They've been labeled as political. They've been labeled as necessary. Whatever you want to label them, the proposed campus newspaper budget cuts by the Kansas student government have gained some major attention.
University of Kansas Student Body President Mason Heilman wants the student government to stop allocating funds to the Kansan, the Kansan reports. Heilman also wants to slash the campus media fee by $1.70. The current $4 fee helps fund all of Kansas's campus media outlets, including television, film, and radio organizations. The proposal would cost the Kansan about $83,000 a year. Heilman tells the Kansan that he is "dissatisfied" with the relationship between the Student Senate and the newspaper.
"To me, this is one of the most inappropriate relationships [the] Student Senate has with any other [student] group," Heilman says, pointing specifically to what he calls a conflict of interest stemming from a media outlet covering an institution that provides some of its funding. "There is a lot of potential for undue influence both ways."
But the Kansan is fearful that the loss of funding from its student government could damage the paper's quality and staff.
"These are students who are getting real-world application of what they are in school for right now," Kansan Editor in Chief Stephen Montemayor, who wrote an editorial on the situation, tells his own paper. "It is very important that students have these opportunities, and to take them away is just kind of mind-boggling.
"The effects of this cut could really set us back and make us look pretty bad compared to other Big 12 schools and their newspapers."