Fixing the Sun Star's finances: 2012 edition

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
October 30, 2012

At the beginning of last week, students involved with KSUA, The Sun Star, Concert Board and ASUAF approached nearly 400 students with a petition to get a question on ASAUF’s fall ballot to raise the ASUAF fee $7.

The $7 increase would be split between ASUAF’s three governance groups: The Sun Star, KSUA and Concert Board.

The initiative would restructure the current fee distribution.  Currently the fee is $35, and ASUAF gets 51 percent or $17.85 from every student taking at least 3 credits at UAF.  KSUA currently gets 27 percent of the fee ($9.45 per student), Concert Board gets 15 percent ($5.25 per student) and The Sun Star gets 7 percent of the fee ($2.45 per student).

If the initiative passes, the fee will be redistributed across the different groups.  The Sun Star will go from 7 to 10 percent, Concert Board will go from 15 to 17 percent, KSUA will go from 27 to 28 percent and ASUAF will go from 51 to 45 percent.

ASUAF isn’t taking a financial loss, but they’re not going to be gaining much from the initiative either.  The fee increase and percentage decrease will keep ASUAF’s budget where it is currently: around $265,000.  The initiative will financially benefit the governance groups, several of which have a history of struggling to make ends meet.

Right now, The Sun Star takes in roughly $33,000 from fee money depending on the year and the number of students enrolled.  You can’t produce The Sun Star on $33,000 a year, so the newspaper tries to make up the difference in ad sales.

On average, we fail.  Since 1995, the average finishing balance of The Sun Star each year has been $3,760 over budget.  That’s representative of approximately 17 different editors and ad managers.  It’s time to realize that the newspaper just doesn’t have enough money.

Last year, The Sun Star separation initiative started from money problems.  It’s tough to sit behind the editor’s desk and pay reporters pitifully small amounts for a great story, watch the paper come out on Tuesdays with horrible printing quality and see the devoted editing staff put in tons of unpaid hours because The Sun Star just can’t afford to pay them more.

Fixing The Sun Star’s finances has been in the works for awhile.  Every few years, an editor comes along with their own idea on how to do it.  But this year’s proposal came from all of your governance groups.  We’re not asking for much.  We know that tuition goes up every year and it seems like student fees are an extra blow on top of everything else.  We know it’s a struggle to make ends meet.  We know that you don’t use your student loans to finance extravagant lifestyles.

The ASUAF fee hasn’t been raised in nearly 10 years.  And in the last 10 years, the cost of printing and personnel has only increased.

This extra $7 would go to printing The Sun Star on better paper, increasing the quality of KSUA TV, bringing up more concerts and better concerts.  This extra $7 would be spent on UAF students.

We’ve been working on a solution for a long time.  The question of whether it’s the right one will be left up to UAF students during ASUAF’s fall elections on Nov. 29 and 30.

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