Like many campus observers, I found the Daily’s coverage of the Athlete List to be rather sensational and devoid of substance (no, I refuse to make the distinction between California Watch and the Daily – the article was printed as the top story in the Dead Week issue of the Stanford Daily – “the most important issue we print” according to one former editor).
To be fair, beyond the hyperbole of the story lies a level of newsworthiness. Strong blame needs to be heaped on an administration that is so sensitive to a couple of inquiries that they took actions that seemed to legitimate the attacks raised in the article. Better handling of the situation would have staved most of the controversy.
What makes this article particularly interesting is its effect on student opinion in the midst of the Daily’s campaign for Special Fees. Special Fees form a crucial part of the Daily’s budget, and the Daily must get the preponderance of votes on its line item on the ballot to vote “yes” in order to receive them.
I have now been approached twice to lead an anti-Daily special fees campaign. I find the notion of such a campaign to be disheartening given the already distressed state of Stanford journalism. I will not support such a campaign for that reason, since there are better ways to handle the situation.
Nonetheless, there is a clear movement underway to push students to vote “no” on the ballot come April. They will likely face an uphill battle – the Daily is among the most visible of student groups, and this is reflected in their 73.9% vote last year. There would have to be a 600+ vote swing given the same number of votes, and this seems rather unlikely. For those who care about the issue though, it is something to watch, and it might make for a more interesting Campaign Week.