ASUU to slash KUTE funding?

Student government leaders are pushing to cut funding to KUTE, the U’s student-run radio station, for the remainder of the current school year.

A joint bill was proposed last week in a committee of the Student Assembly to suspend KUTE’s funding until June 2007. The bill was withdrawn amid concerns that it needed to be reworded in order to comply with Redbook, the student constitution.

Redbook designates that KUTE receive two percent of the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s budget, about $15,000, in funding each year through the Student Broadcast Council.

Student Body President Jake Kirkham said he thinks the station is not a worthwhile way to spend the student government’s money.

“Our past administrations have felt that maybe this money?is not being spent wisely-we’re under that same impression,” Kirkham said.

Kirkham said he expects a new version of the bill to be submitted next week. He wouldn’t discuss specific details of the bill, but said it may be proposed as a constitutional amendment.

The previous ASUU administration tried to take control of KUTE last spring by creating a Student Broadcast Advisory Committee that would have overseen the station’s operating.

The proposal was approved by both the ASUU Senate and Assembly, but the Board of Trustees tabled the issue and requested a task force to examine the issue further.

Following the trustees’ recommendations, U President Michael Young created a task force to study student media on campus.

Last spring’s proposal was never readdressed.

Bob Avery, general manager of KUTE and chairman of the Student Broadcast Council, said ASUU is now jumping the gun by cutting KUTE’s funding before the task force issues its recommendation.

“It seems to me that ASUU would want to see the result of the recommendation before making this bold of a move,” Avery said.

Kirkham said that because the funding cut is not permanent, it will not affect the task force’s evaluation.

“We respect what the president is doing in organizing this task force, but we also have an obligation to the students to spend their money wisely,” he said. “What were talking about is simply suspending the funding.”

The previously proposed bill stated that KUTE could fund itself this year with its $20,000 reserve fund.

Avery said the station doesn’t want to tap into the reserve because normal operating costs for the year usually exceed $15,000 and the reserve account is needed to pay additional expenses.

“The idea in ASUU that the station doesn’t need funds because it has a contingency?is ridiculous,” Avery said.

Kirkham said the joint bill that was withdrawn last week and needs to be rewritten and researched more thoroughly before it is resubmitted.

“In wording our bills, we don’t want to contradict Redbook,” he said.

Alicia Taase, Kirkham’s newly appointed chief of staff and the bill’s author, said that because Redbook does not specify how KUTE’s funding can be altered, she did not know if the bill was violating Redbook or not.

She said the bill’s supporters will now work to determine how best to suspend KUTE’s funding without violating Redbook.

Shadie Ghaibi, ASUU Senate chairwoman, and Nicole Nguyen, General Assembly vice chairwoman, sponsored the withdrawn bill. Ghaibi refused to give additional comment on the bill; Nguyen did not return a request for comment.

DJ Mitch Edmonds signs out from his two-hour punk and hip-hop music program on KUTE radio station Tuesday afternoon. ASUU leaders recently proposed a bill to suspend the radio station’s funding until June 2007.