Let’s face it: on this campus, most of us love to read, rant and respond to the various escapades of our fellow conservative students. Whether it’s writing response articles to their infamous Commie Cookies event last semester or watching them roll a giant beach ball around campus for people to write on, it’s easy for those of us who don’t agree with many opinions of the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) to gawk, laugh and write them off.
Similarly, this was the case last month when The Tower, a student-run conservative publication, took off in notoriety among the general student body. Originally named The Wendt, the paper aims to provide “a more conservative perspective on events in San Antonio,” according to an article by The Tower’s editor-in-chief, senior Luke Ayers.
While The Tower offers coverage of local political news, campus events and lifestyle topics, students most likely know of it from its controversial opinion articles on campus events. A notable example of these articles is “Trinity University Subsidizes Sin,” which criticizes SGA’s funding of BSU’s All Black Everything party this semester. But rather than using this column to take shots at the obscene inaccuracies and logical fallacies in these and other articles, I believe it is important to take a look at the foundation of this publication and question why our conservative colleagues chose to create it.
The Tower claims to be different from the Trinitonian because it is entirely independent from any outside authorities and is not influenced in their reporting whatsoever. In Ayers’s article, he cites the Trinitonian’s dependence on SGA funding, an on-campus newsroom and a faculty adviser. Ayers claims that The Trinitonian is “undeniably left-leaning” due to its connection to a liberal arts university, leaving a journalistic gap in conservative events and issues that claims to fill. It is clear that one mission of The Tower is to set itself apart from all other sources of campus and local news. It frames itself as an outsider challenging the norm of the majority mindset of Trinity students.
But does this supposed problem with our campus journalism warrant an entirely new student publication? It seems as though most of the claims against the Trinitonian center on its left-leaning tendencies although Ayers does not cite any examples. He points out the lack of coverage of events like YCT’s Berlin Wall last semester but fails to mention the Trinitonian’s consistent coverage of various conservative campus events, ranging from their annual 9/11 memorial to their hosting of speakers like Dinesh D’Souza and Bob Fu to their future plans to host new speakers. Even outside of the news section, former opinion columnist Maddie D’Iorio frequently explored conservative topics in her columns and started interesting discussions about politics, sexuality, religion and gender.
Given all the above examples, can YCT claim in good faith that there is no room for conservative topics and ideas within the already-established student publications? Even if their issue is with the way in which these events are reported, nothing is preventing conservative students from applying to work at the Trinitonian themselves and giving their own movement a voice. If the Trinitonian truly does tend to focus on topics relevant to left-leaning students, it is because it has a left-leaning staff with left-leaning friends. All that conservative students have to do is bring their diverse ideas to the table instead of sequestering their opinions in a separate publication.
Conservative pundits and journalists often lament about the liberal college echo chamber where students are overly-protected by the exchange of ideas they already agree with. If YCT wants to challenge this system, it is contradictory for their members to create their own echo chamber in which journalistic standards come secondary to proving that they are different from the left-leaning hive mind of Trinity students. When the Tower frames itself as separate from the Trinitonian and absorbs all conservative thought to one space, it harms both publications. It prevents conservative ideas from going head-to-head with more liberal ones and positions conservative students as different and abnormal, preventing any cohesion within the Trinity community.
The Trinitonian is in the midst of hiring its staff for
the upcoming fall semester. With all positions open to applications, there is
no reason our fellow conservative classmates can’t try to expand our liberal
focus from the inside. If they would no longer like to be gawked at, I
recommend they adjust their strategy for convincing the other side.
| Class of 2020 | Major: Anthropology