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USask student paper looks to increase fee


 

The University of Saskatchewan student newspaper The Sheaf is hoping to increase their student levy to $6 per term from the present inflation indexed $3.36 per term. This amounts to $12 per academic year from the present $6.72.

There is no doubt The Sheaf is one of the better student newspapers in the country. I enjoyed reading it online back in the day when they uploaded a copy onto the tubes.

Based on the news story I linked to, it’s also clear The Sheaf is in need of an infusion of new revenue.

However, they are attempting to get this new revenue too quickly. They need to implement a phrased increase. To almost double their fee in one year is too much.

Reading the story, I’m surprised to learn there are no protections in place to prevent the creation or increase of ancillary fees. Students at the University of Saskatchewan should be lobbying for an ancillary fee protocol which requires all new fees and increases to present fees be approved by a student referendum.


 

USask student paper looks to increase fee

  1. I can speak to this a little bit, seeing as I chaired the Sheaf’s Board last year.

    As a Board, we thoroughly discussed what we wanted to accomplish and where we wanted to organization to go. A little over a year ago we brought in a new constitution and bylaws and this year we started the process of refining them. One of the refinements that looks like it will be in place by the fall is a mechanism for dealing with fees (at present we operate under the assumption of 5% per year – we want a one-time boost and then back to the 5%). As it stands now, the Board is solely responsible for fee changes. That being said, the Board discussed the fee change at our Annual General Meeting, with individual students, and with the USSU. We have not come across anyone who is opposed to the idea of the fee increase, nor has the rate of the increase been an issue – in fact, we have only heard positive feedback, though small portion of it critical. This fee change is very minute in comparison to the fee change made by the USSU the year previous where the infrastructure fee changed from $10/term to $44/term with less consultation of the student body as a whole.

    In terms of the fee changing too quickly, I think that it is fair to say that paying our editors $500 per month for 30+ hours of work per week is a detriment to our paper and given that the cost of living in Saskatoon has increased dramatically in the past couple of years, you can see how this change is necessary. The bulk of the increase is being directed to staff wages, which we are planning to increase by 75%, so that we can have editors who have a place to sleep that doesn’t involve a cardboard box.

    Joey, I don’t think that doubling a $3 fee is moving too quick – especially when it’s a change that has been a long time coming (the Sheaf has been talking about this on and off for as long as I can remember).

  2. I think it is clear that student newspapers across the country are struggling to stay profitable under traditional funding models. That being said, I’m with Joey on this one . . . a realignment of the business model based on a change in frequency, more online components, or special features would be more preferable in my view. I’ll be watching closely how this turns out (although I think the U of S has a slightly different political climate from my home school, the U of A, from what I’ve seen).

  3. I realize that this may be old news, but here goes:

    FYI: The fee increase has gained support of the University’s administration and will be collected starting in the fall term.

    Steven: I don’t think that the goal of a student paper is to be profitable per se. A small amount of coin to put into the bank is usually helpful, but I think the intention of a student paper should be to break even (especially the Sheaf, given that it is a registered non-profit corporation). As to your suggestions: it is my understanding that the Sheaf’s editor wants to incorporate more features in the paper and the Board wants to improve the paper’s online presence, however a full-scale transition would be a costly process.

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