To the Editors of the Argus,
First and foremost, the WSA is not defunding the Argus and has never attempted to do so.
As stipulated in our bylaws (Article VI, Section 2, II, F) every spring the SBC reassumes the unused funds in the accounts of all student groups. The purpose of this practice is to redirect idle funds towards other student groups’ events and projects. For example, in 2014 the SBC reassumed funds from 28 student groups; most notably $14,000 from the Senior Class Council and $8,000 unused funds from the Argus.
At the start of reassumptions in early March, the SBC and WSA Office noted that the Argus had $10,920.28 left of the original $13,375.00 awarded to them by the SBC on January 25, 2016. It also came to the attention of the SBC and WSA Office that the Argus had another $12,580.32 in a separate account, which they amassed via donations and ad income over the course of this year. This came as a surprise as the Argus failed to disclose that they received outside funding when asked directly on their funding request form and in their SBC meeting.
When asked about the $12,580.32, the Argus referred to the money as an “emergency fund,” for which they had no demonstrated use. Because emergency and rainy day funds siphon funding away from other groups, the SBC considers them auxiliary funding. This is a policy that has been demonstrated by past SBC decisions pertaining to Club Rugby and Sailing team.
The SBC is not blocking the Argus’ funding nor inhibiting their functioning. The Argus currently has $12,580.32 and is eligible to reapply for funding if needed. Prior to reassumptions, the Argus had $23,500.60 with plans to use only half and let $12,580.32 sit idly. The SBC reassumed the $10,920.28 that remained from the SBC’s original award to the Argus. That amount of money can make an incredible difference to a variety of student groups, most of which do not have the Argus’ revenue or fundraising capabilities.
This is by no means a political conflict. A student newspaper requesting funding from a student government structure is inherently ideologically flawed and deserves further community debate. We look forward to discussing this issue openly with the Argus on Wednesday to come to a collaborative and agreeable solution. We also invite all interested parties to join us for a community discussion at our next WSA open meeting next Sunday at 6pm in 41 Wyllys, Room 114.
The WSA Student Budget Committee
Justin Kim (Chair)