COGS comes to agreement on Impact radio taxes
Journalism sophomore Jennifer Swanchara goes on air during her live disc jockey session, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, at Impact 89FM in Holden Hall. Justin Wan/The State News
The Council of Graduate Students, or COGS, has given its blessing for Impact 89FM to receive the station’s currently frozen student tax money, pending a few conditions.
On recommendation from COGS President Stefan Fletcher, the COGS Full Council “retroactively” ratified the station’s student tax in a unanimous vote Wednesday night.
This is the first of two major votes this week on the radio station’s access to the student tax money.
Should MSU’s undergraduate student government, ASMSU, ratify the student tax today, the radio station should have access to their currently frozen student tax money after meeting numerous conditions.
Currently, Impact 89FM has not received any of the already-collected $3 tax on each student because of concern with the station’s financial records and the MSU Radio Board not meeting for several years.
Information recently emerged that issues surrounding Impact 89FM might stem from university administrators not following student tax renewal regulations.
Similar to the bill passed last week by the ASMSU Policy Committee, COGS’ approval included a list of conditions necessary prior to granting Impact 89FM access to its student tax funds.
The ASMSU bill, which the group’s general assembly is slated to vote on Thursday night, requires the radio station to undergo an external financial audit, which the MSU Radio Board must review and approve.
COGS has a similar stipulation, specifying the audit be conducted for fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The COGS conditions do not require that the MSU Radio Board review and approve a budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year as required by the ASMSU bill, but does list other stipulations.
The stipulations include that no student taxes will be collected starting spring 2013 and no fall 2012 taxes will be given unless the external audits and MSU Radio Board approval occur first.
Conditions also state that the Radio Board must review and reaffirm their charter.
Also required by COGS is a two year “probationary period,” where the station must provide “full accounting of its fiscal situation on a quarterly basis to the COGS Finance Committee.”
The station also must provide a report of the “prior fiscal year accounting and its operational and strategic plans” each October for an “indefinite period.”
If a graduate or professional student already has paid the spring 2013 Impact 89FM tax, COGS requires the money be credited back to the student’s account.
The ASMSU bill also stated no already-collected student tax money will be distributed and no more student taxes will be collected unless their conditions are met.
Station general manager Ed Glazer said he felt the stipulations declared so far by both student governance groups were “fair and appropriate” given the circumstances that have surrounded their review of the Impact 89FM tax.
He said he is hopeful ASMSU also will ratify the student tax, and that the rest of the Impact 89FM accounts are unfrozen before the station undergoes the conditional audit.
Glazer said Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Services Denise Maybank has frozen the remainder of the station’s funds, although the station still is up and running.
Maybank has not responded to The State News’ requests for interviews, and canceled a planned meeting before Thanksgiving break.
“A unanimous vote of approval is a very affirming feeling,” Glazer said, however. “We very much appreciate how COGS and ASMSU are handling this.”