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Students Question Ad in WSU Newspaper
FAIRBORN -- Wright State's student newspaper The Guardian has been around for about 50 years, they've won awards for student newspapers and they have a decent readership with their students, but their latest issue has some people putting it back on the shelf.
Turn to the last page of this weeks edition of The Guardian
and you'll see a Help Wanted Classified ad for distributing a tabloid that claims to "represent even straight Whites."
It mentions the website firstfreedom.net. We showed the ad and the site to students and let them draw their own conclusions.
"It's like a racist site I guess," said Alex Gordon.
"Equal rights for whites, it's kind of unusual," said student Sehrish Gulfaraz.
Student Marianne White said, "it's horrible, I just think this newspaper is offensive. It makes me feel uncomfortable honestly."
So how does an ad like this make it into a public school's student newspaper? We took those questions and concerns right to the source. Editors at The Guardian say they discussed several factors but at the end it all came down to free speech.
"The advertising had nothing threatening in it. No pictures nothing like that, it was a classified advertisement and we received it and we talked about it and we decided we are a paper that prides ourselves on covering diversity. To cover diversity you have to cover the good, the bad and the ugly," said Editor in Chief Brandon Semler.
"I see why people can be upset but people can be upset by anything we do we have a lot of opinions, pro-life, pro-choice, it's just an advertisement people pay to run," said Guardian business manager Jared Holloway.
The paper is partially funded by the university, but is mostly funded by ads. This was the third and final time this particular ad ran based on a contract.
"It says right on the page the opinions of the advertisers are the advertisers," said Semler. "It was a guy with some very stern opinions that came to us and we agreed to run his advertisement. "I personally was disgusted by it. I didn't like it goes against anything that stand for.
That guy he says is from Alabama And is not affiliated with the University. We asked the editors if they would've done anything different after receiving complaints from their readers.
"Did we make a mistake? That is the question I'm going to deliberate with advisers," said Semler.
The editors say since they want to keep their readers pleased with the paper, they will be meeting to discuss their policies and procedures going forward and will address this ad in an editorial in next week's issue. We also asked if there was racial diversity represented in the group that made the decision to run the ad? They said no, but that is something they will also discuss for the future.
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