From April 7
Scribendi, a nonprofit, annual magazine of creative works developed by undergraduate honors students since 1986 has been officially defunded by Associated Students of the UNM after it requested money from this spring’s ASUNM budget.
The amount of funding requested by UNM student organizations amounted to more than $1 million. However, less than seven hundred thousand was actually available, resulting in funding reductions for nearly every organization applying.
Scribendi’s funding took the biggest hit with a budget cut of $1,500, leaving the magazine with $500 to fund printing costs.
According to UNM policy, two of the four ways to be eligible for funding from ASUNM are for the group applying for funding to be a chartered organization or a service entity.
ASUNM Senator Hannah Williams, who sits on the finance committee, said that, as of now, Scribendi is not a chartered student organization.
“So the next thing [the finance committee] looked at was what are they,” she said. “It is up to us to determine if they are a service entity and that is what will determine if the group will receive funding.”
Williams made the motion to reduce Scribendi’s funding balance from $2,000 to $500.
Scribendi members were not aware that their publication was no longer considered to be an organization in the eyes of the University before proposing to be funded by the spring budget.
Scribendi Editor in Chief Caitlin Carcerano said Scribendi is not a student organization anymore because their charter was taken away without due process.
“We were just reclassified as a student service entity without any explanation as to why or how that process was going about,” she said. “One day we’re a student organization and the next we were a service entity so there might be some discrepancy there. I think we’ve been abundantly clear that...ASUNM is not funding a class; it is funding a printed product that is free to UNM students.”
Senator Tyler Wafer said that the definition of a service entity is a group with the primary purpose of providing services to UNM students.
“Other examples of a service entity are Hanging of the Greens and Welcome Back Days. Those are examples we as a Senate have previously voted to be considered service entities,” he said.
Wafer then motioned to reduce funding for Scribendi even further - this time to $0.
“I do not think that Scribendi should receive any funding,” Wafer said. “The Honors College agrees to fund students who travel, offices, software, internet access and electricity. All that can be funded by ASUNM if they were an organization that did not receive credit for their work. By no means do I believe that this organization should receive funding from ASUNM.”
Scribendi has been accused of calling itself an organization in order to receive funding from ASUNM.
“It seems like they are just finding loophole after loophole,” Senator Bisaan Hanouneh said.
Carcerano said those are false accusations.
“This organization was created in 1986 before the class was offered. Back then it was just a few honors students that wanted to create a magazine. The class was created in 1990 and they offered class credit as compensation for all of the work the students were doing. We did not ask for funding from ASUNM until 2006. The organization far predates from asking money from ASUNM,” she said.
Now, Scribendi is looking into different ways to fund next year’s printing fee.
Carcerano said a few organizations on campus have offered the possibility of funding for Scribendi.
“The Residence Hall Association offered to help fund us if we did an outreach with Scribendi within the residence hall; we might be able to ask for funding through them,” she said. “We are also going to depend heavily on fundraising and donations.”
The magazine this year is already printed, paid for and being distributed throughout the western region. The funding asked of ASUNM from Scribendi would fund the printing of next year’s magazine.
Carcerano said they are in a deficit for next year, and printing costs are usually between $8,000 and $10,000 usually.
“I think it’s incredibly unfair,” she said. “There is nothing malicious in wanting to print a magazine that showcases not only students from UNM but student work from across the region. So it’s not just the 14 students in this class they are affecting, but potentially every single student that submits to us across the western region that is being affected.”
Scribendi staff member Alexandra Magel said, in past years, ASUNM has funded up to a quarter or even half of Scribendi’s total funding, and losing it this year deals a serious hit to what the group can do.
“It’s been a rough semester because of this. It’s really disheartening that something I’ve loved since I came to the University is being discredited at this point, and from my perspective it feels like the University doesn’t care about what we do here,” Magel said.
As of right now, Scribendi still plans to request funding from ASUNM’s fall 2016 budget.