Apr 132009
Authors: Erin Smith

As the Student Fee Review Board approved student media’s budget presentation for fiscal year 2010 Monday, Associated Students of CSU President Taylor Smoot insisted that agreements should be made to ensure future presidents have no power over editorial content for the media group.

Last semester, CSU administration requested that ASCSU absorb student media’s portion of student fees after the media group severed its ties with the university and became a non-profit corporation over the summer.

Student government officials said that because private companies can’t be funded directly from student fees, ASCSU now has to approve student funding that goes to student media, now operating under the company title, Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation.

Smoot said he is in the preliminary process of creating a clause that would protect student media funding. Smoot said the clause would ensure that there is no threat of government infringement on student media’s day-to-day operations.

“I want to get this done before I leave office,” Smoot said.

Student government officials said amount of fee dollars allocated to student media — about $10 per student per semester — will remain the same.

Previously, the student media budget was funded by the university’s pay system, making student media a public institution.

Student media employs five different entities, including a TV station, a radio station, the Collegian, the student-run magazine College Avenue and the Colorado High School Press Association.

RMSMC President Larry Steward expressed confidence in the new model, saying that the entity’s operating contract with the university protects RMSMC from ASCSU oversight.

“I’m not concerned about student government interference . our agreement with the university includes a content-neutral provision,” he said.

Steward said he has not yet heard of the early stages of Smoot’s proposed clause, adding that student media would be open to hear any proposals protecting editorial content.

Quinn Girrens, the chair of the SFRB, agreed that ASCSU can’t deny funds to student media because of the contract between the university and the media group.

Smoot said the clause would ensure that no future ASCSU cabinets would be able to shut out student media when deliberating funds.

The TV station, CTV, and the radio station, KCSU, are funded by fee dollars allocated by ASCSU, while the Collegian and the magazine, College Avenue, are funded solely by advertising dollars raised by students.

In a closed-door SFRB session after student media presented its budget, recently elected ASCSU President Dan Gearheart and Vice President Tim Hole shared their proposed student fee package for the 2009-10 academic year.

The meeting was held in executive session, because of ongoing negotiations with private providers of student services, such as bus services through Transfort.

“The negotiations that are going on deal with a lot of money,” Gearheart said, adding that if private companies were to know how much money ASCSU had to spend, they could drive up prices, ultimately hurting students by raising fees.

Gearheart said he and Hole were able to balance a budget within ASCSU’s portion of student fees from last year, about $23 per semester.

Staff writer Erin Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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