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
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.