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Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University?

I'm certain fellow MetaEzra writer Kyle Scott '11 will have more to say about the topic, but The Sun has a lengthy article today exploring WVBR's less than ideal relationship with the University:

“We want to use Cornell’s campus, hold events on campus, recruit on campus. We are a student organization,” Kaminsky said.

Gutenberger said that while the University understands and appreciates the historical connection of WVBR to the Cornell student body and campus, it cannot run the risk of giving the organization special treatment over its local competitors.

It's interesting to compare WVBR's plight with Slope Media, which has been coddled by the University since its founding and will be increasingly coddled due to its new by-line funded status. All because WVBR is a student-run "commercial" radio station, whereas Slope Media is a student-run "student" organization that just so happens to sell advertising space on its website.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Sun, as a non-University affiliated organization, use University space to both host informational sessions and hold their annual elections? So what's the Sun's formal role both on campus and in its own story about another student-run media organization?

I think the broader point is that any Cornell-centric organization run by Cornellians walks a tricky line of independence with the University, and it's an issue that comes up for MetaEzra as well. I try hard not to blur the lines between my role as an alumni volunteer for Cornell and as the editor and publisher of an 'independent' alumni blog, but at some point there are some shades of gray, as I've obviously become privy to some issues that your average Joe Cornellian would not. Dealing with these types of organizational ambiguities is something that I think the University will have to increasingly deal with in the 21st century as the world becomes a more open and transparent place.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on November 02, 2011 (#)

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