In a Newspaper Controversy, Is an Ad the Issue--or Is There Something More?

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The University of California-Santa Barbara's Student Legislative Council voted last week to freeze funding for the college's Daily Nexus newspaper in response to the paper's decision to run an ad from a housing company that recently evicted 55 low-income families. The council boycotted the company, Conquest Student Housing, just after the evictions, which many in the town consider a step to bring in higher-paying student renters, the Santa Barbara Independent reported.

The student body president has vetoed the council's decision, setting the stage for a contentious meeting this Wednesday when the council will need a two-thirds majority vote to overturn the veto. At the meeting last Wednesday, some council members also argued, in emotional testimony, that the Nexus contributes to a hostile environment for minorities on campus. "This is the problem: We feel attacked by our campus newspaper," says one council member. "You know why they [minorities] don't come here? . . . Black students go to college, but they don't go to UCSB because they don't feel safe here."

In an editorial today , Daily Nexus editors say they plan to defend their decision to run the ad at the legislative council meeting this Wednesday. There, they also aim to address the allegation that the paper prints hate speech. "Whether we agree with this charge does not matter," they wrote; "if our fellow students feel attacked or threatened, we owe it to them, and ourselves, to engage in an honest dialogue."