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ISSUE 120 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/6/2006

Counterweight challenges

By Emelie Heltsley
Staff Writer


Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Counterweight, the student-run conservative newspaper, has been having trouble with theft and negative student response recently. Last week, papers were stolen from the racks, costing the Counterweight over $200. While some argue that the Counterweight represents conservative students poorly, others think that the opinions it expresses should be heard.

"Every issue, people throw away stacks of papers," Editor-in-Chief Chase Donaldson '07 said about general response to the Counterweight. He said that the perpetrators usually throw the papers away in Buntrock, allowing Donaldson or other Counterweight staff to retrieve the papers. This time, however, the papers were taken out of Buntrock and were not able to be recovered.

"We don't have unlimited funding," Donaldson said about the Counterweight's inability to reprint the issue. "We were left with fewer than 100 copies."

Despite the seemingly overwhelmingly negative student opinion, Donaldson said that "a lot of people like the newspaper." After all the papers were stolen from the racks in Buntrock, the remaining copies went quickly, and not everyone who wanted a newspaper could get one.

"It shows a lack of character and a suspected lack of intellectual ability," Donaldson said about the theft. "We want people to criticize us, but it's the manner in which you do it that determines if I respect you or not."

The Counterweight was recently given additional funding by the Political Awareness Committee (PAC). PAC coordinator Krista Siems '07 expressed disapproval about the theft of Counterweight papers.

“"People get so mad with what's in the paper that they throw it away,"” she said. "“It's not the best solution."”

Sara Egeland ‘'07 echoes Siems'’ sentiments about the theft of the papers, mentioning the violation of basic rights, such as freedom of the press. “"They work hard to put that paper together,"” she said.

Siems said that, as PAC coordinator, she thinks that a conservative voice is needed on campus. “"I don't think the Counterweight is the most conducive way to get their message across,”" she said.

Sarah Robison '’07, who considers herself "“kind of conservative,"” agrees.

"“I read it, and I get angry,"” she said. "“I think [a conservative voice] would be good, but [the Counterweight] doesn'’t promote discussion well.”"

Many students consider the Counterweight to be extreme, a label that Donaldson considers “absurd,” calling the views expressed in the Counterweight “relatively mainstream opinions.”

Donaldson said that the extremely negative response shows a lack of balance on campus and among many students. He has received "nasty e-mails," letters in his PO box and has even been mentioned on a blog that expresses a desire to "kill Chase Donaldson." He laughed the criticism off, expressing his hope that people who disagree with the opinions in the paper will be able and willing to engage the staff of the Counterweight in intelligent dialogue.

“"Anything that goes against their opinion is ‘extreme,"’” Donaldson said about many of the people who criticize the Counterweight.

Siems considers the paper'’s "provoking" nature one of its main problems. "People on campus feel like it's more attacking than thought-provoking," she said.

Egeland disagrees with the opinion that the Counterweight has an extreme conservative viewpoint. “"The best thing about it is that it raises thought and consideration,”" she said.

While Siems admitted that she has a problem with the methodology used in many of the articles, she stressed that “there is nothing wrong with voicing your opinion in a Counterweight article.”

Some critics of the Counterweight are asking for a fundamental change to the paper. Siems has “high hopes ”that the paper will change its second semester publications, but others think that the Counterweight is fine just the way it is.

“"It’'s a great piece,”" Egeland said. "“If the paper changed, it would lose its significance.”"





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