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Save the Racks: The Alligator needs your help

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Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 1:01 am | Updated: 1:31 pm, Thu Jul 19, 2012.

After two and half years of negotiation, UF has recently informed the Alligator that it will be removing 19 of our orange racks by Aug. 15, conveniently at a time when fewer people will be around to notice the changes.

These 19 Alligator racks, which are in some of the most visible places on campus, will be replaced by large black modular university-owned racks, similar to the ones on Turlington Plaza. In order to use these new racks, the Alligator will have to sign a licensing agreement and pay a fee to UF to lease space for our papers.

By removing our racks, we believe the UF administration is not acting in the best interest of the students. With UF now controlling our distribution on campus, what happens if we have coverage of the UF administration that they find unfavorable? Will this change our relationship with the university?

The uncertainty of this new arrangement will create a chilling effect, hampering our ability to provide students with the most accurate and unbiased coverage. Students might also receive less important news and information in the future.

The new modular racks could also have a negative effect on our readership. They are less visible than our orange racks and are less protective against inclement weather.

Because we are independent, we rely on advertising funds to operate. If the new racks cause our circulation to decrease, we could potentially lose advertisers, meaning students will get fewer papers, fewer pages and less news.

Retired UF economics professor David Denslow Jr. at the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research has been analyzing data to see what effects this change would have on our circulation, but the administration has refused to let him finish his work before removing our bins.

Today, we ask you, the Student Body, to help us Save The Racks. For more information, you can visit www.alligator.org/savetheracks. On the website, you can find and sign our petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/university-of-florida-stop-removal-of-the-alligator-s-newspaper-racks-from-uf-s-campus, which we will be presenting to the administration.

No other publication at UF does what we have been doing for the students of this school for 106 years.

This is certainly bad for the 50 people who work at the Alligator each semester.

It’s even worse for the 50,000 UF students who rely on our ability to provide comprehensive, independent and unbiased news.

Welcome to the discussion.

16 comments:

  • valdus posted at 11:13 am on Sun, Jul 22, 2012.

    valdus Posts: 1

    Hey, it makes the campus a prettier place, it's safer.... It's for the children. Yadda, yadda, yadda. So two months from now something seemingly controversial happens. You know, something that means absolutely nothing in the real world off campus, but has the admins all in a knot. The newspaper writes something unflattering, Then the admins revoke their distribution license, effectively banning the paper from campus. That's how it works. Such a simple little thing, but it gives them the effective power to ban a publication from campus. At least from being easily distributed. Frankly, that is exactly what I assume the admins of a "thefire.org red light school" mean to do.

    Then again, if someone has largely learned about "rights" on a college campus, there is probably little hope for them. They probably continue to assume that "justice" and "rights" are somehow the same thing. You know what, forget it. Yes, let's just agree that government and administrative power is legitimately exercised when used to supposedly rectify the feng shuiness of things.

    Yes Kyle, that is exactly what they will be saying. It has happened on any number of other campuses. The campus would look a lot nicer if the university required everyone to buy and wear specific school uniforms. It would look a lot nicer if they required and vehicle on campus to have been washed in the last 2 days. I will pause in this decent into absurdity to point out that "looking nicer" is not, by itself, a legitimate reason for the application of government force.

    If the paper has the money to pay the fee, perhaps it is a molehill right now, but the power to make it a mountain will hereafter rest solely with the administration. I mean, really... Imagine if the admins claimed your right to free speech was undiminished, but only as long as you did not upset anyone. That you could enjoy free speech, but only on some picnic patio, in some corner somewhere, only with prior written approval from the admins. I know, just another absurd sounding example. That would not really be free speech either though, would it? But at the some time, isn't some reasonable restriction on rights ok if it makes the campus look nicer, or makes the conversations sound nicer? You can't possibly be against a clean campus or a more civil and polite campus can you?

    Tell ya what... You can feel free to go down to the office, give them your name and sign away any of your civil rights that you don't feel you really needed anyway. Do not presume to so casually sign away the rights of others though.

     
  • GlissonL posted at 12:38 am on Sat, Jul 21, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    Actually they are saying, "No, you cannot continue to distribute the newspapers in the way that you always have. You must now pay a fee and give the newspapers to us, for us to distribute for you." There is a distinction. And there is a long-standing precedent for the newspaper boxes being allowed on campus. Freedom of the Press has special protections. And telling the Alligator that the boxes will be forcibly removed by a certain date is kind of a big deal whether someone such as yourself can appreciate that or not. It could wind up costing UF a lot of money if they aren't really careful. All for something that makes someone such as myself wonder why they are wasting time/assets/resources on such a seemingly misguided effort.

     
  • Kyle David posted at 2:49 pm on Fri, Jul 20, 2012.

    Kyle David Posts: 1

    wow, talk about making a mountain out of mole hill. UF should be able to make the campus look nicer, it is NOT like they are saying you cannot distribute the papers.

     
  • GlissonL posted at 4:47 am on Fri, Jul 20, 2012.

    GlissonL Posts: 42

    Go to court and try to get an injunction on the basis of Freedom of the Press. The orange boxes give the campus "character", even if that is beyond the aesthetic senses of some. They are an icon, just as Pepsi machines are iconic to their brand. The administrators should leave well enough alone and stop wasting taxpayer money on the equivalent of highly elective cosmetic surgery for the campus. The campus is a tool for learning and not a country club. The oranges boxes are integral to the Alligator brand.

     
  • cadet123 posted at 11:13 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    cadet123 Posts: 1

    @GatorDem It is $100 year per rack (i.e. window)...

     
  • GatorDem posted at 10:31 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    GatorDem Posts: 31

    I like how this article doesn't mention that the fee is a measly $100 per year and that UF is crediting the Alligator for 3 free years to start them off. They also fail to mention that UF has offered to allow the Alligator to post advertising on the side of the new boxes to show students that they can be picked up at those locations. On top of that, this idea was sponsored by Stephen Orlando (the UF Intro to Journalism Prof) and the Alligator already used the exact same black box in Turlington for the entire last year with no problems... I feel like this whole thing seems to be blown way out of proportion and the Alligator is just being childish and trying to start stuff with UF for trying to "control" them like a spoiled teenager pisses and moans when their parents give them an 11PM curfew on school nights.

     
  • LittleFoot posted at 8:31 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    LittleFoot Posts: 20

    @Roosevelt- The Odyssey... it already exists. And Denslow? What happened with him?

     
  • bryson66 posted at 6:22 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    bryson66 Posts: 3

    why should any magazines have to pay to be placed on campus? Previously magazines incurred the expense of providing their own racks, at their own expense. Now UF wants them to pay additional amount

     
  • Roosevelt posted at 2:35 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Roosevelt Posts: 56

    This is obviously a Blue Key conspiracy to quite a voice of reason on campus. Putting the alligator in the black boxes will reduce circulation (which is why they won't let Denslow finish his research) and ultimately force it back under the university. In three years we will have a newspaper that is just a bunch of Greek organization press releases and Unite propaganda.

     
  • ITGator posted at 1:15 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    ITGator Posts: 2

    Another thing. Why can't The Alligator accept being treated like every other paper on campus? While this sucks for the students who work for The Alligator, what about other student newspapers? The Alligator isn't entitled to a monopoly or special treatment just because it has historically been the most widely known student newspaper.

     
  • Bacon posted at 12:15 pm on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Bacon Posts: 5

    @Lauren W: When you say? In every single one of their issues. I've been reading the Alligator daily from I came to UF as a freshman to when I graduated. The paper is not perfect by any means, and you have to remember its run by a handful of college students. Sure, things may not be picture perfect, but there are students who dedicate countless hours daily trying to put out the news. In a sense, you're just butthurt.

     
  • ITGator posted at 11:10 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    ITGator Posts: 2

    Is this being applied only to The Alligator or to the Gainesville Sun and others as well? As long as they're applying it across the board The Alligator is SOL.

    I would feel a little bit of sympathy if The Alligator hadn't completely lost its way over the last few years. Once they started trying to create the news, rather than simply report it they started declining rapidly. The quality of articles has declined immensely and their most in depth reporting are ghost written press releases.

     
  • Lauren W posted at 10:52 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Lauren W Posts: 1

    Since when has the Alligator provided "comprehensive, independent and unbiased news" ? Ah, this must be a joke. I see what you did there.

     
  • Andy Bechtel posted at 9:12 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Andy Bechtel Posts: 1

    Aesthetics aside, the fee requirement is troubling.

     
  • Ed Bonza posted at 9:04 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    Ed Bonza Posts: 1

    Read the article at this link, then someone on the staff of the paper needs to contact the SPLC now: http://www.splc.org/knowyourrights/legalresearch.asp?id=109

     
  • MooseThompson posted at 6:12 am on Thu, Jul 19, 2012.

    MooseThompson Posts: 70

    "It’s even worse for the 50,000 UF students who rely on our ability to provide comprehensive, independent and unbiased news."

    How did you manage to type that with a straight face? The modular racks look much nicer and make more sense.