Collegian Media Group proposes budget increase to Privilege Fee Committee

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The Collegian Media Group made its case for a budget increase during Monday’s Privilege Fee Committee meeting.

Every three years, the Student Governing Association’s Privilege Fee Committee allows organizations funded by privilege fees the opportunity to convince them to continue or increase their budgets. Privilege fees are mandatory for all students and support organizations such as Student Health Services, Counseling Services and Wildcat Watch. This semester’s privilege fees are $431 per student.

Representatives of the Collegian Media Group, Stephen Wolgast and Spencer O’Daniel, had their opportunity to request a budget increase Monday. Wolgast is the director of the Collegian Media Group and instructor in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications. O’Daniel is the adviser to the Royal Purple yearbook and workshop director at Flint Hills Publications.

In the presentation, Wolgast and O’Daniel spoke of the importance of the Collegian Media Group to K-State students.

“Often when you mention CMG, you think of the Collegian newspaper, which has been around for over 100 years,” O’Daniel said. “And honestly, this is the news publication that delivers timely, important information to students, digitally or in print.”

The Collegian Media Group also publishes the Royal Purple yearbook, which is continually in contention for the Pacemaker award for best collegiate yearbook in the country, and Manhappenin’, a lifestyle magazine ran by K-State students.

Wolgast justified the request for a budget increase by describing how time and monetary needs have changed since the last time the Collegian Media Group’s budget was set in 2005.

“All of these things that we are doing now and reaching people in different ways, particularly digitally, is something we’ve done without having had a privilege fee increase, which was granted in 2005,” Wolgast said.

On top of increased time and monetary demands, such as a 40.8 percent increase in minimum wage for student workers and the need to update equipment, Wolgast said there is now increased competition with other digital entities such as Facebook and YouTube.

In response to these demands, Wolgast and O’Daniel proposed a 9.58 percent budgetary increase to the current budget of $395,364, which currently breaks down to $10.33 per student. The proposal is for 2.4 percent of the total privilege fee budget. If approved, the proposal will be implemented over the course of three years.

Sarah Niederee, committee chair and junior in agricultural economics, said the proposal will be discussed and explored in next week’s meeting. The committee will then send its opinion to be approved by the student senate, university president Richard Myers and ultimately the Kansas Board of Regents.

The meeting also saw a unanimous vote to send certain pieces of legislation back to the student senate. Part of this involved changing wording in certain contracts from “Office of Student Activities and Services” to “Center for Student Involvement,” Niederee said.

The next Privilege Fee Committee meeting will be held Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

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