Wesleyan University: Student Newspaper Threatened with Funding Cuts after Controversial Op-Ed

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Wesleyan University

After sparking a backlash by publishing a student op-ed critical of the Black Lives Matter movement in September 2015, The Wesleyan Argus was met with a petition from Wesleyan students demanding that the newspaper lose its funding. The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) subsequently approved a resolution that proposed redistributing the Argus’ $17,000 print budget between student publications at Wesleyan partially based on the popularity of the publications among the student body, putting student media at Wesleyan at risk of viewpoint-discriminatory funding. In multiple letters sent to the WSA, Wesleyan president Michael Roth, and Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, FIRE called on the WSA and the university to ensure that student media funding would be allocated in a viewpoint-neutral manner and that the Argus would not face censorship for its reporting. In April 2016, the WSA voted to create the Media Publications Fund Committee, a group meant to exist outside the control of the WSA that would allocate funding to student media, with the intention of alleviating concerns that student press could be punished by the WSA.