Patriot to become student group

Patriot to become student group

The Northeastern Patriot is set to become an official student group beginning in September, meaning the publication will receive funding and resources from the university.

“[The Patriot staff] as a group have been going over our options, and have come to the conclusion that becoming part of the officially recognized Northeastern community is the best option for us at this point,” said Dave Moberg, editor in chief of The Patriot.

The Patriot, a student-run conservative publication, was launched April 17 with a startup grant from the Leadership Institute, an organization that sponsors conservative groups on college campuses nationwide. Funds were also used from Moberg’s own finances and those of the Northeastern College Republicans, of which he is president.

If the publication becomes a recognized university student group, Moberg said the staff will still look to use resources provided by the Leadership Institute, which, besides fundraising, include writing and production workshops.

The Patriot initially came under fire because it used the university’s name in its title without being a member of the Student Media Board, the governing body for student publications. A university official was quoted as saying the legality of its name would be investigated, but Moberg said he did not receive any threats of legal action or investigation from the university.

University spokeswoman Laura Shea confirmed that the university took no action against The Patriot.

Instead, Student Media Advisor Sandra Miller approached the publication about joining the media board.

“When we talked with Sandra, she wasn’t really concerned with the name issue as much as with encouraging us to take advantage of the benefits of being a student group,” Moberg said.

Miller confirmed the group is taking steps toward becoming a recognized student group in time for the fall semester.

In addition to becoming a student group, Moberg said he plans for the publication to use journalistic articles, as well as editorials, to reach more conservative students on campus. He said they had no desire to “get liberals to vote Republican.”

Rather, the publication will focus on “conservatives who are too intimidated to speak out,” he said.

Moberg said although he will serve as leader of Northeastern’s only two recognized conservative student groups, the organizations’ focus would remain distinct.

“I take both positions very seriously but keep them very separate,” he said.

“My obligation as president of the [College Republicans] is to promote the GOP and its values on campus, but as editor in chief of The Patriot, I am expressing my personal views, which sometimes are at odds with the Republican Party.”

Recognition as a student media organization includes funding for publication, a site on the www.neu.edu Web server, office space with computers, leadership training and support from Northeastern staff.

Though censorship has come into play over the last year with the Northeastern Times New Roman, the student-run humor publication, Moberg said censorship was not an issue he discussed with Miller.

Combined with the funding from the Leadership Institute, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Patriot’s content won’t come under scrutiny, said journalism professor Dan Kennedy.

“When you accept money you’re agreeing to abide by certain rules,” Kennedy said. “It seems like the only rule you should have is the first amendment.” But that is no reason The Patriot should modify its content, he said.

“Let’s concede up front that a lot of people are going to find this extremely offensive,” he said. “My response would be ‘so what.’ This is free speech.”

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