Lawmakers consider funding for Daily Egyptian

By Seth Richardson

The fight to save the Daily Egyptian has traveled all the way to Springfield, finding its way into the university’s appropriations bill.

An amendment submitted by Democratic Rep. Kenneth Dunkin to HB 6027, which sets appropriations for the university, sets aside $70,000 for the Daily Egyptian.

Section 15 of the bill reads “The sum of $70,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Southern Illinois University School of Journalism for any costs associated with the Daily Egyptian newspaper.”

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The amendment was not clear whether the money would come from other funds for the university or a different pool of money altogether.

The Daily Egyptian faces the potential for tough economic times after the Board of Trustees decided to hold off on a proposed $9 student fee at the May 8 meeting. The Undergraduate Student Government as well as Chancellor Rita Cheng approved the fee, but new President Randy Dunn said he wished to explore other options for the newspaper.

Since the May 8 meeting , numerous alumni and supporters of the paper have clamored to save it, including the #SavetheDE Facebook group with more than 1,400 members.

The $9 fee would raise about $260,000, just about the amount of the DE’s projected deficit.

The Illinois House Higher Education Appropriations Committee will discuss HB 6027 the 2 p.m. Wednesday.  College administrators say it is highly unusual for the state legislature to appropriate money directly to a university department to fund a college newspaper.

Neither university officials nor legislators could be reached for comment.

Seth Richardson can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter at @EgyptianRich or at 309-221-8227.

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