The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

Student media referendum does not receive approval

November 29, 2017

The proposed referendum to create a student media self-assess fee has not received the necessary
approval to pass on to the University of Louisiana System board of supervisors.
Peyton Chiasson, director of student rights and grievances for the Student Government Association and
author of the referendum, said that he received notification on Nov. 6 that President Bruce Murphy had
denied the referendum.

“The denial was on the basis of budget concerns, and there seemed to be some communication issues
from the faculty side,” said Chiasson.

Murphy said that he did not reject the referendum and felt that it had merit, but there were some

“I did not reject it. It came to my office to forward to the board of supervisors…,” said Murphy. “I asked
the Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Dial to run it by finance and administration and by the
provost and, in doing so, the proposal…does not have a proper budget, so we really can’t determine
what the proposal is, and that’s what the vice president for finance and administration determined.”

Additionally, Murphy said that aspects of the proposal were in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The proposal involved the use of faculty members in certain functions and the provost was not
comfortable that that was done properly…[It’s] a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to
have people volunteer for a position that you could or would normally pay for, so there’s some technical
things that have to be worked out,” said Murphy.

The proposal of a student media self-assess fee came about in response to the defunding of the La
Pirogue in March. With the passing of the student media referendum, all four student media outlets–the
La Pirogue, the Nicholls Worth, KNSU and the television station–would be combined and funded by one
$15 student-assessed fee as opposed to individual fees. The yearbook would ultimately receive funding
once again.

Moving forward, SGA will meet with Murphy as well as the incoming president before working to pass
the referendum onto the UL System board of supervisors, Chiasson said. The referendum must receive
approval before March in order to go to a student vote in the spring.

“We’re still working out the reasons why it was denied, so our new timeline is to have it approved
hopefully…at the [UL System board’s] end-of- January meeting,” said Chiasson. “The board meets in
January typically just to appoint officers, but they said they would consider hearing this if we get it
through, so they’re willing to work with us on that.”

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