By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
The editor of the University of Toledo’s student newspaper formally asked yesterday that the university not make him quit a part-time job at The Blade.
Keith Tarjanyi, editor-in-chief of the Collegian, made the request in a letter sent to Edward Willis, the dean of students.
Mr. Tarjanyi received a letter Tuesday from Mr. Willis demanding that he quit his part-time job. Mr. Tarjanyi has been employed as a part-time, temporary news assistant at The Blade since Jan. 10. University policy does not allow students who hold four campus positions – president and vice president of the student government, president of the campus activities and programming board, and editor of the Collegian – to hold other employment.
The policy has been in place at UT for more than 15 years, but, according to UT officials, it has never been enforced.
In the past, many student officials restricted by the policy have held outside jobs, including at least one other who worked at The Blade.
Mr. Tarjanyi and others have suggested that the decision to enforce the rule now was caused by a number of articles and editorials in the Collegian and The Blade critical of the university’s administration. On the day before Mr. Tarjanyi was ordered to choose one job or the other, the Collegian ran an editorial calling for the resignation of Ronald Langenderfer, chairman of the university’s board of trustees.
The university’s faculty union passed a resolution Wednesday supporting Mr. Tarjanyi, calling UT’s move “selective enforcement.” University officials have denied that the newspapers’ content had anything to do with the enforcement of the policy.
Mr. Tarjanyi’s letter, which he said he personally delivered to Mr. Willis after meeting with an attorney, states that he considers his work at The Blade a valuable job experience for his eventual career as a journalist.
“While I acknowledge that I am being paid for my services, I am not working at a fast-food restaurant or at a business unrelated to my chosen profession,” he wrote. “The experience is more valuable to me than the compensation, although, as an undergraduate student, I would not want to forego the compensation.”
Mr. Willis said previously that he wanted written confirmation of Mr. Tarjanyi’s quitting The Blade by today. But university spokesman Joe Brennan said Wednesday that UT would be “open to discussions” about granting an exception. Reached at his home last night, Mr. Willis said he had received the letter from Mr. Tarjanyi but had not read it and would not comment. Mr. Brennan said he had not spoken with Mr. Willis.