We concur that if the Iowa State Daily wishes to free itself of full accountability to the public that subsidizes it and to avoid lowa's ban on government competition with private enterprise, it must become truly independent of its state university.
You suggest that the Daily's independence can come through incorporation alone (Staff Editorial, Oct. 22). In fact, the Daily already is incorporated as a "non-profit" business, but under the Daily's method of operation, that incorporation is coupled with dependence on the state of Iowa and public moneys.
For example, the Daily pays no rent to occupy space in a public classroom building and pays no utilities for electricity generated by the university's power plant. The student newspaper receives tuition dollars budgeted to the student government and benefits from other university subsidies.
Professional employees of the Daily (yes, unlike The Crimson, pros at the Daily displace students) receive benefits under public employee plans. The Daily even avoided paying sales taxes by relying on an IRS exemption certificate issued for the state university's exclusive use.
If the Daily does as you suggest by coupling independence with incorporation, then all subsidies would need to end. With that, our newspapers should be given equal access to the campus so students can freely choose what publications they wish to read.
At that point, we eagerly will engage our competition on the even, private footing you suggest.
Until the Daily's independence is true and complete, we agree with you that the ISU student newspaper should be subject to laws intended to curb government secrecy and state-subsidized competition. --Michael G. Gartner, Editor and Co-owner, the Daily Tribune; Institute of Politics Fellow, 1994 --Gary G. Gerlach, Publisher and Co-owner, The Daily Tribune; J.D. 1970, M.P.A. 1972