The end of the 2022-23 school year found Fiat Lux News (FLN) in a strange predicament. 200 copies of the club’s April-May 2023 issue (a.k.a. The Hot Dog Day issue) were placed into the various FLN stands across campus. It was early April when they were distributed. By April 15th, all but a handful of copies remained.
Since the pandemic, engagement with the FLN has been low. Once Senate funding allowed for the club to begin printing hardcopy volumes again, word-of-mouth about the papers had started to spread. Slowly, quietly, but spreading nonetheless. However, at the end of the run period, there is always a significant amount of hardcopies to be recycled or given away to art students for materials.
The extent of Fiat Lux News’ fame in the past few years was its appearance in the 2022 Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast performance–some audience participants used copies for a call-back during the production.
Nevertheless, the FLN is no stranger to controversy or receiving emails from discontent or disgruntled readers. The reason for the email in those early days of April? The semantics regarding captions for taboo posters promoting the play Rich B*tch.
Professor Jonathan Ziese, who directed the play, had emailed the Editor-in-Chief requesting a correction to the captions. He claimed that, with the way they were worded, the newspaper had made it seem that the posters were created by the Performing Arts division of Alfred University.
These posters, to those who were on campus last spring, were memorable to say the least. One poster depicted Vice-President Kamala Harris twerking for Joe Biden’s cash, the other was a Snapchat screenshot depicting a dildo in an AU shower. They had been posted in various spaces within the Powell Campus Center, and no one knew–or no one said–who had created them.
The Editor-in-Chief explained to Ziese that a digital correction could be made, but a physical one could not.
On April 15th, a witness told the Editor-in-Chief that they had seen a woman walking around, carrying several copies of the Fiat Lux News in her arms, asking where the stands were located around campus. When pressed for details regarding the appearance of the woman, the witness admitted to not being positive on some details. Following this testimony, the Editor-in-Chief walked to the stands to find that the witness was correct–many were devoid of the papers that were not yet a week old.
Further investigation was required.
Broaching the subject with Eliza Ordway, of the Center for Student Involvement, and Peter Von Stackelberg, the advisor to the FLN, brought only more questions. Neither knew any detail regarding the incident.
Asking other students on campus brought forth a new witness. This time, the witness had a better physical description of the woman who was responsible, who shall remain anonymous.
The Editor-in-Chief, having corresponded with Stackelberg, and other members of the Fiat Lux News, decided to bring the investigation to the next level: communicating directly with the accused party. This did not answer any questions and only complicated the narrative.
At the moment of this paper’s printing, there has been no closure to this event. While some copies of the Hot Dog Day issue remain, the rest (which had amounted to $516 in club funds) are long gone.
The captions, which to the knowledge of the Editor-in-Chief were the only points of contention in the issue, were a microscopic drop within the greater newspaper. While the “corrected” version of the newspaper still exists on the AURA archive site, the penalty for this loss is not felt by the accused party–it’s felt by the team members of the FLN who had little to show for the work they put into the issue.