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As the first issue of the Subterranean was released last Friday, a wide range of views erupted from the student body and faculty. Surprisingly, most faculty members and the majority of the administration supported the endeavors of our staff; although many students did not agree with some of the views expressed, they did respect the rights enumerated in the first amendment, and, consequently, recognized the vast amount of thought which staff invested into the first issue.

However, several factions have made efforts to restrict the right of free speech, as well as to undermine the efforts of the Subterranean. As the most frequent publication at Menlo school, the paper endeavors to increase communication between all members of the student body and to provide an open forum in which students may express their ideas on issues at Menlo without feeling threatened. However, a particular group at Menlo has not realized the ideals of the Subterranean and is consequently neglecting to realize the value of the newspaper—the student council has failed to realize that this publication is not propaganda, but rather a mirror of reality. Students at Menlo have written articles to address valid concerns; it is childish and closed-minded of the student council to ignore the issues which are broached in the publication. Rather than seeing the Subterranean as a tool for increasing communication between the student body and student government, the council, and one member in particular, have made attempts to restrict free speech in an effort to allow the council to continue its bureaucracy and isolate itself from truly concerned students. On Wednesday, one member of the student council was so rash as to suggest that all articles in the Subterranean be passed through student council before they are allowed to be run in the paper. I am sorry, my friends, but we have witnessed an attempt by our very own “democracy” to restrict free speech.

Every year, candidates make promises to students about increasing communication; why, then, is the student council so incredibly opposed to a newspaper which is merely devoted to representing students’ views? I can see no reason except for the fact that certain members of the council are afraid to face reality: did I keep my campaign promises, is student council operating as efficiently as it should, and am I really representing the students or simply resting on my laurels, wolfing down lunch every Wednesday afternoon in the President’s Dining Room (I took it upon myself to announce the time and place).

Unfortunately, the student council will not be able to effectively undermine the principles of The Subterranean Crusader. While a few members of the student council (and other members of the student body) might find some articles offensive, they will have to adjust to this reality—the reality that they are being watched, and that their obligations to their fellow students must now be fulfilled. I wish I could say that one person composes all of the articles against this institution; however, this is not the case. Displeasure is widespread; at last, the student council will be aware of the fact that students are unhappy, yet have many ideas for improvements.

So, student council members, this is my request—create a committee which is in charge of reviewing concerns and complaints of students. This committee can evaluate each week’s issue of The Subterranean Crusader. In this way, the student council can address the concerns raised by students' articles. The council tends to be invisible; if more people were aware and supportive of its activity, perhaps they might be able to make suggestions and build actual, rather than virtual, representation.


This page created for The Subterranean Crusader by John W. Earl. Last modified January 28, 1996.