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SGA debates on dollar amount of appeal

by Rebecca Fiore / Beacon Staff • February 14, 2013

Sga_lead
Elijah Clark Ginsberg and Emily Tannenbaum present Your Mag's appeal during Tuesday's SGA meeting.
Elijah Clark Ginsberg and Emily Tannenbaum present Your Mag's appeal during Tuesday's SGA meeting.

A debate among Student Government Association officials about funding for additional print issues of Your Mag started last Tuesday and culminated in a vote this week granting the magazine $2,374.41 — less than half of the $5,564.41 it initially asked for. 

SGA members were divided during a discussion on the amount to be granted to the publication after Tau Zaman, SGA president, said he would only approve a vote that only gave Your Mag enough money to print one issue of the magazine. Zaman told SGA members if he were to veto the vote, Your Mag would receive no money at all.

At the SGA joint session meeting on Feb. 5, Your Mag Assistant Editor-in-Chief Emily Tannenbaum and Business Director Elijah Clark Ginsberg presented the magazine’s appeal for $5,564.41, the majority of which would be used to print an additional issue of the publication. 

The monthly magazine normally publishes 500 hard copies of one issue per semester, while the other issues are only published online. Your Mag was founded in July 2011 as an online-only publication. It was recognized by the SGA in the fall of 2011.

Following the presentation of the appeal last Tuesday, SGA members debated over the magazine’s primary medium. 

During the meeting, Zaman said that last spring, he and members of the Organization Recognition Review Board granted Your Mag recognition with the stipulation that it would only print once a semester, and allocated funds to the publication accordingly.

Class of 2013 President Jenna McPadden then moved to allocate Your Mag $2,374.41 — enough money to print 500 copies of one issue. 

The discussion on Feb. 5 was cut short because of time constraints, and Tannenbaum and Ginsberg were told the conversation about their appeal would continue at SGA’s Feb. 12 meeting. 

As the discussion resumed on Tuesday, Nicholas de la Canal, class of 2015 president, moved to amend the amount back to the original appeal sum of $5,564.41.

“A lot of [SGA members] are arguing that [Your Mag] is moving too fast, but if they have the resources to grow, and we have the funds to give them that, we should support them,” de la Canal said. “It’s not ethical to compare this organization to other organizations in relation to how long it takes to grow.”

Your Mag is one of three lifestyle-oriented publications on campus recognized by the SGA. Atlas Magazine and Em Magazine also receive funds from student government. 

De la Canal said there are many students of all majors involved in Your Mag, and that everyone would benefit from one more issue being printed.

Tannenbaum substantiated de la Canal’s request, stating that about 150 students are involved in Your Mag, and would profit from seeing their work in print. 

“I just want all my writers to have something in their hands. One more issue is not too much to ask,” Tannenbaum said. 

However, Zaman strongly disagreed with de la Canal’s motion, stating he would use his veto power if an amount larger than $2,374.41 were to pass. He also said that if the amount he advocated for was not given, then Your Mag would neither receive the larger amount nor any money at all.

“I strongly encourage you to vote no on this amendment, and yes on the original vote,” the president said. 

According to Article IV, Section I of the SGA Constitution, if the President vetoes a legislation, he or she must submit a written statement to all SGA members within five school days. A veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority vote of a joint session. 

“Here’s the danger. I have five days which SGA doesn’t meet during,” Zaman said.

Associate Dean of Students Sharon Duffy encouraged the rest of the SGA to vote based on the information given, and not on executive privileges.

The final vote on de la Canal’s motion came to four yeses, and nine noes, short of the two-thirds majority needed for a motion to pass.

Treasurer Tanya Flink then motioned to allocated $2,374.41 to Your Mag. All SGA members voted to pass this amount. 

“While [organizations] evolve over time, this is a fast evolution, and we can’t accommodate every wish of every [organization],” Zaman said. 

During the appeal, Your Magazine representatives referenced the amount of funding for one issue Em Magazine receives could pay for all of their issues in a year. 

“As far as wanting the same amount as Em Mag, the whole point in the first place was that you had a different product than Em Mag,” said Zaman. “I really don’t think it’s ethical to compare one org to another.”

Last March, Em Magazine successfully appealed for $12,865.

After the meeting Tuesday, de la Canal said he was unaware of Zaman’s power to veto amendments — and he was not alone. Allison Singer, class of 2015 senator, and Benjamin Halls, class of 2014 senator, said they were also uninformed of the executive powers.

 “I was sort of surprised mostly because I haven’t had the chance to read through the whole SGA constitution. I’m not sure how I feel about the veto power,” Singer said in a phone interview with the Beacon.

 Zaman said he has only used his power to veto once, for a small technicality.

 “We did appreciate [Duffy] stepping in and saying to vote based on arguments and not what [Zaman] said,” Ginsberg said. “It was a huge shock considering he was talking about how much he hands out money. Regardless of the appeal, we will double our efforts to fundraise.”

 

An earlier version of this article stated that, "As far as wanting the same amount as Em Mag, the whole point in the first palce was that you had a different product than Em Mag. I really don’t think it’s ethical to compare one org to another," was said by Nicholas de la Canal. It was said by Tau Zaman.