Two weeks ago, the Carleton Student Association (CSA) Senate’s Budget Committee released spring allocations for campus organizations and clubs, and announced a 50 percent cut to funding for student publications. According to Budget Committee members, the diminished funding comes amid budgetary concerns and a push by Senate to reduce extra copies of student publications.
Selam Nicola ’19, CSA Vice President, said that “this year during spring allocations, budget committee decided that it is best to recommend to Senate to cut funding for all publications that do not have high demand on campus.”
According to Matt Thibodeau ’18, Budget Committee student-at-large, the cuts will affect the printing budgets of student publications funded by the Senate. The current list of CSA-funded campus student publications includes The Carl, PolitiCarl, The Carleton Graphic, The Salt, The Manuscript, the CLAP, Infemous, and Skin Deep.
Thibodeau said that “this year as everyone in Senate is aware, Senate has been very tight on budget cash. So due to a number of factors, including the huge size of our clubs, as well as the expansion of some club sports expenses, and even excluding the bike share, we were still looking for an extra ten thousand dollars to cut out.”
“Because we were over budget, the money that publications takes up is not extravagantly large, but it feels like a significant price. And one of the concerns that we’ve had at Budget Committee since I’ve been on it, which has been three years now, has repeatedly been publications and excess prints,” Thibodeau continued.
Nicola added that “a few terms ago, we asked all publications to create a subscription list so that they can avoid printing extra copies. Some did, but some publications did not do this. You often see so many spare copies of different publications in Sayles, in the recycling bins, and all around campus.”
“A lot of what we were thinking about is the model the CLAP currently runs on. The CLAP only prints so many copies per week, and they get read, distributed, left around, and usually nine out of ten times, a person that wants to see one, get one,” said Thibodeau. “It’s just bringing it back so we have a more efficient model, both for the environment and so that students’ money that they’re investing in this college isn’t being wasted on just a bunch of paper,” he said.
“Budget committee wants publication to be more intentional about the amount of copies they print and we also want them to start looking into alternatives such as online options,” Nicola said.
Nicola stated that “no publications have appealed or responded to budget committee’s recommendation,” but the Carletonian reached out to editors of student publications.
Evvy O’Neil ’20, editor-in-chief of PolitiCarl, said in a comment that “PolitiCarl was given an adequate printing budget for the 2018-19 school year. With that said, we only print once per term and our cost per issue is relatively low. It is concerning that publications are being targeted as a place to cut back funding because they play an important role in steering campus conversations.”
Ali Lorenz ’18, an editor of The Manuscript, said, “I’m not surprised by the cut since CSA has been trying to get publications to go digital for some time now. It won’t affect The Manuscript very much; we had already been planning on requesting less money due to our transition to a two-term publication. That being said, I still think a lot of the fun and audience-reach of campus publications would be diminished if printing funds were to be cut entirely.”
Nicola responded, saying “we also feel that it is environmentally and financial sustainable to cut funding. However, if publications come to us fall term with demonstrated need for more copies than initially funded for, then we’ll happily fund more copies.”
Thibodeau said that the number of student publications on campus has risen in recent years, as magazines continue to publish and students create new, niche publications for campus.
“Many publications are reluctant to cut down because it’s an affront to their organization, or that they’re not valued as much as other ones,” he said, “but the truth is that Carleton has an incredible number of publications.”
“The point is that we love publications on campus, but this should have come a long time ago. I think the reality of the budget this year has pushed us to do a lot of things that we’ve been hesitant to do before because we were afraid of pushback,” Thibodeau said.
He added that “each of these publications is an artistic investment, and should be respected as such. We just feel that there should be more solidarity around these magazines in a way that supports them and acknowledges how much work they take, and that they’re not something just to be tossed away.”