CALIFORNIA — Student funding for the campus newspaper at the University of California at Santa Barbara has been secured after some student government representatives attempted to cut financial support.
During the Jan. 24 meeting of the student legislative council, representatives voted not to overturn a presidential veto of a resolution that would have ceased the allocation of almost $50,000 in student fees to the newspaper, The Daily Nexus.
Daily Nexus Editor in Chief Kaitlin Pike said she was relieved now that the dispute was resolved and both sides could return to their work. She had said the paper would pursue legal action if the funding was not restored.
Representatives first passed the resolution to cut funding Jan. 17 after The Daily Nexus sold ads to an apartment complex that is under a student government boycott. The student body president, who vetoed the resolution Jan. 19, told representatives during Wednesday’s meeting that the university’s general counsel had said that freezing the funding would have been “highly illegal,” according to a Nexus article.
The Daily Nexus‘ public funding, which accounts for about 7 percent of its budget, comes from a fee of less than a dollar per student.
Pike has said she would like to make the newspaper completely independent of student funding, which she said could become a possibility if the paper can clear itself from its significant financial debt.
The Daily Nexus reported that the assault on its funding is just the latest chapter in a long saga of confrontation between the newspaper and campus groups. The newspaper has come under fire for alleged racist and sexist practices during the past year, and the student group El Congreso held a meeting last week to discuss the paper’s ““racist and degrading images and articles of People of Color,’” The Daily Nexus reported.
Doris Quintanilla, publicist for El Congreso, said that the group is not alone and that criticism has come from a number of campus cultural groups.
“It’s not anything new,” she said. “People are upset about the fact that The Nexus still continues to run racist content. It’s very one sided; the majority of articles are very one-sided.”
The newspaper is continuing to communicate with the groups to find common ground, Pike said, but it will not place restraints on its editorial content.
“They were just asking us to censor content they found offensive, and I’m not just willing to do that,” Pike said. “I myself have been offended by columns we’ve printed, but I believe it’s within our First Amendment rights [to do so].”
By Brian Hudson, SPLC staff writer