Aug 27, 2014
In its first meeting of the year, the Associated Students of the University of Montana considered a pile of resolutions, the most widely discussed being a payment plan for the Kaimin.
The resolution, which received a majority of support, directs the Kaimin to create a three-year repayment plan with ASUM for a $25,000 loan the newspaper was given this summer.
Once the plan is complete, it will be brought back to the ASUM Senate for approval.
During the debate, Senator Nico Heimlich-Bowler proposed an amendment to the resolution requiring the Kaimin give ASUM free advertising in the amount of $3,000 per year until the debt is paid off.
“I’m not entirely sure why we pay the Kaimin for advertising when they are one of our agencies anyway,” Heimlich-Bowler said.
President Hohman agreed, saying, “I have no idea why we pay the Kaimin after we give them money.”
Senator Peregrine Frissell said free advertising might hinder the ability of the Kaimin to pay back the loan.
“We’re taking away another revenue source,“ Frissell said.
Others said free advertising would threaten free press on campus.
“Free press doesn’t exist on college campuses,” vice president Sean McQuillan said, citing a Supreme Court case.
McQuillan proposed limiting the advertising to $3,000 per academic year, while others proposed a $1,000 limit.
That amendment was eventually voted down, with some senators saying they wanted a limit to be written in the three-year payment plan instead.
Editor-in-Chief Ric Sanchez and Business Manager Nick McKinney spoke during the public comment period, thanking ASUM for their support during the summer and asking for continued support.
“We look forward to working with you,” McKinney said.
ASUM also amended how it handles student groups that go deeply into debt.
The old policy deducted the amount of the deficit from the group’s budget for the next year.
The new policy requires the debt is paid in full by the end of the fiscal year, or the group must appeal to the board on budget and finance.
Hohman amended the resolution to say that payment plans could “have the effect of actually closing down the entire organization.”
He said he doesn’t want organizations to think that ASUM is obligated to cover their debts, and that groups should know large deficits could have consequences such as no longer existing.
During the meeting, vice president Sean McQuillan also announced that two senators resigned.