December 1, 1975.
On this day, the IUPUI Sagamore, the student newspaper, ran a front-page article under the banner headline, "Ryan tells student organizations to DROP DEAD." The article reported that Indiana University president John W. Ryan had recommended to the Board of Trustees to end mandatory funding of student organizations at all IU campuses. According to the newspaper, he informed the Trustees that his recommendation would be based on student, faculty, and administrators' input. However, he did not heed the recommendations of a Fee Collection Committee made up of faculty and students to assess mandatory fees. The committee, appointed by Ryan, voted 26-1 to retain mandatory fees.
At the time, only the School of Nursing and the School of Law-Indianapolis at IUPUI collected mandatory fees from students. No mandatory fees went to IUPUI student organizations.
The newspaper averred that Ryan said that organizations could collect voluntary fees "because the university could not provide a mechanism to accept fees for any organization to which the university was not responsible for the group's policies, functions, or fiscal accountability."
Student government leaders voiced their protests to the move. The Sagamore quoted several irate organization leaders. The president of the IUPUI Student Association, Hal Smith, said he hoped the Trustees would reject Ryan's recommendation and follow those of the Fee Collection Committee.
An editorial posed the question: "How can the IUPUI student government effectively represent the needs and desires of students especially when these wishes are in opposition to the administration, when it must constantly be in fear of biting the hand (or thumb if you will) that ever so sparingly feeds it?"
The Sagamore later reported that the Trustees unanimously approved Ryan's recommendation and put it into effect.
The IUPUI student newspaper continued to be a vocal critic of university administration and its policies. It ran articles suggesting that the issue of IUPUI autonomy from IU (and Purdue) was still alive in the General Assembly. The lack of funding for student activities and sports teams topped the editors' list of concerns. Reporters pointed to the fact that the IUPUI women's basketball team traveled to away games in their own cars, and that the men's coach was forced to "panhandle" among city businesses. "A mandatory student activities fee would help greatly with these financial problems," a writer opined.
The shortage of student-activities funds crimped student life on the IUPUI campus for years to come.
To read all the IUPUI news that was fit to print in the Sagamore, please visit IUPUI Special Collections and Archives firstname.lastname@example.org.