issue. Although I appreciate the open dialogue, I can’t help but wonder if so much space would have been granted to CMC students had the situation been reversed.
Ironically, Nick Hubbard accuses the article covering the Stags SCIAC tournament victory in the Mar. 6 issue of having a pro-CMS slant; however, since the Stags won the game in a convincing fashion, I think any “slant” in such an article is fair.
Management of Paper: Another concern with ASCMC funding TSL has to do with how the content of TSL is controlled. TSL editors and writers are predominately Pomona students and therefore exert almost complete control over the stories covered. TSL editors have the power to slant original content and decide what stories to cover on a weekly basis. If ASCMC were to help cover the expenses of TSL, I think they should have some power in deciding how the paper is managed. This would mean some kind of power-sharing arrangement between Pomona’s student government and ASCMC—something I doubt ASPC is willing to do.
Consortium Politics: Lastly, I think it is ridiculous to go line by line and complain about various expenses in a consortium. The five colleges frequently spend money that indirectly helps the other schools. Scripps spent millions on their new field house and on any given weekend you will find more CMC students at the pool than their Scripps counterparts. Likewise, Pomona students who are willing to hike up to Pitzer can also enjoy their beautiful new pool. With cross-registration for classes, multiple schools sharing athletic facilities, and student governments throwing 5-C parties, it is impossible to keep track of all the money and say which school owes the others money. Best friends do not keep tabs on who owes whom. They just help each other out with the knowledge that over time things tend to balance out.
Thursday Night Club and other CMC parties provide such an example. Although ASPC funds a paper that many CMC students read and enjoy, ASCMC funds parties and alcohol that many Pomona students enjoy. Successful papers are hard to get started and it makes sense that if the 5Cs were going to have a fully 5-C paper that TSL would ultimately fill that role. On the flip side, CMC’s liberal alcohol policy allows us to be the party center of the 5Cs. This too comes with the financial burden of paying for the alcohol for such parties and the other burdens of being the host, like the cleanup of trashed dorms. Therefore, everything between the schools eventually tends to balance out. I think complaining about individual expenses and demanding that the other schools pay up will only weaken the Consortium and the spirit of cooperation. TSL can drop CMS athletics coverage, but ASCMC could use similar reasoning for banning Pomona students from TNC and other CMC-sponsored parties.
If TSL wants to expand and become a true 5-C paper, ASPC can always give up control and negotiate a new oversight committee with equal participation and funding from all 5-C student governments. Although I personally support that idea, I can’t blame ASPC for wanting to keep control of their paper, but then they should be willing to shoulder the burden of paying for it.