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Student press woes in Halifax

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By Julia Tomasone

The University of King’s College’s student magazine The Watch is being denied money they need to keep their publication going by King’s Student Union (KSU).

KSU is withholding the media levy and has not attempted to work with The Watch to provide a solution until recently, when Canadian University Press (CUP) released an editorial criticizing their lack of funding.

There is an outdated agreement from 2001 between The Watch and KSU regarding The Watch’s board approving the release of the student levy. The agreement requires no less than five voting members’ attendance in order to make quorum. The agreement also dictates that before Sept. 20 of every school year, KSU must turn over half of the collected levy to The Watch.

“We have not received any money at all,” said Rachel Ward, publisher of The Watch. They typically pay their staff a small honorarium, which has been cut in order to print the January issue. If the levy is not released, The Watch will be unable to print an issue in February.

Board meetings have been held and The Watch’s publishing board has voted twice in favour of releasing the levy. The first time they voted to release the levy was early November, but due to scheduling conflicts two members from both The Watch’s board, KSU and another student member were unable to attend the meeting. This meant every other board member needed to be present to make quorum, and they all were.

“They would not release our levy because they thought we didn’t have quorum. The interesting part is that two student union members refused to come to that meeting,” said Ward.

“We voted the first time to release the levy and KSU refused, saying our member didn’t count. So we had a second meeting last weekend with more people,” she said. On the second occasion, several KSU members failed to attend the meeting.

Although the vote has unanimously passed twice, the student union called it “illegitimate” and claims quorum was not met. In a Facebook post written by KSU, President Michaela Sam said “as of January 15, 2015, no meeting with four or more of the current members of the Watch Publishing Board has taken place.”

After the release of the CUP editorial, KSU contacted The Watch and agreed to release half of the years levy.

“What they don’t realize is that they owe us the money. They are only giving us half the money, which is what they should have done in September,” said Ward. “We have not received any cheque yet.”

While The Watch staff loses their pay cheques, the KSU holds onto theirs.  The university administration outside of KSU has also been contacted. “They support us in receiving our money. We need to work with them to make sure our funding is not delayed in the future,” said Ward.

Until The Watch receives their levy they will be stuck in a state of limbo. If this takes too long, they may cease publication.

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