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  April 21, 2003

Group Hopes To Improve Daily Campus Operation

A study committee appointed at the request of the Student Life Committee of the Board of Trustees by Vicky L. Triponey, vice chancellor for student affairs, is looking at ways to improve the business management of the student newspaper, the Daily Campus.

The committee, headed by Angela Rola, director of the Asian-American Cultural Center, has been asked to determine whether students are appropriately handling the finances, personnel management, and business matters of the paper; whether the organizational structure and constitution are adequate, and whether there are appropriate safeguards in place with regard to fiscal accountability.

The committee is still gathering information and reviewing documents and will report to the Student Life Committee of the Board of Trustees in early May, said Rola. "The charge to the committee clearly states that we are to look only at the business side of the house and not at the journalistic side."

The Daily Campus is funded with approximately $200,000 annually in student fees, as well as with funds raised by selling advertising. State statute permits students to manage funds for student activities but states that liability for problems such as unpaid bills, personnel actions, and other problems falls on the University. Students have the right under the First Amendment to publish what they wish.

"My hope is that this study will lead to improvements in the operation of this student-run organization and allow for greater accomplishment of the mission of a student paper, while also ensuring the ultimate academic success of the students who chose to give of their time and talents," Triponey said.

Fiscal problems have plagued the Daily Campus over the past few years, although efforts to improve bill collection and financial management have been made this academic year.

"One of the things we are interested in discussing is having formal training for student leaders on finances," Rola said. "We would also like to see training for student managers on personnel management, training, and evaluation."

"I hope that nothing ever puts at jeopardy the independence of a newspaper. Once restraints are put on the content, it becomes impossible for the editors and reporters to do their job properly," said Walter Riley, assistant director of advertising at the Westerly Sun and newspaper representative to the Daily Campus' Board of Directors. "However, if this committee can provide us with advice on how to do things better from a financial standpoint, we welcome it."