I've recieved multiple questions about whether or not I intend to resign following the Illini Media Company's decision to fire Acton Gorton. Yesterday afternoon I submitted the resignation letter below to the Managing Editors and Opinions Editor. They have very graciously allowed me to write a farewell column discussing the strategic plan for our campus. Here's the letter:
March 15, 2006
Dear Jason, Shira, and Jenette:
I'm writing to resign my position as a guest columnist for the Daily Illini. I appreciate the opportunity I was given to advance campus issues of great concern to our student body. I have tremendous respect for the journalists who make up the family that is the Daily Illini, and I hope that in the future we will continue to have the lighthearted, engaging working relationship that I've come to enjoy.
While many people whom I respect a great deal disagree with me on this point, I believe the public reasons for Acton's termination are little more than a pretense. Additionally, Mary Cory's letter to the Daily Illini's alumni was an irresponsible act that further entrenched parties on both sides by forcing Acton to seek legal advice; she blew what could have been a powerful education moment for all involved.
There has been much talk that the Daily Illini had the right to run the cartoons, but the responsibility not to do so. This statement lacks an appropriate appreciation for the special role played by college newspapers. College papers have a duty to cover controversial and even offensive ideas so they can be scrutinized by academic communities. In the past the Daily Illini has been widely praised for its commitment to fulfilling this duty, I hope it will not shrink from its proud tradition in the years ahead.
If it could be arranged, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to write one final farewell column the Monday after Spring Break. This affords you two weeks notice to make any necessary changes to the page and it would give me the chance to thank my readers and give parting words to students interested in shaping university policy. If allowed to write this column, I intend to evaluate the most current version of the strategic plan from a student perspective.
Although I feel it is necessary to resign as a guest columnist, in the future I will remain accessible if I can be of any help to any members of the Daily Illini, and it is likely that from time to time I will submit letters to the editor.
I treasure both the friendships I formed with members of the Daily Illini and the experience I gained as a columnist. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to your readers.