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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 27Jun00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Huntsman's Dispute With U. of Utah Newspaper May Lead To Big Changes
Excite News (Daily Utah Chronicle) 21Jun00 P2
By Scott Lewis: Daily Utah Chronicle


Old controversy between regents, campus paper arises with proposal
Excite News (Daily Utah Chronicle) 21Jun00 B2
By Matt Canham: Daily Utah Chronicle

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- On October 12, billionaire Jon M. Huntsman wrote a letter to the editor of The Daily Utah Chronicle, criticizing an opinion article written by Dave Hancock, former Chronicle editor in chief. Huntsman perceived the August 31 column as personal attacks on his wife. Dave Hancock had criticized Gov. Michael O. Leavitt for appointing Karen Huntsman to the Utah State Board of Regents. He argued that a member of the governing board of Utah's system of higher education should have a college degree.

Five months after Jon M. Huntsman's article, it was learned by the Publications Council of the Daily Utah Chronicle that the administration of the Utah State Board of Regents drafted a proposal to add a full-time faculty adviser to The Chronicle's staff. The Chronicle asked administrators why the proposal was necessary and began an investigation. A month later the Board of Trustees changed the council makeup. This change in procedure has council members believing the trustees violated their bylaws with this process.

According to Publications Council member Norman Waitzman, the Hancock column started a controversy that "shook the foundations of this university." In Huntsman's Oct. 12 letter he stated, "Sadly, the Trustees of the U have exercised no accountability or responsibility over a periodical that bears the institution's name." Huntsman requested a printed apology, but Hancock said he would "think about it."

Huntsman has said that if an apology is not forthcoming he will withhold future donations to the University. Former Publications Council Chairman Howard Lehman said that could be as much as $500 million. "Jon did say what happened would impact what he did for the U in the future," Trustees Secretary Michael Benson said. "There were consequences to what Dave said and those actions would have an impact on his future giving to the university." Subsequently, Hancock wrote the apology.

Huntsman's letter also brought up questions about the board's relationship to the newspaper and the role of the Publications Council. If the proposal is implemented it would set class requirements for The Chronicle editor and staff. Chronicle editor in chief Shane McCammon said he is "disturbed by how vague the proposal is." The proposal states the the trustees "affirm a long-standing prohibition of censorship."

Council member Norman Waitzman said, "The council was sidestepped and left out of the loop." "I think they believe we are just a bunch of kids," McCammon said. "They feel they can walk over us, because they don't think we know what we are doing." Barbara Snyder, vice president for student affairs said, "In hindsight, we should have been more inclusive."

Under the administrations plan the adviser would meet with reporters after publication to discuss ways to improve the newspaper and would conduct classes where the entire Chronicle staff would learn the basics of journalism.

"Why this (adviser position) needs to be formalized is an issue I don't have an answer for," Waitzman said. The decision to implement this proposal is in the hands of the council. The new council will take up the proposal when it reconvenes in August.


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