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Revised and updated February 2016
Student media are a significant component of the educational experience at Knox College. Student publications and other media help to establish and maintain an atmosphere of free and responsible discussion and of intellectual exploration on the campus. They are a means of bringing student concerns to the attention of the student body, faculty and administration and of giving voice to student opinion on various issues on the campus and in the world at large. For their staffs, student media also function as valuable venues for the development of critical thinking and writing skills; they are vehicles for creative communication; and they provide a way to contribute to the betterment of the campus community. A concern for their educational value governs the Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee in its mission to preserve the freedom of expression of all student media, to ensure that they are successfully managed, and to see that their editorial policies and practices are legal and ethical.
The Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee seeks to ensure that student media will be free from censorship, prior restraint, advance approval of copy, or other forms of undue pressure or influence from administrators, faculty or students, and that its editors and managers will be free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage within the boundaries of responsible journalism and publishing practices. Editors and managers of student media will be protected from arbitrary suspension and removal because of student, faculty, administrative or public disapproval of editorial policy or content. Editors and managers will be subject to removal only for proper and stated causes and then by orderly and prescribed procedures. In the delegation of editorial responsibility to students of Knox College, we, the Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee, must provide sufficient editorial freedom and encourage sufficient financial autonomy so that the student media may maintain their integrity of purpose as vehicles for free inquiry and free expression in an academic community. At the same time, the editorial freedom of student editors, managers and their staffs entails corollary responsibilities as determined by legal regulations concerning issues such as libel and obscenity and by canons of responsible journalism and publishing practices, such as the avoidance of undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, and the techniques of harassment and innuendo.
I. Definition of "Student Media:"
In this Constitution, the phrase "student media" shall designate any student organization whose principal purpose is the ongoing publication of vehicles of mass (one-to-many) communication via print, audio or video broadcast, cable transmission or other electronic transmission.
A. The Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee, hereinafter referred to as the Committee, shall consist of three faculty members, two students and ex officio members as specified below. The Faculty Affairs SubCommittee, in consultation with the Dean of the College, shall appoint the three faculty members and designate one of these as chair. The student government shall appoint the two student members; in the absence of any student government action, the Faculty Executive Committee shall determine the method by which the student members shall be chosen. Ex officio members of the Committee, without vote, shall be: the advisors to student media, the Dean of Students or a representative designated by the Dean, and the Assistant Director of Campus Life for Student Activities and Engagement. The President and the Vice President for Finance (or their designees) may attend and participate in the Committee's proceedings, without vote, at their pleasure.
B. The Committee may invite as a continuing adjunct member a practicing or retired local journalist who can provide counsel on matters pertaining to editorial practice and policies.
C. A quorum shall consist of a majority of voting members.
III. Functions and Duties:
The primary function of the Committee shall be to act as the guarantor both of the editorial freedom of student media and of their adherence to canons of responsible practice as described in the Preamble. To that end, the Committee is charged with several specific duties, as detailed below:
A. Jurisdiction of the Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee
1. All student media fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee. All student media organizations are expected to abide by existing legal regulations and the canons of responsible journalism, and the Committee reserves the right to take action (through mechanisms specified below) to censure or discipline any members of such organizations who are found through due process to be in violation of these regulations and canons.
2. All student media organizations that require College and Student Activities funds and/or other resources (beyond those available to all students) for their operations shall also be regulated by the Committee as to formal recognition and approval by the faculty, annual open nomination and selection of editors, the appointment of faculty advisors and the maintenance of satisfactory performance by the editors, as set forth in the provisions of this Constitution.
3. Electronic Media
a. Student media organizations that use existing electronic means of publication ONLY (e.g., web- based publications, e-mail newsletters or other computer-based media) will be subject to regulation by the Committee as specified in III. A. 2. above if they seek formal recognition and approval by the faculty and/or Student Senate as official Knox College student organizations.
B. Recognition of New Student Media
In order to establish new formal media organizations eligible for financial support from the College, interested parties or their representatives shall appear before the Committee, and the Committee shall receive and hear for approval petitions to this effect and shall recommend to the Faculty approval of those new media the Committee believes will make a positive contribution to the public discourse of the campus community.
C. Faculty Advisors to Student Media
The Committee shall appoint one or more Faculty Advisors to each student media organization. Their duties shall be to advise, advocate for, and exercise general oversight of the media organization consistent with the role of student media as articulated in the Preamble of this Constitution. It is understood that advising, at times, may be oppositional, and that the advisor does not have veto power over editorial policy or implementation of policy. The advisor is answerable to both the media organization and the Committee.
1. Procedure for Appointment:
a. Each applicant editorial staff will present with their application a rationale for the proposal of a particular individual(s) as an advisor. It is understood that the editors will consult with the existing advisor and the proposed advisor in this process.
b. Each applicant editorial staff will submit with their application a job description of the advisor to which both the editor(s) and the advisor(s) have agreed.
c. The Committee will review for approval the advisor proposal and render a decision separate from the overall approval of an editorial application. In the event the media organization is unable to identify a viable candidate for advisor, the Committee will make an appointment.
2. Term of Appointment:
a. The advisor shall serve the tenure of the newly appointed editorial staff with continuance through the summer and until the new staff (and advisor if applicable) is active.
3. Procedure for Removal of an Advisor:
a. Either the editors or the Committee may initiate a request for removal of the advisor. This request must be submitted to the Committee in writing.
b. Any action by the Committee must be preceded by a conference with the editors, the advisor, and the Committee.
c. The decision to remove an advisor rests with the Committee.
d. The decision of the Committee may be appealed to the Faculty Executive Committee by either of the parties concerned.
4. It is understood that WVKC, due to its particular requirements of FCC compliance, requires an advisor to be conversant with these regulations. While the advisor may not be subject to change from year to year, each manager applicant must negotiate a mutually agreed upon working relationship with the continuing advisor.
a. In the event that the WVKC advisor is not continued, the Committee will satisfy itself that any proposed candidate for advisor is sufficiently conversant with FCC regulations prior to approval.
D. Selection of Editors and Managers
The responsibility for selection of editors and managers (hereinafter referred to as editors) for student media lies ultimately with the President of the College and the Board of Trustees, who have delegated to the Committee, through the Faculty Executive Committee, the immediate responsibility for selection of editors for student media. It is understood that the editors will choose their staff. The jurisdiction of this constitution includes staff members of all student media. The Committee will appoint editors of student media in the following manner:
1. Requests for the submission of applications for open editorial positions will be widely publicized at least two weeks in advance of deadline for submission.
2. Applications will consist of name and address of student, qualifications, a recommendation, statement of intended editorial policy, job description for the media advisor, and a tentative list of staff members.
3. Editors will be chosen on the basis of:
a. Their applications
b. Previous experience
c. An interview
d. Judgment of the Committee
4. The term of editors of all student media will normally be for one year.
5. Only under unusual circumstances may editors succeed themselves.
6. Only full-time students may serve as editors of student media.
7. Applications for media head positions will be accepted from individuals who may indicate a wish to serve as co-heads. The Committee may from time to time appoint co-heads, but each applicant must submit a separate application and the resignation or removal of one co-head does not imply that similar action applies to the other.
E. Academic Performance of Student Editors and Managers
All media heads are expected to achieve at least a 2.5 GPA in each term for which they hold their appointment. Failure to do so may result in their removal by the Committee.
F. Dismissal or Censure of Student Media Editors and Staff
The Committee may dismiss or censure editors or staff members of student media when, in their judgment, the media organization or procedures for which the editor is responsible violates legal regulations or the canons of responsible journalism -- that is, when the production is libelous or obscene, or uses undocumented allegation, or attacks personal integrity, or uses the techniques of harassment or innuendo. The Committee will advise editors that they and their staff members, in any suit against the College resulting from statements made in the media, are equally or directly liable for their actions.
1. The procedure for dismissal or censure will be:
a. Presentation of charges and evidence in writing to the editor and/or staff members in question and setting a date for a hearing, not sooner than one week from presentation of charges.
b. Charges will be heard by the Committee at a regular or specially called meeting.
c. The person charged has the right to be assisted in his or her defense by a person acting as an advisor, provided that the advisor is a current student or a faculty or staff member.
d. Other particulars of the regular hearing procedure will be followed as explained in Appendix B, (Regular Procedure for Hearing).
a. The Committee may dismiss or censure the editor or staff member charged. Such action requires four affirmative votes. The Chair will vote only if his/her vote will be a deciding one (that is, only in either a 3-1 situation).
b. In the event the Committee deems a particular case to also constitute an infraction of College policies, the Committee may also choose to recommend a charge to the Conduct Council.
H. Financial Recommendations
The Committee may make recommendations to appropriate Student or Faculty committees in financial matters, such as amounts of salaries, payment or withholding of salaries, and operating budgets that concern organizations under the governance of this Constitution. However, final jurisdiction over finances shall rest with the Faculty Committee on Student Life.
I. Insertion of Disclaimer
All college-financed student media must regularly publish a statement that the opinions there expressed are solely the opinions of the author or editorial staff, and not necessarily those of Knox College or of its faculty, administration or student body. In the case of print/online media, this statement must appear in each issue; in the case of broadcast media, the statement must be broadcast at least once during every broadcast day.
J. Committee Participation in Judicial Proceedings Against Student Media
In the event that a charge concerning the content of any student generated medium is brought before any College judicial body, the Committee shall participate in the adjudication of those charges so as to ensure that the canons of responsible journalism and rights to freedom of speech are duly considered in the proceedings.
IV. Ratification and Amendment:
This Constitution shall come into force and replace all prior Constitutions and by-laws upon its acceptance by a three-fourths vote of the incumbent Committee. Upon its acceptance the present Chair shall inscribe upon official copies of this Constitution the date it came into force and his/her signature. This Constitution may be amended by an affirmative vote of four fifths of the Committee's voting membership, including the Chair, and approval of the Faculty Executive Committee.
BY-LAWS OF THE BROADCAST, INTERNET AND PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE
1. Editors should be prepared to submit to the Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee upon the request of the Committee a statement on the financial condition of their media organization.
2. Any of the student organizations under the governance of the Constitution of the Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee may form an internal Board of Review to serve as an advisory body to the editor of that media organization. The final responsibility for the organization and its productions rests with the editor.
3. The Broadcast, Internet and Publications Committee will schedule early in the Spring Term of each year a workshop on legal and ethical considerations of student media, including libel, to be conducted by an expert in this field. All editors and managers of student media will be required to attend this workshop. The funds for the workshop will be provided by the Office of Student Development.
The student acknowledges and recognizes:
The student agrees that Knox neither endorses nor is responsible for (and under no circumstances shall be liable for) the content, accuracy or reliability of information and content accessed from the internet or his or her account. Knox makes all reasonable effort to protect the confidentiality of e-mail transmitted from or through this account but shall not be liable for missing or misdirected e-mail. Knox shall in no way be responsible for the loss of files or materials due to deletion, error or malfunction, and the student is solely responsible for maintaining backup copies of materials on his or her account at all times.
The student agrees to abide by Knox's Policy on Responsible Use as it is attached hereto and as it may be changed from time to time. Knox maintains a current copy of this policy on its website. The student agrees to periodically review the policy and to be aware of changes and revisions.
The student agrees that his/her account is not to be used for any unlawful purpose, or to transmit any material that violates these terms, the policy, or any applicable law or regulation of the United States or any state, province, or country. This includes, but is not limited to, materials which are subject to another person's copyright, material which is threatening, obscene, defamatory, and material which constitutes trades secrets of another person. The student agrees that he/she is solely responsible for the compliance of information accessed from or uploaded to this account (including any information obtained through any hyperlink) with any applicable law.
The student agrees to utilize this account for his/her own personal use. The student agrees to take responsibility for any other person whom he/she allows to use this account and to hold Knox harmless for any and all damage resulting from such other person's use of the account.
The student agrees that he/she is solely responsible for the content of any web pages he/she may create or make available via his/her account and is exclusively responsible for protecting his/her proprietary interests in the content or design of his/her Web pages. The student warrants that none of his/her web pages, and none of the information or services provided through the student's website shall violate or infringe any copyright, trademark, or patent of another, misappropriate any trade secret, or violate any applicable law of the United States or any state, province, or country. The student further warrants that he/she is duly authorized to engage in any business or profession advertised in his/her web pages.
Regular Procedure for Hearing
At the Hearing
The chairperson presides at the hearing. It is his or her responsibility to see that proper procedures are followed.
The chairperson shall introduce each person in the room with their title or the members may introduce themselves.
The respondents, complainant, nature of the complaint or charge, and date, issue or volume shall be stated at the beginning of the hearing. (The 'respondents' may be one or more persons. The 'complainant' may also be one or more persons.)
The first witness is the complainant, who will explain the reasons for bringing the case, the nature of the evidence, and any other information deemed relevant. The complainant may wish to rest on his or her written formal complaint. Other witnesses, if any, in support of the complaint or charge will be heard at this time.
The chairperson will ask the respondents if they have any questions to ask of the complainants. Following, the complainants may ask questions of the respondents and other witnesses. The chairperson presiding at the hearing will determine whether any other witnesses will be allowed to ask questions during the hearing.
When the chairperson determines that both complainants and respondents have had ample opportunity to ask questions of each other. The Committee of Publications voting members will now have a chance to ask questions of the respondents with the intent of addressing the specific charge. At its discretion, the Committee may excuse either party in order to question the other party.
The Committee will excuse all parties except for voting members, unless the Committee wishes to ask ex officio members of the Committee to remain for the purposes of consultation. (These ad hoc members may not vote and may be excused by the Chair at any time as deliberations move toward vote.) The Committee will determine the merit of the complaint or charge and penalty, if any, by acquiring four votes. The Chair will vote only if his/her vote will be a deciding one (that is, in a 3-1 situation). If such a vote is not obtained, the case is recorded as "no decision" and no penalty is given. In its decision, the Committee strives to preserve balance among the principles of consistency with precedent, justice to individuals, the maintenance of an academic community, and adherence to the principles set forth in the Preamble to the Committee of Publications Constitution.
After the Hearing
It is the duty of the presiding chairperson to notify the complainant and respondents of the Committee's decisions within twenty-four hours of the hearing.