A proposal has been made to turn the Broadcasting, Internet and Publications Committee (BIP), currently a standalone faculty committee, into a subcommittee under the Student Life Committee (SLC). This could lead to changes in the process of approving the media heads of all campus publications that receive BIP funding.
This would be a return to BIP’s origins. Initially, BIP started as a subcommittee under SLC before it was spun out into a freestanding body so as to provide an extra level of protection to the free speech rights of student publications.
The major reasoning behind this proposed change is that BIP largely only functions during spring term, when it must meet to evaluate the applications of students who are applying to take charge of Knox’s various publications and to approve their budgets. During the rest of the year the group is largely inactive unless an issue arises.
Most of BIP’s votes are unanimous (there has been only one seriously contested issue in the last seven years) and there have been no major confrontations between student publications and administration for some time, leading some to wonder if BIP’s functions would be better rolled into that of another body.
Associate Professor of Political Science Andrew Civettini, current head of BIP, proposes that instead the body be reduced to a BIP coordinator, who would then report to SLC. SLC would also be able to appoint additional personnel to help the coordinator on an as-needed basis.
“Everything goes through the coordinator,” he said. “They are essentially the buffer.”
Civettini’s proposal would move up the media head application process to late winter term to avoid overburdening SLC during the spring when they are busy approving club budgets. He points out that this would have the additional benefit of allowing outgoing media heads more time to train their replacements.
To go into effect, any change to BIP would have to be approved by the full faculty. Currently, there is no definite time frame as to when the issue will be decided, but it would not occur soon enough to affect media head applications for next year.