CSU President Larry Penley sent representatives to student government’s first meeting of the semester to answer questions from concerned senators about a private Tuesday discussion he hosted with the editor and publisher of the Fort Collins Coloradoan about a potential Collegian takeover Wednesday night.
Blanche Hughes, vice president of Student Affairs, addressed the Associated Students of CSU Senate to quell what she called rumors about formal proposals from the Coloradoan — which is operated under the umbrella of Gannett Company, Inc., the largest newspaper conglomeration in the country — to buy out the Collegian.
Hughes said Coloradoan Publisher Christine Chin called the university at the end of last semester and asked about a possible “strategic partnership” with the Collegian to try to more solidly establish the role of the student-run publication as a service to the student and Fort Collins communities.
“There is no formal proposal from Gannett to buy the Collegian,” she said, very firmly before taking questions from senators.
CSU wants to broker a transparent deal with Student Media to redefine the program’s relationship with the university as both entities have expressed a desire to become independent of one another, Hughes said.
Penley wished to keep the preliminary discussion of the deal confidential until solid dialogue was held, she said, as to not prematurely stir the pot.
ASCSU President Katie Gleeson was invited to Tuesday’s meeting and Hughes said Penley intentionally postponed it so Gleeson could attend.
No one beside the editor and publisher of the Coloradoan, Penley and Gleeson were allowed into Penley’s office during the discussion.
University spokesperson Brad Bohlander told the Collegian Tuesday that no details were finalized beside the goal of improving Student Media operations.
But the Collegian received an e-mail massage from Greg Luft, chair of the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, Tuesday, detailing how Coloradoan Editor-in-Chief Bob Moore told him the Coloradoan was “interested in taking over management” of the Collegian “as a for-profit” entity.
Hughes said Tuesday’s meeting was the first in-person discussion CSU had with Gannett about the deal and that Penley had asked the Board of Governors during executive session last semester to continue pursuing the Coloradoan proposal.
Penley requested a formal proposal from the Coloradoan during the Tuesday meeting sources said.
Gleeson told senators Tuesday night that she felt like Penley compromised her duty to communicate with students by mentioning the matter in executive session instead of in the open section of the Board of Governors meeting, as state law prohibits dissemination of discussion in executive session.
Moore told the Collegian Tuesday afternoon here was no discussion of how the student paper would be governed after the deal.
News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.