TSM Board position will protect the interests of a community

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Editor’s Note: This year four candidates are running for three available voting seats on the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees, which oversees The Daily Texan, the Cactus yearbook, the Texas Travesty humor publication, Texas Student Television and the KVRX 91.7 FM radio station. Three candidates are running for the two at-large seats and one student for the one open Moody College of Communication seat. Candidates were asked shortly after their certification to write two 500-word columns. The second column focuses on a topic of the candidate’s choosing relating to their campaign. Candidates who participated wrote their own headlines. Only light typographical corrections were made. Among the at-large candidates, the top two vote-getters will be seated. Jan Ross Piedad, the Moody College of Communication candidate, has written a column that is running here. She agreed to forgo print space. For more information on the candidates, please visit our candidate database here.

My first contact with the Texas Student Media Board of Trustees occurred about two and a half years ago. Susannah Jacob, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Texan at the time, had encouraged me to attend what she thought would be a “historic board meeting.”

During the meeting the TSM Board would discuss — and vote on — cutting the print media publications TSM oversaw. The drastic move came because for the first time in its one hundred twelve year history, The Daily Texan and its peer publications faced a six-figure budget deficit — a lingering effect of years of declining print advertising revenue.

So, thanks to Susannah’s encouragement, around 2:30 p.m. that Friday I trudged from my class across campus to the FAC where the board meeting was in full swing. 

As I entered and walked up to the third floor, I realized that the room to which I was headed was packed — full beyond capacity. A police officer stood at the door to keep people from entering and violating the room’s fire safety code.  

I was stunned by the turnout, to say the least. Suddenly hesitant, I decided to linger in the hallway for a moment, thinking: Should I enter? Do I even belong here? What if the officer turns me away?

Thankfully, I decided that since I had walked all the way across campus in the blazing heat to attend this meeting, I would enter that room. No officer would stop me. So I did. I mustered my courage, pretended as though I knew exactly what I was doing, and waltzed right in. I’m so glad I did. 

I opened the door to face some of the most impassioned students and alumni I had seen. These people had taken time out of their day — and for some their jobs — to defend The Daily Texan, Texas Travesty and Cactus Yearbook. They had come to save the voice of the students. They had come to keep print journalism alive. 

Thanks to their efforts, the Texan endured on that day as it has continued to do so in many board meetings since then. It’s only because of their effort and dedication — that of the hundreds of students who work at Cactus Yearbook, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV, KVRX 91.7 FM and The Daily Texan — that the publications have endured. It’s these publications and these student interests that I will protect as a voting board member. 

A university as large, important and historic as UT needs a strong, independent student newspaper as much as it needs Student Government or Senate or college wide councils. It needs KVRX. It needs TSTV. It needs the Cactus, and it needs the Travesty. These publications in turn need representatives on the board that will protect them and the interests of the students who run them. 

In 1955, Daily Texan Editor Willie Morris wrote, “The Daily Texan is bigger than any one man … Protect it and its traditions [and] you will see your life here in much nobler focus.” He might as well have been talking about all five TSM publications — five publications whose publications and traditions I will protect on the TSM Board. 

Vote Amil Malik for TSM Board at-large on March 4 and 5.

Malik is a business honors and finance senior from Austin. She is running for an at-large seat on the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees.