ASMSU, COGS to vote on IMPACT 89FM tax money

Although MSU’s undergraduate student government, ASMSU, and the Council of Graduate Students, or COGS, are slated to vote on whether to grant Impact 89FM its already-collected student tax money at their respective meetings this week, radio station general manager Ed Glazer is more concerned with the station’s other financial troubles.

“What is not widely known is that the Office of the Vice President (for) Student Affairs (and Services) has also made the decision to hold (the) existing funds in our account from making any expenditures,” Glazer said. “Completely separate from the tax funds, which are being held out of our account, we are unable to make any purchases using existing funds from previous years.”

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Services Denise Maybank has not responded to continued requests for interviews and canceled a planned meeting before Thanksgiving break.

Currently, Impact 89FM has not received any of the collected $3 taxes on each student because of student governance members’ concern with the station’s financial records and the MSU Radio Board not meeting for several years.

Memos and emails obtained by The State News showed the station’s financial issues also might stem from university officials ignoring procedure when it comes to the student tax renewal.

The reserve of funds Glazer claims Maybank has frozen has been of concern to COGS President Stefan Fletcher, who previously expressed frustration at the Nov. 14 COGS meeting and stated that no other student tax-funded organization has backup money if it does not receive the student taxes.

In a 2011 financial report for the radio station provided at the same meeting, Impact 89FM’s net assets were shown to be about $727,000 at the beginning of the year, after which the station collected about $328,000 in student taxes.

After spending a total of about $253,000, the station ended the year with even larger net assets of about $764,000.

Although Glazer said he hopes ASMSU and COGS will allow the station access to the student tax money, Impact 89FM’s inability to access its large reserve of funds is of greater concern.

“We’ve got a number of initiatives that were started but can’t be completed because funds we’ve already promised to spend are being held,” he said, citing efforts with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to create a performance space in Hubbard Hall.

Glazer said he believes ASMSU and COGS will vote to allow the radio station to receive the tax money, but if they don’t, Impact 89FM’s future is unsure.

Glazer said the station has a specific fund to cover disasters.

“We can use this fund to cover operations while we determine what the next course of action is,” Glazer said.

ASMSU President Evan Martinak said in an email he feels confident both COGS and ASMSU will vote to approve access to the student taxes, but with strict conditions.

The ASMSU Academic Affairs Committee approved a bill last week to “retroactively” authorize or ratify the Impact 89FM tax students approved by ballot in the spring.

The bill stated the authorization or ratification depends on if the MSU Radio Board reviews and approves a full external financial audit the station must undergo.

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Unless these conditions are met, the bill stated the already-collected student tax money will not be distributed and no new taxes will be collected.

Fletcher said he is recommending the COGS Full Council also vote to “retroactively” ratify or authorize the tax at Wednesday’s meeting, though with some slightly different and more extensive conditions.

COGS is slated to vote on the issue Wednesday night, while the ASMSU General Assembly is slated to do so Thursday night.

Should the student governance groups not approve the tax, Glazer said it is likely the students’ money will be returned.

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