As staff members of the Foghorn, we consistently work more hours than we’re compensated for. Many of us are here because we love our jobs. For this reason, it is deeply concerning that Senate is considering cutting compensation for us and other Chartered Student Organizations (CSOs). Many of us won’t be able to work at the paper if Senate follows through with this decision.
Our staff is unanimously against cutting compensation for CSOs.
We provide a service to the entire USF community, and it takes real work to do this. Student-led media publications are important. The Foghorn tells people’s stories. We inform the University community. We hold the administration accountable. Last semester, we published a story about Bon Appétit violating health codes. Without a dedicated student newspaper, who would have told the student body about this?
The Foghorn is a student-run paper — we’re not interns doing coffee runs for a big media company. We create the paper from scratch every week. It is not rare for some of us to spend over 12 hours in the office per day trying to get the paper right — not for ourselves, but for our community.
If our compensation is taken away, Senate is essentially telling us that all the time we put into our paper is worth nothing. It’s not just the Foghorn — organizations like the Graphics Center and Campus Activities Board put in a significant amount of work for this school. It appears Senate is sending a message to all of us that this work doesn’t matter to them or the larger USF community.
We also believe that cutting compensation would lower the quality of the Foghorn. Senate has presented the argument that cutting pay would bring in more enthusiastic workers. We vehemently disagree. One of the reasons why we take what we do so seriously is because we know we’re getting paid for it. What if we applied that ideology to another profession? We’re sure professional chefs love to cook, but we don’t expect them to cook for free because of their passion — we respect them enough to pay them for their service.
Getting rid of compensation would change the face of the University Center’s 4th floor, where most CSOs are headquartered. Many of us work jobs outside the Foghorn and would be forced to quit our jobs at the paper if we weren’t getting compensated. If the Foghorn can’t provide compensation, then only people who can afford to work for free will apply. The Foghorn staff is made up of students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. This is incredibly important in that it creates not only diverse coverage, but a diverse understanding of our community. We don’t want the Foghorn, and other organizations, to be activities that only the privileged can take part in. The University prides itself on being an institution that creates opportunities for the disadvantaged. Cutting compensation would go directly against that goal.
Not only do we disagree with cutting compensation, but we are also disappointed with Senate’s behavior during these deliberations. The Senate has appeared incohesive in their explanations, with different students getting different answers depending on who they ask. The compensation debate should be one for all of us to participate in.
We are passionate about the Foghorn, and we know that cutting compensation would change our student paper forever. Many of us would have to quit, and the staff who would replace us would most likely not be as diverse or passionate as we are.
We work incredibly hard for this school. We deserve to be compensated for it.