In April, the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee at the University of Memphis voted to reduce funding for the campus' independent student newspaper, The Daily Helmsman, by 33 percent. While the University claimed the funding was cut due to budgetary concerns, committee members have said they discussed disapproval of the paper's content while deciding the amount of funding the paper would receive. That is a court-proven violation of the First Amendment. An investigation done by the University administration in August found that the First Amendment was violated, and a committee was appointed by President Shirley Raines to look into other methods of funding The Helmsman. She also ordered that the $25,000 cut be restored.
However, there have been no guarantees made that a new funding method will take politics out of the process. The committee has begun meeting, but may not make a recommendation to Dr. Raines until the spring semester. Meanwhile, The Daily Helmsman was selected by the Student Press Law Center and the Associated Collegiate Press for The College Press Freedom Award in recognition of its recent fight to keep the student press free and unfettered.
Help us ensure that the campus community continues to receive uncensored and timely information by supporting The Helmsman's efforts to become financially free from the University. A free press is vital to the campus. By becoming financially independent, The Helmsman can be sure that when it reports on important issues that the administration or the Student Government Association might wish to suppress, nobody in University leadership will be able to punish the newspaper by cutting funds.
You can help! A threat to freedom anywhere, is a threat to freedom everywhere.