When the Student Government Association’s Joint Finance Committee recommended this week that the entire printing budget of the Blueprint, Tech’s yearbook and one of our sister publications, be slashed from more than $60,000 last year to a grand sum of zero—without providing any reasons for the decision—the committee made a unilateral decision about the Blueprint’s worth to Tech that simply does not fall under the purview of its responsibilities.
Organizations like the Blueprint whose budgets suffered drastic cuts discovered their grim fates the same day they were to go before the Undergraduate House of Representatives. In the case of the Blueprint, the poor timing of the announcement leave it with few options for next year. If passed, the budget decision would eliminate one of Tech’s longest standing traditions with the swoop of a pen.
While the efficiency of the Blueprint can—and should—be debated, it is not the JFC’s responsibility to eliminate a student organization whose budget proposal met all of the guidelines which the committee is tasked with upholding. Instead, members of the committee injected their personal beliefs about what the future of Tech’s yearbook should be. Fiscal responsibility should be an important aim for SGA, but the current process is arbitrary and murky at best.
The JFC appears to have a clear complaint against the Blueprint, but neither its staff nor the student body is aware of the reasons for this complaint. If the demand for Blueprint copies exceeds the number being printed, or if the publication has become too dependent on SGA funds, there are possible solutions that could improve efficiency without leading to the sudden demise of one of Tech’s most trusted historians, including printing fewer copies or charging students for yearbooks, like many universities do.
A drastic budget cut without explanation, however, is not an effective or transparent means of communication.