B&A committee deemed it necessary to freeze Spinnaker’s funding

Spinnaker

The UNF Student Government voted March 28 to freeze the Spinnaker’s funding for three days, but senators now agree this decision was based on poor information.

The Budget and Allocations committee froze $66,000, which makes up about half of the staffs’ salaries, on grounds that the Spinnaker unlawfully broke an ad agreement with Student Government.

“We were told that judicial paid for an ad in the Spinnaker for Drug Awareness Day,” said John Scorza, the senator who motioned to freeze funds. “The Spinnaker came out a day late, therefore rendering the ad useless, so we decided to freeze the Spinnaker’s index for three business days in response to that.”

Constitutionally, there is a clause, Scorza said, which states if a three-fourths vote deems it necessary, the Budget and Allocations committee can freeze the index.

Scorza said this was a legitimate reason to freeze the index.

The editor of the Spinnaker, though, disagrees.

“The ad wasn’t paid for,” said Josh Gore, editor in chief of the Spinnaker. “The B&A committee rushed into something without even knowing what they were doing.”

Scorza said though SG didn’t pay for the ad, that fact wasn’t brought to the committee’s attention until after the vote to freeze funding.

“Based on what we went off of during the committee, we felt it necessary,” Scorza said. “If any facts came out after the committee, that is a whole other issue.”

Though the Spinnaker’s March 24 cover stirred up a controversy, Scorza said the senators’ decision to freeze the paper’s index had nothing to do with the cover.

“I don’t necessarily have a problem with the cover,” Scorza said. “I do agree that it is freedom of the press, and [the Spinnaker is] an independently published newspaper. If it is not school funding being funded to publish the newspaper, which it’s not, then in that case, I don’t think the cover was necessarily obscene.”

“Being an able to freeze a college newspaper’s budget on the language of ‘deems necessary’ is a scary thing,” Gore said. “This case has sent a chilling effect throughout student media.”

Gore said the language must be changed.

The three-fourths vote required means only five senators — out of the six in attendance — needed to vote “yes” in order to pass the motion.

Out of the six senators at the meeting, Sen. Roderick Williams was the only member that voted against the freeze.

“Personally, I felt [the freeze] was unnecessary, and the motive behind it was not legit.”

Student Government Senate President Carlo Fassi said when the B&A committee met that day, there was next to nothing on the agenda — until Sen. Scorza made the motion to freeze the Spinnaker’s funds for three business days.

Fassi said he agreed with Gore that the freeze was unnecessary.

“When the committee decided to freeze the funds, I appealed the decision of the B&A committee to a judicial branch because I didn’t feel the decision by the B&A was just,” Fassi said.

The chief justice ruled the appeal was not valid and Fassi said he wants to rewrite parts of the SG constitution.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be three-fourths of the B&A committee deciding whether or not to freeze funding, Fassi said. Instead, he suggested Title VIII would be more appropriate, with the approval of the treasurer or business manager.

“If I was a voting member, I can tell you that I would have voted ‘no,’” he said.

The B&A committee will be meeting to discuss Title VIII April 11 .