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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Guest column: Rebuttal to ‘a personal attack’

    I asked the The Daily Wildcat if I could respond to their editorial with an unedited response because it seems that the Wildcat often takes quotes to tell their own story, as they have done in, “We’re done with GPSC President Brooks’ games.”

    Here’s my response.

    First, I am against the Arizona Student Media fee. A fee is concept. A person is human. I am against a fee, not a person yet The Wildcat’s editorial board chose to attack a person, over a fee.

    Second, I used the example of “graduate not mentioned once” to illustrate that there is “nothing tangible” that would benefit graduate and professional students more than what exists currently. I shared these concerns with Mark Woodhams, Arizona Student Media director in October 2012. One positive suggestion made by Mr. Woodhams that may have changed my endorsement was to set aside space in the Wildcat to cover graduate and professional student concerns. In addition to the lack of follow up on that suggestion, there is little to no information about GPSC as the Wildcat rarely covers GPSC General Council meetings, events, socials, or successes.

    Third, only non-elected GPSC people can sit on the Arizona Student Media board. The Wildcat is confused as all GPSC Representatives are elected. A person without a vested interest in the outcome of a fee proposal is a better advocate for graduate and professional students.

    It’s true that media fee supporters don’t distinguish between undergraduate and graduate students. As GPSC president, I can’t afford to ignore the distinction. UA graduate and professional students work as teachers, researchers, administrators, and clinicians for average salaries of $15,000 with extremely average health insurance. They also study. As GPSC President, I am duty-bound to consider graduate and professional students’ tuition and fee increases. Graduate student debt is higher. Like undergraduates we take out loans to pay for healthcare, childcare, and basic needs. Advocating for graduate and professional students means it’s my obligation to ask, “Exactly how does this benefit graduate and professional students?” I saw no improvement and I said so.

    Fourth, It is important that graduate students are involved but then why doesn’t the Wildcat cover graduate and professional student events or meetings? Why are zero graduates employed at UATV, two at the Wildcat (last semester) and six at UA radio?

    As GPSC president my concerns are that graduate and professional student issues are covered and accurately reported.

    When I gave in-person interviews, I was often misquoted. Based on the advice of UA administrators, I began asking Wildcat reporters to email me questions so that I could give comprehensive and accurate answers to their questions. Using the search field on Wildcat’s website, my name appears 32 times so I’m not sure if appearing in numerous Wildcat articles constitutes “refusing to cooperate.” It’s true that I shared with the Wildcat I would answer questions from one reporter, but not another because I trusted one and not the other. It’s true I wrote “Please use this quote in its entirety. I will not agree to let it be used otherwise.” Here is what I asked to be quoted in its entirety.

    “It is important that all student governments have a voice. Student leaders at UA, ASU, NAU and throughout the state have had robust conversations. As Americans they are participating in the democratic enterprise, freely exercising their first amendment rights. I will always fight for their right to advocate on behalf of students. It is value for which I stand as GPSC President and ASA Director. Though a couple of NAU leaders diverged from the original decision to pursue legal action, which was unanimously supported by NAU leaders, the majority of NAU leadership still supports ASA’s decision to pursue legal action.”

    The text messages occurred in the last two weeks. Both times Wildcat reporters initiated contact. The first reporter asked for a sequestration comment. As the one student in the state who has been to Washington DC, Phoenix, and Tucson to meet with every Congressional office about sequestration impacts on students, I asked the reporter to email me. She refused. I offered to answer questions from the reporter I trust. The initial reporter didn’t respond. The second reporter (the one I trust) asked if I would comment on an endorsement. We then talked on the phone. Afterward, I asked if I could look at the article for accuracy. The reporter politely said no and I texted, “I trust you.”

    In short, I find it odd that the campus newspaper would attack me as the GPSC president since graduate students look to me to take a position on fees. The Wildcat editorial is a personal attack and in no way acknowledges that I have a responsibility to take a stance.

    — Zachary Brooks is the GPSC President.

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