Thank you for supporting The Hoot

Even though Class of 2019 Senator Kent Dinlenc withdrew his proposal to de-charter The Hoot last night, The Brandeis Hoot editorial board cannot disregard the lingering effects that his actions had and will have on our publication. By having to defend our legitimacy and justify our existence, we as journalists had to enter the unnatural role of activists, sacrificing our objectivity and, consequently, the integrity that we have spent years trying to cultivate within our community. On a positive note, we had the opportunity to come together with generations of Brandeis alumni, both affiliated and unaffiliated with The Hoot, and see how much the newspaper means to students, even after they graduate.

We appreciate Dinlenc admitting his mistake and being willing to listen to the voices of the student body. However, his withdrawal of the proposal before it was put to a vote neither erases the damage that it caused nor does it erase the efforts that students and alumni put in to protect journalistic freedom.

We stand firm in our belief that The Hoot is a necessary and valuable addition to Brandeis and its students. Through the responses that we received on our open petition, this week has shown that over 700 students and alumni and over 60 clubs believe that The Hoot is an important asset to the campus community.

One of the central points made in the Hoot De-Charter Proposal is that we are violating the Duality of Purpose amendment found in the Bylaws in Article VIII Section 2 (c), which states that “In order to be eligible for accreditation, a prospective club must: Not duplicate the purpose or goals of an existing club. If the prospective club’s operations, impact, and student appeal would substantively be the same as that of an existing club, then it should not be accredited.” We acknowledge that The Hoot and the Justice have some inherent similarities, such that both newspapers report “reliable, accurate and unbiased sources of news and information” as written in the statement of purpose in our constitution. In the spirit of having diverse voices on campus, the two newspapers need to have similarly functioning platforms to share those perspectives and not prioritize some voices over others. Our similarities allow us to keep each other in check and improve each other with every issue. We admit that we are not faultless, but we do our best to make your voices heard and to inform you about campus life. As stated in our constitution, The Hoot is Brandeis’ community newspaper; we are “for, by and about the Brandeis community.”

On campus, as in the real world, the press should not be limited. Different editorial boards provide a range of perspectives and do not stifle voices in the way that a large staff would. In this way, both publications are pushed toward a higher standard. We operate on different news cycles, allowing for more timely coverage on both Tuesdays and Fridays to keep the student body more informed.

The proposal also claimed that since few universities have more than one news publication, Brandeis should follow suit and have only one newspaper. We believe that not only should it not matter that we’re different from other schools, but our uniqueness should be celebrated. Brandeis has always forged its own path in higher education; it is an institution that was founded on inclusivity. Freedom of the press and the encouragement of a wide variety of journalistic voices are merits that Brandeis should be proud of, rather than reasons to conform to other universities.

A brief point made in the proposal was the issue of sustainability. While our newspapers are printed on recycled paper, we acknowledge that both newspapers can reduce printing to be more sustainable. But it is also worth noting that not only does The Hoot print fewer newspapers than the Justice, but it takes more energy to produce and read a newspaper online than in print because of the amount of electricity it takes to charge a laptop. We at The Hoot are willing to cut our printing by 25 percent if the Justice also does so, and have already communicated this to the Senate.

The proposal states that “If this de-chartering is approved, nobody would be dismayed by the

dissolution of The Hoot in three years. The students who founded The Hoot fifteen years ago will live their lives unaffected by this action.” It also states that “the turnover for people caring about The Hoot is four years.” Within 24 hours of being informed of the de-chartering proposal, we received a letter from Hoot alumni from the past 14 years, all of whom were unsettled and saddened by the de-charter proposal. The overwhelming outpouring of support from our alumni goes to show that while there are many things that have changed about The Hoot over the years, one thing has not—The Hoot is not just a club, it is a family.

Originally, we asked people to wear red or maroon today to highlight the members of our community standing in solidarity with us, defending one of the many valuable publications on campus. But now, people wearing our colors on campus today will be celebrating our joint efforts to show the strength and importance of The Hoot’s presence on campus. Thank you.

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