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Part 6. Student Affairs

Section VI. Student Publications and Media

E. Policies and Procedures for the Communications Board

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR THE COMMUNICATIONS BOARD OF THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY

1. Definition

a. The Communications Board (h.k.a. the board) is a joint student/faculty/staff/committee appointed to oversee and assist the student-run print media of ASISU.

b. The student media of ASISU includes, but is not limited to, the campus newspaper, the Extra (h.k.a. the paper). Any student print media added to ASISU after the establishment of this policy will fall under this same jurisdiction and policies and procedures directive.

c. The board reserves the right to amend or revise this directive as necessary by a 2/3 majority vote of the total voting membership. Such revisions must follow careful research and discussion, and be done in balance with the best interests of the student print media and the student body, at all times protecting the constitutional rights of both.

d. The board will abide by Robertís Rules of Order, the latest edition, in all questions of procedure, except as it conflicts with the directive. Meetings will be open, but the board reserves the right to call executive session to deal with matters of personnel, property acquisition and legality. Meetings will be recorded, and minutes will be maintained on file and be available for review in the ASISU office. Copies of this directive, as well as approved minutes of meetings, will be given to each student media organization.

e. ISU and ASISU endorse the principle of freedom of expression, and adhere to the restrictions set forth by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution regarding the freedom of the press. Each recognizes the obligations, legal and ethical, common to all media of high quality. Responsible communication and professional behavior are expected to be the goal of all student media at ISU.

f. The student media at ISU are the primary information/communication link between the university, student government and the student body, as well as among the students themselves. As such, these organizations are to be student-run and serve in the best interest of the student body, within the parameters of responsible journalistic standards.

g. Fair and equal opportunity to all student communication media shall be made available to all students of ISU, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religious preference.

2. Purpose, General Duties and Financial Operations

a. The board provides oversight and guidance for print media. The board shall fulfill these duties within the strict guidelines of this policies and procedures directive, and in keeping with the First Amendment.

The board shall review and approve policies concerning the structure and fiscal operations of the print media, subject to limitations stated elsewhere in this document. The board shall function as an intermediary between university funding authorities and the individual print media organizations.

The board shall oversee and be responsible for the financial operation of the print media. The board must approve financial policies and procedures, approval annual budgets and require monthly financial reports. The board shall initially approve requests for student fee increases to support print media. In addition the board shall approve all advertising policies concerning rates, discounts and commissions and approve the print mediaís payroll structure.

3. Membership

a. The board shall consist of a chairperson and 12 members (9 voting and 3 non-voting). To ensure balance, the board shall be composed of students, faculty, and staff. However, to protect necessary student control, the largest single majority of voting members will be comprised of students. Selection of student members shall fall under the same election procedures established for other ASISU executive committees within the ASISU Constitution, subject to final approval by the Communications Board Chair.

b. The chairperson shall be appointed by the ASISU President, upon the approval of the ASISU Senate in keeping with selection procedures outlined in the ASISU Constitution. The chairperson will vote only in instances of a tie vote, to make or break a 2/3 vote, or to make quorum. The duties of the chairperson include scheduling meetings and notifying board members and necessary guests of those meetings; setting the agenda for meetings and conducting them according to Robertís Rules and the policies contained in this policies and procedures directive.

c. The voting membership shall consist of five (5) students; four (4) faculty members appointed at-large by the Faculty Senate; the Student Media Advisor (See 5. Student Media Advisor); ASISU General Manager and the Student Union Director.

d. The non-voting membership shall include the following: The Extra Editor-in-Chief; Extra Advertising Manager; and one (1) ASISU Senator, appointed by the ASISU Vice President with the advice and consent of the Senate. No ASISU Senator or media staff member shall serve as a voting member of the board.

e. No voting member of the board shall be a member of the staff of the student print media or have a conflict of interest that would prevent impartial judgement. Voting members may from time to time contribute work to the student print media, subject to approval by the board. Voting members shall receive no compensation from student print media organizations.

f. The boardís student membership should represent varied disciplines to provide a broad viewpoint in the administration of this directive. However, consideration shall be given to persons with experiences and/or interest in communications.

1. A vice-chairperson will be chosen from the voting student membership by a majority vote of the voting membership in the first meeting of the academic year. The vice-chair will serve as chair when the chair is absent and will be responsible for assisting the chair in duties deemed appropriate.

g. The ASISU Administrative Assistant will be responsible for recording meetings, assist the chair in circulating agendas, minutes and meeting notices, and take roll at meetings.

h. Members of the board shall serve for a one-year term of office, but may be reappointed. The term of office shall be the same as that of all ASISU appointed representatives, as outlined in the ASISU Constitution.

i. Should vacancies on the board occur, the appointing authorities set forth herein shall fill those positions within one month. Should vacancies not be filled within one month, they will be filled by appointment of the chairperson.

4. Meeting and Voting

a. The board shall meet within the second full week of each semester during the regular school year.

b. Regular meetings will be held at least monthly during the school year. Special meetings will be called by the chair to conduct staff selection interviews when the number of applicants makes conducting such interviews during regular meeting times difficult. Special meetings may also be called for personnel dismissal/complaint hearings, budget creation, or other special circumstances that cannot be handled in regular meeting slots. At least four days advance notice will be given, in writing, except in cases of extreme emergency.

c. Attendance at all meetings is mandatory for all voting members, with no more than two (2) absences per semester being excused. Two or more unexcused absences by voting student members may result in dismissal from the board and forfeiture of scholarships.

d. Six (6) voting members shall be required to be in attendance for a quorum to be present and for business to be conducted. Proxy voting will not be allowed.

5. Student Media Advisor

a. The Dean of Student Affairs, in consultation with the ASISU President, and current board shall select a student print media advisor who shall assist the editorial and business staffs of all student media organizations within ASISU.

b. The advisor shall meet with the newspaper editor-in-chief weekly to review the content and design of the paper and suggest improvement; consult on reporting techniques, writing styles, and journalistic ethics; help create internship or other credit earning opportunities for staff members; conduct workshops on pertinent topics with the newspaper staff; and assist the editor in the recruitment of staff members.

c. The advisor shall also consult with the advertising manager regarding sales strategies, preparing profit/loss-per-paper reports and monthly financial reports, establishing accounting procedures, solving advertiser problems, and other fiscal concerns as they arise, as well as assisting the ad manager in the hiring of sales representatives.

d. The advisor shall serve as a voting member of the board and will be subject to the same attendance policy as other voting members. The advisor shall spend at least ten (10) hours per week in his/her duties during the periods when the paper is in operation. At least two-thirds will be spent in the newspaper office. The advisor shall also spend time as needed during the summer and between semesters.

e. The advisor shall assist the student staff in solving personnel or reader disputes prior to such problems going before the board. If problems cannot be solved ďin-house,Ē or require board action, the advisor shall assist all parties in proper methods of taking such problems to the board. (See 7. Management Reprimand/Removal, 8. Staff Selection, Reprimand/Removal, 9. Complaints)

f. The board can recommend removal/suspension/reprimand of the advisor with consultation of the ASISU President to the Dean of Student Affairs.

g. The advisor is to serve as a counselor to the staff of the paper and as a liaison with the board. He/she shall not have any control over the content of the paper.

h. The advisor shall assist the editor-in-chief on the evaluation, selection and dismissal of student staff.

6. Personnel Selection

a. The board shall select and appoint the editor-in-chief, advertising manager and business manager in accordance with the requirements set forth herein the board shall confirm these appointments with a written correspondence.

b. Applications for editor-in-chief, advertising manager and business manager will begin being taken by the first week of February and be due no later than the first week of March. Interviews will be conducted by the end of March. Appointees will begin their terms of office in accordance with the set guidelines for other ASISU appointees.

c. The board shall advertise publicly and campus-wide for said positions. Advertisement for all such positions shall be provided free of charge within the student media for three weeks prior to the application deadline.

d. Applications should include a cover letter, at least two letters of recommendation, four to six work samples, application, and resume. Editor-in-chief and advertising manager candidates should include a proposal or plan of action for the coming year.

e. The board shall make selections by process of application packet review and personal interviews. A simple majority vote of a quorum is required to approve appointments. Nonscholarship staffers are interviewed and appointed by the advisor and editor-in-chief.

f. In emergencies, the editor-in-chief may appoint replacements with permission of the chair and assistance of the advisor. Such appointments are subject to the review and approval of the board with complete application packets for all applicants provided to the board.

g. Scholarshiped staff members must carry no less than 8 credits per semester to remain on staff. The editor-in-chief and advertising manager must carry a minimum of 3 credits. All other editors must carry no less than 6 credits. However, all staff members must pay full-time fees. All staff members must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.

7. Management Reprimand/Removal

a. The board shall have the responsibility for the official reprimand or dismissal of the editor-in-chief, advertising manager and business manager for violations of policies set forth herein or of the reasonable policies of the student media organization.

b. The accused (h.k.a. defendant) shall be informed, in writing, of the violation(s) in question, with enough specificity to insure adequate preparation for the proceedings of the board. Such notice shall be provided no less than one week prior to the planned hearing.

c. Failure to appear at such hearings should not in itself be considered against the defendant. However, the individual forfeits the right to rebut the charges. If a defendant cannot attend, he/she should contact either the advisor or chair as soon as possible, so that the hearing may be rescheduled.

d. The defendant shall have the right to access all evidence against him/her in order to prepare a defense. Evidence includes, but is not limited to, a copy of the written official complaint to the board resulting in the planned hearing. In no case should the board consider statements against the defendant unless he/she has been advised of their content and of the names of those who made them and unless he/she has/is given an opportunity to review and rebut said statements. The board may not conduct a hearing until documented evidence or official written complaints are available.

e. The burden of proof lies with the party(ies) making the complaint.

f. The defendant shall have a right to invite counsel, call witnesses to testify on his/her behalf, and to present evidence.

g. During the hearing, the chair may require that those delivering testimony be sequestered prior to giving said testimony to protect the integrity of that testimony. Such hearings will not be open meetings. The defendant may request sequestration.

h. Either a transcript or other verbatim record shall be kept of the proceedings and a copy provided to the defendant within 10 working days of the hearing.

i. All matters upon which the decision will be based must be introduced into evidence during the hearing before the board. The board will base its decision solely upon the evidence presented.

j. A vote of 2/3 majority of the entire voting membership will be required to remove management staff. The board may recess if a decision cannot be reached in a reasonable time, but must make a decision within 48 hours of the hearing. The board must then notify the individual of its decision in writing. Appeals may be directed to the Dean of Student Affairs. If an appeal is not filed within thirty (30) days, the boardís decision becomes final.

k. No management staff member may be removed for reasons in violation of the First Amendment, i.e. content or those policy decisions considered completely within the purview of the editorial staff. Staff members may be removed for insubordination, habitual inability/unwillingness to meet specific job requirements, i.e. deadlines, reckless disregard for professional/appropriate behavior and standards, financial malfeasance and misfeasance, use of the position for personal gain, and other reasons unrelated to editorial content. Lost libel suits are not necessarily grounds for dismissal. Such cases will be considered on a case by case basis.

l. Staff members who are removed or quit prior to the first issue being published in the current or upcoming semester will forfeit their scholarship in-full. In the event that the scholarship has already been paid, the board may request repayment within ten (10) days of the termination staff memberís appointment.

m. Removal for reasons of poor academic performance or a drop below required credit levels will not require a hearing and will not be subject to appeal.

8. Staff Selection, Reprimand/Removal

a. The editor-in-chief, in consultation with the student media advisor, has the authority to select, direct, evaluate and dismiss student staff for violations of policies set forth herein.

b. No staff member may be removed for reasons in violation of the First Amendment, i.e. content or those policy decisions considered completely within the purview of the editorial staff.

c. Staff members may be removed for insubordination, habitual inability/unwillingness to meet specific job requirements, i.e. deadlines, reckless disregard for professional/appropriate behavior and standards, financial malfeasance and misfeasance, use of the position for personal gain, and other reasons unrelated to editorial content. Lost libel suits are not necessarily grounds for dismissal. Such cases will be considered on a case by case basis.

d. Staff members who are removed or quit prior to the first issue being published in the current or upcoming semester will forfeit their scholarship in-full. In the event that the scholarship has a already been paid, the board may request repayment within ten (10) days of the termination staff memberís appointment.

e. Removal for reasons of poor academic performance or a drop below required credit levels will not require a hearing and will not be subject to appeal.

f. All staff members who are removed from their position can appeal directly to the Dean of Student Affairs.

9. Complaints

a. The board shall serve as a forum to hear/resolve complaints/conflicts between the student media and members of the student body, faculty, staff and/or community. It shall also serve as a forum for student staff members to address concerns.

b. Complaints shall be typewritten and submitted to the chair via the ASISU office. Complaint letters must be accompanied by a readable signature, address and phone numbers. They must be very specific as to the charges being made, including dates and the names of individuals involved. Letters may be accompanied by supporting evidence. Complaint letters and evidence will be provided to the advisor and editor.

c. Upon receipt of complaint letters, the chair will verify with the advisor and the editor that the complaint had been addressed prior to submission to the board. If not, the chair will direct the advisor and editor to attempt to solve the problem prior to the boardís involvement. If board action is or becomes necessary, the chair will call a special meeting and will notify all involved parties in writing.

d. Conflicts regarding content may be arbitrated by the board in an unofficial capacity only. Complainants must be advised that purely content-related conflicts are not the official jurisdiction of the board.

e. Complaint hearings are to be separate proceedings from related staff removal/reprimand hearings and will be conducted prior to removal/reprimand hearings. Complaint hearings may be open, upon recommendation of the chair and the decision of a simple majority vote.

f. Complaints regarding advertising decisions/policies will be handled in the same way as outlined for non-business complaints with consideration given to appropriate business practices, as well as constitutional protections on advertising content.

10. Operational Policies

a. Operational policies for the student print media are subject to board approval. Changes should be presented to the board by the advisor and/or editor before being implemented. The board shall not exercise any control over editorial policies. The responsibility for setting and maintaining a consistent and fair editorial policy shall rest wholly on the editor and his/her staff. A copy of the policy should be presented to the board for information purposes only.

b. The editor is entrusted with making judgements regarding content. Editors should seek accuracy and fairness and follow the canons of sound journalistic practices. Defamation, libel, discrimination, and harassment should be avoided. The advisor should be consulted when questions regarding ethical or legal concerns arise.

c. Advertising content is governed by the same policy as editorial copy, keeping in mind the best interests of the client and the financial best interests of the paper.

11. Financial Policies and Procedures

a. The board shall not exercise its fiscal responsibilities in such a way as to influence content or editorial policy.

b. The editor and advertising manager, with the assistance of the advisor shall provide for the review and approval of the board a proposed itemized budget one month prior to the ASISU budget submission deadline.

c. The advertising manager, with the assistance of the ASISU General Manager, shall produce and report a monthly report of reconciled revenue and expenses, including encumbrances compared to the approved budget, a monthly accounts receivable report to include delinquent account balances and allowances for doubtful accounts, and a monthly profit/loss-per-issue report.

d. The paperís advertising policy is to be set in written form and approved by the board. Changes to the policy and rates are subject to the approval of the board.

e. All equipment used in the production of the newspaper is the property of Idaho State University. The editor is responsible to maintain an accurate inventory of all material and equipment valued over $100. All equipment not on warranty should be covered by university maintenance agreements. Intentional misuse/theft or burglary of equipment or supplies is grounds for dismissal. The editor is encouraged to prohibit personal use of production equipment or charge a reasonable fee per semester to cover the cost of use and replacement of supplies.

12. Liability and Insurance

a. The board shall ensure that the student media procures and maintains a liability insurance policy that will cover the functions and actions of operating the newspaper, as per Idaho State Board of Education policy.


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