Publications Board

Statement of Purpose, Operation and Responsibility

I. Nature and Purpose

The Publications Board is a standing committee of The University of Alabama in Huntsville and is empowered by and responsible to the president of the university through the vice president for student affairs. The Publications Board has jurisdiction over the Exponent, the Literary Magazine, the Yearbook and any other student publications funded by student activity fees. The Board is responsible for the policies, planning, coordinating, and overseeing of the student publications under its supervision.

The Publications Board promotes the highest standards of jurisdiction in the operation of student publications, safeguards their interest, including their financial stability and their editorial independence, and insures that those publications are responsive to the needs and concerns of the university community.

The Publications Board is also a management board and has the authority to act in this capacity. The Board provides student publications with guidelines for financial structure, with long-term planning, and with uniform procedures for officer selection.

The Publications Board recognizes that, in the future, new student publication needs may appear. The Board encourages the evaluation of media to meet these needs. All proposals for funding from student activity fees must secure an affirmative recommendation from the Board.

II. Operation

A. Membership

1. The Publications Board shall be composed of eight regular voting members selected in the following manner:

Three students elected by the student body in its general election.

The president of the student government association, or designee.

Two members of the university faculty, selected through the Faculty Senate, for two-year staggered terms beginning in August each year.

The director of university relations at the university.

One person from the community at large with expertise in publications appointed by the vice president for student affairs for a two-year term.

Members of the Board shall be eligible for two additional terms and shall be selected in the same manner as set forth above.

2. The chair shall be appointed by the president of the university.

3. The academic deans, the editors, the faculty advisors, and business managers of student publications, and the vice president for administration or designee and the vice president for student affairs or designee shall be ex officio members of the Board. They shall attend all meetings of the Board and may participate in the discussions, but they shall have no vote. If he or she is unable to attend, a representative should be sent from that area.

B. Conflict of Interest

No voting member of the Publications Board shall hold a regular or paid position in any organization or student publications under the jurisdiction of the Publications Board.

C. Meetings

1. The Board will meet once each semester at a time and place convenient to the members. All members, including ex officio members shall be given at least 24 hours notice of called meetings.

2. Five voting members shall constitute a quorum. The chair shall vote only in the case of a tie.

III. Responsibilities of the Publications Board

A. Supervise and oversee the operation of all student publications under its jurisdiction to ensure that the purposes of the Publications Board are fulfilled.

1. The chair of the Publications Board shall, after consultation with the editor of the Exponent and with potential nominees, make recommendations to the vice president for student affairs, who will in turn appoint a faculty advisor to the newspaper.

2. Types and schedules of publications. Final responsibility for decisions regarding types and schedules of student publications shall rest with the Publications Board.

B. Content of Publications. The Board shall carry out its responsibility regarding publication content as follows:

1. The Board shall give attention to the content of student publications for the purpose of (a) requiring integrity and accuracy in factual reporting and (b) protecting the University from adverse legal action. Beyond this charge, no authoritative attempt shall be made by the Board to control publication content.

2. The Board shall provide guidance and advice to student editors and use its power of persuasion in dialogue to address those problems of content that are within its charge. The Board shall seek to encourage a tradition of solicitation of its counsel by student editors.

3. An Exponent Advisory Board shall be established at the end of the spring semester of each year or at other times in the year when appropriate. This committee shall consist of;

a) the chair of the Publications Board

b) an advisor from The Huntsville Times

c) the director of university relations

d) a student designated by the Publications Board who is not an officer in the student government association or associated with the Exponent.

e) the faculty advisor to the Exponent.

The Advisory Board shall hold regular monthly meetings with the Exponent Editor and Business Manager at a fixed time and place, preferably at the Exponent offices. Any Exponent staff member is welcome to attend. The purpose of these meetings is to review and discuss Exponent editions for each month, to discuss any managerial, staffing, or editorial issues that bear address, and to assure liaison about important matters for Publications Board review. The Exponent staff shall mail all issues of the newspaper published in the four weeks prior to each meeting to the Advisory Board members. The Advisory Board shall provide advice and review to the Exponent staff, particularly in regard to editorial writing; the final decision and responsibility concerning publication shall; however, rest with the editor.

C. Approve as the first order of business in the fall semester meeting a basic allocation of funds for each student publication. As the Office of the Director, University Center, is the budgetary unit for disbursement of publication funds, accounting, preparation of purchase orders, and payment of salaries shall rest with that office. However, the Publications Board shall receive and review budget reports from publication staff at each semester meeting.

D. Approve the acceptance of additional publications under the jurisdiction of the Publications Board.

E. Sever affiliation of the Publications Board with any student publication under its jurisdiction. Such a vote must be made by a 60 percent majority of all voting members of the Publications Board.

F. Appoint the editors and business managers or comparable officers of all publications under the jurisdiction of the Publications Board.

1. The Board shall establish and utilize qualifications for students seeking to serve as editor for each publication. The qualifications shall include:

a. Matriculation as a bona fide student

b. Completion of 32 credit hours

c. Interest and ability in writing and publications as demonstrated by academic credits in English composition and other related disciplines.

d. Experience in other publications

e. A 2.5 grade average on a 4-point scale

f. Registration for a minimum of 15 hours of coursework per academic year, and registration for studies in one of the two semesters per year.

2. Normally, the editor of the Exponent will serve in the position for no more than two years. If at the end of two semesters of service in office, the editor wishes to continue service in office for a second year, he or she must so inform the Board; in such case, the voting members of the Publications Board will meet to hear supporting comment or objections to a second year of service, and they will then vote in closed session for continuation or termination of service. Although editors may begin service as circumstance to terminate service after the publication of the first Exponent issue of the fall semester. Editors are requested to indicate to the chair of the Board a decision to end service one semester prior to the point of termination so that a smooth transition of management is possible. It is understood that an editor ending service will cooperate in the training of an incumbent editor for a period sufficient for the publication of three issues of the Exponent.

3. Editors and Managing Editor of Exponent and the Yearbook shall be encouraged to reduce loads to no more than six credit hours.

4. The editors and business managers of all publications under the jurisdiction of the Publications Board shall be selected by the Board and shall serve with final approval of the Board.

5. The Board shall establish and maintain guidelines for typical staff structures and functions and shall assist students in performing these functions.

6. The Board shall assure that every publication has a faculty/staff advisor at all times. Advisors shall be approved by the Board after consultation with the appropriate student editor. Faculty advisors shall endeavor by their influence and expertise to guide and support their respective publications and shall be expected to participate actively in the affairs of such publications. Any Faculty advisor who fails in this obligation may be requested by the Board and the editor to withdraw.

G. Take disciplinary action against members of the Publications Board, or against those student officers appointed by the Publications Board for violation of Publications Board policies or for not properly performing duties. Provision shall be made by the Board to discipline and/or remove editors and business managers in case of grievous (that is, extreme or continued) neglect, malfeasance, and/or misuse of office. The Publications Board shall follow the disciplinary procedure outlined in Appendix A of this Appendix.

IV. Limitations of the Publications Board

A. The Publications Board shall only exercise jurisdiction over student publications for which university funding is provided.

B. The Publications Board shall not engage in censorship, i.e., prior restraint.

C. The Publications Board shall not order the publication of specific information.

D. The Publications Board shall not enter into any financial arrangements that are economically unsound or endanger editorial independence or integrity of the student publications under its jurisdiction.

V. Amending the Statement of Purpose, Operation and Responsibility

Any member of the Publications Board may recommend amendments to this document in the form of additions, modifications or deletion. Such a change must be considered by the Board at a regularly scheduled meeting prior to a vote. An amendment requires a two-thirds vote of a quorum of the voting members present. The amendment will take effect upon the final approval of the vice president for student affairs.



1. Complaints by any aggrieved or interested party against an editor or a staff member of a student publication shall be filed with the Publications Board. Any member of the Publications Board, except the chair, shall have the right to file a complaint. The chair and the vice chair are authorized to receive complaints on behalf of the Publications Board.

2. Complaints shall be in writing and shall be signed by the complaining party. A copy of the complaint shall be provided to the student charged as soon as possible after it is received by the Board.

3. The Publications Board shall have jurisdiction only over those complaints alleging acts or omissions relating to the student's official duties in connection with the publication. Other complaints shall be referred to the Student Judicial Board or cognizant institutional officials, as appropriate.

4. If the complaint concerns a staff member of a publication, the Board shall direct the editor to inquire into the matter and report his or her findings and proposed action, if any, to the Publications Board. If in the judgment of the Board the matter is still then unresolved, the Board shall attempt to mediate between all affected parties to the end of facilitating a satisfactory solution. Ultimate responsibility and accountability for the conduct of a staff member shall reside with the editor.

5. In regard to complaints against an editor, the Publications Board shall appoint a pre-hearing officer, who may be any student, faculty member, or staff employee of the university who is not a member of the Publications Board. The pre-hearing officer shall, pursuant to a charge from the Publications Board, conduct a preliminary investigation of the matters alleged in the complaint and shall seek resolution of the dispute through consultation with the parties, mediation , and other voluntary means. If such attempt at settlement is not successful, or if it is not appropriate under the circumstances, the pre-hearing officer shall determine whether a hearing is warranted and the complaint is to be referred back to the Publications Board. A complaint that is within the jurisdiction of the Board and which is not clearly frivolous, groundless, or otherwise without merit shall be deemed to warrant a hearing. The pre-hearing officer shall be allowed a period of fourteen (14) days to investigate and endeavor to bring about informal settlement, upon the expiration of which period he or she shall report to the Publications Board his or her determination as to whether the complaint shall be dismissed or heard by the Board.

6. Upon receipt of and pursuant to the report of the pre-hearing officer, the Publications Board shall either dismiss the complaint or set it down for hearing. Written notice of the hearing date shall be given to the parties at least fourteen (14) days in advance thereof.

7. The Publications Board shall comprise the hearing panel, except that the student charged shall have the right to strike one member of the Board from the panel and except that a member of the Board who files a complaint shall be automatically disqualified from service on the panel which hears it. At the hearing, both the complaining party and the student charged shall be allowed to be present, to submit information to the Board by means of witnesses, documents, etc., to examine all documents submitted by the other party and to question all witnesses appearing on behalf of the other party or the Board, and to make oral and/or written argument. The Board shall determine what evidence shall be received, using relevance to the issues at hand, fundamental fairness, and an interest in not unduly prolonging the hearing with repetitive evidence as governing criteria. A party may have an attorney or other advisor present to assist in such party's participation in the hearing. The scope of the role of an attorney shall be defined by the Board, keeping in view the nature of the hearing as an informal, administrative, fact-finding process. If the student is absent from the hearing without good cause, he or she shall be deemed to have waived any right to be present and the hearing may proceed. The same rule shall apply to the complaining party. The hearing shall be open to the public only upon the written consent of the student charged. The hearing may, if necessary, be adjourned or continued to subsequent dates at the discretion of the Board. A record of the hearing shall be kept by means of a tape recorder.

8. Within a reasonable time after the conclusion of the hearing, but in any event within seven (7) days after such date, the Board shall render a decision, which shall include a statement of findings and, if appropriate, the sanction. Only evidence received at the hearing shall be considered in making such decision. A preponderance of the evidence shall be required to establish misconduct on the part of the student charged. The Board's action shall be by majority vote. A dissenting report may be prepared at the option of any minority.

9. Sanctions may be imposed for malfeasance in or neglect or misuse of office or other unprofessional conduct. A student editor shall be subject to the following sanctions, listed in general order of increasing severity:

a. Warning--A written notice to the student that continuation or repetition of specific conduct may be grounds for further disciplinary action.

b. Censure--Written reprimand for specific conduct, coupled, where appropriate, with a warning that further instances of such conduct may result in more severe disciplinary action.

c. Restitution--An order that the student make compensation for loss of funds or property.

d. Probation--Placement of the student in a probationary status in regard to his responsibilities as editor. Probation shall be for a stated period of time and shall carry with it a warning that further misconduct may constitute cause for dismissal.

e. Dismissal--Removal from the office or position of editor.

The Publications Board shall be empowered to impose the sanctions of warning or censure on its own authority, and its decision shall be final. Restitution, probation, or dismissal shall require concurrence of the vice president for student affairs, and in such case the decision of the Board shall be forwarded to the vice president in the form of a recommendation. Probation or dismissal shall be imposed only in instances where the misconduct is grievous, that is, extreme and/or continued.

10. The vice president for student affairs shall review properly forwarded findings and recommendations from the Publications Board and shall concur and direct imposition of the sanction, decrease the severity of the sanction, order a further hearing by the Publications Board and/or a reconsideration of its findings and recommendations, or exonerate the party charged.

11. Appeal to the president of the university shall be available in any case in which restitution, probation, or dismissal is imposed. An appeal may be initiated by delivery of a written request to the Office of the President within seven (7) days after the student is notified of the decision of the vice president for student affairs. The president's review shall be limited to assuring that there was no serious procedural impropriety or manifest insufficiency of evidence in support of the findings.

12. All decisions of the Publications Board, the vice president for student affairs, and the president shall be communicated in writing to the parties involved.