MCSG fronts yearbook $15,000 for unpaid bill

By Zac Farber

Macalester College Student Government allocated $14,996 to the publisher of the Macalester’s yearbook on Tuesday, taking responsibility for The Mac’s overly optimistic estimate of its popularity as well as for financial troubles caused by lackadaisical sales of the 2006-07 book.After the dissolution of the yearbook and the graduation of unofficial leader Deborah Heller in Spring 2007, The Mac was left with 125 unsold books worth $5,200.

The potential sale of those books would ease the financial pain on MCSG, which promised $5,000 dollars to the yearbook in 2007. The $15,000 allocated on Tuesday represents an additional commitment of about $10,000 to the yearbook.

Allison Greenlee, assistant director of campus programs and the yearbook adviser, is optimistic about the possibility of selling the remaining yearbooks.

“Now that there is a product,” she said, “somebody could look through it and say, ‘Hey, there’s my picture, I want that book.'”

It is unclear how much of the $15,000 expenditure MCSG will be able to recoup from past and future sales of the yearbook. Greenlee told the Legislative Body Tuesday that The Mac had sold 25 books, which cost $42 each. However, in an e-mail to The Mac Weekly, she said that The Mac “sold 74 books primarily to senior students.” MCSG will be refunded $42 for each yearbook sold.

Greenlee said the decision to produce a yearbook was not a mistake.

“It’s hard to foresee what your sales are going to be,” she said, “and they had a desire to publish a yearbook for the community.”

But Greenlee also acknowledged that a yearbook is no longer in demand at Macalester due, in part due to external sources, such as Facebook.

“By the community’s lack of response it’s clear [the yearbook] wasn’t wanted,” Greenlee said. “Books have been replaced with electronic media.”

MCSG members were reluctant to approve such a large expense, but said they felt bound by the duty to honor their commitments.

“It’s our organization who made the bad financial decision,” Henrik Hakonsen ’07, chair of the MCSG Financial Affairs Commission, told the legislative body during the discussion of whether to approve the $15,000 allocation. “It is up to us not to pass [the decision] on to higher-ups.”

Brian Stephenson ’10 echoed Hakonsen’s sentiment.

“It’s financially responsible, it’s our job, we have to pay it,” he said.