The Battalion, Texas A&M University's 129-year-old student newspaper, reports that it is being urged to cease printing.
The demand comes from university President M. Katherine Banks, according to a Battalion staff report on Friday. 25 News confirmed with Texas A&M students and faculty as well.
The student newspaper said it was approached by Dean of Students Anne Reber, who held a physical copy of a 132-page MGT report in hand, and interim Director of Student Life Stefanie Baker.
The organization said it was initially informed that President Banks, "demands the 129-year old student publication to cease printing weekly editions, effective immediately."
Texas A&M leadership orders The Battalion to stop printing weekly editions following abrupt ultimatum — join the university, or be stripped of resources, with only a day’s notice.https://t.co/Dd1266JOG4— The Battalion (@TheBattOnline) February 11, 2022
In its longtime history of printing, The Battalion said Texas A&M has never held oversight over content that is published. However, the organization said a recently passed university policy states that "signage, social media postings, press releases, news media interviews and website postings, must be approved."
“A member’s official messaging, such as signage, social media postings, press releases, news media interviews and website postings, must be approved in accordance with applicable member rules or procedures. Each member chief executive officer will adopt necessary rules and/or procedures to implement this regulation and may delegate approval authority as needed to facilitate effective operations.”
The Battalion said student leadership was informed that they must make the decision to remain as a student organization or transition to a purely digital publication by end of day Friday.
However, that decision was reversed in an update on Friday, allowing the publication to continue printing until the end of the spring semester.
UPDATE: Per an email to The Battalion, President Banks has said she will allow the publication to print until the end of the spring semester, at which point the transition to digital will be made. https://t.co/XR86u1TRS4
— The Battalion (@TheBattOnline) February 11, 2022
"If The Battalion refuses the demand and remains a student organization, it would be stripped of any relevant resources, including its office space in the basement of the Memorial Student Center and of its faculty advisor, General Manager of Student Media Douglas Pils — longtime advisor and mentor," said the Battalion in its staff report.
The student newspaper's print edition and staff are funded by advertisements. The Battalion said Pils serves also as advertising supervisor.
Student journalists and members of the organization along with alumni have begun mobilizing and engaging with media, under the hashtag 'SaveTheBatt.' An online petition has been started for anyone who wishes to display their support.
Traditions are what makes Texas A&M unique. It makes no sense why you would get rid of a cornerstone of our school for no apparent reason. Save The Batt @TheBattOnline— Barstool Texas A&M (@BarstoolTexasAM) February 11, 2022