West Georgia administration asks budget committee to reconsider proposed cut to newspaper

GEORGIA -- Administration at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton have asked that the Student Activity Fee Budget Allocation Committee reconvene this summer to allow the West Georgian to represent its request for more funds after an initial proposal to cut the paper's budget.

The paper currently faces $11,500 in budget cuts after a year of clashes with the Student Government Association.

Editor-in-Chief Ellis Smith said he is optimistic about the hearing.

"We didn't just get angry and file a lawsuit immediately, and we tried to work within the system," Smith said. "I think this is a success for working with the system and we'll see how it plays out."

However, Smith is concerned the meeting might simply be an attempt to give the illusion the school is taking his complaint about budget cuts seriously.

"If this turns into just a show, and it's just a transparent attempt to go through the motions of doing the right thing without actually doing the right thing," Smith said, "then we may still want to talk to a judge about what some other options are."

Smith said some cuts might be recognized as potentially "content-motivated."

"(SAFBA Committee members) were told not to make their personal feelings go into the discussion, but that may have happened," he said.

WGU Dean of Students and Vice President Melanie McClellan said a primary factor behind SAFBA Committee's funding recommendation was the fact the West Georgian did not show up for its budget hearing in the spring.

"The people on the board were unable to ask questions of (the staff) and get an understanding of their budget needs, so I've asked them to rehear it this summer," McClellan said.

McClellan said she could not comment further. However, in an e-mail to Smith, she said it appeared decisions were content-motivated for some members of the committee.

"In the hearing ... this summer, (administration) will instruct them not to consider their personal opinions about content in making their recommendations," McClellan said in the e-mail.

Smith said he is planning on asking for more money at the meeting because the paper lost advertising funds this year.

"We could turn something bad into something good from this." he said.

For More Information

  • West Georgia SGA passes bill to freeze money to student newspaper after publishing anti-Greek column News Flash, 5/8/2009

  • "West Georgian", Carrollton, Georgia, news, University of West Georgia