Makeover for Student Media Bylaws

The times, they are changing. The student media organizations of Western Carolina University could see alterations in how they operate.

Jeffery Hughes, director of the A.K. Hinds university center, has helped members of the Student Media Board to craft a new set of bylaws. The changes in the bylaws are primarily to fix wording issues, making the bylaws easier to read, said Hughes. Other changes include how an organization can go inactive.

Crafting the new bylaws began toward the end of spring 2013. The Student Media Board, which is comprised of leaders from the student media organizations, spent the first meeting looking at the current bylaws and making sure leaders who had never seen the bylaws became acquainted with them. The second meeting consisted of tracking input for the bylaws and asking questions. Hughes then took the feedback and drafted the bylaws. The board looked over, asked questions and expressed interest in adding other regulations to the document. Afterwards, Hughes sent the draft to the board. A third meeting was held for revisions.

“One of the things I wanted to do is make sure each of the student leaders were clear on the set of bylaws that had been voted on,” said Hughes.

The current draft will be forwarded to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Sam Miller for his review. The Student Media Board will host another meeting if Miller has questions or comments and discuss his feedback. Once the draft has cleared through Miller, the board will vote on the bylaws.

Hughes hopes to have the bylaws voted in by the end of the fall semester or by spring at the latest. The bylaws will go into effect as soon as they are voted on.

“It’s been quite a few years since the bylaws were reviewed, and this has been a project I’ve wanted to see completed for some time . . . To keep the student media organizations healthy and supported, I think it’s helpful to periodically review the governing documents,” said Miller.

The bylaws were last updated in 2011. According to both Hughes and Miller, student media is still operating under the old bylaws while the edits are being constructed. The student media organizations also run their groups with individual sets of bylaws. Miller noted that the time was “finally right to get this [Student Media] project moving.”

The new bylaws come in the wake of changes in university policies, media law practices and media practices, say Hughes and Miller.

“I just want to make sure we’re addressing all the new issues or the new issues that are arising,” said Hughes.

Once the bylaws are approved, Hughes said he hopes to hold one or two information sessions on the bylaws. Leaders of the media organizations would send the bylaws to the rest of their group. Their personal documents will be altered as well to accommodate the new rules of Student Media. If the information sessions cannot happen, Hughes said he would then come to an organization’s meeting.

The Student Media Board currently consists of The Western Carolinian newspaper, WCAT radio station, NOMAD literary magazine, TV62 television station and Gadfly political magazine.

While Hughes said there are no “sweeping changes” in the bylaws, Student Media will certainly see some changes before the end of the school year.

For more information on Student Media, contact the University Center at 828-227-7206.