October 20, 2011

Students Question Slope Media Funding

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Several students spoke against Slope Media Group’s approval for byline funding at a Student Assembly meeting Thursday.

The S.A. approved $1.25 per student to be allocated to Slope Media from the Student Activity Fee collected from students’ tuition payments. Before being approved for byline funding, Slope Media received $13,000 annually from the SAFC.

Noah Kaminsky ’13, who read a letter on behalf of Nischay Rege ’12 and Julia Buffinton ’14, spoke against the decision.

Kaminsky argued that “Slope [Media was] receiving an unnecessary and frivolous sum of money annually.”

According to an Aug. 30 press release from the S.A. Appropriations Committee, Slope Media became eligible for byline funding to fill a need for a hands-on undergraduate journalism and media program.

Responding to the press release, Kaminsky and Buffinton argued that there are several media groups on campus available to undergraduates, including WVBR and The Sun.

“Any student should be offended by the S.A.’s approval of byline funding for an organization irrelevant to campus life, or more importantly, student health,” Kaminsky stated in an email.

Kaminsky said that both he and Buffinton work at WVBR.

“We work with what we have,” Kaminsky said.

Adam Nicoletti ’12, S.A. vice president for finance, explained that the budget Kaminskey and Buffinton referred to reflects Slope Media’s application for $1.50 per student and not the budget they ultimately received.

“That was the reason we did not give them the whole amount [$1.50 per student], because there were superfluous and unnecessary expenditures,” he said.

Buffinton expressed concern that Slope Media will spend too much of the byline funding on social activities for members. S.A. Vice President of Public Relations Mohit Guraljani ’12 echoed Kaminsky’s sentiments, explaining that the Appropriations Committee did not grant Slope Media the full amount it applied for due to concerns about extraneous expenditures, such as a salary for a student to design the website.

Ariella Weintraub ’12, president of Slope Media, said the organization applied for byline funding to grow and provide more resources to the Cornell community.

Byline funding is money allocated by S.A. to “large, institutional groups on campus that serve and benefit every student,” Nicoletti said in September.

“The Appropriations Committee felt that Slope Media is one of the most unique organizations because of the integrated media platform and has a very strong record of growth and demand in terms of its members and its readership,” he said.

Original Author: Caroline Flax