WISCONSIN — The chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkoshintervened in a dispute between the student association and the studentnewspaper in October, preventing the association from stripping the newspaperof its funding.
University Chancellor Richard Wells told the Oshkosh Student Associationit could not take away the Advance-Titan’s student organizationstatus, thus allowing the paper to keep its funding. Student editors saythe paper would have been unable to survive without this funding.
“There was no way that under my watch I was going to allow the studentpress not to exist,” Wells said. “The value of a free press, free speech,academic freedom and artistic expressions are core, sacred values of anopen society. The University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh does not, has notand will not ever tolerate any form of censorship in our community.”
According to an Oct. 13 Associated Press article, the student associationcriticized the Advance-Titan, saying it lacked coverage of studentissues and that it lacked standards for the length of editorials. The associationalso complained about the “gripe line,” a list of phoned-in student complaints.One gripe in particular that upset the members of the student associationwas a student disclosing another studentís sexual orientation tothe campus and the studentís family.
“We just wanted them to be a little more receptive to student concerns,”said Chris Samz, president of the student association.
The Titan was able to keep its more than $8,000 budget afterWells stepped in on the paper’s behalf.
To end the struggle, the Titan and the association agreed tohold a joint forum where students and faculty could voice their concernsabout campus communication.
According to Monty McMahon, the managing editor for the Titan,the forum was uneventful.
“I thought it was a waste of time,” McMahon said. “I didn’t think weaccomplished anything. There were only a handful of students, very fewof whom were members of the student association.”