Jan 222008
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

Student government drafted legislation Tuesday afternoon against a private discussion between CSU administration and the Fort Collins Coloradoan to broker a possible “strategic partnership” between the city’s daily newspaper and the Collegian.

They later held a special meeting to formulate a plan to stop the deal.

The Coloradoan is under the umbrella of Gannett Company, Inc., a corporate news conglomerate that owns large publications like USA Today and the Des Moines Register.

The Associated Students of CSU’s meeting Tuesday night was held to discuss a diplomatic negotiation plan with the president’s office that would ensure Student Media and the CSU community are aware of any plans to change the ownership of the Collegian.

Director of Education at ASCSU Dan Palmer said more than a piece of legislation was needed to stop the university from taking this action.

The Collegian and student government need to foster a proactive dialogue with students and university officials for a resolve, he said.

University spokesperson Brad Bohlander said Tuesday’s meeting was the first discussion of the deal.

But ASCSU President Katie Gleeson said administration discussed the deal in passing with the Board of Governors in executive session at the end of last year and said she lobbied against it when it was mentioned.

“I put up a big fuss about this,” she said. “I put up my hand and said, ‘This is something that is going to affect students, affect Student Media and affect the Collegian. . I was feeling very compromised in my role.'”

State law requires any attendees of a meeting held under executive session to keep specific content of the meeting confidential, so Gleeson could not have let the university community or Student Media employees know of the talk until it was made public Tuesday.

McSwane attended the Tuesday night meeting to help establish a game plan to let the university community know about the private discussions and to conduct a petition signing against the deal, which he said is not in students’ best interest.

“It’s bad for journalism students, it’s bad for students and it’s my impression that it’s very sneaky,” McSwane said of Penley’s meeting with Gannett representatives.

The measure, drafted by ASCSU senators Byron Moore, Sage Morris-Green and Sara Goldman, noted that CSU officials did not inform students, professional staff or student staff of Student Media of the discussion.

They asserted that students don’t want corporate-run media and the discussions should end.

Gleeson attended the discussion with the Coloradoan and said she lobbied heavily to Penley that if conversations continued, professional and student staff as well as university students be made aware of the proceedings.

CSU President Larry Penley issued a statement several hours after the meeting, saying the purpose of the discussion was to evaluate how a “strategic partnership” between the two papers could impact the students and that any further discussion between the university and the school would be made public.

News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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