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OCC campus newspaper foresees big funding cut

Student government proposes giving the Coast Report $750 out of the $8,750 it requested for the next fiscal year.

May 03, 2011|By Amber Gonzales, dailypilot@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — The Orange Coast College student government plans to vote Wednesday on a budgetary proposal that would give the campus' newspaper $750 out of the $8,750 it requested for the next fiscal year from the Associated Students of OCC.

ASOCC budget planners said that the student-run weekly paper, the Coast Report, had not been specific enough in stating how it proposed to spend the money when it applied for its portion of yearly funding from the student government.

Almost all the programs that receive money from the ASOCC will receive about 10% less for fiscal year 2011-12, but the Coast Report stands to get the smallest piece of the funding pie shared among the programs.

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The paper received $6,000 this fiscal year and $5,500 last fiscal year.

Budgets are being cut everywhere, but the funding comes on top of the OCC's administration cutting the journalism program down to two courses and one faculty member for next semester.

"It looks bad," said Editor-In-Chief Hannah Fry. "But I don't want to jump to conclusions."

However, the ASOCC budget will not cut into the paper's publication. The Coast Report pays for its printing through advertising and deposits any profits into the ASOCC General Fund. The $750 allotted for next year will go toward membership fees for professional associations that hold student conferences.

"We're looking at a minimum 10% cut across the board," ASOCC President Catherine Tran said.

The student government's budget is expected to be down by $150,250.

The Fiscal Affairs Committee discussed and put together the proposed budget April 23, noting the lack of specification in the Coast Report's request.

"We would not have funded your association fees if we had not intended for you to go to these conferences," committee member James Wren said to staff members who attended a meeting.

The committee wants the Coast Report to request funds as they are needed from now on.

The paper's staff, made up of 23 students and its advisor, associate professor Cathy Werblin, attended a Fiscal Affairs Committee meeting last week to argue for more funding. Staff members pleaded that the conferences are an important part of their education and help the paper's status when it wins awards at the events.

They also argued that because of time limits in requesting money, they would not be able to attend one of the three conferences they usually go to, Werblin said.

Steven Quach, Senate vice president and a Fiscal Affairs Committee nonvoting member, could not be reached for comment.

Fry said that next year, if the fund requests are more specific, the paper should receive enough money.

However, News Editor Annie Kim was still asking questions. When looking through the books, she said athletics, which is to receive $233,000 of the $393,044 requested, was also vague in its application.

"That kind of made me feel like, OK, that's not really a good answer for the Coast Report," Kim said.

The Fiscal Affairs Committee advisors and Dean Kate Mueller were unavailable for comment as of press time.

The budget will be discussed by the Senate at a special meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Center, then voted on at 3:30 p.m. at its regular meeting, also in the Student Center.

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