Student Media Separates From CSU
By Melissa Shock
Unigo Campus Rep at Colorado State University
Student Media is set to become fully independent of Colorado State University by August 1. Student Media will become the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation—an independent, not-for-profit organization. The former Student Media director Larry Steward is to become the interim director of the new board. He said he plans on working with everyone at Student Media during the transition process. Despite the huge change, Steward says students shouldn’t expect any massive changes. “For students, this process will seem totally seamless,” Steward said, “That’s what we hope to put into place.”
Months ago, The Rocky Mountain Collegian printed “Taser This: F*** BUSH” in large print on its Opinion-Editorial page. It was printed in response to the student that was tasered in Florida for speaking up during a John Kerry speech. The issue got national press. The Collegian printed the opinion article supporting free speech. Discussion for Student Media to become independent first began when “F*** Bush” was printed. Justin Weber, station manager of KCSU, says there was nothing illegal about printing this, just bad taste. “Since there was no precedent for this instance and no rules that would allow President Penly and the University to take action, it was decided that it would be best if the two organizations split up, so the University would not be held liable and so Student Media could be more independent,” he explained. Student Media and the University never had a negative relationship—the issue was rather that the students who were part of Student Media felt pressure to conform rather than being able to report independently and without worry.
This summer, Student Media had to replace all the functions that the University provided. They created their own Board of Directors and now do their own finances and insurance—everything that the University had provided previously but no longer will. Makayla Braden, editor-in-chief of College Avenue, says the “biggest challenge will be keeping afloat. We will have to be on top of all our budgets and be regularly audited to make sure everything is running legally.” The University will give the new organization (Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation) start-up money and their relationship will still allow for Student Media to give discounted advertising to University groups. The University will retain all rights to names and logos and the radio frequency, 90.5 KCSU, will enter into a time brokerage agreement to continue using the channel, much like it is now.
All of the changes are occurring on the business side. The content side will stay the same. Weber says that “students will still get the same great news and entertainments, and students will still run the content from top to bottom.” The locations of Student Media will stay the same as well, only now rent is required. “While we may be separating from the University, we’re not separating from the students,” Weber said. “We will continue to serve the CSU and Fort Collins communities with the best of our ability and to offer CSU students with a real life, working media environment.”
Aaron Montoya, editor-in-chief of The Collegian, says he believes that “the change is a good one for the future of Student Media at Colorado State University. Although change is difficult to undergo, the new relationship Student Media has with the University is better for the University and Student Media because no inherent conflicts of interest are present.”
Braden says she thinks this change has brought the four entities of Student Media closer together. “We have begun to work together more to ensure our permanency,” she says. Braden also adds that the process “has been a great experience for those students involved, and overall we will all benefit from this transition.”