The fallout from California's Prop. 8 vote, last month, banning gay marriage/upholding traditional marriage is still drifting down through the atmosphere like so much Cesium-137.


UW Daily Runs Afoul of Politically Correct Protestors

The fallout from California's Prop. 8 vote, last month, banning gay marriage/upholding traditional marriage is still drifting down through the atmosphere like so much Cesium-137.

The latest victim of backlash is none other than the University of Washington's student newspaper, The Daily.

On Nov. 25, the paper had the temerity to publish a pair of point/counterpoint op-ed pieces by students John Fay and Sarah Gaither about the Prop. 8 controversy.

Gaither's op-ed, is your standard college fare, opposing Prop 8. and featured a graphic of two cartoon figures wearing dresses, holding hands. Whether they were supposed to represent a pair of men or a pair of women is up to the reader's imagination.

The piece penned by Fay, however, seems to have instigated a riot. Fay uses the typical slippery slope argument to defend Prop . 8, if you legalize gay marriage, how can you then legally deny marriage benefits to other more exotic relationships? And of course, like any subversive college newspaper worth its salt, run by 20-year old kids, Fay's editorial was accompanied by a cartoon of a man and a sheep. Nothing left to the imagination there.

Cue the histrionics.

Outrage over the op-ed was initially restricted to a few bloggers and members of the LGBT community on campus. However, a lynch mob of invective was quickly fomented by Seattle's other alternative newspaper, The Stranger, with photos and phone numbers of the Daily's student editor posted online along with demands that University funding for the paper be cut.

A Facebook group, Students For A Hate Free Daily, was started shortly after the Fay piece went to press and has gathered 1,100 online supporters. A protest was staged Friday at noon at the campus' Husky Union Building, The HUB. (Similar protest groups against The Daily have been organized the Univeristy Greek fraternity system and College Republicans.)

The controversy has expanded to the point that the GPSS, UW's student senate, is demanding an apology from The Daily for publishing "homophobic opinions" or else have the Daily's Editor and chief and opinion editor resign. (Complete text of the resolution is posted below).

UW President Mark Emmert has published a full page ad in the paper, about the controversy, in the The Daily.

The Weekly chatted with The Daily's editor, Sarah Jeglum along with the publisher, Kristin Millis, Thursday evening.

Jeglum said that she has strived to present the student newspaper as sort of a community bulletin board, open to all political perspectives.

Looking back over the past quarter's archives, there are opinion pieces written by Christians, Muslims and Hindus, folks opposed to Tim Eyman and assisted suicide, pro-McCain and pro-Obama supporters. The paper endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi in the past election, drawing angst from left-leaning political types who now allege the paper has been taken over by a lot of "right wing kooks".

(Although right wing kooks, familiar with the publication might laugh at the allegation).

"This is one of the most diverse newsrooms I've worked with since I've been here in terms of beliefs and political standings," Jeglum said. "This is one of the best editorial staffs in regards to striving for balance and journalistic integrity, being available as a voice for the community and being willing to consider and take into account viewpoints of people here who disagree."

After running the point/counterpoint op-eds penned by Fay and Gaither - the two collaborate on what subject they wish to write about before publication - eight pages of letters to the editor were published by The Daily, half the new-slot for that day. Hundreds of comments have been left on The Daily online, and according to Millis, none have been deleted by the staff.

When asked whether she thought the controversy stems from sheltered, UW students and staff who aren't used to being exposed to viewpoints other than those fed to them in their small, social circles, Jeglum responded that the student newspaper hasn't been up to snuff in the past.

"The Daily hasn't always done its job in presenting all viewpoints. If that's the reason for it, what is happening now is a sign that The Daily is becoming more of a voice for every student here. Including people that maybe the majority don't agree with."

So at the moment, the student staff members at The Daily are at the spear-point of a battle between political correctness and the First Amendment right of newspapers to publish material they see fit to print.

As of Friday, no professional journalism organizations have come to the aid of The Daily, although, unofficially, journalism professors and independent reporters from local newspapers have offered a private atta-boys to Daily staffers for upholding the First Amendment.

Extra Credit: The complete text of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate resolution chastising The Daily is below.


Sponsored by: Jake Faleschini (GPSS President), Dave Iseminger (GPSS Vice President), Yutaka Jono (GPSS Secretary), Lindsay Morse (Classics), Shawn Mincer (Social Work), Tim Hulet (GPSS Treasurer), Anna Batie (Jackson School), Kris Anderson (Art History), Rich Nobles (Psychology), and Noah Benson (GBLTC). Written by: Jake Faleschini (GPSS President) and Yutaka Jono (GPSS Secretary).

Resolution Number: 6.08-09 WHEREAS, The University of Washington Role and Mission Statement reads, "the University fosters an environment in which its students can develop mature and independent judgment and an appreciation of the range and diversity of human achievement;" and

WHEREAS, The GPSS promotes diversity and a safe learning environment for all; and

WHEREAS, In the November 25, 2008 edition of The Daily, there was a picture of a man and a sheep, created by Matthew Jackson, accompanying the article "Gay Marriage? Let's stop and think about this" written by John Fay; and

WHEREAS, The juxtaposition of the image with the article implied that homosexuality is likened to bestiality; and

WHEREAS, The Editorial Board of The Daily is responsible for the placement of the image next to the article; and

WHEREAS, Many graduate and professional students found this to be offensive, hateful, unprofessional, and contrary to our goal of creating a safe learning environment for all students.


THAT, The GPSS officially requests 1) an explanation of The Daily's publication standards ensuring journalistic integrity about the selection of articles, the selection of accompanying images, and the layout for all sections of the paper including the opinions section, 2) sharing of any contemplated amendments to The Daily's publication standards ensuring journalistic integrity, and 3) an apology from the Editorial Board of The Daily, all to be printed in the same newspaper; or

THAT, The GPSS officially requests the Editor in Chief and the Opinions Editor of The Daily to resign.

Presented to GPSS for approval on December 1, 2008

Approved on December 3, 2008 -- Jake Faleschini | President Graduate and Professional Student Senate University of Washington, Seattle J.D. Candidate 2009 | M.A.I.S. Candidate 2010

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