A recent editorial published in Santa Barbara City College’s student-run newspaper, The Channels, accuses the college of a pattern of “evasive tactics and secrecy” in its response to reporters attempting to cover hard news on campus. “Our efforts have … been met with roadblocks, forcing student reporters to take painstaking and unnecessary measures to report stories that should have been simple,” states the February 26 commentary, written by Editor in Chief Megan Randolph, 20, with input from her editorial board.
Specifically, Randolph details hurdles and delays student reporters faced while covering the on-campus death of an employee on January 28, an unspecified school-related threat made anonymously in an online chat room on February 16, and information on the identity of a SBCC football player arrested on rape charges last summer. “We want to establish a better channel of communication [with the college],” Randolph said in an interview. “The Channels has some of the most informed students on campus. We are a viable news source and deserve more respect.”
The editorial — which was also critical of SBCC spending $35,550 on an “image consultant to improve its relationship with Santa Barbara residents” — received an immediate email response from Luz Reyes-Martin, who has served as SBCC’s public information officer since January. “We are in a period of transition and I would really like to work with you to identify areas to strengthen our partnership,” Reyes-Martin wrote to Randolph. Reyes-Martin also wrote a letter to The Channels clarifying that the college “did not and should not release any information that has not been confirmed by law enforcement. We shared the confirmed information we had, at the time we had it.” Reyes-Martin met with The Channels editorial board on March 2 to “[move] forward with a positive working relationship,” she said.