KUTE needs funding

By By The Chronicle's View

By The Chronicle’s View

After ASUU’s efforts last week, KUTE student radio workers must feel as though they’re tied to the tracks as a speeding train approaches.

On Oct. 17, at the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s Assembly Special Projects Committee, a joint bill was proposed to strike KUTE’s yearly $15,000 allotment from the budget. But the money is guaranteed to KUTE by Redbook, the student constitution, and cutting its funding would likely require a constitutional amendment.

The bill was promptly withdrawn after officials said they wanted to revise its wording and conduct further research-which means it will likely be proposed again.

Given the bill’s support from Student Body President Jake Kirkham-and the tendency of this year’s representatives and senators to bolster executive efforts-it seems likely that the amendment will pass if it is proposed again before the upcoming deadline (Nov. 6 in the General Assembly, Nov. 9 in the Senate).

The issue of halting KUTE’s funding was raised last May, when the Board of Trustees advised ASUU to suspend its proceedings until a task force commissioned to analyze the U’s student media provided its results. The findings are due this calendar year, but have not yet been made available.

The bill’s proponents are forging ahead anyway, believing that KUTE’s coffers (a $20,000 reserve) will keep it afloat for a year-after which they could revisit the situation. If they choose to revisit it, that is. KUTE maintains that the current $15,000 doesn’t even cover operating costs and that it already dips into its reserves throughout the year.

Many of you might say, “What has KUTE done for me lately?”

It’s no secret that the station has had trouble reaching a large audience on a relatively weak signal. However, while it may be true that KUTE is disorganized and faces a number of problems, that situation isn’t likely to improve if ASUU yanks a year’s financial backing.

Regardless of KUTE’s appeal to listeners, the station presents an important educational opportunity for students on campus. There are only two daily student media outlets on campus: The Daily Utah Chronicle and KUTE Radio. Students need these programs to enrich their collegiate experiences in the same way that ASUU members use their resources to learn about government, management and business.

At the very least, it seems safe to say that ASUU is jumping the gun by pressing forward before it even sees the task force’s recommendation. It might have had the support of the Board of Trustees if it had waited, but now it seems that ASUU will call into question the stability of a vital student organization without any approval at all.