The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Students’ Association (SAITSA), the student union at SAIT, has officially cut ties with The Emery Weal, the monthly magazine that has been operating since 1926 on SAIT campus.
An email was sent on March 17 by Emilie Charette, publications coordinator at SAITSA, to employees at The Emery Weal informing them of the decision.
“SAITSA is cutting the Weal off and making it a student club to save themselves some costs. This decision was made by SAITSA’s board of directors,” it read.
In the email, Charette goes on to say that, “SAITSA did not consult me or anyone else about this. They simply made the decision and then informed me.”
On Feb. 3, as shown on the minutes for the Board of Directors meeting (BoD) for SAITSA, a motion by Ryan Morstad, president of SAITSA resolved, in a vote 11-0, that The Emery Weal would no longer be an official SAITSA operation but would be recognized as a student club.
Decision hurts student journalists
The Weal hires student writers, editors, photographers, graphic designers, and fact checkers, while also hiring students to distribute and promote the magazine.
According to The Emery Weal website, people who have moved on from the Weal have found careers in journalism at places like The Calgary Herald, Toronto Star and National Post.
The website also states that the magazine “largely maintains the mandate to serve the SAIT community with a focus on students’ interests and needs, and to keep them informed about the on-campus issues that matter to them most.”
Amanda McColl, opinions editor at The Emery Weal, said the decision hurts student journalists.
“I would be concerned that students don’t necessarily have the knowledge of how the Weal gets produced,” she said.
“They don’t have the connections to the print staff, or the other things that go into making the Weal work. Without support, I’m not sure how they’ll get it all done.”
The conditions following the SAITSA meetings motion granted The Emery Weal an initial one-time disbursement of $20,000 to The Emery Weal bank account, and the right to distribute printed material through designated distribution stands along with the rights to offer honoraria to The Emery Weal members.
“Frankly, I feel like an idiot for telling that working for the Weal was worth it,” said McColl.
The Emery Weal’s office has been temporarily relocated to the Senator Burns Building on SAIT Campus.
‘Death sentence’ for the Weal, said Henrichs
Jesse Heinrichs, editor at the The Emery Weal, said he fears that the Weal won’t be taken as seriously as it was before because advertisers with The Emery Weal won’t be as confident when they’re not under the umbrella of SAITSA.
“They’re putting the responsibility with us, and that is fine. But the problem is you need at least a few full-time staff members, who aren’t students, to run things smoothly,” said Heinrichs.
“This is a death sentence for the Weal,” he said.
Joymil Monagas, former SAIT student, who still goes back to SAIT to pick up the Weal was disappointed by the news.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that the Weal is being slashed like this. It was always fun picking-up a copy to see what was happening,” Monagas said.