To Protect Funding From WSA Politics
Over spring break, without discussion or prior notice, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) informed The Argus that the WSA’s Student Budget Committee (SBC) will revoke all funds they approved for The Argus at the beginning of the semester, and temporarily suspend them going forward. Combined with a noncommunicative “Working Group” created last semester by the WSA to deal with publication funding, led by WSA members who have expressed hostility toward The Argus, this incident seems to be one of many aimed at removing our funding. *We want to clarify that we will be able to stay in print, at least for now.*
Argus funding is not unreasonable. Over the past year, 176 people have worked for, written for, or contributed to The Argus, and the newspaper not only provides a valuable experience for them but is also a valuable community resource.
The Argus requested and received donations last fall from alumni who thought they were providing a fund to protect our independence in the event the WSA suddenly decided to revoke or refuse to provide a budget. Ironically, the WSA is using the existence of this money as a pretext for revoking a previously approved budget, and has said that we may not request more funding until we have exhausted the donations. There is no policy in the WSA bylaws providing for the funding of student organizations to be reduced as a result of fundraising, and this action by the WSA has made The Argus an unwitting participant in the collection of donations under false pretenses.
In reaction to last semester’s controversy, part of the WSA’s approach has been to consider forcing us to go completely digital. Abandoning our print edition would mean the great loss of our production and layout staff, who obtain valuable training in their positions and enjoy being part of the Argus community; it would also cause a loss of thousands of dollars per semester in print advertising revenue that goes toward our paid positions. More broadly, being a newspaper without a newspaper would decrease our readership and the value of what we provide to our staff and to the community. Most importantly, newspaper decisions should not be made by an outside body in which we do not have a voice.
Please sign this petition to call on the WSA to stop threatening Argus funding, and to stop making decisions through autocratic and secretive measures. A signature further expresses support for more transparent financial policies, and for protecting publication finances from WSA politics.
Your signature can be private, meaning not displayed to the public. However, should we present this petition to the WSA, your name will be visible to them unless you request otherwise in the comments.
To see the full editorial on this issue, click here: http://wp.me/pqwcr-riI.