The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the editor: Response to distribution policy

I was dismayed to learn of the apparently years-long practice of delivering print copies of the S&B (subsidized by students) to every faculty and staff member.

I was more dismayed that the decision to end the subsidized subscriptions was met with what seemed to be a sense of entitlement. I teach middle school social studies and one of the (many) life lessons I try to instill in my students is that history or tradition is not a sufficient justification for continuing a misguided practice. This practice was misguided—that it’s been misguided for years, as opposed to merely weeks, does not excuse it.

I certainly don’t know whether the decision to end this practice was borne of some personal vendetta (whatever that might be) but I doubt it—the integrity of this year’s S&B leadership far surpasses that of the rascals which guided it last year. But I can assure Professor Brown that had I known about this practice, I would have ended it immediately, regardless of whether any “thrashing” had taken place in our pages. Especially in light of the S&B’s financial pitfalls this year, ending this practice is good business sense—other considerations are irrelevant.

Professor Brown’s suggestion that the S&B offer subscriptions is a great idea—so great, in fact, that the S&B began doing so long ago, as advertised in the editorial section of every issue for at least the past five years, and likely much longer. For a mere $25, she and other readers can enjoy the same prompt and reliable delivery service that numerous paying subscribers across campus and even the country already do.

Finally, Professor Brown is correct that the S&B should, out of courtesy, alert faculty of what seems will be a dramatic change in campus distribution practices and it would seem the staff has done that adequately in its pages, even allowing a grace period for professors to adjust to life without free issues. But the ludicrous notion that professors should be consulted is, well, ludicrous. While it is true that administrators have no direct role in the production of the S&B, they have proven a valuable resource in furnishing the S&B with an office, funding, and helpful contacts; administrators play some role, if only marginally. Professor Brown, on the other hand, is merely a consumer of the S&B and, if she’s lucky, the occasional subject.

The S&B is a community paper and it has always valued readers from the staff, faculty and town. (In fact, it has actively sought to expand its circulation to this groups over the years as evidenced, in part, by this year’s new addition of the “Community” section.) But given that the paper’s budget is furnished by student fees, in times of budgetary problems, student readers should understandably take precedence. Hopefully, the publication’s fiscal situation will improve sometime soon so that all Grinnell’s members can enjoy quality journalism uninterrupted.

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