Univ. of Memphis newspaper gets funds restored
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Memphis is restoring full funding to its student newspaper after an internal review found the newspaper’s content may have been a factor in its funding being cut.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that university President Shirley Raines ordered the review after staff members at the Daily Helmsman criticized the budget committee’s recommendation to cut funding as a violation of the First Amendment.
Raines said in a statement Aug. 31 that interviews with members of the Student Fee Allocation Fund Committee had found that members had discussed the newspaper’s content, leading to the appearance that it may have been a factor in the recommendation. The committee had advised that funding be cut from $75,000 to $50,000.
The newspaper’s faculty adviser, Candy Justice, says she’s proud the university did the right thing.
The Student Press Law Center previously reported that Daily Helmsman Editor-in-Chief Chelsea Boozer and other editors said several committee members had told them that the cuts were made owing to increasing dissatisfaction with what the newspaper was publishing.
“In one meeting with Boozer, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Stephen Petersen summarized some of the committee’s complaints,” SPLC reported July 30.
“’I can’t begin to tell you the examples [of articles in the newspaper] that came up … that seem to have very little relevance or that seemed to touch very, very few students on the campus,’ he said, according to a recording of the meeting provided by Boozer.”