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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

40 AND COUNTING: Alligator gains independence, contract with UF near completion


Editor's Note: This originally ran Feb. 1, 1973 on pages 1 and 6 of The Independent Florida Alligator.

The final step is just ahead.

Today The Florida Alligator is expected to take the last step making it The Independent Florida Alligator.

Sixty-five years of university control will be signed away when last-minute contract negotiations between the UF and the new corporation are finalized.

In the Tigert Hall offices of the university attorney, the charter of Campus Communications, Inc. -- the new Independent Alligator -- was signed Wednesday by five of the seven board members.

The contract and charter together will put into effect the recommendations of the President’s Ad Hoc Committee on Student Publications chaired by Professor Hugh Cunningham.

the new corporation’s general manager Tony Kendizor said that he plans to make ends meet from increased advertising revenues and a 15 per cent reduction in student salaries that will be solved by not replacing some employees that will leave.

Alligator Editor Randy Bellows said, that “full student salaries are critical to the Alligator’s financial situation. I look forward to independence with the student salaries covered.”

The contract will give the new corporation $35,000 to pay the salaries of full-time Alligator employees until June 30. The new corporation will also get to collect the unpaid bills for the month of January, a figure which is lower than the $55,000 expected because of a decline in national advertising.

UF President Stephen O’Connell said that the university “will make up the difference, and that difference could be in the payment of student salaries” so that the new corporation will receive the expected $55,000.

the contract also gives The Alligator the use of its equipment and offices until Sept. 1, 1973, when The Alligator will move off campus in return for providing The Alligator free to the university community at least three times a week during the winter and spring terms, and once during the summer term.

The Alligator will also continue to print the “Page of Record” and the “Campus Crier” in return for the use of the Reitz Union office and equipment.

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Kendizor said the Alligator corporation failed to secure a written pledge in the contract from the administration that it would not publish a competing campus publication.

“The state cannot legally waive that right,” said Kendizor. “I talked it over with Dick Jones (Gainesville Mayor) who was inclined to agree. So I have Rae Weimer’s (UF administration representative) word for what it’s worth” that the UF administration will not publish a competing newspaper.

The officers of the board for the new corporation are Sharkey, the editor of the High Springs Herald; Vice Chairman Kevin Davey, a UF law student; and secretary Tim Condon, The Alligator’s managing editor.

Also serving on the board is Kendizor, former assistant manager of the Hub bookstore, Ed Cornwell, The Alligator’s advertising manager; Alligator Editor Randy Bellows, and The Alligator’s student business manager, Mike Blocker.

Blocker and Bellows did not sign the charter because they are under 21. The law prevents minors from signing a corporation charter as subscribers. This however, will not prevent Bellows and Blocker from being held legally responsible for what The Alligator prints, as members of the corporation.

According to the charter, “the corporation’s major function will be to publish, daily or otherwise, a newspaper containing the news of the students, faculty and staff of the UF.”

The charter will become official when it is filed with the secretary of state’s office in Tallahassee.

The charter requires that “a majority of one of board of directors at anytime shall be elected from among the undergraduate and graduate student body of the UF.”

The charter also states that the board of directors shall include the general manager, the assistant general manager, the student business manager, the student editor, the student managing editor, a professional journalist and a graduate student with a journalism background who is not employed by The Alligator corporation. Changes in the charter require a majority of the full seven man board to be made.

The charter also states that if the corporation dissolves, all of its assets will go to “the use and benefit of the UF College of Journalism.”

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