Left-leaning student paper is about to find out what the free market is like
- A left-leaning student newspaper lost its access to student fees for the first time in its 150-year publication run.
- The Daily Targum is facing a budget cut of over half a million dollars.
A left-leaning student newspaper at Rutgers University did not receive the votes required to get student funding for the first time in its century-and-a-half history.
The Daily Targum, which has circulated since 1869, is currently facing a major cutback in operations after the paper failed to garner enough votes to continue funding most of its operations. The paper is facing a budget cut of nearly $540,000, or around 70 percent of its budget, according to NJ.com.
Out of 23,996 eligible student voters, only 4,461 students of the 6,578 students who cast ballots voted to fund The Daily Targum, NorthJersey.com reported. This 18.59 percent of eligible students opting to fund the paper fell short of the 25 percent minimum needed to fund it.
“For the first time since declaring its independence from the University, The Daily Targum has failed to pass [its] referendum across the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus,” The Daily Targum wrote on its website after the vote. “We do not know what the future holds, but the Targum Publishing Company’s Board of Trustees and staff will be working to address this funding crisis.”
Articles published by The Daily Targum include an op-ed claiming that then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should be denied a position on the Court and a column advocating for “environmental justice” that intersects with racial justice.
Eric Eaton, a recent graduate of Rutgers University and former president of the Rutgers Conservative Union chapter, spoke with Campus Reform about the paper and the referendum results.
“I first heard about the referendum results through word of mouth,” Eaton said. “I don’t really remember anyone on campus that read the Targum at all.”
Eaton also told Campus Reform that a person had been kicked off of the paper after he had an issue with his editors regarding the use of a term in an article.
“Someone I knew on campus who was originally writing for the Targum had his article censored because he used the term ‘illegal immigrants’ in a story he was working on,” Eaton said. “When he asked his editors about why his article had been censored and the term was not allowed, he was terminated off of the paper.”
When Campus Reform asked Eaton about the paper’s views, he replied that the paper was “certainly” left-leaning in its perspectives.
Campus Reform reached out to the student that had been kicked off of the paper for more information about the alleged event but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Eaton also told Campus Reform briefly about on-campus efforts to defund the Targum and educate students on how to get their funds back.
“We just spread awareness that students were involuntarily spending their $15 on the paper,” the alumnus said. “We also sent out pamphlets on how students can request a refund from the paper.”
The Rutgers Conservative Union aimed to raise awareness about the “Targum Fee” by giving students info about how to request a refund since, Eaton said, the process was secretive and not well-known among the student body. The only way students would find out about the fee, Eaton told Campus Reform, would be to check their term bill and see the $15 “Targum fee” that was charged.
The Rutgers Conservative Union delivered a petition to the Targum with names of students requesting $15 refunds, but all did not go according to plan.
“We sent all of the contact info in one email and they rejected it, saying it was done improperly and we needed to send it again,” Eaton said to Campus Reform.
The former Rutgers Conservative Union president also said that the process had to be done on a case-by-case process and claimed that the paper was seeking to give the organizers of the effort a hard time by putting them through a “bureaucratic process.”
“I believe it was them just trying to save face and not give anyone their money back,” Eaton said.
The Daily Targum has started a GoFundMe page, with a goal of $100,000, to continue funding the paper’s operation costs. The paper has received over $13,000 at the time of publication.
Campus Reform also reached out to the Targum for further comment regarding its situation but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JesseStiller3