EDITORIAL: SGA, it's time we got a divorce

Student Government Association (SGA)  has mandated that a representative from every organization attend a monthly meeting called a legislator meeting. Refusal or failure to participate can result in the review, freezing, or cancellation of an organization's funding.

The Leader should not have to be represented at legislator meetings because The Leader is obligated to report on meetings. This is not unique to The Leader, under journalism ethics, no journalist participates in an event they happen to be covering.

No governing power should be able to force the press to their will by threat of cutting their funding period.

The Leader sends a reporter to every SGA meeting, legislator or otherwise. The job of a reporter is not to participate in an event, but to cover it.

Regardless, we will not send a representative in addition to this reporter in an act of protest against SGA’s unjust mandates. We will not participate in what inevitably will lead to our own censorship.

The Leader is not a typical student organization and should not be funded in a typical manner.

The Leader is student media. Part of the function of media is to serve as a watchdog and report on the government.

Additionally, participation in The Leader is recognized by at least four departments as course credit, internship credit, or as media practicum.

The Leader does not deny that we are a considered a student organization. However, unlike other student organizations, The Leader holds specific responsibilities and bears specific burdens, and as a result our resources should be treated differently than other student organizations.

We exist simultaneously as a student organization, an academic lab, and a student media organization. Because of our unique position, we require unique rules.

No other organization is responsible for reporting on SGA. No other or very few organizations are endorsed and are a part of academic departments, much less by four.

How can The Leader ethically report on the very body that provides its funding?

At other colleges, college media boards, independent of any governing or administrative bodies, allocate funding to student press so that this conflict of interest and potential censorship is avoided.

This is an old debate and other colleges have already found solutions, why hasn’t Elmhurst College caught up with the times?

SGA is responsible for allocating and managing the budgets of these organizations, but grouping us with the rest of them makes no sense and violates the fundamental responsibilities of the media.

The government should not have any say in how or what the media reports and should never have power over the media's funding. This conflict of interest is a stepping stone into blatant censorship.

We as a student newspaper refuse to sacrifice the responsibilities of student media in the name adhering to the archaic rules put forth by SGA.

The Leader rejects this force of will. We cannot be treated and funded the same as other organization simply because we do not function the same way. If SGA can control the press’s budget, they can control the press’s story and in the name of free speech, this cannot happen.

The relationship between us and SGA simply needs to end. It’s time that we develop an independent media board. Without it, tension between SGA and The Leader will be endless and inevitably end in war.