Under the Dome

Former UNC-CH official Gray-Little sued by Kansas student paper

The editor-in-chief of the University Daily Kansan has sued University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, a former executive vice chancellor and provost at UNC-Chapel Hill, saying the student newspaper’s funding was cut because of its coverage.

Gray-Little, a native of Washington, N.C., and Tammara Durham, vice provost for student affairs, were named in the suit. The paper's editors contend that a $45,000 annual reduction in student fees that go to the newspaper was retaliation for an editorial criticizing the Student Senate, the Kansas City Star reported.

Kansan editor Vicky Diaz-Camacho and former editor Katie Kutsko brought the suit, alleging that student government leaders, in meetings this month, complained about a May 2014 editorial before voting to cut the funding. A Student Senate committee member allegedly said the funding cut was a chance for the Kansan to “fix their content.”

In later meetings, a Student Senate member said the newspaper “bit the hand that fed” it and the staff “got what you deserved,” the suit contends. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the funding cut, plus attorney fees and “nominal” damages.

The Kansan is funded by student activity fees and the sale of advertising.

Gray-Little was at UNC-CH from 1971 through 2009, when she left for Kansas after three years as executive vice chancellor and provost.