The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

EDITORIAL: Celebrating and reflecting on The Cavalier Daily’s independence

The 45th anniversary of The Cavalier Daily’s independence is a reminder of the importance of student representation and University accountability

<p>Earlier this month marked the 45th anniversary of The Cavalier Daily’s independence.&nbsp;</p>

Earlier this month marked the 45th anniversary of The Cavalier Daily’s independence. 

Earlier this month marked the 45th anniversary of The Cavalier Daily’s independence. On April 6, 1979 after a protracted conflict with the University over censorship, we became a fully independent news organization completely separate from University oversight and thus, better able to fully hold the University accountable to its professed mission and its students. While an institutional imperative to promote accountability has always been a driving force of student journalism, it was not until independence was achieved that this imperative could be fully realized. Official independence, however, does not mean that we are in any way distanced from the University community. As students who live and work in this space and as journalists who have a unique responsibility to report on it, we are still implicitly connected to the University community. In this way, The Cavalier Daily is able to inhabit a unique and important space which allows us to reflect and amplify a range of local concerns and voices, especially those of students. 

When The Cavalier Daily became independent 45 years ago, the University environment was resoundingly different than it is today, and it was different in a way that demanded a genuine way to keep administration accountable to newfound goals of coeducation and integration. As a large portion of the student body became embroiled in the fight for equality, the administration towed the line on a white, male landscape that no longer existed, increasing institutional tensions exponentially. The kettle finally burst when students discovered that the current University President Frank L. Hereford Jr. was a member of Farmington Country Club, an organization that excluded African Americans and Jewish people from membership. 

The Cavalier Daily steadfastly represented the student body in its outrage, publishing repeatedly on this topic in an effort to hold Hereford accountable. The Board of Visitors responded to this journalism by threatening to censor The Cavalier Daily in line with the heretofore unused power of the University Media Board. The Cavalier Daily refused to acknowledge the authority of the Media Board because of the way in which it infringed upon journalistic responsibilities to report the current moment in all of its difficult complexity. It was at this moment that the seeds of The Cavalier Daily’s independence were first sown. And it is our independence that has enabled us to present the University and student debate as it truly is — complex, hypocritical and full of potential.  

As a newspaper which is entirely student-run, we publish content, both subjective and objective, that may make some students, faculty and alumni raise their eyebrows. That is also a vital part of our role as an independent news organization. By reporting on the aspects of daily student life which are quite visible and the work that exists behind the scenes, both our objective and subjective sections contribute to a historical record which not only represents the current moment in all of its complexity but also advances student-led conversations. Afterall, this is the role of all journalism — to provide the framing and context needed to discuss, debate and create compromises that move our microcosm of society towards a better future. Our independence grants us the ability to ask the hard questions and to say what University representatives cannot. 

While the history of The Cavalier Daily independence may seem like an artifact of dinosaur ages long past, it remains exceptionally salient in this moment during which student representation and debate are increasingly questioned and delegitimized by outside national forces. The modern university is often labeled by conservatives as an echochamber and site of indoctrination for ideologies that the general American populus does not endorse. This problematic conservative assumption discredits every principle upon which the University was founded and ignores reality. Debate is very much alive and well at this University, even if it is often debates which presume and accommodate new ways of being. And discourse is very much alive and well in the pages of this paper, the living record of evolving debates on Grounds. In fact, an independent Cavalier Daily is uniquely able to facilitate and partake in these essential debates because there is no longer an imperative, implicit or explicit, to adjust our coverage to fit the University’s narrative. 

The University, like all local spaces, is a microcosm for the nation, able to encompass a vast diversity of people, viewpoints and aspirations. Therefore, the conversations which occur within this space are often reflective of national discourses and inflect these outside discourses with local perspectives. In short, the University is a sort of incubator in which new ideas can be meticulously dissected, checked for errors and put back together for the world to see. The Cavalier Daily, specifically as an independent news organization, plays a fundamental role in promoting these conversations and in painting a portrait of local student life more generally. 

The Cavalier Daily Editorial Board is composed of the Executive Editor, the Editor-in-Chief, the two Opinion Editors, their Senior Associates and an Opinion Columnist. The board can be reached at


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