Confusion Reigns as Campus TV Station Incorporates
CUTV, Concordia’s television station, took the first steps towards restructuring itself and gaining some independence from the Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation, the umbrella organization that oversees CUTV and radio station CJLO.
The online-broadcast station was incorporated under the name ‘Télévision communautaire universitaire-Concordia’ on Jan. 11 by CUTV representative to the CSBC board Abel Alegria, station manager Laura Kneale, and programming director Laith Marouf.
An emergency meeting was called by CSBC directors on Jan. 17 where members of CUTV explained their decision to stray away from the CSBC. Under Quebec law, one of the rights granted by incorporation is the ability to apply for grants from the province, as well control of bank accounts.
“There are only so many subsidies a corporation can apply for,” said CSBC board member and former The Link news editor Christopher Curtis, who attended the January meeting, suggesting that the reason for CUTV’s branching-out was to increase the amount of outside grants that the station could receive without having to compete with CJLO for the money.
CSBC secretary Sabine Friesinger agreed that finances were the impetus for the incorporation, pointing out that CUTV had received an increase to its fee levy by $0.16 per credit to $0.34 total during the November byelection. She argued that this increase made a restructuring of the station’s oversight necessary.
“In that sense the incorporation is just part of this creation of checks and balances and accountability for the management of the money and for the direction of the general organization,” said Friesinger.
Despite the incorporation, the TV station hasn’t fully cut ties with CSBC, which will still provide oversight. A restructuring committee composed of three CUTV members and three CSBC members was created during CUTV’s general meeting on Jan. 19.
The committee is expected to report during the February CSBC meeting according to the meetings minutes of the CSBC regular January meeting.
But according to Kneale, the restructuring committee hasn’t even met yet. While she wouldn’t comment on the incorporation, she did state that everything CUTV does is open for the public to see.
“We do take the opportunity to do interviews when the subject matter does seem like something we want represented,” said Kneale. “We are a very transparent organization.”
CUTV received a vote of confidence from their radio colleagues under CSBC, as CJLO board rep Angelica Calgagnile told The Link, “I think they are trying to do what they feel is best for their organization.”
Calgagnile admitted that she and others on the CSBC board had no idea of the branching off until the meeting on Jan. 17.
Others, like Friesinger, apparently did know about the move, and claimed board members were aware as well.
“Maybe some board members were not paying attention, but yes, the board was aware,” said Friesinger. “After the [incorporation], you have 90 days to propose a structure for the organization. That’s where we’re at now.”
Curtis said that the confusion among board members was due to a misunderstanding.
“We initially mistook [the incorporation] to mean that they just wanted to break off and have their own organization,” said Curtis. “I think they have a good vision, but they need some help. It’s not easy.”