FACT CHECK: Reasoning for Student Fees Committee cutting The Sunflower’s funding in half


A committee charged with making recommendations about how to spend student fees recommended cutting The Sunflower’s operating funding in half. Tuesday, a student senator released the presentation on Facebook.

The reasoning, provided in a PowerPoint format, provides the committee’s opinion to cut The Sunflower’s operating budget in half — from $100,000 to $50,000.

CLAIM: The committee believed that The Sunflower should be held accountable to sell ads and not rely so heavily upon student fees. There have been many years where The Sunflower has told the Student Fees Committee that they will do better with ad-selling, but this year, the ad sales did not show the effort was being put forward.

MISLEADING: Other student organizations are not expected to rely on advertisements and it has not been well documented that The Sunflower has said “for many years” that it “will do better with ad-selling.” Nearly every member of the Student Fees Committee is new to their role. As a matter of fact, The Sunflower has decreased expected ad revenue in its annual budgets each year. Effort is not quantifiable. 

CLAIM: The committee also noted the high reserves that The Sunflower has. The reserves are 112.3% higher than the FY19 budget request at $177,400 after this fiscal year.

FALSE: The Sunflower’s budgeted expenses for FY 2018 were $196,574. The Sunflower does not set a budget until the end of the fiscal year. The “reserves” are advertising revenue from years past.

CLAIM: In all cases of the committee believing the organization should put forward more effort and skills into fundraising, ad sales, etc., the committee recommended a 50% cut from the FY18 allocation.

OPINION:  Unfalsifiable.

CLAIM: The Sunflower budgeted to sell $60,000 in ads for FY18 and have now only reached just below $20,000. At this pace, ad sales will reach between $30,000 and $40,000. With the $100,000 from student fees and the ad sales as such, student fees are paying for a large majority of The Sunflower. If ad sales reach $30,000, student fees will provide 76.9% of its funding; if ad sales reach $40,000, student fees will provide 71.4% of its funding.

FALSE AND MISLEADING INFORMATION: The Sunflower, during its student fees presentation, told the committee that advertising sales for the year are not knowable at this point in time. The Sunflower’s budget is paid with student fees and advertising revenue from years past. This year, student fees accounted for 51 percent of The Sunflower’s budget.

CLAIM: After looking at the other Regents institutions, it was found that this number was high in comparison. At the University of Kansas, student fees fund about 20% of the paper; at KSU, 54%; at Pittsburg State, 51%; at Emporia State, 81%, which is currently being looked at as being too high.

FALSE AND MISLEADING INFORMATION: The Sunflower’s percentage of budget covered by student fees this year was 51 percent, ranking second-to-last for student fees as a percentage of budget for regent institutions with newspapers.

A comparison between Kansas Board of Regents school. The Sunflower presented this information to the Student Fees Committee Friday.

See the rest of the reasonings here: Student Fees