Conservative students work to defund biased school paper

Sandor Farkas
Collegiate Network Fellow

  • The Rutgers Conservative Union is working to defund the liberal-leaning publication on campus by alerting students to the ability they have to ask for a refund from the publication.
  • Since Rutgers has roughly 49,000 students, The Daily Targum collects an estimated $1 million every year in student fees.
  • However, Rutgers students, thanks to the Rutgers Conservative Union, are now requesting refunds for the $11.25 they are required to pay each semester.
  • A conservative group at Rutgers University has launched a campaign to help students request a refund for the semesterly fee they are forced to pay towards a liberal-leaning publication. 

    Rutgers’ left-leaning student newspaper The Daily Targum is a private corporation, but the majority of its funding comes from a seemingly mandatory student fee that the Rutgers Conservative Union is now combating.  

    “The majority of students who gave us a negative reaction revealed to us that they ‘worked for The Targum.’”   

    [RELATED: UMN students shell out $35 million in mandatory student fees each year]

    Since 1980, The Targum has existed independently of Rutgers, though the public school still collects $11.25 from each student on their semesterly bill, which it then turns over to the private newspaper.

    Considering Rutgers has roughly 49,000 students, The Targum collects an estimated $1 million every year, according to the Rutgers Conservative Union.

    Students are not allowed to opt out of the fee prior to paying tuition, and must email the publication in order to obtain a refund, leaving students the option of picking up the $11.25 refund check in person or having it mailed to their home address.

    The Rutgers Conservative Union, however, believes students should have the choice to opt out prior to paying tuition, rather than continuing to go through the convoluted refund policy, which even allows The Targum to reject refund requests.

    [RELATED: Berkeley student fees fund $2.7 million gender-neutral bathroom]

    Rutgers Conservative Union President Nick Knight argued that “the left-leaning bias of the school newspaper is incredibly obvious,” noting that he he has yet to see the paper’s daily cartoon feature any conservative opinion.

    As such, the group decided to take action and began a campaign to inform students of the issues and help them requests refunds, though the tight deadline for requests (which falls at a hectic time each term) made it difficult for the group to reach many students.

    Additionally, Knight claims that The Targum turned down refund requests for “about 20 people” during the first term of the campaign.

    To help streamline the process, Knight and his organization created an online form that allowed students to generate a refund request that would be sent to The Targum, even setting up tables on campus with computers for two days to help students submit refunds.

    Since the emails automatically copied the Rutgers Conservative Union, Knight was able to track the group’s progress, telling Campus Reform that they have helped “a little over 280” students make refund requests. As a result, The Targum could potentially lose up to $3,150 in revenue.  

    [RELATED: Student fees fund pro-choice center, but not pro-life speaker]

    Most students, including those who chose not to request a refund, reacted positively to the Rutgers Conservative Union’s efforts, according to Knight.

    “The majority of students who gave us a negative reaction revealed to us that they ‘worked for The Targum,’” he explained. “One girl called us disgusting.”

    Campus Reform reached out to The Targum for comment,  but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SFarkas48





    Sandor Farkas

    Sandor Farkas

    Collegiate Network Fellow
    Sandor Farkas is a Collegiate Network Fellow at Campus Reform. Prior to starting this fellowship, he was a Tikvah Fellow. Farkas earned a degree in history from Dartmouth College, where he was editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth Review. Farkas also serves as an officer in the Virginia Army National Guard.
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