Agreement signed to transition Colorado State University Student Media into Non-Profit Organization

Note to Editors: The agreement is available to view at Click on this news release headline to access the agreement file.

Colorado State University announced today that its student media organization will fall under a newly formed 501c3 non-profit organization beginning August 1. The Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation will operate separately from the university with a governing board consisting primarily of students, but also including community members and faculty from the university.

The formation of the new non-profit was based on a recommendation from a committee of Colorado State University students, officials and professors and community experts who examined the structure of student media at the university last spring. A committee headed by Blanche Hughes, vice president of student affairs, was tasked by Colorado State President Larry Edward Penley with reviewing the current structure and considering any proposals from outside organizations. Converting the current student media organization into a non-profit was the model forwarded by the committee.

"This proposal was recommended with the support of students. The committee that reviewed potential student media arrangements felt that a non-profit organization would best support student interest and education," said Hughes.

Rocky Mountain Student Media will oversee student run media: the Rocky Mountain Collegian, a newspaper; CTV, content for a TV station; KCSU, a radio station; and College Avenue, a magazine.

As part of the change, Rocky Mountain Student Media and the university signed a three-year operating agreement outlining university funding and expectations for the extensive media products, services and top-notch learning opportunities for students that the corporation will provide. The agreement provides the media corporation, consisting of a newspaper, magazine, television and radio production studios, with a total of $1 million from the university over the next year for its services.

Rocky Mountain Student Media will provide students from Colorado State a guaranteed minimum of 43,750 hours of paid and volunteer media related laboratory experience during the fiscal year, which started July 1. That total includes at least 37,750 paid student hours of experience. Rocky Mountain Student Media also will manage and broadcast on the university’s 24-hour radio station and provide regular newscasts through the university’s television station. Under the new organization, officials also expect that the relationship between journalism faculty and students will be strengthened.

Under the new agreement, no less than three-quarters of the editorial board overseeing the Rocky Mountain Collegian, the student newspaper, will be currently enrolled students.

Larry Steward was established as president of the newly formed corporation’s board. Steward was director of student media at Colorado State for 18 years from1986 to 2004 and is a former reporter, editor and columnist. In addition, other board members include two students from the journalism department, a speech communications student, a political sciences student and Ray Caraway, president of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado. Greg Luft, chair of the Department of Journalism, and Mike Ellis, director of the Lory Student Center representing the Vice President for Student Affairs, are ex-officio members.

Seven current student media professional employees will become employees of the corporation with the corporation on Aug. 1 under a six month probationary period.

Student Media will lease office space and equipment from the university in their existing location in the Lory Student Center.

The committee which recommended the change was formed in February. It considered four models: a university-operated student newspaper, a laboratory newspaper within an academic department such as a journalism department, a corporate owner and a non-profit organization.

The committee sought public comment and suggestions for change to the structure from any organization interested in submitting a proposal. After a public call for proposals on March 17, the committee received one proposal from Student Media that advocated for a 501c3. The committee recommended the 501c3 to Hughes, who forwarded the recommendation to Penley, who granted permission for the recommendation to be forwarded to the Board of Governors. The board approved the change at its June meeting.