The CW gives a voice to students not coddled by UABy Melissa Brown | 04/21/2013 11:01pm
I had a friend ask me this year why the paper was reporting on something he found embarrassing to the University. He thought the University should handle it internally and was genuinely curious why we ever publish anything negative. I probably didn’t argue our case very well, so I’m going to give it another shot.
Problems at this University might not get handled unless they are made public. There is no accountability when the media, faculty or students don’t pressure the administration.
That might be fine when your mentor is high-ranking faculty or you have a direct line to someone in Rose. But for the thousands of other students who are at the mercy of decisions made by an administration in which they have no input or face time, it is not okay.
Whether it is selling more parking passes than there are parking spaces or a narcotics task force busting into a dorm in the dark of the night to search for a pipe, these actions affect students without a voice, without a person to go and discuss the injustices they perceive.
But they can go to The Crimson White.
While administrators and their favored students stand on the Mound, congratulating themselves on giving their friends a leg up, there are other students. Other students who, for no particular reason, were passed over their freshman year by administrators who christened the student standing next to them the next golden boy or girl. Other students who will graduate late because their advisor gave them the wrong advice, unable to distinguish them from any other in the steady stream of students trickling in and out of the office. Other students who miss class regularly because they have to work to support themselves. Other students who understand the work they do at internships will speak louder than their GPA but lose possible mentors or recommendations because they’re not the brightest in the classroom.
It is for these students that we have to drag uncomfortable subjects into the spotlight. We have to make the entire community aware of these issues, because this administration routinely requires public pressure from the community before they will do anything, say anything or change anything.
I love this University. I love the campus, the facilities, the people and the opportunities I found here. It is because I love it that I question it at times. I want it to be the best it can be, not pretending each future student will have a place at the Capstone and then dumping them into the herd once they get here. Not leaving big decisions to an incestuous group of people who simply choose cronies to follow them, making the same decisions year after year.
I love this University for giving me the chance to work at The Crimson White. We are not perfect, and we make mistakes. It shatters us when we do. But I feel so incredibly proud and honored to be a part of this team.
To my editors who mentored and pushed me – thanks for not firing me when you probably should have. I would not be here today without your angry emails and encouragement. To my former staff, I hope you understand my angry emails and that you feel you were encouraged to find a place in this office, too.
Thank you to The CW staff for respecting my opinion, my work, and so often helping me out when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. Thank you for a life outside the office – how we all still wanted to hang out after the work week is beyond me, but those are some of the most memorable nights of my college career.
To my friends and family, I apologize for my distraction. The CW was like a shiny new toy on Christmas morning that I couldn’t put down. I’m sorry for work dominating my conversations, going into the office on Friday nights, slipping out of movies to take phone calls. Thank you for your understanding and support. I couldn’t have done it without you.
And to our audience – thank you. Your feedback – the good, the bad and the terrifyingly ugly – means we’ve done something right. Whatever your complaint about us is, please understand that the CW staff works – often tirelessly, always earnestly - to start conversations about what we report on. The paper wins awards, but your feedback and conversation mean we have succeeded at our one of our most important goals – to spark a conversation.
Melissa Brown was the online editor and former news editor for The Crimson White.