Today marks our last issue, and with it, our last editorial board in what has proven to be a historic semester at USC. At the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester, our first editorial board called on the University to be proactive rather than reactive in preventing corruption and responding to scandals. Since then, we as journalists at the Daily Trojan have done our utmost to hold the University accountable amid an ongoing cycle of breaking news.
In many ways, news on campus this semester has mirrored the climate of the nation as a whole. A seemingly relentless string of controversies has rocked the University, from the revelations over the summer about former Keck School of Medicine Dean Carmen Puliafito’s drug use and involvement with criminals to the most recent allegations about School of Social Work professor Erick Guerrero’s alleged sexual misconduct. In between, there was an FBI investigation that led to the indictment of assistant basketball coach Tony Bland on charges of corruption and bribery; the resignation of Keck Dean Rohit Varma following a Los Angeles Times story about a sexual harassment case from 2003; and a false alarm of an active shooter that locked down the entire campus in October.
All of this has taken place amid a backdrop of social and political turmoil across the country, from Congress’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act to fears about nuclear war with North Korea. And much like the rest of the country, the USC community is exhausted. The news cycle can seem unrelenting at times, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of apathy — not caring about a particular issue, or letting one fall through the cracks, because it’s clear that another one will soon arise to take its place.
As USC’s oldest news source, we cannot — and will not — allow ourselves to succumb to that desire. Since 1912, we have provided the student body, staff, faculty and other community members with information about events, issues and people on and off campus, and now more than ever, it’s crucial for us to continue our role in keeping the administration and student organizations accountable and to ensure that the stories our community must be aware of are not brushed off and forgotten. Through our reporting, the onus is on us to not take anything at face value, to include information from all sides of an issue and to cover campus in a way that represents all of its diverse facets.
With every breaking news event and scandal that has taken place at USC this semester, our reporters have been on the frontlines, speaking with all of the possible stakeholders in every news story, from University administrators to faculty accused of wrongdoing. In turn, the Daily Trojan’s editorial section has shared diverse voices and perspectives based on the findings of our reporting, and fostered an overarching dialogue geared at producing solutions, transparency and accountability. Our special issues have critically examined USC as an institution and a growing powerhouse, and shared voices about what the University can and must do to become a force for positive change.
However, that is not to say that we’re perfect. Like all media organizations, we occasionally make mistakes, and when they are brought to our attention we take steps to correct them. But our goal is always to provide fair, accurate reporting, and we value any feedback that we receive. Ultimately, while our goal is to ensure accountability at the levels of students, faculty and administrators, it is our readers who in turn keep us accountable — and we want to continue to build that relationship of mutual trust in semesters to come.
It is both a difficult and exciting time to cover news at USC, and at a time when trust in media and institutions is at an all-time low, we vow to continue this semester’s pledge to earn our readership’s trust: with every issue, every day.
Daily Trojan Fall 2017 Editorial Board