Finance committee denies The Penn’s 2011-2012 budget
Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 13:03
As of today, The Penn has no budget for next year after the Student Co-op Finance Committee denied the publication's budget for the 2011-2012 year.
In addition, the committee decided March 17 to have an ad-hoc committee report to the finance committee, which will then make a recommendation to the Student Co-op Board of Director.
The finance committee initially approved a request of The Penn for $30,000 so it would not fall into debt this year.
The Penn's budget last year was $50,000, and it did not ask for any more money for next year's
That request was approved under the provision that The Penn present a better business plan to the finance committee along with the budget for next year.
Joe Lawley, director of The Penn, submitted the plan, but it was deemed insufficient as it was a not a plan that showed how The Penn was going to restructure next year.
"It was not a restructuring plan," said committee member and Student Government Association president David Bivens said of The Penn's business plan.
Lawley said that he was asked to submit a business plan, not a restructuring plan. Bivens and Stayman said the word was "restructuring."
In it, Lawley said, he included a new plan for advertising and the rates of advertising.
"To bring in revenue for The Penn is selling ads," Lawley said. "That's what we do. We sell ads to offset the costs of printing and for the other costs associated with doing The Penn."
"When we submitted our budget, we offered a copy of our advertising plan and our advertising rates information," he added.
Lawley also said that he presented 10 ideas to increase the advertising numbers. He said that the committee never presented any guidelines for the plan. The plan also included cutting circulation from 6,000 to 5,000.
Committee member Christian Minich proposed an ad-hoc committee during a finance committee meeting March 3 with the purpose of letting experts determine whether The Penn's business model was satisfactory or not.
Minich was asked by Board of Director member David Piper what the purpose of an ad-hoc committee would be.
"When discussing the budget of The Penn, the finance committee came up against a lot of issues of ‘this isn't our job,'" Minich responded. "It's not our job to talk about a lot of these long-standing concerns we have because the Finance Committee is about approving budgets."
Piper inquired as to what restructuring needed to be done to The Penn.
"What is [there] to restructure?" Piper said.
Minich deferred to Bivens.
The committee looked to make The Penn more "fiscally viable," Bivens said, but that wasn't necessarily the job of the committee.
"I think the intent of the ad-hoc committee and somewhat the collective intent of the finance committee was it was not only a financial risk to the Co-op, but it's also the structure of The Penn that needs to be re-evaluated," committee member Andrew Longacre said.
When asked what he meant by restructuring, Longacre said that the physical readership was down. He did not present any exact figures. He did point out, however, that he counted how many issues of The Penn were left in one residence hall on March 3. The issues he counted were from March 1. Longacre said that he feels the newspaper is something that can be produced solely online.
He was then asked what the readership of The Penn had to do with finance committee.
"That's the whole reason the ad-hoc committee was formed," Longacre said. "To make sure it's produced in a way that it will not run into debt. It will be produced in a way that it will be viable to The Penn and the Co-op as a whole."
Bivens said that those concerns are important, but the main concern of the finance committee is to make sure that The Penn is not going to lose money next year.
Chairman of the Co-op Board of Directors Mark Staczkiewicz posed the question of how it mattered to the committee whether The Penn was moved online. He was not given answer.
Staczkiewicz asked Lawley if he had any confidence that The Penn would be able to operate next year.
"If we are successful in selling ads and using those points that I gave, I believe we would be successful," Lawley said.
"I'm concerned that what you said about not having readership or not being valued by students is no way that an ad-hoc committee being able to restructure the finances," Staczkiewicz said.
"The ad-hoc committee would not be restructuring the finances, the finance committee would be dealing with finances," Bivens said. "The ad-hoc committee would be dealing with the format of the paper."
"That doesn't seem like our job at all," Staczkiewicz said.