The Student Voice seeks to maintain non-discrimination
December 2, 2011
In the Nov. 18 issue of the Student Voice, an anti-abortion pamphlet was inserted into every copy of the newspaper. This pamphlet has generated a great deal of turmoil among UW-River Falls students who believe this pamphlet to be an atrocious, offensive and inappropriate act.
We here at the Voice wish to clarify: in no way, shape or form does this anti-abortion pamphlet, or any other pamphlet, reflect the personal beliefs or ideologies of our staff. Abortion is an exceedingly controversial topic, and as such, it is important to understand that an impenetrable wall exists between news content and advertisements. This pamphlet is not an article; it is simply an advertisement.
The Voice’s business board and editorial board are entirely separate entities, and the Voice undergoes a personnel change almost every semester.
Differing opinions among the ever-changing Voice staff could lead to inconsistency in what advertisements the paper accepts, eroding the paper’s professional integrity. We therefore determine it relevant to relay our advertising policy, which was developed by the Voice’s business board under similar circumstances a little more than two years ago.
The Voice’s advertising policy is as follows, “The advertising manager and business board of the Voice reserve the right to refuse any advertisement in the case of possible liability or offensive content. The Voice does not knowingly accept advertisements that discriminate on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, disability, military status or sexual orientation, nor does it knowingly print ads that violate any University, campus, local, state or federal laws.”
Accordingly, the Voice must maintain a sense of impartiality at all times. Running an insert advocating abortion rights would likely provoke just as much furor, but to not allow either would be considered an act of censorship. Censorship, in any form, endeavors to undercut our First Amendment rights, and is considered by some to be a most deplorable operation.
The advertising policy was intentionally developed to be very broad, so that the paper has a great deal of flexibility in what it can accept for advertising. By accepting all advertisements, unless they are libelous or offensive in any way, the Voice is practicing non-discrimination. It is also important to note that the money the Voice will receive from accepting an ad has no bearing on whether or not that advertisement is accepted.