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University of Kansas, Student Newspaper Resolve Lawsuit

LAWRENCE, Kan. ― A lawsuit alleging that administrators at the University of Kansas allowed the Student Senate to illegally slash the student newspaper’s funding has been dismissed after the reductions were reversed.

Both parties stated that the case had been resolved to “their satisfaction” in a document filed Monday in federal court, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The lawsuit said a decision to cut the funding of the University Daily Kansan in half was based on dissatisfaction with the newspaper’s Senate coverage and created a chilling effect on the “expression of First Amendment-protected speech.” The school, however, had argued in court filings that the cuts were made because the paper had reduced its printing schedule to two days a week instead of four.

The student fee revenue totaled $90,000 before it was cut to $45,000 when the campus fee dropped from $2 to $1. While the majority of the student newspaper’s funding comes from advertising revenue, editors have said the cut was significant enough to force elimination of student positions and render the newspaper unable to fill the vacant faculty news adviser position. Editors also said that even though the paper doesn’t print as often, it still needs staff to produce news for its website.

University spokesman Andy Hyland said the administration is “pleased that we’ve been able to bring these two student organizations together to agree to terms that both groups find acceptable.”

Patrick Doran, the attorney representing the Kansan, declined to discuss the suit with The Associated Press.

The Student Senate made the initial decision to cut the campus fee in spring 2015, then voted in March to keep the Kansan fee at $1 for the 2016-17 school year before reversing that decision in April.

The Kansas Board of Regents this month approved the university’s 2016-17 required student fee package, which includes a $2.50 per semester Kansan readership fee, reinstating the newspaper’s former level of funding and then some. The Kansan will receive $2 per student for the following two years, and after fiscal year 2019, the Kansan will no longer request funding from the Senate, the paper has reported.

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