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College Governance

A5: Description of the Boards and Standing Committees

b. Campus Life Board

3. Student Communications Media Committee

Functions:

  1. To study and consider all matters concerning the student communications media, including any matters referred to it by the Campus Life Board, and to make policy recommendations about these issues to the Campus Life Board. The term “student communications media” refers to recognized student media organizations funded by Student Congress (see ii) and news media courses that disseminate to external audiences.

  2. To recommend to the Student Congress Appropriations Committee the distribution of monies allocated for use by recognized student media organizations, including The Anchor, Milestone, Opus, Inklings, and WTHS.

  3. To appoint the editors or managers of all recognized student media organizations, including The Anchor, Milestone, Opus, Inklings, and WTHS, acting upon recommendations from the executive members of the retiring staffs and upon letters of application from the candidates. The appointments of the other editorial and major staff positions in these organizations are normally made by the editor/manager, with approval by the Committee; when necessary, these appointments may be made by the Committee.

  4. To terminate, for just cause, and in consultation with the faculty advisor, the appointment of an editor, manager, or staff member of one of the student media organizations, and to appoint a successor.

  5. To refer controversial incidents involving student communications media to the Media Review Board for discussion and possible action.

Membership:

Membership will include four students (preferably with a background in communication issues, and including the Comptroller of Student Congress) appointed annually by Student Congress; three faculty members (liaison from Campus Life Board plus two other faculty members (preferably with a background in communication issues) appointed for staggered two-year terms; two administrative staff members (one from public relations staff, one from student development staff). The Committee Chair will be a faculty member and will chair the Sounding Board and Media Review Board. Efforts should be made to reflect the diversity of the campus community
when making appointments to this committee.

Procedures:

  1. In appointing the media personnel (function ii), the Committee has generally followed these procedures.  The media are encouraged to prepare, through in-service training in a variety of staff responsibilities, candidates for the top positions who have ability and experience.  Positions are advertised, however, and applications are accepted from any student.  The Committee interviews all applicants, not only to aid in selection but also to establish a dialogue with the new leaders concerning objectives and policies for their respective organizations. It has been the practice to invite the editors and general manager of student media organizations to sit on the committee, with voice (including the right to make motions) but not vote, and make regular reports at committee meetings.

  2. The Student Communications Student Media Committee (SCMC) and its subsidiary boards should, in all its procedures, recognize that the processes and objectives of artistic expression, editorial content and news differ.  As a result, these organizations have different responsibilities to their audiences and the Hope College community. While most student media organizations serve a strictly news function, the functions of a few organizations are more artistic in nature. Because student media messages are published or broadcast and disseminated to the public, it is important that they be sensitive to the Student Media Guidelines. However, due to the very nature of artistic expression, these organizations should be given broader boundaries than news-oriented organizations. Attention to the nature of the work in question must be considered when providing feedback.

Sounding Board

The Sounding Board will serve an advisory function for student media organizations to discuss the publication or broadcast of sensitive issues prior to message dissemination.  The Sounding Board's function is to protect the freedom of speech and press for student media organizations and to promote the responsible use of these freedoms. The Sounding Board will alert student media organizations to potential social and legal implications.  The Sounding Board process will be initiated upon request from the media staff or the faculty advisor to the Chair of the SCMC.

Membership:

Membership will be drawn from the SCMC and will include two students, two faculty members (including the Chair of the Committee), and one administrative staff member.

Procedures:

  1. Normally the full Sounding Board will discuss the issues and provide guidance; in cases involving short-notice deadlines, the Chair of the Committee may respond individually or after consultation with other Sounding Board members.

  2. Regarding issues of potential liability, the Committee will contact the Provost’s Office to request consultation with the College’s legal counsel.

  3. The Sounding Board will assess the meaning of the message in its particular context and the justifiable purpose for publishing or broadcasting the sensitive material.

  4.  The Sounding Board will convene a round-table discussion of interested parties to explore the potential implications of the message.  The Sounding Board will offer advice to the student media organization.

  5. The Committee Chair will vote in the event of a tie.

Media Review Board

The Media Review Board will be responsible for reviewing any controversial incidents involving student communications media. This Board will be convened when a request is made to the Chair of the Committee.

Membership:

Membership will be drawn from the Student Communications Media Committee and will include two students, two faculty members (including the Chair of the Committee), and one administrative staff member.

Procedures:

Any group or individual may initiate the review process by sending a letter to the Chair of the Committee within three weeks of publication or broadcast.  The letter should explain the media incident and why it may have violated the Student Media Guidelines. The Committee Chair will convene a meeting of the Media Review Board and all concerned parties within ten class days.

  1. The Media Review Board will first meet as a Board to review the incident and the complaint in light of the Student Media Guidelines.

  2. All concerned parties will be invited to join in a discussion of the incident.

  3. After the discussion, all non-Board members will be excused, and the Board will vote on whether the incident violated the Guidelines.

  4. If the Board determines that the Guidelines were followed and that no further action is needed, the Board Chair will inform the parties of the decision in writing within 48 hours.   If the Board determines that the Guidelines were violated, the Board will decide what action should be taken to address the situation, and the Chair will inform the parties of the decision in writing within 48 hours. The Chair may discuss the situation with others affected by the incident or the decision.

  5.  Any decision by the Media Review Board may be appealed by any involved party to the Campus Life Board within seven days.  The Chair of the Campus Life Board will determine the members of the Appeal Committee and the procedures for this process.

  6. The Chair of the SCMC will vote in the event of a tie.