The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Senate slashes funding for ‘Hilltopics’

Student Senate reduced funding for the opinion journal “Hilltopics” Tuesday during a lengthy session that included two votes on the topic and nearly an hour of discussion.

The Senate voted to approve the recommendation of the finance committee, which allotted $1,080 for printing costs. The amount covers costs only through the end of the semester, which means “Hilltopics” will be back in front of Senate again in January. The Senate voted down a complaint that would have denied funds to the publication.

Last year Senate appropriated nearly $3,000 for “Hilltopics,” enough to publish an issue each week for the entire school year.

“It’s a small victory, but it disappoints me that the student body representatives can’t realize the importance of ‘Hilltopics’ to the student body,” Hilltopics Business Manager Todd Baty said.

Engineering Senator Reed Hanson led the effort to slash funding for the publication. It was Hanson who filed a complaint against the original recommendation the finance committee gave last week. Hanson is also the Editor in Chief of the other opinion journal on campus – “The Mustang Post” – a conservative publication.

The original request for $2,884 was unable to go before the entire Senate because of Hanson’s complaint asking that no money be given to “Hilltopics.” Monday night the committee decided to reduce the amount to $1,080.

Hanson and fellow Senator Ben Hatch said one of the reasons “Hilltopics” should be denied funds is that the original funds were intended for start-up costs only.

“We need to take seriously our predecessors’ wishes,” Hatch said during debate over the bill.

When “Hilltopics” was created, its founders went before Senate asking only for start-up money. They intended for their publication to rely on advertising to cover costs.

Representatives of “Hilltopics” explained to the finance committee that they have been unable to sell any advertising to be self-sustaining as a publication over its three-year history. The only ads sold have been to the University Honors Program and History Department.

Throughout the process, Hanson repeatedly stated “Hilltopics” should receive no funding from Senate, saying in his written complaint that “Senate should not buy Hilltopics’ argument that it is critical to campus discussion at SMU.” Hanson also pointed out that his publication, “The Post,” receives no Senate funding and is completely funded from conservative organizations outside of campus.

During the debate and speaker’s podium, several senators asked if “Hilltopics” could survive as an online only publication.

Dr. David Doyle, director of the University Honors Program, said that “part of the ceremony is holding [the publication] in one’s hand.”

“We’re not a corporation or a business…we’re about growing, and ‘Hilltopics’ is a critical part of that,” Doyle said.

Associate Vice Provost Dennis Cordell also spoke in favor of “Hilltopics,” and explained that no community sponsor would fund the publication because of its strong opinions and diversity.

“You will not find a central idea or political viewpoint, unlike the new publication,” Cordell said.

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