Organizers of the I-CON Convention
To Our Concerned Press,
Certain members of the University ‘#150; who we can most directly tie to Carman Vasquez and Rich Wolcott, decided to make a startling policy change for I-CON this year.
Five weeks before the convention was due to take place, I-CON was handed a bill proposal amounting to nearly $10,000 for the use of the Student Union and some classrooms in the Student Activities Center. I-CON has used the Union every year it has been available for at least nine years and has never been charged before. (We do pay every year for the use of the Indoor Sports Complex, because this space is not available for free student use. That amount is approximately $20,000)
First thing that I want to make clear is this: We are a completely non-profit group. We don’t have a profit margin that we can take this bill out of.
We make the money to run every convention at the event itself. And we make our budget for our expenses and set all the rates the summer before. So, five weeks out from the convention there is no way to accommodate this bill. It’s too late to change membership fees or dealer’s table fees.
We heard two explanations that have been handed to us for this policy change.
The first was because I-CON is not a student club. However it is. It is a Student Activities group, and has a constitution on file, as well as a list of student officers. I-CON has student office space, and a student activities advisor as well as a faculty/staff advisor. The second reason we have been given for this charge, is that the I-CON conference has grown too large. I-CON’s attendance figures however have not changed for at least 3 years. We may have hit our ceiling already in terms of how large I-CON can get.
We have had these spaces reserved since August. It is ridiculous that we were only told last week about these huge extra expenses. Now, Mr. Wolcott tells us that he can lower the charges by 50%, but that he does not have the ability to lower them any further. They were free two weeks ago, why should his hands be tied?
I-CON provides valuable programming for the entire campus. It also provides great publicity. We don’t believe that the University would look good if the convention were to be squeezed off campus. I-CON is a Stony Brook tradition.
Founded by the Science Fiction Forum, and now in its 21st year, it draws alumni back year after year. Students attend this college because they first were introduced to Stony Brook as high school students attending I-CON, and it provides income for the whole community. Hotels, restaurants, the campus itself rely on the added revenue this event brings.
We now ask not only for your voice, but also for your financial support of I-CON. As it stands, now, we have a $3,000 bill that the University wants us to pay. (We are dropping our request for the SAC in order to bring the charges down.) Any assistance would be appreciated.