The Student Organization Funding Committee (SOFC) announced earlier this week that it will follow through with its plan to place a cap on printed copies of campus-wide publications such as The Wellesley Review, Counterpoint and GenerAsians starting spring 2015. The cap will limit publications to 300 copies each semester, with the opportunity to appeal for 100 more. The publication cap was proposed at the start of the fall semester, then reconsidered when met with resistance from many members of the community. SOFC has decided to carry through with their plans of implementing the cap by the spring semester.
Last week, Student Bursar Eugene Lee ’15 stated that SOFC would discuss the publication cap and release its decision after this past weekend.
“The publication cap policy is going to be revisited by SOFC this week. This means that no concrete details are available at the time, as the policy is subject to change,” Lee stated at the time.
This Monday, Lee said that through deliberation over the weekend, SOFC has decided to keep the publication cap in place.
“SOFC did not make any changes to the policy,” Lee said.
Lee and SOFC declined to comment on the motivations behind the publication cap for this article but later submitted a letter to the editor on Tuesday, which is published online at thewellesleynews.com.
Celina Reynes ’16, co-editor-in-chief of The Wellesley Review, has expressed concern about the effect of the newly-instated cap. The cap is one-fourth of the 1,200 copies the Review printed last spring. Reynes worries that the cap will negatively impact the recent success of the publication. Recently, according to Reynes, they have experienced a surge in participation from students and received over 200 submissions to the Review this past semester.
Earlier this semester, the members of The Wellesley Review were asked to demonstrate sufficient readership to continue to receive funding. They were able to secure 380 signatures from petitions and surveys, which were sent to the campus-wide community. However, Reynes does not believe petitions or surveys can successfully or fairly quantify readership on campus. She maintains that the Review is one of the main aspects of the artistic and literary culture on campus and that all sorts of students read and take part in the magazine.
“In terms of our literary magazine, it’s not just English students who enjoy it. You’ve got the artists who submit, you have the people interested in creative non-fiction, and anyone interested in the competitive publishing industry will want to have experience building a print magazine. We can’t do that if we’re only given 300 copies a semester,” Reynes said.
Wellesley’s publications are completely student-run, while those at other colleges, such as Amherst College’s literary magazine, The Common, often receive professional status with formal marketing teams. Reynes worried that if the cap is carried out, the only recourse for the Review would be to go online, because in order to continue offering printed copies of their publications, members would need to focus their attention on fundraising.
“The cut takes our energy away from producing a quality magazine by forcing the editors to scramble,” Reynes stated.
The Wellesley Review is dealing with the cap in a variety of ways, including sending out additional surveys, writing petitions and reaching out to alumnae for support. Several unnamed professors have also offered to write letters on behalf of the publications to SOFC and College Government.
“Unless a dialogue can be created between the office and the publications and they actually listen to and appreciate our needs, I am very concerned for the future of publications here at Wellesley,” Reynes said.
Hanna Day-Tenerowicz ’16, the editor-in-chief of the monthly campus life journal Counterpoint, also expressed her opposition to the publication cap. Counterpoint currently prints 600 issues per month, with a total of 2,400 a semester. Under the new policy, Counterpoint will be limited to printing up to 100 copies of each issue.
The students involved in the publications included in the cut have started a petition against SOFC’s cap.
“We started protesting by just emailing the Bursar and after a while, she got back to us saying that they would reconsider it because there has been so much general outrage about the cap,” Day-Tenerowicz said.
However, those opposed to the cap were not optimistic that SOFC would repeal the cap so many students have already made plans to organize protests against the publication cap. Day-Tenerowicz said that they would not be hesitant to begin their protests.
“We’re fully prepared to go forward with that. It’s a collaborative effort between The Wellesley Review, Counterpoint and any other publications that want to get on board,” Day-Tenerowicz stated.
A petition created Monday evening on change.org has conjured 157 supporters and a Facebook event titled “Save Wellesley’s Publications” has been created with the motto “Refuse to be Silenced.”
Day-Tenerowicz hopes that the entire community can show their support for the publications so they can preserve voices that are often unheard.
“I just hope that other people are as passionate about fighting to have a voice as we are. [We’re] fighting to continue being a place where people can express themselves and have a safe place to bring up topics anonymously and not anonymously,” Day-Tenerowicz added.
Reynes noted that there is a lack of transparency between the Bursar’s Office and the publications on campus about the cap. She said that SOFC has not given clear explanations for its reasons behind implementing the cap and mentioned that she had a difficult time communicating with those in the Bursar’s Office. She thinks that the two sides need to instigate more dialogue to discuss these cuts.
Other students on campus have also expressed concern. Kristina Stark ’17 believes that the cap on publications will prevent students from speaking up and being heard.
“I feel that the information coming from these publications is important to the students, and if they’re unable to circulate them accordingly, then we’re going to lose what the students want to hear and what students want others to hear, so that is concerning,” Stark said.
Sarah Nealon ’18 agreed that the cap will limit the information available to students. She added that she believes the publications are an integral part of student life at Wellesley and are important to preserve.
“I don’t think that’s fair at all because if people want them then they should be able to get them. If they have the capacity to print that much, then they should be able to,” Nealon stated.