On Mar. 1, Editors-in-Chief of the Forum, the Claremont Port Side, The Student Life, and the Claremont Independent published and delivered an open letter to President Pamela Gann regarding the new student media policy that has gone into effect this school year. The response we received was, quite frankly, lukewarm. Though she acknowledged our concerns, President Gann did not indicate any plans to change the media policy’s status quo and instructed us to continue working with the Office of Public Affairs.
Overshadowed by the buzz over “The Pai Memo” and onslaught of articles praising and criticizing CMC’s social scene, President Gann’s disappointing response to our open letter has been largely overlooked. But this is an issue ultimately more important than any school’s party scene. Though it is a Claremont McKenna policy, it impedes student publications from any of the 5Cs from gaining access to and interviews from CMC administrators without jumping hoops through the Office of Public Affairs. Given the interconnectedness of our consortium, one school’s restrictive media policy affects students from all schools’ ability to be informed about fundamental policies and structures that impact student life.
We should not be content with President Gann’s response. Our letter outlined our publications’ and the Office of Pubic Affairs’ pre-existing efforts to work with each other and why even those efforts, under such a restrictive policy, prevented timely, reliable exchanges of information. What’s more, Gann’s response does not address the fundamental problem of having a public relations office be the mediator between all administrative offices and staff and student media. Publications will come and go, but students will always deserve information relevant to their academic successes, job prospects, and personal lives from punctual, fair sources.The new student media policy prevents student publications from fulfilling this requirement.
Changing the policy will be a continuing imperative for the Independent in the next year. Although our publication’s leadership will change, its commitment to upholding integrity and transparency on all 5Cs will continue. It is my hope that we will see this policy changed by the time I graduate next year, even if we are not able to change it under my term as Editor-in-Chief.