Dear CLE State Student Publications,
To The Vindicator, WCSB, The Gavel, The Cleveland Stater and The Cauldron: thank you. When I sat down to write this love letter to you, I could not help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I am forever thankful to student publications for providing a voice to the students. You take the right and power of the First Amendment and you run with it. You run like the wind, being a watchdog for our school, giving the students honestly reported news in a relevant and intelligent manner. You take something beautiful like the First Amendment and turn it into something extraordinary.
From the radio tower to the print room, you dedicate your time, effort and brain power to delivering factual and entertaining information to the students, the city and anyone willing to read or hear what you have to say. You stand up for what is right, you fight the good fight and you never take flight. You work through adversity, scrutiny and budget freezes. From the greatest women’s basketball victory to the lowest administrative failure, you report and provide coverage. You are the reason why students have a voice.
You protect what is sacred to the student body: our voice. When opposing forces try to crack down on our free speech and free press, you keep going. You take it like a champ. When many of our fellow students are facing anxiety and stress, you provide a cute story asking “Where the F*** Are the Squirrels?” or a Grumpy Old Man hosting the “Grumpy Old Man Show.” When students are concerned that they are being ignored, you amplify them You give them a platform to stand on and jump from.
We, the students, we, the people, rely on you to look out for us. You bring change. When bigotry or hatred stands up, you help the students stand up taller. When there are differing ideas, you provide a basis to communicate and promote a diversity of thought. When there is news to be reported, you give us the facts. You love the students — from the highly involved Campus Activities Board officer to the incoming freshman looking for a new friend. You love us all. For that, we love you.
From poetry to politics, from songs to satire, from law to love, you have it all. No one in our campus community can feel alone when we can find memes, intersectionality and gift ideas on your websites. Student Government relies on you, Campus Activities Board relies on you, Lift Up Vikes and Mandel Vikes rely on you. Administration relies on you, and meme pages like @nina_faisal_fanpage, @clevelandstatememes and @clevelandstatesquirrels depend on you. Independent student publications like the Policy Wonk Podcast rely on you. We all depend on you to reflect the overall opinion of our fellow Vikings. We rely on you for relevant, informative and entertaining content.
You are a pillar of student and campus life. You are a hallmark of the future and a beacon of creativity. The Washington Post claims that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” I speak for my fellow Vikings when I say that more than democracy dies in darkness. The backbone, creativity, hope, voice and determination of the student body die in darkness. Without you, we have no creativity, and without creativity, we have no voice, with no voice we have no backbone, and having no backbone gives us no determination and no determination gives us no hope.
You are not just reporters and editors: you are leaders and activists. You are the ones who expose injustice, call out corruption and demand accountability. You are the ones who amplify the voices of us who are often silenced, and who inspire change. You protected Arab students on campus, shared concerns over homophobia on campus and tackled opponents of your free speech. You amplified the student’s concerns over the dining hall food and the need to come together over the most exciting World Cup of my lifetime. You ensure that students in film are seen and heard by their peers, and you highlight the lives of amazing student leaders.
From a staff perspective, you provide the writers, graphic designers, editors, hosts, and photographers with tasks to challenge our minds. You help us become better people and open our eyes to the world of journalism, music or production. You help us show our true colors and you highlight the very best of us. You encourage cooperation and open-mindedness. As an editor and as a writer, I thank you.
You do so much for us and in return, we present to you this letter. We, the student body of Cleveland State University, listen. We read. We share. We love you.
My biggest regret is not being involved with you sooner! My advice to whoever reads this is to get involved with one of CSU’s several student publications.