Staff Ed

Our campus radio station is a treasured part of the Lawrence experience, as well as the vehicle for one of Lawrence’s key claims to fame, Trivia Weekend. So it is no surprise that WLFM’s switch from an FM signal to an expanded internet broadcasting format has met with shock and consternation, especially since the decision was made while we were all on summer vacation and was announced to us in a quiet, apologetic email sent by President Beck to members of the Lawrence community on June 22nd. We as a paper are not going to say whether or not a focus on digital broadcasting is the right direction for WLFM to take, because that is for the reader to decide.
But what we believe is undeniably wrong about the way this issue was handled is not simply that students were excluded from the decision-making process, but that we were not given a substantial explanation for that exclusion. President Beck said only that “Due to the nature of such negotiations in the broadcast arena and at the instruction of legal counsel, we were unable to involve the WLFM student managers and others in the process before now.” She gives this sparse explanation after making a point to say that “the enthusiasm of the students and the alumni who have been involved in campus broadcasting, the immense popularity of Trivia Weekend, and the long and cherished history of WLFM” were important considerations in the decision, and that preservation of those traditions was a priority. Yet those very people whose traditions the administration has so carefully protected, as they see it, were not only left out of the decision-making process, but denied any sort of informative explanation as to why their exclusion from the process was necessary.
President Beck goes on, in her announcement, to say that it is her “wish and expectation” that Lawrence students will continue to work enthusiastically in the operation and development of our radio station. This is her expectation, and hopefully it will be fulfilled. But is it appropriate to expect students to shrug off such a blatant, unexplained lack of power in the management of their own radio station, and to return to their gung-ho ways without a second thought? We at The Lawrentian are concerned with the lack of information our student body has been given in regards to this culturally impacting decision. If we as students are to be left out of and kept unaware of such a decision-making process, we would hope that President Beck and her administration have an extremely worthy reason for doing so, if such a reason is possible. We would like to have confidence that our new President has every intention of treating us fairly in the distribution of power at our University. But in order to have such confidence, we must first be given the information necessary to arrive at such a conclusion. We feel that we have, in this case, most certainly been denied such information.