By Eric Andrews | Echo
Cassidy Grom, a senior and former Co-Editor in Chief for The Echo - and a great friend of mine - posted on her Facebook last week in response to Excalibur.
In her post, Grom explained what she thought was the reason for Excalibur to go underground: "My opinion on why Excalibur went underground: Taylor's Culture (and policies) of Censorship."
Grom is referring to the prior review policy Taylor established in order for The Echo's content to be published on The Echo's website. All of The Echo's content must first be reviewed and approved by a university marketing personnel member before publication on The Echo's website.
I have a very difficult time agreeing this is the reason for Excalibur. As a current Editor in Chief of The Echo, I can disclose not a single story this year has been restricted from being published online.
Grom also mentioned a few examples from last school year of stories not being approved for online publication. If Excalibur held the belief the prior review policy was the problem, why would Excalibur not have happened last year, when the policy was a problem like Grom mentioned?
It is rather more likely those involved with Excalibur feel as though their views were not being portrayed equally in forums such as The Echo.
While on the outside this may appear to be accurate, I can tell you The Echo's staff has not declined to run a single story this school year because of political views, either those held by the writer or by our staff members.
Rather, I would argue the viewpoint of unequal political representation can be attributed to a lack of conservative pieces being submitted for publication. Each and every conservative piece we have received this year has been published. The viewpoint of unequal representation via The Echo can be directly linked to the lack of an equal amount of content to publish.
The Echo does not believe in pushing an agenda of any kind, as that is not (and should not be) the purpose of news sources. As such, The Echo stands to serve as its namesake: an echo of the Taylor community. This mission has been effectively upheld this school year, and will continue to do so, in whatever way that may be.
So, if the censorship policy and culture is not truly the motivation for Excalibur, what is?
My belief is certain individuals involved with Excalibur felt the need to go underground because of their opinions not being well-received when published in The Echo in the fall semester.
If this is the case, Excalibur's claim of The Echo not providing adequate means to confront leftist trends is frankly ridiculous. The problem does not rest in the hands of The Echo. If it did, those pieces never would have been published. Rather, the so-called "problem" falls in the hands of the writers who responded in disagreement to those pieces the following weeks, which, by the way, is well within their rights.
Of course, this is highly ironic. When rumored Excalibur members published pieces in The Echo last semester - with their names attached - and received pushback, the pushback was focused on the opinions, not the writers. In contrast, with the anonymity of Excalibur, the focus shifted to the writers, rather than the opinions themselves - the exact opposite of what Excalibur hoped to accomplish.
So, now the ball lies in the court of Excalibur's members. Will they "man up" and own their opinions, or will they continue to hide behind the proverbial - and again ironic - iron curtain? That remains to be seen.