Viva The Independent Alligator: 44 Years of Independence

Today The Independent Florida Alligator celebrates 44 years of independence. February 1, marks not only editorial independence, but financial independence from the University of Florida. Here at the Alligator Alumni Association, we are working to support efforts to continue The Alligator‘s legacy as source of journalistic and professional excellence. Alligator alumni are among notable journalists and professors, but also prominent attorneys, authors, educators, business leaders, judges and public servants throughout Florida and the nation.

The history of The Alligator is its stories and its stands on issues.

– Ed Barber, President Emeritus, Campus Communications; President & Chairman, Alligator Alumni Association

Whether you worked in the newsroom, advertising, business, promotions or production, we welcome you to join the Alligator Alumni Association. We’re currently seeking volunteers to help with storytelling about The Alligator, strengthening our Alumni Association network and assisting with fundraising and grantwriting campaigns. Sign up for email updates and indicate your interest in volunteering on your profile.

You can also make a monthly recurring or one-time tax-deductible donation directly to The Alligator through via their PayPal donation page.

Today The Alligator celebrates 44 years of independence. Let’s help ensure 44 more.

Download the 40th Anniversary Edition of The Independent Florida Alligator (2013) and read the independent paper’s first editorial below for a look back at The Alligator history.

originally printed on page 8 of The Independent Florida Alligator on Thursday, Feb. 1, 1973

originally printed on page 8 of The Independent Florida Alligator on Thursday, Feb. 1, 1973 

It was Feb. 1, 1972, a year ago today.

The editorial of The Alligator began, “Maybe it’s time for a showdown.”

The second graph ran a bit longer: “Maybe it’s time for UF President Stephen C. O’Connell to come out from the protective confines of his Tigert Hall office and make public some of the actions he has in mind for The Florida Alligator in the near future.”

The near future came soon. The Alligator would not have long to wait.

TODAY IS Feb. 1, 1973.

It is a day we expected to neither note nor remember.

Instead it marks our independence.

We are pleased with the idea of independence. Not because we are libertarians.

We were never bothered by those who called us hypocrites because we used the student activity fee. We never wavered from our belief that students had the right to distribute the fee as they saw fit. But it did bother the university.

It never disturbed us that we had our facilities on campus. It was in the student union, built with student money, for student activities, and for the student newspaper. We slept fine.

BUT THE university could not.

Out of it all came a plan for independence.

We welcome it today.

BUT UNLIKE OTHERS we did not accept it blindly. We have been suspicious this last month — over the university’s motive, over the validity of the ad hoc committee’s plans, over the survival of The Alligator.

We believe our efforts have been to help — not to haunt — The Alligator.

This we will know soon, for several issues are still to be resolved.

One will take many years. It is called editorial freedom. The Board of Directors — with the passage of a policy giving editorial control to the editorial staff — has taken a fine step in that direction.

BUT THERE are many steps left to be taken. A critical one is to insure that the board select Alligator editors strictly on journalist abilities — and with the knowledge that a paper without controversy is a paper without readers.

Another issue, though, is much closer to home — and will be decided in the next several days.

It is our financial survival.

WE HAVE ESTIMATED that with the president’s plan The Alligator will have a $6,000 deficit. We have estimated that it will take $20,000 to start up an independent Alligator. We have estimated that the accounts from January we had expected will fall short by some $20,000.

The board is negotiating for $42,000 in student salaries to cover this loss.

Those negotiations are being conducted in good faith. We need this money. And we expect the president to do his part to help us get it.

But there are others who can help us also — particularly you the faculty member, and you the administrator.

For years The Alligator has come to you free. And it will continue to do so. Now we need your financial support.

So call it what you want. A faculty subscription or The Alligator Independence Fund. We’ll call it your vote of confidence, your vote that an independent student newspaper can make it on this campus.

Contact us at The Alligator. Sixty-five years and 74 days ago The Alligator was born on the University of Florida campus. They say the elder years are always the most fun.

Viva The Independent Alligator.