October 26, 2004

Cornell American Funding Cut

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After having their funds frozen for more than a month, the Cornell Literary Society won back most of their SAFC-granted budget and the ability to continue publishing the controversial, right-wing paper The Cornell American.

In an e-mail sent to the editors of the American, Josh Bronstein ’05, Student Assembly vice president of finance, wrote “The Appropriations Committee met Friday for the final time on the matter of the SAFC’s allegations against the Cornell Literary Society.”

“The committee voted to maintain its initial sanction of a 10-percent cut in funding,” Bronstein continued.

Eric Shive ’07, editor-in-chief of The Cornell American and president of the Cornell Literary Society, was cautious about declaring victory in the matter. “I’m still in contact with Michael Hint ’06 about what we’re going to pursue from now on,” he said. “We’re waiting to see what the ombudsman’s recommendation was, which we were told was going to be made public in the student activities office.”

Michael Hint is the treasurer of the society and was a pivotal figure in the ethics charges brought against the American. During the American’s first semester on campus, Hint served for a while as the American’s staff adviser.

Hint was a part-time employee of the school and was listed as “staff” in the campus directory at the time. When Hint was informed by the Dean of Student’s office that he could not serve as a staff member, he stepped down from that position and Prof. Richard Baer, natural resources, took over as adviser.

The second charge was that the “society misled the SAFC by proposing funding for a literary, non-biased publication while leaving out the fact that the Literary Society would actually be funding a partisan, biased newspaper,” according to an e-mail sent out by Bronstein.

The editors of the American, not known for rhetorical subtlety, said that the charges were part of a partisan attack because of their success. The story has been picked up by national news outlets from Front Page magazine to Washington Times, with varying degrees of accuracy.

National media coverage peaked with a fair and balanced debate between Tim Lim ’06, executive vice president of the S.A, and Shive on Fox News Channel. Kate Nadolny ’06, co-chair of the SAFC, responded saying that “The funding issue had absolutely nothing to do with anything of the nature of their group. It simply had to do with … the two reasons that were sent to the appropriations committee.”

In the e-mail announcing the Appropriation Committee’s decision, Bronstein added that the committee felt that leaks about the private hearings undermined the process.

“When considering the case of the CLS, which the SAFC brought before the Appropriations Committee under Student Assembly Resolution 4, we sought the Ombudsman’s objective recommendation on this complex issue,” read the committee’s prepared statement. “During this review the committee felt that confidentiality was undermined. We reaffirm that this is a student-made decision, and while taking the Ombudsman’s recommendations into account, the majority of the committee has decided to maintain the 10-percent cut.” Both Bronstein and Kagan have been singled out for the American’s ire, being labeled along with Lim as part of a “Triumvirate of Censors.”

Lim retorted that the American staff was made of liars and had lied to the SAFC in their application and to the Cornell community in several of their articles about the hearings.

Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Senior Writer