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Letter to the Editor: Ahmed Afzaal

Ahmed Afzaal, Religion Professor

I was disappointed to learn that the Concordian will no longer be printed on a weekly basis, mainly as a result of financial stress (“Letter from the Editor-in-Chief,” Sept. 13).

A student newspaper is an important part of campus life. In addition to being a source of information for the campus community, a student newspaper provides a forum for students to express their views on a variety of topics, including current affairs and institutional policies, thereby encouraging them to grow in the art of engaged citizenship. Moreover, for a student newspaper to thrive in a small community like Concordia, it has to be regularly published in a tangible form. A website is not a good substitute; it’s much more likely that people will pick up a printed copy they see in front of them than remember to visit a website on a regular basis. If Concordia’s student newspaper goes out of our sight, I’m afraid it may also go out of our minds.

In Systems Thinking, we learn that a stock can be increased not only be reducing the outflow but also by raising the inflow. In other words, cutting down costs is only one side of the equation; the other side has to do with increasing the revenues. In the case of The Concordian, this means fundraising, such as by actively seeking more local businesses to advertise. I am sure that the students involved in managing The Concordian are already working very hard, so it’s mostly up to other members of the Concordia community to step up and take whatever steps are necessary to support the newspaper. I call upon the administration, faculty, and staff to think creatively about how they can play a positive role in ensuring that The Concordian becomes financially self-sufficient and that it continues to appear in print on a weekly basis.

In addition to all members of the Concordia community doing whatever they can to support The Concordian, it is imperative that those holding the keys to the treasuries also recognize the value of the student newspaper. Whatever the causes of The Concordian’s current financial woes, I believe the College has a responsibility to invest adequate resources so as to maintain this newspaper as a weekly publication.

In this context, the claim that “there is no money” cannot be an acceptable rationale, for large sums are constantly being spent all around us; the real issue is always that of priorities. Once we decide that something is worth having, we’d do whatever is necessary to obtain and invest the financial resources needed for that endeavor. It is only when we feel that something isn’t very important to us that shortage of money becomes an issue. Consequently, the fundamental question here doesn’t concern the availability of funds; it is, rather, a matter of whether or not The Concordian is perceived as a worthwhile endeavor that deserves institutional support. Instead of asking “where is the money going to come from,” the question that we need to raise is: “do we care about student journalism?”

If we, as a community, decide that investing in The Concordian is worth it, then I have no doubt that we’ll find a way; otherwise, we’ll find an excuse.

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