2005-04-15 | Counterweight's next issue misses the boat

Originally published by The University Register: Campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, Morris

Thursday, April 14, 2005 - Volume 17, Issue 23

daniel j moore

Guest Editorialist

I'm writing here, today, in the UR, as a concerned student. My purpose is simple - to counter The Counterweight. The next edition will be published tomorrow and I am greatly concerned about much of the content and about the campus reaction to the work in general. I am, as most of you know, conservative in my ideology, but I also think that I have the common sense, maturity, and awareness of my surroundings enough to know the difference between right and wrong - specifically the right and wrong place, time, and subject for publication on our campus. I have been involved on the fringes of the Counterweight since its inception. Unfortunately, I find myself distressed by it more often than not.

To begin, tomorrow's issue features three very well written letters to the editor. The first points out some flaws in a poorly researched article in the CW's first edition. The third mentions the incredible lack of positive text in the publication. And the second, by Donovan Cawley, eloquently encourages the CW to make its material meet its mission. It is touted as providing a counter to the UR but is in fact mostly just right-winged ranting. All three writers ought to be commended for their viewpoints.

The article about alternative energy can easily be misconstrued as a prop for the governor. It is trying to point out that the public will turn to a more affordable source of energy before an environmentally friendly one based on cost.

An article about 'common sense feminism' is poorly written and does seem to take aim at our WRC and other women's organizations while pointing out some reasonably acceptable ideas. The problem, however, is in the approach. It's written with an indecent amount of hostility and is not the least bit sensitive.

As we approach Pride Week, the CW has chosen to publish a piece about our campus's display of the Pride flag. I'll be honest - it was my idea - but not in its published form. I suggested that perhaps someone write an informative article about the idea of putting a politically motivated flag on a national flag pole, and about the fact that we are the only school in the state of Minnesota where our GLBTQQIA organization has earned so much respect from the campus community and the administration that it is allowed to fly the flag. The power that is wielded by our student organizations at UMM is absolutely incredible, and I think that the flying of the Pride flag is a wonderful testament to that. I was hoping that the article could become a discussion topic where different sides of the issue could be objectively and respectfully presented, without interjecting an opinion. I think the CW missed the boat, and I'm sorry to have brought up the idea for the article.

There will be a piece of satire in the CW tomorrow, but you wouldn't know if from the first three-quarters of the article. The author has decided to beat a dead horse and continue to rant about the newly passed mascot policy that was already brought up in the CW, refuted in the UR, and discussed on campus.

Fortunately, a well respected writer and student offers a bit of redemption to this edition of the CW. He spent a night riding along with a Morris police officer and has written a wonderful report on his experience. I hope that you will all take a look at it - it's quite nice.

And finally, history professor Randy Kidd has submitted answers to a very nice interview with regards to his recent job loss and the shenanigans that came with it. The perspective he offers and the questions that he brings to light should be read by every single individual on this campus, in our community, by our parents and financiers, and by prospective students. It is a gorgeous piece - perhaps worthy of a UMM Pulitzer - and ought be taken quite seriously.

I sincerely hope that when all of you track down a copy tomorrow afternoon you will start by ripping off the front and back sections, and focus instead on the article about Randy Kidd. It is most unfortunate that the CW does not see fit to share it with the UR so that we as a student body might have greater access to it and, by sharing it and joining forces in promoting it, present a unified voice for all students with regard to our outrage with the way that Randy's situation was handled.

It's a shame that I've felt compelled to write this for today, but please understand my fundamental disagreements with the manner in which the Counterweight staff is conducting itself and its publication. At the same time, however, I'm hopeful that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU will find a copy and take to heart the words of Randy Kidd.


[Author's Note, 2012] Regrettably, this piece was altered considerably by the UR staff between the time that I submitted it and the time it went to press. I never reviewed a final copy, and thus apologize for a portion of the content. I wrote this piece for publication in the UR on a Thursday (the usual press day) after working on the Counterweight earlier in the week. The Counterweight had intended to be on press and in student's hands on Wednesday of that week, so I sent my piece to the UR thinking they would publish after the Counterweight was already circulated. Unfortunately, the CW pushed their circulation date to Friday, so the UR staff reworded my submission to be proactive rather than reactive. This article was, therefore, viewed by many on campus to be pretty low and inconsiderate. I agree. I never would have wanted the above article printed. Yet sadly, to press it went, and I alienated a number of good friends and good people. I met with the leadership at the CW some time later and did my best to explain the intentions and the resulting foul-up.