We appreciate the SBC taking the time to consider the points we raised in our editorial and we welcome the SBC’s call for a community discussion during the upcoming Sunday WSA meeting. We would like to respond to several points made in the “An Open Letter from the SBC to the Editors of the Argus.”
First, the money they reclaimed was not “idle funds.” It was money that we intended to use to pay bills we will be receiving from vendors for the publication of issues that have already come out this semester, and to publish for the second half of the semester.
Second, with regard to SBC’s re-assumption of unused Argus funds in prior years, we are aware that in the past we have had as much as $8000 remaining. That is why, this year, we requested significantly lower funding—nearly $9000 less, in total, than in previous years.
Third, with regard to the Argus’s alleged failure to disclose funding we received, our initiative to collect donations last fall was highly public, and we had no intention of being secretive. The separate account holding these donations is maintained by, and has always been fully accessible and visible to, the SBC. Further, when the SBC says on its website to look for alternate sources of funding, it refers to SALD, Green Fund, Concert Committee, and other academic and administrative departments. These sound like sources that might provide ongoing funding with the intention of replacing SBC funds, which our donations were not.
Moreover, as discussed in our editorial, the donations were expressly solicited and provided to protect our ability to operate as a newspaper without fear of retaliatory defunding by the WSA. This was not supposed to provide the WSA with a rationale to withdraw our SBC funding until we spend down the donations and are back in the same position of being completely dependent on the WSA. If we had known that this would be the outcome, we would not have solicited donations in the first place.
Finally, with regard to the SBC’s statement that “A student newspaper requesting funding from a student government structure is inherently ideologically flawed,” we agree! Very much so, actually, and we feel that the appropriate response to this would be to enact a new procedure that insulates funding decisions from a process that could always be political. Let’s pass legislation that ensures protection of journalism from government intervention, as is common in any democratic process, secures publication funding, and provides more transparent funding policies. We encourage all interested to attend the WSA open meeting next Sunday at 6 p.m. in 41 Wyllys, Room 114.