Student Newspaper at Missouri-Rolla Threatens to Sue Over Big Budget Cut

February 15, 2007

The 80 students who put out The Missouri Miner, the student newspaper at the University of Missouri at Rolla, have threatened a lawsuit over a decision by university officials to slash its budget by nearly one-third. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, the students said the budget cut, from $39,500 to $27,000, was a violation of their First Amendment rights.

The idea for the cuts apparently originated amid complaints of an inordinate number of errors in the newspaper last fall. But the paper’s editor in chief said it was clear that the university did not like articles that had criticized it. It also didn’t like the paper’s sex column.

But the fact is that the newspaper’s budget, which like that of other student groups derives from student-activity fees, is initially determined by the Student Council. The university’s chancellor and governing board only endorsed the Student Council’s recommendation for cuts.

In a written statement, the university declined to comment on the threatened litigation but said that it recognized the newspaper’s “constitutional rights” and denied that it sought to censor The Missouri Miner.