Vote ‘yes’ during referendum this week to keep Targum at Rutgers
Opinions Column: From the Editor’s Desk
While 2016 will likely be the most contentious presidential race in memory, another critical vote that impacts the Rutgers community is approaching. Today marks the first day of The Daily Targum’s 2016 Referendum — a campaign we run every three years to poll whether students will support the paper through a refundable term bill fee.
Now I bet you’re wondering, “Why would I want to keep the Targum fee on my term bill?” The fee’s implementation keeps the Targum financially stable. From the accumulation of Targum fees, the University keeps a portion and what remains is used to pay our expenses. These costs include writing stories and designing pages at our 204 Neilson St. office, website maintenance, printing the pages in the Philadelphia suburb of Bellmawr, N.J., and delivering the papers up the Turnpike to more than 50 locations. If enough people vote “yes,” the Targum and Inside Beat Magazine will continue to publish. On the contrary, if the referendum doesn’t pass, both are unlikely to exist.
Unlike most student organizations, you can decide to not fund the Targum at any time, even if you vote “yes” during the referendum. Yes, you can vote “yes” to keep the Targum fee and still request a refund by the second Friday of every semester. Most campus organizations' fees are rolled into the campus fee that students can’t opt out of, but we don’t do that. This allows us to stay independent from the University’s control.
So why should you care that the Targum stays independent? Independence allows the Targum’s coverage of Rutgers news to not be swayed by external interests, like the University administration. Without the Targum, there would be no official Rutgers news source that’s willing to publish stories that don’t portray the University in a positive light. Since 2010, the Targum’s coverage of controversy has included:
- The suicide of Rutgers first-year student Tyler Clementi after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, broadcast images of him being intimate with another man online
- Dharun Ravi’s trial
- Former head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice’s physical and verbal abuse of his players
- The 2014 #NoRice protests against former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s commencement invitation
- The NFL’s suspension of former Rutgers running back Ray Rice after a video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancé and now-wife, Janay Palmer
- The 2014 Rutgers student solidarity protests reacting to the Mike Brown and Eric Garner verdicts
- Protests from the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers, the Rutgers University faculty union, over fairer work contracts
- The arrest of five Rutgers football players last fall, and University President Robert L. Barchi’s termination of former University athletic officials Julie Hermann, Kyle Flood and Eddie Jordan
- Rutgers Athletics’ loss of more than $1 per second in the 2013-2014 fiscal year
- Targum’s investigation into how the Rutgers Office of Student Conduct suspended a perpetrator of sexual assault instead of expelling him after two instances of unwanted sexual contact occurred on campus
The last two won New Jersey Press Association awards for investigative journalism last year, in addition to awards won for our website design, print layout, videography and sports writing. Just this semester, the Targum provided the most extensive coverage of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’s provocative visit to Rutgers. In the following days, we facilitated a discussion about free speech on our opinions pages — a widely-read platform that Rutgers students have used to make their voices heard since our inception in 1869.
If too few students vote “yes” before April 15, Rutgers students will lose all of this. We need as many student votes as possible in order to pass. We set up 28 polling locations where you can vote: at every student center, activities center, dining hall, library and most bus stops on all five Rutgers—New Brunswick campuses. Without your support, Rutgers will be the only Big Ten school without a student newspaper. Without your support, Rutgers will lose the second-oldest, award-winning college newspaper in the United States. And without your support, Rutgers will lose its only news source managed by its students, for its students.
On behalf of the Targum’s 148th editorial board, thank you for helping us do our jobs. I encourage you to vote “yes” to continue supporting The Daily Targum. Your vote can help improve our coverage of Rutgers students like you. We’ve been there for Rutgers students for more than 147 years. And we want to stick around, but we only can if you vote yes today.
Dan Corey is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Targum. He is a Rutgers Business School sophomore majoring in marketing and journalism and media studies.
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