Texas Tech student newspaper fights off faculty takeover

The students and faculty of Texas Tech University’s School of Mass Communications thwarted a proposal in February that would have established a formal relationship between the school newspaper and the department.

The original draft of the proposal, submitted by Jerry Hudson, director of the School of Mass Communications, would have placed the University Daily under the control of the School of Mass Communications and required a department staff member to serve as a “newsroom editor,” as well as teach a journalism class. The staff of The UD resisted the proposal, fearing it would entail a loss of editorial independence. In addition, the proposal was widely challenged by both faculty and students in the department.

After several revisions, the department faculty voted to maintain the newspaper’s current informal relationship with the department. Students in journalism classes may continue to submit classwork to be considered by the editors of The University Daily for publication, but the newspaper will retain its status as an independent publication. The UD will continue to have no formal connection with the department and receive no direct funding from the university.

UD editor Wayne Hodgins said most faculty members did not support Hudson’s proposal to place The UD under the control of the mass communications department.

“Dr. Hudson went over the faculty’s heads,” Hodgins said. “He went directly to the administration about it, and the faculty went into an uproar about that …. The journalism faculty was totally against taking over The UD.”

The student senate also supported the newspaper’s efforts to remain independent, passing a unanimous resolution that stated The UD should “remain self-sufficient and under student control”