Wesleyan University student government cuts funding to Wesleyan Argus after “Black Lives Matter” Op-Ed
In the wake of a recent controversial opinion piece titled “Why Black Lives Matter Isn’t What You Think,” Wesleyan University has voted to cut funding to the school’s student newspaper, the Wesleyan Argus.
The op-ed, which was published on Sept. 14 and was written by Wesleyan undergraduate Bryan Stascavage, a sophomore, questioned whether the Black Lives Matter movement — an activist movement that campaigns against police violence against African Americans — has played into recent violent protests against police and law enforcement officials.
Soon after the op-ed was published, a petition began circulating campus calling for a boycott of the paper. The student government voted on Oct. 18 to cut the funding to the publication by $17,000 — bringing its total funding from $30,000 per year to $13,000 — and redistribute those funds to other campus publications, which could include the Argus, according to an Associated Press brief.
The decision to cut funding has sparked a large debate on whether the petition and the subsequent cuts censors students’ rights to free speech and academic freedom. “As members of a university community, we always have the right to respond with our own opinions, but there is no right not to be offended,” Wesleyan University President Michael Roth said in a Sept. 19 Wesleyan blog post he co-wrote with Provost Joyce Jacobsen and Vice-President for Equity and Inclusion and Title IX Officer Antonio Farias.
“We certainly have no right to harass people because we don’t like their views. Censorship diminishes true diversity of thinking; vigorous debate enlivens and instructs,” Roth wrote.
Wesleyan Argus Editors-in-Chief Tess Morgan and Rebecca Brill could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.