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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Alligator stands with The Battalion - and all student print journalism

Texas A&M University administration has issued its student newspaper an ultimatum; we disagree

For 50 years, The Alligator has operated as an independent student newsroom. For 50 years, we have amplified our community’s voices, uncovered injustices and shared the truth.

Since 1906, we have printed our paper, and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Print journalism is not dead. It’s alive within the heart of student newsrooms.

On Thursday, Feb. 10, The Battalion, Texas A&M’s student newspaper, was told by university administration to shut down their print edition. The 129-year-old student publication has been printing their paper since 1893. Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks has demanded it ceases. 

If it doesn’t move exclusively online, The Battalion will be stripped of its resources, including their office space and faculty advisor. 

The university president and administration hopes to transition The Battalion under a new Department of Journalism. Within this shift, a new rule would be implemented, where everything the newspaper publishes “must be approved in accordance with applicable member rules or procedures.”

The Texas A&M administration is not only trying to kill the print edition; they are attempting to kill the independence of student journalism altogether. The university’s administration is trying to destroy the roots of justice, accountability and transparency The Battalion has built for centuries. 

Texas A&M administration is censoring student journalism. That is unacceptable. 

An attack on one student-run paper is an attack on all of us. 

Student newsrooms are unique in many ways. We are one of the only organizations to cover the universities we attend. We hold accountable the multi-billion dollar entities that are home to our future politicians, scientists, doctors, lawyers and journalists. 

The Alligator prides itself on its coverage within multiple facets of our newsroom. Yet, most importantly, we value our independence. 

Fifty years ago, we had our fight for independence. Our students and our reporters fought in court to break away from the university in 1973 and have since maintained our right to publish without university interference. 

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We wear our independence as a badge of honor.

It has also been our shield as we’ve held our university and city accountable. It’s our guide as we’ve shaped our coverage. 

Student journalists suffer the task of producing quality news and balancing a student’s life. We sacrifice countless hours to keep our communities informed.

The Battalion operates as a student organization, not an independent entity like The Alligator. Regardless, it still deserves the fundamental respect and rights a newspaper operates within, and that doesn’t include censorship from other entities. 

Texas A&M administration is ripping into the heart of students who pour themselves into serving their university community. Texas A&M administration is making a tremendous mistake. 

To the student journalists at The Battalion, we stand with you. We will fight with you. And most importantly, we will continue to strive to serve our community as truthful storytellers: as will you. 

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