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Book Fairs, Prisoners and Stipends


“Rage against the machine, man! Now, where’s my stipend paycheck?”

The Student Insurgent had its PFC meeting tonight, one in which they asked for a mere $23,519. Unfortunately, they had to settle for just $22,222.

There were several crucial moments in the hearing, most of which hovered around the Student Insurgent‘s rather dubious delegation of their funding. The Insurgent admitted to printing only 7 issues last year (actually, they guessed because “no one could remember”. We personally think it was more like 5) on a budget of $21,427 – a whopping $3,061 an issue. They vowed to increase their production this year all the way up to 9 issues, meaning each issue for next year will have a reasonable price tag of just $2,469.

If you’d like a little comparison, the Commentator expects to produce 15 issues this year at an average cost of about $1,500 an issue.

A question was then raised about the conduct at the Anarchist Book Fair in San Francisco. Sen. Alyssa Diamond mentioned a letter from a non-Insurgent staffer that was printed in an issue of the Insurgent last Spring. In the letter, Diamond mentioned that the student had reported “Not attending the fair and that all they did was party”. Abby Bluth, an Insurgent Co-Editor noted that, “It goes against what we are to control what people are doing [at the book fair].”

Unfortunately for the Insurgent, it is the job of the PFC to control what people do with student funds. Several members of the PFC expressed concern over student funds not going towards their intended activities. Diamond and PFC member Giovanni Battles agreed that when students travel on I-Fee money they are representatives of the University of Oregon and its students.

The other concern about the Anarchist Book Fair was the Insurgent‘s decision to print the aforementioned letter in their magazine. Several members of the PFC agreed that publicly displaying that kind of information was probably irresponsible. If you ask us, the decision to print the letter was just fucking stupid.

The Insurgent‘s $22,222 also accounts for $3,825 in stipend positions, divvied up between 4 Co-Editors. The Insurgent‘s reason for their stipend positions? “Because, well… you know, a lot of us do a lot of work,” said Bluth. It’s hard to understand why the Insurgent staffers think they should be paid to gain experience in the field of journalism, especially to the financial detriment of students. Why you need to pay 4 people to oversee $20k+ of student funding to the tune of 7 issues a year is beyond us.

Another concern that was raised at the meeting was the Insurgent‘s practice of distributing articles to prisoners and other “subscribers” off campus. It was noted that out of an average of 1500 copies printed for each issue, approximately 600 of these were sent off campus. In case you’re bad at math, that means that 40% of the Insurgent’s copy doesn’t go to students. You know, the people who pay for the Insurgent. In the end, it’s hard to understand just why the “radical” publication has such a tremendous budget (the Commentator received around $9,000 less than the Insurgent).

For the Insurgent, it must be difficult sticking it to the system while simultaneously suckling at its money-flavored teat.

  1. Gsim says:

    Yeah, we slashed that line item three years ago and put the funds into printing.

  2. Dane says:

    The Commentator does not currently have a mailing budget and does not use student funds to mail anything off campus.

  3. Andy says:

    Shhh Tim!! Don’t tell them the secrets!

  4. Scott says:

    The fact that the Commentator has shied away from stipends an OC decision (which I suspect has been helpful over the years in defending the publication, as OC shenanigans are bound to happen.) But unless you think all stipends should be done away with entirely in student groups, I don’t see what the difference is here.

    That said, I think the four-editor system is entirely flawed. The rigid structure of roles like editor, publisher, art director are what makes them useful and accountable. I’d say keep the stipends but assign job titles that are more clearly associated with responsibilities.

  5. C.T. Behemoth says:

    If I’m heading the PFC…I dismiss them entirely once they “can’t remember”. Come back next time and be prepared, even if that means you have to, like, you know, go against what it means to be you.

    If OSPIRG gets canned for that, the Insurgent should too (not that the two are equivalent…beyond being nearly useless in either case).

  6. Betz says:

    My favorite part about that whole thing was that no-one “remembered” how many issues they printed for the previous year. I mean, for god’s sake – you’re at a budget meeting, making your case as to why you should be entrusted with student money to continue doing whatever it is you do … and you don’t even have an accurate record of what you did to make your case?

  7. Timothy says:

    You don’t want to get into the tit-for-tat with what they do with their mailing budget. It isn’t productive. The OC, at least when I was there, routinely used mailing budget to send issues to alumns and whomever. I spent like $40 sending an entire volume to Eugene Volokh. The “they distribute off-campus” charge has also been used against the ODE in the past, because they have boxes all around Eugene and will also mail issues, etc. In that regard, the Insurgent doesn’t do what I would, but I’d be pretty careful about that line of attack.

    The stipends, though, are fucking ridiculous. Granted, it’s only like $950 a person when you divide it up, but that’s sure as hell $950 more than I ever took from the ASUO for the many, many hours of labor I put into the OC.

    I just find it confusing that the PFC lets them get away with this shit year after year – they don’t plan, they can’t even properly get all the forms filed, they’re incoherent fuckwits in budget meetings AND YET they get over $20k a year to print some small, prime number of issues. I mean, $3200 an issue for their bullshit 15 page broadsheet? Where the hell does all that money even go?

  8. Betz says:

    I agree completely … but this has been old news for a few years now. You are venting the frustrations that many OC editors in the past have said before – but nothing ever seems to happen.

  9. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Might want to?

    This is bullshit. Why does it cost twice as much to put out an issue of the Insurgent? Why are there four editors? Why do they send nearly half of their work off of campus (it’s no wonder I rarely see anything produced by them!).


  10. Betz says:

    Can’t a claim be filed to the ASUO to either stop the practice of sending issues off-campus, or to defund them the amount of printing the additional 600 issues that they send off-campus?

    After all, the ASUO was able to de-fund OSPIRG for sending money off campus, as it does not directly benefit students. In much the same vein as the OSPIRG debacle, doesn’t the insurgent infringe on the same principle by sending products (which cost student money) off campus, for no additional student benefit?

    Someone might want to investigate this …

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