#SavetheTalisman movement gaining traction

Michael McKay

Less than 24 hours after news broke about the $93,000 in reductions to the Talisman yearbook budget, students took action.

Tweets bearing the #SavetheTalisman hashtag have been sent at a breakneck pace, while the Save The Talisman Facebook page totals 261 likes as of Thursday night.

The Talisman’s operating budget has been slashed as part of the more than 2 million dollars cut in WKU’s proposed budget.

Charlotte Turtle, current Talisman adviser, said the students have dictated the movement.

“They created the tagline, it was totally a student effort,” Turtle said. “Right now, they are working on a website called Savethetalisman.com to be a place they can share information, as well as the history of the Talisman and a place where people can comment and tell why they love the Talisman.”

Earlier in the week, President Gary Ransdell told the Herald an investigation found many of the Talismans printed went unused. Ransdell also said he hoped the Talisman would explore going digital in the future.

Turtle said a digital Talisman may not be sustainable and that all but one of this year’s book were picked up.

“The product is something we care about, but it’s just the vehicle we use for students to get the experience,” she said. “It documents the history of Western, and it’s important for people who don’t even see the importance of it right now, people who want to see it in 50 years. We do not think the technology that is around right now will be around in 50 years, but books will be. Books stand the test of time.”

Turtle said 2013 Talisman Editor-in-Chief Amber Plunkett and 2014 Talisman Editor-in-Chief Katie Honadle have scheduled meetings with Ransdell and Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, to discuss the budget cut.

Katie Clark found herself in a similar situation when she worked on the Talisman staff.

Clark said she worked hard to help secure permanent funding for the Talisman when she was a student. The Talisman went unfunded for a period of about six years.

“I thought having lost it once that we would never lose it again if we could just secure the funding,” Clark said.

Clark said she was in a state of “shock-and-awe” upon hearing the news.

“For me it was very surprising, knowing the conversations that I’ve been apart of, knowing the things I’ve heard as a student and as an adviser,” Clark said.

As a result of a slashed budget, Turtle said the Talisman staff is exploring their options to make up the difference, including a Student Government Association bill passed in 2006.

“SGA did approve a $9 per semester student fee, and if that was put into student fees again that would take care of the money that we’ve lost in this cut,” she said. “It is an option my students are talking about and trying to pursue…they are working on figuring out how to get that back in place.”