With a campus community of over 24,000 students, UC Irvine is home to a plethora of opinions. To accommodate these views, students utilize campus publications outside of the New University such as alternative media outlets.
Unfortunately, due to a limited budget allocated by Associated Students of UCI toward such outlets, it can be hard for these publications to get the funding they need. It’s a shame that students’ voices are stifled by a lack of money. Jaded Magazine, for example, ran out of funding this past issue and consequently has been forced to cut back on the frequency of its production. Jaded Magazine shares an annual budget of $10,000 with the other Alternative Media publications, including the Irvine Review, Med Times, La Voz Mestiza, Progressive and InQueery, forcing it to find money elsewhere and restraining its potential and readership.
Because of the nature and frequency of many of these publications, private support can be hard to find. It’s essential for a university to enlighten and educate its community by allowing several channels through which students can speak their minds.
By having numerous alternative media publications available to students, each can have an individual and separate focus that may not be reflected in other publications. Topics not widely discussed can be brought to the attention of the larger public, stimulating discussion and critical thinking.
All sides of an argument must be heard before a student can make a fair assessment about any issue. Only by reading different publications that reflect different perspectives can a student be truly informed. Having alternative media at UCI brings a balance to what’s being heard. Multiple publications keep each other in check and give the minority point of view a chance to speak.
If one publication were to reflect, say, conservative views, having multiple channels of free speech would allow another to counter with liberal views. The only way to ensure a balanced forum is by providing support for multiple publications.
If the number and frequency of alternative media publications were to drop, this balance would be lost. A diverse pool of opinions is just as essential as a diverse breadth of education or a diverse number of sources for a single class.
The New University, though a forum for diverse expression, cannot always produce everything students may wish to say, as it has the responsibility to maintain a middle ground, balanced stance on most issues.
In addition, the New University must cover a large range of topics, while Alternative Media publications are able to concentrate their coverage on a single issue they feel is important. They can go into great depth and cover all aspects of these issues.
While individuals of our student body are bound to disagree with the focus of some of our campus publications, it’s crucial that their points are still heard and allowed to be expressed. It is the right of every individual to have the means to be heard.
If Alternative Media is limited in funding, either publicly or privately, both the university and its students need to take proactive stance in supporting it. An institution of higher education is a forum for diversity and learning. Let’s do what we can to keep it that way.
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