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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Board allocates $1.45M in fees

    After a four-hour discussion that saw 29 proposals, students now know what next year’s Student Services Fee will pay for.

    The Student Services Advisory Board approved funding Monday for 22 of the 29 proposals. Of the $2,670,000 total that was requested by several UA organizations, the board approved the allocation of $1,450,000 toward the $40 per semester student fee.

    While the Associated Students of the University of Arizona received $100,000 more for club funding for the upcoming year, other organizations walked away empty-handed.

    Seven proposals were fully rejected, including a $10,000 request titled “”Hump Day”” from the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership to show re-runs of popular TV shows at Gallagher Theater for students to watch in between classes.

    Denied were CSIL’s request for a new paid position at the Union Gallery, the Office of Financial Aid’s request for a coordinator, and the Student Union Memorial Center’s request for two new Mac computers.

    Most of the three-year funding requests were cut to one, as the board left “”wiggle room”” as a wait-and-see tactic for the university’s financial crisis.

    “”I think the board tried to be pretty good about, if they didn’t completely like everything in the proposal but they did like a lot of it, find something that they could fund for it,”” said Vice Chair Emily Fritze. “”But they tried to be conservative in the same sense that they weren’t going to fund something … if they didn’t like it.””

    Readership Program denied funding

    ASUA’s highly touted Collegiate Readership Program was dealt a severe blow yesterday when the Student

    Services Advisory Board turned down the program’s request for $152,000 via inclusion in the Student Services Fee.

    The board’s unanimous vote came on the coattails of an extended discussion in which board members shared concerns that the program was too expensive.

    “”I don’t know how wise it is to support a program on something that is maybe transitioning out of printed form into … internet,”” said marketing chair Helena Morrison. “”Printed papers are in a state of change.””

    Board member Sanket Unhale was also hesitant to fund the amount requested, but noted that funding a lesser amount would lessen the desired impact of the program.

    “”Funding less is directly going to affect the outreach,”” he said. “”So in my opinion … it’s either yes or no.””

    The program called for 600 copies each of the Arizona Daily Star and USA Today to be distributed to campus each day, paid for by the Student Services Fee.

    The program did have an advocate in board member Kayla Patrick.

    “”We will see the impact immediately of these newspapers,”” she said. “”So I am in favor of funding at least $75,000.””

    Just before the vote, Fritze – the Associated Students of the University of Arizona senator who has been championing the program’s effort over the past several months – made one last-ditch effort to prove the program’s worth.

    “”It would be a minimum program … the program has already proven itself (through a pilot program),”” Fritze said. “”The impact is huge – bigger than any other proposal submitted.””

    Aside from being a costly request, the Readership Program has also come under fire for the potential to hurt the business of the Daily Wildcat.

    Student Media’s concern has less to do with competition for ads and much more to do with the idea of a subsidy being paid to large-scale newspapers while the university community has balked in the past at giving the student newspaper its own subsidy, said Mark Woodhams, director of Arizona Student Media.

    “”I don’t think of the readership program as a potential challenge to the Wildcat … I think it’s absurd to think of it as a challenge,”” he said. “”I think the issue is more political and had to do with student funds going to pay for newspapers published by the largest newspaper company in the country looking for a subsidy.””

    With the dire circumstances in which print newspapers currently find themselves , it is understandable why any newspaper would take steps to increase its readership, including through a readership program, Woodhams added.

    “”On one level, I think it’s disappointing that it’s been defeated, because it is important for newspapers to get in the hands of college-age readers and to build readership for the future,”” he said. “”I think we are all in the same boat – whether it’s the Wildcat or USA Today or the (Arizona) Daily Star.””

    Women’s Center to get full-time director

    After years working on an under-funded budget and with limited space, the UA Women’s Resource Center is only a university search away from finally having a director to call its own.

    The Student Services Advisory Board approved funding the WRC $65,000 per year over two years to find a full-time director.

    Immediately after the board’s decision, WRC officials huddled outside the meeting room, hugging and crying.

    The UA is one of the only Pacific 10 schools – along with Arizona State University – currently without a professionally-run Women’s Resource Center, something that the WRC can now take preliminary steps to change, said Tiffany Tedesco, WRC intern.

    “”The other cultural groups have their own director, and the fact that we didn’t have one was crazy,”” she said. “”Now we have a director to advocate for us, because unfortunately student voices aren’t heard as much as a professional.””

    Although the WRC will be a part of the new Unity Center, the WRC has its own identity moving forward, one that is looking toward the future to better equip itself to help the women on campus, said Carly Thomsen, WRC director.

    “”(I) support being a part of that center, however it’s just not enough to be given one part-time graduate student with the hope we’ll get a director in the future,”” she said. “”We have all this momentum from building the center over the past three years, and I think it’s imperative that we be able to build upon that momentum as a part of the Unity Center.””

    Board approves Wildcat request

    The Student Services Advisory Board approved allocating $55,500 to the Daily Wildcat for the upcoming year. The money will be used by the newspaper as a subsidy for printing.

    The request was originally for three years, but the board’s one-year approval was based on several future mitigating factors, Morrison said.

    “”Advertising might be much better next year,”” she said. “”I would love to support the Wildcat and kind of see how it goes from here.””

    Although the funding time was reduced from the proposed three years to one year, the amount is reasonable for the Daily Wildcat for the next year, said Woodhams, the newspaper’s advisor.

    “”One year is feasible. It makes it a little less strategic than we outlined in our plan,”” Woodhams said. “”But it also means we can come back next year and ask for even more.””

    The one-year subsidy could even possibly be more beneficial to the Daily Wildcat than the three-year plan, as it will allow the newspaper to re-shift its strategy next year and ask for more funds if necessary, he added.

    “”For one year, it’s more of a band-aid action to help us overcome the loss of ad revenue that we’re seeing now as opposed to addressing the more strategic priorities that we had,”” Woodhams said. “”But it’s not a critical situation at all.””

    Although the newspaper will be relying on the fee as a small part of its funding instead of its traditional action of earning all funds via advertising revenue, the Daily Wildcat’s new fund boost will not compromise the publication’s independence, Woodhams said.

    “”In no way do these fees have any impact on the newspaper’s independence in terms of its pursuit coverage or its press freedoms,”” he said. “”Just because you receive money from a fee or a university, that doesn’t mean you are beholden to them. You still have the right to publish as you see fit.””

    Click here for a list of approved and rejected fees

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