Letter: Examining the Flipside Wage Gap

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Caroline Picard is the Secretary for the Northwestern Flipside and publishes this letter with the endorsement of the Flipside. Given that the Flipside has a nonexistent club platform, it is not customary for the publication to publish response pieces. However, after reading what we felt to be a completely idiotic letter published on April 28 by the Northwestern University College Republicans, the staff felt it necessary to beat some sense into people.

Some myths die hard, and the claim of inequality on the Flipside staff is among them. While we’ve all heard women make 77 cents for every man’s dollar, female Flipside writers make approximately 0 cents for every male writer’s nonexistent paycheck. Strangely, neither of us is getting paid.

The result obtained by averaging and comparing the two groups’ total pay is evidence of systemic discrimination of both groups. Even when controlling for factors such as job choice, hours worked and work experience, the disparity between the two is still zero. Both male and female staff members chose to major in STEM and non-STEM fields, which typically tend to pay either a lot of money or really no money at all. However, neither the female Mat-Sci major nor the male Classics major is currently making a dime. Moreover, time spent drinking beer in Norris meeting rooms and filming soft-porn results in a lack of work experience that leads to ASG’s continued history of shitting on us. Meetings spent finding pictures of cats napping similarly cut into hours worked. Accounting for these factors doesn’t attribute for any changes, which is pretty gosh darn inflammatory.

But is the wage gap between campus publications a result of discrimination? The underlying cause is uncertain, but jumping to conclusions in the absence of proof is totally logical. It is likely that the gap would decrease if ASG actually had a heart. This assertion is demonstrated by a reduction in the gap observed when the Flipside actually receives the funding it requests.[1] More importantly, it avoids the question if ASG regularly pays the Flipside less than the Daily, why would they chose to greatly increase the number of shitty op-ed pieces? Such a claim makes little economic sense and those who stand by it are vastly overestimating the efficiency of a student-run government.

But do better writers simply prefer more financially feasible publications, as some critics argue? It is ironic that in making such claims, the same activists committed to student group equality exhibit little regard for the ability of writers to make independent choices based on their artistic aesthetic in addition to the number of they fucks give. What’s more, the answer appears to be no. Significant efforts have been made to promote the pursuit of hard news amongst the student writer population, including lots of free candy at activities fairs, but these pressures to do little to deter potential writers from our booth. Furthermore, pay issues aside, the insinuation implicit in the assumption that writers dedicated to creating satire are subjected to campus pressure that their choices are somehow inferior. Why not show more respect for the valuable contributions made by the publication corrupting society’s next generation with accounts of Gone Greek Night?

Ultimately, the persistence of this discrimination is a symptom of a greater trend that has gradually pervaded the Northwestern community. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that a publication as influential and rolling-in-da-monie$$$ as ours would behoove itself to think twice before shitting on ASG some more.

-Caroline Picard

Medill sophomore

Secretary, Northwestern Flipside

 

[1] For the record, this has never actually happened. #25percent #sustainable

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