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The student-produced news site at the University of Colorado — — has been asked to vacate its offices in the Armory building by next May as it continues its phased separation from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication following last year’s controversy over a racially charged column.

Dean Paul Voakes on Tuesday said plans have been in place for the past 18 months for the CU Independent to ultimately leave the Armory. With enrollment up this fall in the journalism school and classroom space tight, Voakes has given the student journalists until the end of next semester to find a new home.

Although the CU Independent — formerly the Campus Press — no longer is part of its curriculum, the journalism school still will provide some financial support until May, Voakes said.


The student-produced CU Independent is published online at

“I didn’t think it was a reasonable burden to place on the paper to vacate the building immediately,” Voakes said. “Every daily news organization is struggling to figure out how to survive in this transitional period of print to online. It’s difficult for anybody to generate much money as an online-only publication.”

Amy Herdy, the CU Independent’s faculty adviser, said that with upwards of 80 students on staff, the publication actually has outgrown its space in the Armory.

“We’re growing by leaps and bounds,” Herdy said. “We’re outgrowing our facility. We’re really truly becoming a flourishing media for CU, so it’s time we got our own space.”

Cameron Naish, a senior and the CU Independent’s editor-in-chief, said that since the publication is solely online, the staff can work from anywhere on campus.

“It’s gradually becoming less about the space we’re in and more about being closer to the students and student life,” Naish said.

As the Campus Press, CU’s student-produced newspaper and Web site long had been part of the journalism school’s curriculum, offering students hands-on reporting and editing experience for credit.

But that that ended in January, the beginning of a phased split that stemmed in part from the spring 2008 controversy over a Campus Press column written by student Max Karson. Entitled “If it’s war the Asians want… It’s war they’ll get,” Karson’s piece offended many on campus and in Boulder, although the author insisted it was simply satire.

Voakes, however, said the controversy surrounding the Karson column was not a factor in the decision to ask the CU Independent to leave the journalism school’s building.

“There were a series of mistakes that led to the publication of that column that reflected poorly on the school and the university,” Voakes said. “But I think the CU Independent has become much stronger as a result.”

Although the school is severing its ties, Voakes hopes for success.

“We really want an independent student voice on this campus to survive and succeed,” he said. “But if you want to remain true to the concept of (being) independent, that means becoming physically and financially independent.”

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