EDITOR'S NOTE: Tiger TV is a beneficiary of student fees and acknowledges its unique role in this story. Tiger TV works to present credible, unbiased journalism. Any opinions expressed in this piece belong solely to the author.
BATON ROUGE- LSU student media employees rallied together during a student government meeting on Tuesday, April 24, in hopes of saving their funding.
Monday, April 23, student media employees learned that student government passed legislation to cut the Gumbo yearbook fee and eliminate Legacy magazine. Not only were student media employees upset about the vote, they were also concerned that the vote to cut funding had actually occurred two weeks earlier.
Student employees with Tiger TV, The Reville, KLSU, Legacy, and Gumbo all say student government proposed and passed this legislation without ever talking to them. Also on April 11, student government passed legislation to cut the Performing Arts fee as well and, like student media employees, Music and Dramatic Arts students were not made aware of the vote.
“Effective parties need to know because before something sorta’ slaps them in the face like a truck. They need to know what’s happening so they have a chance to at least to come and debate against it, form their own arguments, because it’s just unfair when they’re un-notified,” said Frederick Bell, the former Manship Senator.
Some members of student government claim student media illegally allocates their funds.
“[It] would have been illegal if it came out,” said Jason Badeaux, the former LSU Student Body President.
However, Director of Student Media, John Friscia, disproved this accusation during the student government meeting on Tuesday, April 24. He pointed out that auditors reviewed student media finances in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and determined everything is in line with I.R.S. policy.
Gumbo yearbook brings in nearly $240,000 and makes up a huge portion of the student media budget. To make up for the dramatic decrease in the budget, student government proposed that a $2 charge be added to all part-time students’ fee bills. However, Director Friscia says the $2 fee for part-time student would not bring in enough money to make up for the cut.
“To be able to shoulder these costs, we’d have to sit down and come up with a game plan, but there’d be some massive cuts across the board,” says Friscia.
The fate of Legacy magazine and Gumbo yearbook now lies in the hands of the LSU student body. This fall, LSU students will receive a ballot to vote on whether or not they support the motion to cut the $8 fee that makes Legacy magazine and Gumbo yearbook possible. If students vote in favor of the legislation, Legacy magazine and Gumbo yearbook may cease to exist at LSU. Performing Arts students and the remaining student media branches will also suffer immensely.