Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NEWS FLASH: Beacons Stolen From Ogg Hall

Every other Tuesday morning, a few dedicated conservatives wake up at the crack of dawn and meet at the Memorial Union to trek all over campus delivering the Mendota Beacon, UW-Madison's very own conservative student newspaper, to campus buildings and libraries. Now is the time where it becomes a little more work with the cold weather, but these folks are very dedicated to the cause and won't let a little cold stop them.

Nevertheless, as with the other student newspapers, we expect to be treated equally. We take the First Amendment very seriously and any infrigement on those guaranteed freedoms is a slap in the face to every soldier who has died to protect them. On that note, we at the Beacon have faced multiple instances of theft, and tampering with our newspapers in various campus buildings.

For example, the same day as our distribution of the second most recent issue (two weeks ago) we heard that nearly one hundred copies had been taken from a bin in Social Sciences, one of the most heavily trafficked buildings on campus, and relocated to a distant hall in the rear of the building only used by TAs and professors. We were not informed of this as an offense against us, but rather accused of placing them there on purpose by the TA who discovered them. I sent a complaint to the Dean of Students' office and was informed by the Assistant Dean that the building manager would be notified and steps would be taken to prevent further issues. I haven't heard of anything happening there today, but we'll see what tomorrow brings.

In numerous other cases, we've shown up to deliver the next issue only to find issues of the Madison Observer (a bi-weekly socialist student newspaper), Daily Cardinal, or Badger Herald covering them.

But today, I unknowingly caught another offense. As I returned from my noon philosophy discussion, I went to pick up a few copies from my dorm's newspaper bin to give to family members (since we usually put a few hundred copies in there and end up with lots of leftovers). Approaching the elevator I glanced at the front page only to realize that the issues in my hand were the two-week-old issue. I didn't think anything of it because I assumed someone had forgotten to leave copies in the bin this morning. However, tonight as we walked to dinner following the College Republican meeting, the person in charge of delivering to the dorm informed me that those copies had in fact been stolen or displaced.

And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, this is the last straw. I refuse to sit idly by while the liberal crowd on campus continuously tramples our freedom of speech. The campus preaches acceptance and diversity, but that doesn't seem to extend to ideologies. Whether it be investigating the College Republicans for a campaign's mistake and punishing the group, but meanwhile never looking into allegations of a Michael Moore supporter dumping urine on a protestor at his student-funded rally, the administration on campus never seems to want to fight for equal treatment of liberals and conservatives.

If there was ever an accusation of a conservative tampering in any way with the Daily Cardinal or Badger Herald, there's no doubt that the reprocussions would be swift and terrible. And until we can be assured that the campus will either fix this problem for good, or reimburse the Beacon for all stolen issues, we cannot let this go unaccounted for. If the administration doesn't want to investigate, then we will have to take it upon ourselves to find out who is responsible and how this continues to happen without consequence.

The next instance of theft or tampering will be met with a public outcry to local and national media, accompanied by demands that the university investigate until the problem is solved and the culprits caught and punished. If the university still wishes to play games with our freedoms, then we will be left with no choice but to hold them accountable. As a public university, it is their job to adhere to the law and ensure a safe atmosphere for people of every race, religion, AND ideology.

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