UT administration must realize Texas Student Media’s financial troubles


Shweta Gulati

Roderick Hart, Dean of the Moody College of Communications, speaks at the Texas Student Media board meeting.

Last March, outgoing Communication Dean Roderick Hart came to a meeting of the Texas Student Media Board of Operating Trustees, which oversees five student media entities, including the Texan, and relayed a message from President William Powers Jr.’s office: Don’t worry.

Worry about our finances, that is. The president’s office, Hart has told us, would give TSM $250,000 a year annually for three years to help stem the hemorrhaging of funds that TSM has experienced in recent years. 

We naturally applauded Powers’ largesse, and still do. The emergency funding, we hoped, would see us through the worst and prime us for the best.

But it’s not available in quite the way that we imagined.

The way the funding is set up, it is likely that TSM won’t see a single penny until this summer. That’s about a year and a half after we were told by Hart that we were being thrown a much-needed lifeline.

We appreciate the help and understand the challenges of securing money, especially in a bureaucracy like UT’s. But the main point here is that the administration doesn’t entirely seem to grasp the severity of our financial situation.

That’s not to say that they’re ignorant of it — far from it. They’ve seen our financials. Anyone can, they’re public record. But Hart’s comments, as well as others we’ve heard from college officials, just don’t seem to suggest any real motivating urgency on their part.

That puzzles us because there’s no real way of sugarcoating the situation: TSM has been burning through its reserves to stay afloat for the past several years, and without the money from Powers’ office, we’re just about broke. Up-to-date financial information likely won’t be available until around the time of the board’s next meeting Feb. 6, but as of the end of last semester, the situation looked very bleak.

Again, we thank the administration for its offer of help but fear that they might not have fully grasped the severity of the situation. Like most other newspapers, the Texan has recently faced some serious financial hurdles. Only serious solutions will comprehensively fix them.