Funding returned to Wabash magazine, still on probation

INDIANA — A conservative magazine at Wabash Collegelost its funding and its standing as a recognized student organization after the student senate said its content was “ungentlemanly.” Now, thesenate has agreed to re-instate the magazine’s funding, which was sought by studenteditors and First Amendment advocates.The Wabash Commentary wasstill placed on probation during the Dec. 10 senate meeting, and its editorshave promised to publish an apology in the next edition.Among otherstories, the student senate had been particularly irate about TheCommentary’s mention in its October/November 2002 issue that a professor’swife was “fat and ugly.” The senate said the comments violated the all-maleschool’s gentleman’s rule, which requires students to act as “gentlemen” on andoff campus.In a Nov. 12 meeting, the senate voted overwhelmingly torescind the publication’s $1,250 per semester allocation of mandatory studentfees and its student group recognition, which effectively limited the editors’access to school buildings and equipment. “The funding that we give outis based on our behavior as students here on campus,” said Aaron Denman, amember of the Wabash student senate, in a article. “The gentlemanrule is something we highly regard and if they’re not going to obey that rulethen I think as a body we can restrict their funding forthat.”Commentary editors protested the senate’s decision but hadlittle recourse because the private school is not limited by the FirstAmendment, said editor Sean Salai.Commentary staff members saythe senate has tried before to silence the magazine for its right-wingperspective. Since receiving official recognition in 1994, the Commentaryhas survived senate attempts in 1995, 1998 and 2001 to revoke its student feeallocation, they said. “Now, that’s the slippery slope we’re worriedabout. How does the senate oversee gentlemanly content on campus?” Salai said inthe WishTV8 story.Editors say without the student fee funding they wouldhave to drop production from six issues a year to four.