Tufts Reacts to Christmas Carol Controversy
January 22, 2007
by Tara Sweeney
[A] town-hall-style meeting, a conference on responsible journalism, a Senate ad hoc committee, and efforts to put in place standards for journalistic accountability.The unifying thread for all the initiatives will be an attempt to address the role of diversity on campus following The Primary Source's poorly received critique of affirmative action and to translate the emotional response to the carol into concrete programs.
In the weeks following the publication of the carol, many members of the community called upon the Senate to reconsider the amount of funding that The Primary Source receives, and such requests are still being made.According to Janice Johnson, the treasurer of the Pan African Alliance (PAA), the group plans to release a survey early in the semester asking students their opinion of The Primary Source.If students feel that the Source should receive less money, the PAA will present its finding to the Allocations Board (ALBO).
“Basically what we’re trying to come to is to have more of a student voice in how student publications are funded,” she said.
“If students have such a disdain for how The Primary Source is displaying their message, then they should have a voice in how it's funded.”
[Student Senate President Mitch] Robinson is open to such requests, although the call for complete de-funding that some students have made will almost certainly not be honored, he said.
The PAA will also support steps to reform standards for student publications. Johnson said the group will call for the use of a Media Advisory Board with some powers of oversight.
The student referendum aspect of the program for funding speech and expressive activities, however, appears to be inconsistent with the viewpoint neutrality requirement. … To the extent the referendum substitutes majority determinations for viewpoint neutrality it would undermine the constitutional protection the program requires. The whole theory of viewpoint neutrality is that minority views are treated with the same respect as are majority views. Access to a public forum, for instance, does not depend upon majoritarian consent. [Emphasis added]