Funding won’t be cut for UConn Free Press
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 00:11
The UConn Free Press will get funding to print its third issue this year, despite heated debate about the funding at Wednesday’s Undergraduate Student Government Senate meeting.
CLAS Senator Ian Schofield, a 7th-semester political science major, protested the funding of the UConn Free Press due to its content, which, in his opinion, promotes drug use and other illegal activities.
Schofield said, “They’re being funded by us and I think it is our job to think about what they’re saying and if it’s benefiting the student body.”
He added that it is his belief that the Free Press has deviated from its mission statement of questioning the establishment and instead has moved to a position where the Free Press’s message is detrimental to the well-being of the student body, and thus should not be funded by USG. Schofield motioned that funding for the Free Press be removed from the general funding recommendations set forth by the Funding Board. He proposed that funding for the Free Press be voted on separately from the rest of the session three funding.
“I have a very big problem with cutting funding for the Free Press,” said Northwest Senator Kevin Alvarez, a 1st-semester political science major. He said that USG is supposed to give a voice to the students they represent, and cutting funding for the Free Press violates that responsibility.
However, some senators still argued that the Free Press pushes the limits of free speech in the university environment. Senator Ozzie Gooding said in reference to the extensive drug content, “This is a University and we should not be promoting that.”
CLAS Senator Kara Googins, a 3rd semester physics major, pointed out that in funding the Free Press, USG was not promoting the message of the organization but simply allowing the organization to exist and express itself.
“We can’t cut funding for what they do,” she said. “As part of their rights they are allowed the right of free press.”
Schofield responded, “I am not against freedom of speech, but freedom of speech has its limits.” He went on to state that, in his opinion, the Free Press creates immoral people and promotes an unsafe lifestyle.
Chief of Staff Syed Naqvi, a 7th-semester allied science major, cited both national, state and UConn legislation that prevents USG from censoring student media, although this did not end the debate.
The motion to separate Free Press Funding from the rest of the funding put forth failed thoroughly in a voice vote. All funding recommended by the Funding Board for funding session three passed with a significant majority with few dissenting votes.
For those organizations seeking funding for Spring 2013, the application deadline has been moved to next Wednesday to accommodate for the recent hurricane.