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Editor-in-chief Stands Questioning by BSG Investigative Board

By Carly Vair
On February 12, 2013

"We would have printed that story had it been any other organization missing $5. I'm not accusing anyone of where that $5 is going. I'm saying that $5 is missing," said Editor-in-chief of The Stylus Cassandra Negley while addressing members of Brockport Student Government (BSG). "I don't care if it's The Stylus, I don't care if it's Free the Children club, I don't care if it's Habitat for Humanity. I'm a journalist. I'm going to tell you where there is money missing and hopefully we can come to a resolution. Isn't that why we're here? Let's talk about a resolution and how to fix this problem and not just keep attacking either side."

After the Brockport Student Government (BSG) Board of Directors meeting Monday, Feb. 11, a special committee was called to investigate "previously published grievances by The Stylus against Brockport Student Government," according to BSG's Facebook page. Negley was served papers Wednesday, Feb. 6 to "testify" regarding the "grievances," and managing editor Brandon Wood was served papers to attend the meeting.

The investigative committee, chaired by BSG Vice President Brian Witmer, began with the introduction of documents regarding discrepancies in financial paperwork from the BSG business manager to The Stylus. Wimter read from a script explaining the document and asked Negley yes or no questions. Negley gave full answers and explanations to many questions.

Regarding one of the $5 discrepancies, the committee concluded BSG Business Manager Kathy Yarid was not at fault.

"The $2.49 is an equipment charge that is charged every single month and they usually pay that two months behind, so that's where the $4.98 would come from," Service Council Representative David Babb said. "So that issue, for the Crystal Rock, is resolved. There is no issue there. And the other issue was the $5.03 which, as BSG, we can't account for that because of the fact that, for fundraisers, that fundraising money's supposed to be turned in at the end of every day, because of the fact that The Stylus doesn't have a safe office like the BSG business office."

Negley disagreed with Babb's conclusion about the safety of The Stylus office.

"I truly believe my office is safe," Negley said. "We have a safe, we have a lock, we have two doors with locks and only certain people have keys. How do I know that your office is safe?"

After a lengthy pause, Babb said he would "attest for it [the safety of the BSG business office]" and said he thought "we [BSG] have one of the safest business offices on this campus."

Witmer then said by "safe" he was referring to insurance on the room.

Negley said the late payments of the equipment charges had never been communicated, even when The Stylus business manager Lois Caldwell initially asked Yarid about the additional charge.

When asked about Yarid's threat to The Stylus, the committee dismissed the issue. Off-campus Representative Lucas Potter asserted this was "the usual discourse" from Yarid. Despite a question from an audience member asking how someone who didn't personally know Yarid ought to understand the statement, the board agreed Yarid's comments were not inappropriate without any further discussion.

The second portion of the meeting, which took up a large majority of the 2 1/2 hours, regarded finances of The Stylus. The BSG board, BSG members in the audience and other audience members all asked questions in a town hall format.

The production and financing of The Stylus Welcome Weekend issue was a heavily discussed topic. The issue, which ran during the last week of August 2012, was produced solely by Negley and the managing editor at the time, Erica Sylvester. Student Union and Activities paid Negley and Sylvester $800 for the production of the paper while the $1,346 printing cost came out of The Stylusbudget. Babb said he found this "unsettling" and recommended Student Union and Activities be charged the full printing price. He also recommended summer pay for production staff be added to their salary.

"Do I see it as a discrepancy on my end? No, I don't. Do I see how you could see it as a discrepancy? Of course I do," Negley said. "AtThe Stylus, if we see something we think is wrong, we go up and ask about it. I wish someone would've asked me then, and we could've looked into it. If it is the case I shouldn't get this money, we can fix it. I have no problem with that. But again, nothing was said to me about this. Thank you for bringing it to my attention now, and we'll take care of it, but why was nothing said back in August?"

The meeting adjourned with three recommendations. Cultural Representative Keisha Terry recommended a Priority Services Representative be appointed since The Stylus, 89.1 The Pointand BTV are not technically considered clubs. Treasurer Sandy Evans recommended priority service members be added to the Fine Arts Council. She also recommended mediation between The Stylus and members of BSG.

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