Student newspaper will keep university funding despite official’s objections

VIRGINIA — The administration at James Madison Universitydecided June 8 not to cut funding to the student newspaper, despitethe urging of one member of the school’s board of visitors.

At a March 23 board of visitors meeting, board member CharlesCunningham asked the administration to prepare a report detailingthe funding and operation of The Breeze, James Madison’sstudent newspaper.

The Breeze reported that Cunningham expressed concernthat an insert the newspaper began publishing last year — calledTurf — was not an appropriate "or positive representation"of the university.

Breeze editor Julie Sproesser said the board discussedthe prospect of eliminating the paper’s funding at a committeemeeting on June 7. Sproesser said she did not know why boardmembers decided not to cut funding because the issue was discussedduring a closed session the next day.

Although he did not comment specifically on the discussionthat occurred in the closed session, Cunningham said he stillbelieves The Breeze should not receive money from the university.

"I don’t think students should be expected to fund thenewspaper against their will as a condition of getting an education,"Cunningham said. "When you graduate from college The NewYork Times and The Washington Post are not subsidizedby the government."

Cunningham said his opposition to university funding is notlimited to The Breeze, but extends to all campus groups.He said he believes students never should be forced to financiallysupport organizations they philosophically or ideologically oppose.

Despite the board’s decision, Cunningham said he would advocateeliminating funding for certain campus groups, including TheBreeze, at the board’s next meeting in October.

"This and other things I’m sure will be an issue for discussion,"he said.

Sproesser said the newspaper receives approximately $36,000– about 10 percent of its total budget — from the universityeach year. She said the paper could survive off of its advertisingrevenue if university funding is cut. But the paper would havea more difficult time coping if the university stops letting TheBreeze use campus space and printing equipment free of charge,Sproesser said.

Sproesser said she has no plans to alter the paper’s editorialcontent but added that she will continue to monitor the situation.

"We are just gonna kind of let it lie right now, she said."We don’t really have a reason to bring it up unless someoneelse wants to talk about it.’