EDITORIAL: College ignores student newspaper’s needs

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Viewpoints students and staff work on the most recent issue of the paper while box fans blow air in an attempt to cool the room on Oct. 6. (Daniel Hernandez | Viewpoints)

Sub-optimal conditions have been the norm for our staff in the newsroom.

Over the summer, the Viewpoints newsroom was moved to Digital Library Room 106 from the old Assessment Center, just in time for the implementation of in-person and hybrid courses across the Riverside Community College District.

It is a substantial improvement from our previous cramped and dark newsroom — an improvement for which we are grateful for — but the moving process has been left unfinished.

There is a gaping hole in the ceiling above student work spaces which has been declared unsafe by classified staff who have visited. Our projector, which we need to hold staff meetings more effectively, sits in a box on the floor uninstalled. Work orders for whiteboards and cork boards have been sent yet our walls remain barren. However, none of this compares to the most pressing matter at hand: our air conditioning, which is supposed to keep our room properly ventilated during the COVID-19 pandemic, does not work.

The only sign that this is a classroom, and not a storage space, is the work station of computers in the middle of the room.

Our Journalism adviser has been requesting all of these repairs and installations for months, essentially playing email tag trying to get these services up and running. With every email, he is met with the same response from the help desk that essentially states “someone will get to it.”

Our adviser went through all of the proper channels to request these services.

Our staff have been working in the newsroom since mid August producing a newspaper when Riverside was experiencing some of its highest summer temperatures.

It was so hot in DL 106 producing the Sept. 23 issue that the computers were overheating and hampering our work. Some of the staff even left the newsroom feeling unwell from the prolonged heat exposure.

Although the Journalism program has managed to publish a paper entirely remotely, the program is now hybrid which means the newsroom is a crucial tool and learning space for all student journalists. The comfort and safety of students should be a priority for which the Viewpoints editorial board feels is not the case to the college.

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