Post Classifieds

The Daily Helmsman's funding is restored

U of M investigation revealed committee discussed content when it cut the paper's funding

On August 31, 2012

The University of Memphis has restored the Daily Helmsman's funding after an investigation revealed content was discussed when a University committee made the decision to cut the paper's funding for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The University has also promised to recommend a new funding system for the paper before the next funding cycle.

The full investigation report has yet to be released. Stay tuned for more information on this breaking story.

Below is the full statement issued by President Shirley Raines earlier today.

Date:   August 31, 2012

From:             Shirley C. Raines, President

On August 1, the University of Memphis initiated an internal review of the Student Fee Allocation for The Daily Helmsman, the University's independent student newspaper, after questions were raised as to whether that funding recommendation was based in any way on the content of the newspaper.

Dr. David Cox, who serves as an executive assistant in my office and is also a professor in the division of Public and Nonprofit Administration, led this review.  We invited a representative of The Daily Helmsman to participate so we would all receive the same vital information. This review began on August 20, as soon as the Helmsman representative was available, and I am pleased to report to you today that this review is complete.

Interviews with members of the Student Fee Allocation Fund Committee revealed that the content of The Daily Helmsman was discussed leading to an appearance that it may have been a factor in the committee's recommendation to reduce funding from $75,000 to $50,000. Discussions centering on criteria for the disbursement of student fees may have made it difficult for committee members to separate the application of those criteria to programs where content is relevant, as opposed to the Helmsman where content is not relevant. The seven-member Student Fee Allocation Fund Committee is comprised of students, faculty and staff who recommend how funds should be disbursed from the annual Student Activity Fee.

Since content may have been a factor, we will restore the $25,000 in funding to The Daily Helmsman. Additionally, we will explore and recommend a structure and a process for funding the Helmsman that identifies appropriate funding sources prior to the 2013-14 Student Fee Allocation cycle.

The University of Memphis remains committed to both the First Amendment and our long history of having an independent student newspaper.  We recognize that all University funding decisions related to the student newspaper should be made regardless of the content of the newspaper, whether these decisions are made by students, faculty or staff. 

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