ASCSU Senate passes resolution encouraging student body president to fund Rocky Mountain Student Media

Natalia Sperry

Editor’s Note: The Collegian is operated by the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation. 

After a week of extensive discussion, the Associated Students of Colorado State University passed a resolution encouraging President Tristan Syron to sign a supplemental funding contract with Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation in a vote of 18-3-8.

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Rocky Mountain Collegian News Director and 2018-19 Editor-in-Chief Haley Candelario speaks to the ASCSU Senate on May 2 during gallery input about her experience in student media and the proposed legislation to lower the requested student increase of funds to RMSMC. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

Although the resolution is not strictly binding, Syron said he wanted to get the opinion of Senate prior to signing in order to improve transparency between the Executive and Legislative branches.  

 “I think it’s easy to figure out the differences between people,” Syron said. “We have spent an entire year looking for criticisms. Let’s take tonight to look at something different. Let’s look at our similarities.”

Currently, RMSMC receives half of its funding from ASCSU, as per a three-year contract. However, due to rising mandatory costs including the increased minimum wage, RMSMC has requested a one-time increase of around $64,000 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. However, the resolution approves $40,000 of that funding. 

Student leaders from RMSMC, including current Editor-in-Chief Erin Douglas of the Collegian, Executive Producer Emma Iannacone of Collegian TVCasey Robinson of Student Video Productions, Julia Battagliese of KSCSU and Lizzy Miller of OnSpec, presented to the Senate. 

RMSMC staff discussed initiatives such as improving diversity, improving relationships on campus in order to remedy past mistakes and providing hands-on professional experience for students. 

Prior to the resolution passing, several amendments were discussed, including one to reduce the amount to cover the $25,000 previously promised by the Silva-Wells administration that was never delivered, leaving the rest of the funding to be approved by members of upcoming 48th Senate. This amendment failed in a vote of 3-20-8. 

Following discussions in committee, Senators Josh Lindell and Connor Cheadle requested that the Collegian specifically move to the online paper in order to reduce printing costs and have reporters stay for full Senate sessions. Douglas said the long-term goal of the publication is to move online, but that this will not happen overnight; however, all amendments were accepted. 

“Just as principal, I think it’s very important that we have a newspaper. To me, it is incredibly honoring to hear that The Collegian has such a fantastic reputation across the country,” Cheadle said. “Journalism is important and it needs a boost, not a sedative.”

Former Senator Issaih Martin said he wanted Senate to critically consider past mistakes by The Collegian in ratifying this resolution.

“There have been a lot of mistakes on the part of The Collegian,” Martin said. “Please make sure that the amendments that are being made will be followed through.”  

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Members of Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation present a powerpoint about their organization to the ASCSU Senate on May 2. In their presentation, they spoke and answered questions on multiple topics such as their budget and diversity in the newsroom. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

Senator Delray Echohawk said he has seen a lot of improvement at RMSMC, and encouraged Senate to look past these mistakes.

“We haven’t always liked what The Collegian has said about us, but I think it’s important that we need them to hold them accountable,” Echohawk said. “I don’t think we should completely disregard The Collegian for their mistakes.”

In an interview with The Collegian, Syron said he feels the resolution has already helped the two organization’s understanding of one another. 

“I feel like ASCSU really understands (RMSMC’s) internal working now, and they really understand ours,” Syron said. “And all it took was a resolution.”

Collegian reporter Natalia Sperry can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Natalia_Sperry