It has come to our attention that some SAIT students are saddened and/or angered by our decision to change ownership of the Weal – from Saitsa owned and operated to independently ran as a Student Club at SAIT.
We would like to stress that this decision was made on February 3, 2020 by our Board of Directors, a student body made up of 11 elected student positions, well before a worldwide pandemic had been announced. The meeting minutes that outline this decision have been readily available on our website since the beginning of February here.
We had planned to make a formal announcement once proper arrangements had been made to ensure a smooth transition. Unfortunately, this information has been made public and in order to stop the spread of misinformation, we would also like to present some of the facts that lead to our decision.
Our decision with the Weal:
- does not rob students of the opportunity to gain experience. The Weal is not closing down for good. It is simply changing ownership – meaning that it will still continue to operate, but might function a little differently.
- was done to create a true, free, and independent press. The Weal will, in fact, have more autonomy moving forward as they will no longer be required to have their content pre-approved by us. Additionally, they will now be responsible for generating their own income through ad-revenue and sponsorships, and will be fully responsible for how that money is allocated.
- is not unprecedented. Many student newspapers are not funded by their students’ union at all. We are actually the outlier in that we fund our student newspaper in lieu of charging each students a dedicated student newspaper fee.
- grants the Weal an initial one time disbursement of $20 000 CAD to the club bank account, which in turns enables it to offer reasonable honorarium to members.
- allows for us to reallocate tens of thousands of dollars to other programming – programming that benefits a greater number of students regardless of their personal interests (e.g. awards, food relief, mental health initiatives, etc.)
- has no bearing and/or correlation to the $10 million donation we gave to SAIT last year to put towards a new campus centre. Students voted on whether or not to contribute to that particular cause which means that:
1) we are not going to let the donation go to waste,
2) we are going to be accountable for it,
3) it is going to what it was voted to go towards and nothing else.
We hope this response was valuable. For further concerns and/or questions about this decision made by the Board of Directors, please contact Saitsa.President@edu.sait.ca.