Appeal requests delayed

By Derek Hawkins

With the ink still wet on the Student Government Association’s (SGA) decision to deny funding requests from two student-run publications, some Media Board members have said an oversight provision in its charter has called into question the board’s relationship with SGA.

The provision, which states that the SGA Budget Review Committee (BRC) has “no oversight authority” over student organizations covered by the Media Board, was cited by Sandra Miller, assistant director for student media, who said it needed “more articulation” from SGA.

“Everyone has been on board with keeping the media independent and we’ve seen nothing but support from the SGA,” she said. “But I think this is the first time we’ve seen a blurring of the lines.”

Stephen Asay, student chair of the Media Board Finance Committee, also said the provision needed clarification.

“The relationship between Media Board and the SGA is very ambiguous,” he said. “A lot of the autonomy of Media Board has been encroached upon. No, the [SGA] doesn’t have direct oversight, but they still give us the oversight they use.”

In the interest of full disclosure, The News is a member of the Media Board but it does not receive funds from the Student Activity Fee (SAF).

Critcism of the provision comes as the SGA has stalled on hearing appeal requests from the two groups denied funding.

The appeals came after the BRC denied the Northeastern Patriot, a student-run conservative newspaper, and Tastemakers, a student-run music industry magazine, capital equipment requests for new computers. The BRC said the publications needed to demonstrate “at least one year of stable operations and fiscal responsibility before being entrusted with equipment.”

In an apparent violation of the SAF Manual, the SGA failed to grant or refuse requests for appeals submitted by the Media Board Finance Committee on behalf of the publications in the three business days the manual requires petitions for appeals be addressed.

Asay said Media Board, acting on behalf of the groups, formally appealed the BRC’s decision July 5. But as of yesterday, Asay said, the SGA had yet to grant or deny the appeals.

“Media Board believes [The Patriot and Tastemakers] are both viable publications,” Asay said. “It seems odd to me that the BRC would fly in the face of that.”

Asay added that with the exception of an e-mail he received acknowledging the appeals, he has had little communication with SGA.

Asay and Miller cited the transition of the SGA executive board as a reason for the delay. SGA executive board members could not be reached for comment.

Clara Rice, founder and editor of Tastemakers, blamed the delay on miscommunication.

“I think that maybe the SGA doesn’t fully understand our situation,” she said. “We are a group who’s based entirely on publishing from a single computer. We’re just a mess right now. A computer would help that a lot.”

Dave Moberg, editor in chief of The Patriot, said the language in the oversight provision may affect the appeal process.

“It’s kind of vague, but the fact is that it gets down to the motivations for why they denied our capital equipment requests,” he said. “If it were about them trying to censor us then I think it would be a clear cut case of oversight. I’d like to know the real reason we were denied funding.”

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