When the Charger Bulletin Almost Lost Independence


The Charger Bulletin has been the student reporting machine of the University of New Haven since before it was called the University of New Haven (meaning New Haven College, not when people were allowed to call it UNH). In that time, it has mostly been controlled by the student government, first the Day Student Government (DSG), and now the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA).

In 1987, however, a process was started to remove the student-run paper from DSG and move it to administrative control under the then-called Division of Academic Affairs. In a memorandum dated June 3, 1988, former dean of student life, James E. Martin Jr. laid out recommendations that would heavily regulate the operations of the paper.

“Following a year of ‘low performance’ by the student directed newspaper, The Charger Bulletin, I believe it is prudent to resurrect my recommendation” from November 19, 1987, Martin wrote.

Martin’s initial recommendation was rejected on December 4, 1987 by then-President Philip Kaplan (no relation to current president, Steve Kaplan).

“I have thought about your recommendations a great deal and quite frankly, I have substantial difficulty with some of them,” Kaplan wrote.

In his recommendation, Martin suggested the following:

  1. Administrative and budgetary responsibilities be transferred to the Division of Academic Affairs.
  2. Production of the Charger Bulletin would be considered an “academic activity” rather than a “student activity.”
  3. The editors and reporters of the Charger Bulletin would be required to take communication courses, including journalism, news writing, and reporting.
  4. Funds would be transferred from DSG to academic affairs.
  5. The staff of the Charger Bulletin would still be subject to participating in DSG activities.

Martin said in his follow up memo that “even the leadership of the Day Student Government has come to the conclusion that the future of the Charger Bulletin is in doubt under the current administrative structure.”

Today, the Charger Bulletin will work to be more independent as it grows. It now has a website that produces news almost daily alongside its biweekly print issue. It has several podcasts and two broadcast shows and can be read via a mobile app and through Amazon Echo.

The Charger Bulletin ended up staying in the student government until fall of 2017, when the transition started to make it completely independent from the university. It will take years for the full effect to take place, but the process will continue to go forward.