News Is UW Going Red?
posted by October 29 at 22:41 PMon
Posted by News Intern Aaron Pickus
I just spent most of my evening at a debate on-campus between representatives from the Young Democrats and from the College Republicans. It is no secret that being an unpaid intern at The Stranger leads directly to such red-carpet events. No one else, besides those also attending, can say that the highlight of their evening was hearing a suit-wearing College Republican debater say, in front of a lecture hall full of people, that “we have our own George Bush here in Washington and her name is Christine Gregoire.” He was not joking.
I attended the debate to get some sense of the student reaction to The Daily’s endorsement for Dino Rossi. The endorsement was not mentioned once, by either side, during a nearly two hour debate focusing on education and the budget in Washington. There were over 100 people in the audience. Somebody must have an opinion on the endorsement.
“Going to a university, it feels like it’s mostly against the general opinion,” says Patrick, a College Republican attending the debate. “It feels like they thought about it. It’s the right choice.” Another College Republican standing with Patrick said that he supported Rossi because he has younger sisters. So do I. I don’t support Rossi. Did I miss something?
Kat, an undergraduate double-majoring in Economics and Law, Societies, and Justice, says that she hadn’t heard about the endorsement. A Young Democrat, Kat explained that she “didn’t think people read The Daily for hard facts; just, you know, for sports.” Well, I’m after hard facts. So, I went to the office of The Daily to get a sense of the general feedback the paper has been experiencing after their endorsement.
“It’s been a challenging day,” says The Daily’s Editor-in-Chief, Sarah Jeglum. “It was a long decision [and] we talked about all the issues.” When asked which, if any, specific issue was focused on the most, Jeglum responded that the editorial board “tried to focus on budget issues.” The endorsement, which appeared in this morning’s edition, can be read here.
Today’s endorsement does not represent a tidal shift in campus politics. Jeglum writes in her letter from the editor:
As a newspaper, our job is to provide information that can aid informed decision-making, and like all endorsements, the editorial board’s decision was a reflection of the members of the board, not the entire Daily staff.
Jeglum emphasized during my interview that if The Daily’s editorial board “had made a decision based on majority opinion [she] would not be proud.”
It is interesting that the “majority opinion” is conventionally judged to be so palpably liberal on the University of Washington’s campus. I admit I was surprised to read this morning’s endorsement, but should I have been? After all, The Seattle Times endorsed Rossi, and they’re a newspaper too. Are the political expectations of a student newspaper on a major college campus different than large, privately run newspapers?