Last week FAC Chair Sydney Keiler ’17 proposed a bill to the MCSG Legislative Body (LB) to change the funding structure of The Mac Weekly (TMW) and WMCN. They will now be funded biennially in block payments. This week, on Tuesday, November 15, the bill passed.
TMW will receive a total of $14,084.24 per year, and WMCN will receive $14,928 per year.
“Overall, I think it’s opening a door to think about budgeting in ways we haven’t thought about budgeting before. Up to this point… all orgs have been seen exactly the same and this opens the door to really look at orgs differently and to grasp the concept that all orgs don’t fit into the same funding structure, that orgs are different and have different needs,” Keiler said.
TMW and WMCN will now follow a similar structure to that of Lectures Coordination Board (LCB), which receives a lump sum from MCSG yearly as well, as opposed to Program Board (PB) which receives a percentage of the student activity fee.
“It’s exactly like the LCB, except that for WMCN… can still apply for additional allocations. So… there are still checks and balances,” Keiler noted.
Over the past year, TMW and WMCN have met in front of the LB and FAC six times each just to cover their operating costs, “which is just absurd,” Keiler said.
“This is something we always give money to, with very little debate. So this is logistical stress for those org leaders, for the FAC and for the LB,” she continued.
“[Block funding] ensures that there’s going to be a consistent voice… that’s not going to change just because there’s not enough money. Freedom of speech should not depend on budgeting fluctuations,” Co-Editor-in-Chief Allie Korbey ’17 said.
When choosing which orgs get to try this new structure, it largely came down to accountability of leadership and consistency of costs for the FAC.
“Why WMCN and why Mac Weekly is that first of all, they have consistent leadership. Their leadership is paid… so having the assurance that someone will be there and be in charge… is really important when making this change,” Keiler added.
But the FAC also hopes this change continues into the future, rather than stopping with just TMW and WMCN. Exactly what that will look like, though, is something that will likely come in later semesters.
Cultural orgs were discussed at the MCSG meeting as possible groups for new funding structures in the future, but only time will tell. As for now, MCSG and the FAC are optimistic about the changes and hope they bring new ideas to the budgeting conversation.
“I truly believe that this is the right step. I hope that in two years when it’s up for amendment they’re not like ‘who proposed this? This is ridiculous,’” Keiler said. “I hope that this is the opening of a door to working with other groups at Macalester to make sure that this momentum is carried forward for a long time.”
WMCN could not be reached for comment.