Surprising no one, Vox has learned that the Hoya will submit a budget proposal to the Media Board for the 2010-2011 academic year. The decision, which was largely expected after the Hoya‘s Board of Directors chose to defer independence, was preceded early last week by a letter addressed to the Media Board, which was penned by the newly-elected Chair of the Board of Directors Kevin Barber.
In the letter, Barber blames “financial reasons related to the state of the national economy,” in addition to “the large additional expenses that independence would bring,” as the main factors that encouraged the Hoya to delay its dreams of independence.
“It wasn’t my individual decision to not go independent this summer,” Barber said Monday night. “It was a decision made by the outgoing Board of Directors, who decided that unless the financial environment changed, it wouldn’t be prudent to go independent … but I agree with them. I participated in the discussions about [independence.]”
While Barber says that he “does not anticipate any difficulties with the Media Board,” there could be a bumpy road ahead for the Hoya. In early March, the Voice‘s Galen Weber reported that the Media Board requested only $36,000 in funding—less money than the year before—because the Board “more or less operated on the assumption that the Hoya would become independent from the University within the next year.”
But, Barber seems optimistic about the Hoya‘s chances of getting its budget approved.
“We gave the Media Board no concrete indication about independence this year,” Barber claimed, adding that, “While I don’t know what [the Media Board's] status is now, I’ve heard that they requested as much money as in years past.”
Concerning the prospects of an independent Hoya down the road, Barber said, “We’ll do everything that we can to make independence in the summer of 2011 a possibility.”
Editor-in-Chief Marissa Amendolia supported Barber’s statement, saying, “Independence still remains a priority.”
After the jump is Barber’s complete letter to the Media Board.
About one year ago, Georgetown University’s Media Board issued five sanctions against The Hoya for its 2009 April Fools’ Issue. One of the sanctions directed The Hoya to pay for a third-party review of the newspaper by someone with a background in professional journalism, whom the Media Board would select. (Another sanction notably halted The Hoya‘s independence process by another school year, and for financial reasons, The Hoya will continue to remain a part of the University for the next school year, Voice news has reported.)
Media Board selected Dr. Byron P. White, the associate vice president community engagement of Xavier University, who was at one time the senior manager of community relations for the Chicago Tribune, editor of the Tribune‘s Urban Affairs Team, and a member of its editorial board, to review The Hoya‘s situation after the April Fools’ Issue.
This January, he submitted his conclusions, along with 18 suggestions for the improvement of the paper, to the administration, including suggestions to “broaden the pool of candidates for senior editor consideration beyond The Hoya staff”; “create an editor exchange program with publications that have more diverse staffs”; “assign editorial staff to routinely explore the ‘campus vibe’”; and “create an editorial advisory board” made up of faculty and student leaders who would meet with key editors twice a semester to discuss The Hoya‘s coverage of campus issues.
His recommendations, Hoya Editor-in-Chief Marissa Amedolia (COL ’11) said, also include many things that The Hoya was already trying to do to increase its staff’s diversity and improve its coverage of campus issues. (Read more in this week’s Voice News).
“We never dismissed any of his recommendations,” she said.
Chair of the Board Kevin Barber (COL ’11) added, “Nothing’s off the table.”
However, The Hoya seems unlikely to implement some of White’s more surprising recommendations, like his recommendation that the Editor in Chief be selected from outside The Hoya, or by a board independent of The Hoya.
“With the perspective of being on staff, knowing the history of the paper, and what works best for us,” she said, they probably will not implement those changes. She and Barber stressed again, however, that nothing was off the table, and that some of these more surprising recommendations had sparked some of the best discussions their staff had about White’s recommendations.
Writing, “The April Fool’s issue did tremendous damage to The Hoya’s credibility and exposed several underlying organizational weaknesses,” White concluded that “deliberate and sweeping steps must be taken to overcome these shortcomings. [M]any already have been initiated by The Hoya staff, Georgetown’s administration, and the university’s student body.”
After the jump is an abridged version of each of White’s recommendations, along with a full copy of the report he submitted to the University about the effects of the April Fools’ Issue.
The first Georgetown University Student Association Budget Summit was a real doozey, lasting from 10 a.m. all the way to 8 p.m. on Sunday. During the meeting, the advisory boards presented their budget proposals to the Finance and Appropriations Committee of the GUSA Senate, which has taken on the role of the Funding Board.
There wasn’t a whole lot of deliberation among senators since the meeting was mainly focused on presentations and actual allocation will take place later this week, but there were some interesting clues—particularly regarding SAC—about how budgets may look next year.
First came the proposals from the Georgetown Program Board and the Center for Social Justice for $45,000 and $64,000 respectively. Both proposals were well-received by the committee, but CSJ’s request for 46 percent more funding than last year faced opposition. Chairman of the Finance and Appropriations Committee Nick Troiano (COL ’11) made clear that since there was $55,000 more in requests this year than in available funds, some groups would not receive all the money they requested.
“We want to give [CSJ] more money, but I would doubt they’ll receive their full request,” Senator Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), who sits on the FinApp committee said.
The next budget proposal, $25,000 for the Performing Arts Advisory Council, did not go as smoothly. The FinApp Committee felt PAAC’s budget proposal lacked specifics and didn’t make clear how the requested money would be spent.
Leaders from all six advisory boards voted against creating the GUSAFund at a Funding Board meeting today, but the Finance and Appropriations Committee will still be able to pass the GUSA Fund through the Funding Board without their approval.
At the meeting, advisory board leaders voiced concerns that GUSA would not have the knowledge to run the GUSA Fund. They asked what kind of experience the GUSA Fund members would have, how GUSA would know if events were duplicities of events that already existed, and how the GUSA Fund would handle clubs that went over budget.
GUSA senators also learned at the meeting that the Funding Board has $51,412 in reserve, unlike $69,687 like they had previously believed. The GUSA Fund plans to draw $30,000 from that reserve, meaning the GUSA Fund will now require more than half.
GUSA Speaker Adam Talbot (COL ’12—LXR) said the GUSA executive will be looking for GUSA fund members who can bring both funding experience and club management experience. In regards to event duplicities, Finance and Appropriations Chair Nick Troiano (COL ’11—Village A, A-D) replied that because of access to benefits, advisory boards would still need to approve official club-sponsored events before the GUSA Fund could allocate funds.
Advisory board members suggested this would make an already tedious process even more bureaucratic.
“Clubs are looking for funds, and they’re willing to jump through hoops to get it,” GUSA Chief of Staff Tim Swenson replied. “While we’re trying to make it as streamlined as possible …. this is our way of addressing that temporarily.” [Edited at 10:21 p.m.]
In case ourcoverage of the Hoya‘s delayed independence (not to mention their news story, editorial and letter from the editor) left you confused about the Media Board’s logic, Vox has some of the memos that show the Media Board’s reasoning behind their sanctions.
First, we have the memo Director of Student Programs Erika Cohen-Derr sent on behalf of the Media Board to the leadership of the Hoya on April 22 announcing their sanctions:
According to emails obtained by the Voice, in mid-April the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action filed a complaint with Media Board, the funding board that oversees student media, over the Hoya‘s April Fools Issue. On April 22, Media Board issued sanctions, including a one year delay of the Hoya‘s planned independence.
The Hoya appealed Media Board’s ruling, citing their unwillingness to remain tied to the University, but their appeal was denied on June 16, documents show. A three person appeals board composed of Father Christopher Steck, S.J., GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB ’11), and Faculty Senate President Wayne Davis decided that Media Board had acted within their rights and that the ruling should not be overturned.
The Voice will have more information in our Friday issue.
Newsprint dying? Devil may care! At the beginning of the upcoming school year the Georgetown Independent, Georgetown’s good ol’ monthly newsmag, will be making a serious aesthetic upgrade, going from newsprint to glossy paper.
According to Erika Cohen-Derr, the Director of Student Programs and Media Board adviser, the Independent will self impose cuts in order to defray the costs of glossing it up. So while the Indy estimates that its printing costs will only rise about $200—from $7,802 last year to a projected $8,000 this year—it will be cutting down the number of copies it prints per issue from 4,000 to 3,000.
Jenna Kelly (COL ’10), who served as co-Editor in Chief during the spring semester, said the Indy‘s staff decided last semester that they needed to make some changes. Kelly wrote in an e-mail:
[We made the decision to go glossy because] both our newspaper and other campus papers always have numerous copies left over to be recycled … We want to cultivate a new niche in the gtown journalism community.
Though the Hoya typically prints a few magazine-style issues every year, such as their basketball issue and a new student guide, this change will make the Independent the only Georgetown publication to print magazine style year-round.
Curiously, they first announced their decision to Georgetown pre-frosh. Fliers that went into every packet of new student information earlier this week read, “The Independent is going glossy. (And we think you should, too!).”
The Hoya’s Independence movement has been in the works for almost five years now. In that time, that lovable bi-weekly rag has been doted on by corporate sponsors and potentially denied use of its own name by the University.
However, it seems like their efforts for Hoyapendence may be nearing fruition. In last Wednesday’s GUSA Senate meeting, one Senator remarked that The Hoya’s independence will relieve the Media Board of its greatest source of income, and largest expenditure.
In a conversation yesterday, Senator Matt Wagner (SFS `11) said that when the six University Funding Board meet on Feb. 11 to allot money to the six funding boards (of which the Media Board is one, and SAC, of Sophia Behnia fame, is another), the typically unobstrusive Media Board will take more time than usual to present its funding requests to the University:
“The Media Board is usually not even looked at for a lot of time because its requests are usually the same every year. But this time with the Hoya not being a big part of the picture, the picture—I assume the picture is going to be very different as their requests will not be the same.”
The suspense is almost unbearable, but in the meantime, you can join The Georgetown Heckler’s Jack Stuef in his solemn remembrance of the “Save the Hoya” movement.