Funding cut for six campus publications

Campus publications are face funding cuts.
Campus publications are face funding cuts. Photo by Paul Cohen.

The Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies has been forced to stop funding six student publications this year as a result of budget cuts. The loss of funding — which is tied to last year’s endowment drop — has caused some of these journals to question their futures.

Although political science professor Donald Green, director of the ISPS, has suggested that campus publications should ultimately aim to secure strong alumni support, students said such a solution is not practical for newer journals.

“In order to have that option, you need to be a long-standing publication,” said Eric Heimark ’12, the editor in chief of the Yale Economic Review, adding that most campus publications are younger and lack an alumni base.

The institute’s funding was supplied entirely by the endowment, Green said, so when returns dropped dramatically last year, the ISPS was forced to prioritize. Green described the six publications as the “unintended victims” of the cuts but said he would like to resume funding them when the financial climate improves.

ISPS funding supported the journals to differing degrees, editors of the six publications said. Some, like the Yale Economic Review, have managed to balance the loss by continuing to sell their publication nationwide, Heimark said. Others, including the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law and the Yale Journal of Public Health, face more uncertain futures, said Abraar Karan ’11, who is the editor in chief of both journals.

Each publication has lost around 75 percent of its total funding, he said. While the Journal of Medicine & Law has enough money left to print one more issue, the Journal of Public Health does not and is appealing to local groups, including residential college masters’ offices and New Haven organizations.

“We’re expecting small amounts of funding from a lot of little places,” Karan said. “But we no longer have a centralized funding agency to depend on.”

Karan said his main concern is with losing readership on the Yale campus. They have already established an online presence under Green’s advice, Karan said, but he thinks the average student is less likely to actively seek out the journal online.

Mai Truong GRD ’11 said the Yale Journal of International Affairs, of which she is the editor in chief, is also concerned about losing influence and visibility on campus because of the budget cuts. Although the journal lost significantly less of its total funding than the Journal of Public Health — around 10 percent of total production costs — Truong said they will have to decrease the number of printed copies of the journal by a third.

“It’s a shame because there’s something to be said about having a printed copy,” she said. “We also send them to libraries and universities around the country, so we’re going to have to pare down both on the number of those we send out, and pare down on the number we have on campus.”

Green said he thinks undergraduate journals should aim to be less reliant on University funding and reach out to alumni for support. But Truong argued that if publications were more self-sufficient, students would focus more on raising enough money to publish and less on improving the quality of the journal’s content.

Heimark said he thinks it is unfortunate that in the face of the economic downturn, Yale did not “step up to the plate” and instead decreased funding for publications.

“It is important to have a diversity of voices on campus and cutting funding is not going to achieve that,” Heimark said.

According to the Yale College website, there are over 20 undergraduate publications at Yale.

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