The student newspaper at California State University, Northridge on Tuesday joined at least 10 other CSU school papers in defying a ban on unsigned editorials making political endorsements.
A CSU system official said administrators of the 19-school system do not plan to react immediately to the actions of the Daily Sundial and the other papers. Several student editors said the endorsements were made in protest of CSU regulations, which carry the weight of law.
Those regulations resulted in the suspension two years ago of a student editor at Humboldt State University. The student, Adam Truitt, sued CSU system trustees a month later.
Jeff Stetson, acting director of public affairs for the CSU system, said the reaction to the flurry of student editorial endorsements would be connected to an out-of-court settlement being negotiated in that case.
Change in Ban Likely
The settlement is expected to be reached "within a week to 10 days," Stetson said, and will probably change CSU's ban on state-subsidized newspapers taking political stands.
"We're optimistic that there will be a revision. . . . ," Stetson said. "The bottom line would certainly be some kind of disclaimer or specific reference within the editorial that suggests that the views expressed in the editorial are the views of the editors and not necessarily the views of the students or the institution."
The Sundial printed such a disclaimer in a box on the bottom of the editorial page and in an editorial on ballot propositions. The paper endorsed incumbent Sen. Alan Cranston over Rep. Ed Zschau. It urged students to vote against Propositions 61, 63, 64 and 65, and for Proposition 56.
No Objection to Disclaimer
"I don't have a problem with having something in the staff box stating that our views are independent," Sundial editor Tom Andonian said. "I do have a problem with putting a signature after the editorial. It tends to make it a bit less powerful."
Andonian said the ban conflicts with the Sundial's function as an independent newspaper. Last week, the editorial board was "leaning toward" signed editorial endorsements, but decided to defy the CSU rule in a show of solidarity with other schools, he said.
"If everybody does jump on the bandwagon, the whole system holds together," Andonian said.
Stetson said that unsigned editorials without disclaimers conflict with "the right of the student body to ensure that the funds that are used to subsidize such efforts will reflect their views as a student group."
The Sundial, like most CSU student newspapers, is partly supported by state money. It also receives advertising revenue.
Unsigned endorsements of candidates and propositions also appeared in newspapers on the CSU campuses at Long Beach, Fresno, San Diego, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Humboldt, Pomona, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo and Sonoma.
A San Diego State University student editor, Andrew Rathbone, was suspended Tuesday after his paper, the Daily Aztec, published unsigned endorsements of candidates, including Zschau. Rathbone said he received notice that he would be suspended for 24 hours.