Our view: In many ways, this new semester is a fresh start, but it’s also a time when we need to address lingering issues. Our campus is still trying to heal from the SAE scandal that thrust the university’s racial tensions into the spotlight. The Daily has fairly been criticized for not fully interacting with our community and, instead, simply reporting on it from our little bubble, something our editor-in-chief addressed earlier this week. Mental health resources on campus have improved in the past year, but are still lacking. Stigmas around mental illnesses remain a problem on this campus and around the country, as well. We saw another tuition hike this semester thanks to a cut in state funding and it’s clear that education in Oklahoma is simply not valued by our lawmakers.
This semester, we want to play a larger role in finding solutions. We don’t want to just report on things as they happen — we want to have an active part in implementing change on our campus. Let’s make this crystal clear: The Daily strives to be the independent student voice of the university, but we can’t claim to reflect the student body without your voices. We want to engage with you more than simply reading your Facebook comments and Twitter responses. We want to share your stories — what you’re passionate about. We’re making a conscious effort to be part of this community — we’re committing as an editorial board to go to one lecture, town hall, group meeting, movie night or other event at least once a week. We won’t go as reporters or editors, but as people. We hope that’ll give us a better feel for the stories you want us to tell, and we always encourage guest columns, letters to the editor and responses to articles in our opinion section.
We want our staff to better reflect the student body, too. We’re currently working on ramping up our work study program to offer more opportunities for students to be paid for the work they’re doing in Student Media. We know that by mainly offering volunteer positions, we’re limiting who can work at The Daily. We’re working to change that.
We’ve added a mental health beat to our news desk this year because we want to dedicate resources to mental health coverage. As students, we know the stressful atmosphere of college can cause or exacerbate mental health issues and it only seems right that our university be able to provide the best possible care for its students. OU President David Boren responded to our coverage last year of mental health resources on campus by hiring an additional psychiatrist, but there is work still to be done. Therefore, we will continue to tell students’ stories until stigmas are eradicated and quality care can be accessed in a timely manner.
We also strive to be a reasonable, dependable source of information within this particularly tumultuous election cycle. While rumors, biases and accusations fly across the Internet (many, if not most, perpetuated by media outlets themselves) we intend to deliver facts and thoughtful commentary to you. This is not just limited to the national election; our readers depend on us to report on Oklahoma, Norman and OU elections, as well as political issues such as the state budget and President Boren’s penny tax.
Finally, we are paying special attention to inclusiveness — both on campus and here at The Daily. We want to make staff positions available to everyone, not just to those who can afford to work a lot for a small amount of pay. We believe diversity and an environment of empathy are crucial parts of a healthy and welcoming campus.
This semester, we have one goal in mind: serving you, the student body. We want to prove that to you. As always, we welcome your thoughts, comments and criticisms.