The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Union Comment: Budget cuts target the future of local journalism students

Free speech: It is one of the most valued constitutional rights of Americans; and yet a vessel of that freedom is being silenced in Ventura County.

The campus newspapers of Oxnard and Ventura colleges may be on their way to extinction.

To close a $7.5 million budget gap for this year and the next, The Ventura County Community College District trustees recently closed cafeteria services and reduced nearly two dozen academic programs and laid off about 130 instructors at Oxnard, Ventura and Moorpark colleges.

Out of all the programs that have been reduced or shut off, the most devastating may be the campus newspapers.

The plan will eliminate the newspapers at Oxnard and Ventura colleges so the district budget and efforts–or lack thereof-can be concentrated at Moorpark College.

It is not only unfair, but also illogical to have only one newspaper for three colleges.

There’s simply too much information to be crammed into a single publication and it cannot represent the views of all three schools and communities combined. The system will not work and is bound to fail.

It’s important to understand that the student-run and produced newspapers are not only educational programs, but they represent the voices of their campuses and their communities.

They are actual publications that receive readership beyond the campus gates. It’s incomprehensible that in college, where students are encouraged to be critical thinkers and to voice their opinions, such a valuable vessel of free speech would be discouraged.

It is true that such a large budget gap is hard to close, but students’ freedom and voices should not be sacrificed.

Despite the demonstration that was led mostly be journalism students that took place March 9, the future of the Oxnard and Ventura colleges’ newspapers are still looking grim.

What the students need to do is what newspapers do best: Reach out to the communities and draw them in to create unity.

To help the district lighten the budget crisis, students should write to neighbor businesses and corporations for help with funds to keep the newspapers alive. Asking for donation would help spread awareness of the budget crises and help ease the district budget gap.

With the community backing in efforts and funding, there should be no excuse for the district to terminate the newspapers.

Perhaps only then would they see the importance of honoring students’ freedom to exercise the First Amendment rights and that students’ voices should be amplified, not muted.

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