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Sgc In Friends Of

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Parent Issue
Day
14
Month
June
Year
1974
OCR Text

After one monili of investigation by the University's Student Organization Board (SOB). the student film group Friends of Newsreel was granted approval Tuesday night to continue showing films on campus ihrough July and August. However. Newsreel isn't in the ciear yet, and it is likely that the University administrators will now profit from the whole situation. Investigated originally for complamts of financial irresponsibility and then for inadequate student membership. Friends of Newsreel has not yet satisfactorily settled with SOB the problems concerning outstanding debts owed by Newsreel to some major film distributors. If the SOB siiould decide in the near future that Friends bas indeed been irresponsible, in violation of student organizational rules, then the film group could still face the loss of U facilities. However. SOB and Newsreel did resolve the question of membership. Elliot Chikofsky. chairperson of SOB, had indicated to Friends last week that their "51% nonstudent membership" was in violation of the 50% student requirement for campus groups. It was thus agreed behind closed doors Tuesday that Newsreel, through quick recruitment on campus, will increase its percentage of student members, thus settlingthat point. Ironicallv. Friends of Newsreel's aal deahngs may prove beneficia! tothe University elite. For over a year the University Administration has,attempted u initiale a strong nevv sel of guidelines which would torce all student groups to keep their funds in University-controlled accounts. The guidelines are in part politically motivated. and would severely limit the ability of all student groups to control their own money. Newsieel (as well as other groups) has been opposed to this plan hut the University will now undoubtedly ' exploit Newsreel's financia! practice in persuading the Regents to adopt the new guidelines at next week's Regent' s meeting The University will allege that tight finan-0 cial controls will prevent film groups in the future from having difficulites with distributors, and thus, the Regents wil f be told such controls must be implemented. It is also possible that the stigma of "student fiscal irresponsibility," tied in with the Bullard-BANG showing of Deep Throat two months ago, may help the Regents decide to cancel usage of U facilities for ALL film groups in July and August. The Regents are more likely, however, to approve the new pursestring controls only, as such a move will be less conlroversial. SOB'S 1NVESTIGATI0N The SOB investigation has caused troversy among Newsreel supporters who've called it a "fishing expedition" and "red-baiting." As originally conceived. the investigation centered around fouv complaints received by the SOB conceming outstanding debts owed by Newsreel. Actually, one had already been resolved, and Newsreel has arranged to resolve the other three since then. (It has been learned since, however, that Newsreel had not admitted to another large outstanding debt). The three known complaints were 1 ) a S50 bilí owed Avco-Embassy , 2) late attendance reports (used in determining rental rates) to Warner Bros., and 3) an outstanding debt with RBC films. Friends of Newsreel's attorney , Robert Powell, thus argued at Tuesday night's session that with the original four complaints settled satisfactorily, the investigation should now be considered closed. His remarks were directed towards new quesiions being asked Newsreel concerning their bank accounts, involvement with outside groups, student membership, and so on. Chikofsky defended enlarging the parameters of the original investigation in order to get to the bottom of the whole affair. Chikofsky also claimed that the investigation did serve a worthy purpose in , that after it began, "many complaints brought against Newsreel were settled." Some people charged that the investigation went overboard beyond legitímate complaints at times, and in the case of the membership rules this appears to be true. Others charged that the SOB was strongly pursuing evidence regarding Newsreel's financial dealings with film distributors, to the exclusión of information on the other campus film groups. Yet, Calvin Luker claims that discussion with film distributors revealed that all the other film groups have good financial reputations. MORE COMPLAINTS REVEALED SOB is still investigating Friends over a previously unannounced outstanding debt with New Line cinema , it was Jearned Tuesday. Though the amount of this debt has not been public-ly revealed the SUN has learned that it is in the neighborhood of S25OO. Newsreel had not previously acknowledged this debt. In an interview earlier this week. Kirk Karhlil, manager of New Line Cinema in New York, told the SUN that Friends had requested that he withold information from SOB (and the media) in exchange for a quick settlement of the debt- $750 by June 14, and the rest in partial payments. Bitterly, Karhlit called Friends "so ponsible," stating that "1 have to blackmail them to get moncy." Karhlil continued, "I can't believe anything they say to me. Everything they've told me has been lies. It's either they pay or go to court." Karhlil said he hadn't had financial trouble with the other groups. Glenn Allvord of Friends of Newsreel, sought out by the SUN to discuss the situation and respond to these allegations, declined to do so, citing Newsreei's (and New Morning's) policy of "non-cooperation with the SUN." "At this point, I don't want to sit down with the SUN and say exactly what I want to say," he said. The Friends of Newsreel is a student film (and literature) group which shares space and politica] views with the Community Media Project corporation, better known as the New Morning Media Coopera tive. Both are also connected with the Michigan Free Press, whose editor, George DePue, also serves as advisor to Friends. The two organizations claim they are financially independent. Karhlil, meanwhile, will be in Ann Arbor soon with what he considers New Line's documentation to back up his charges against Newsreel. RELATIONS WITH OTHER FILM GROUPS Interestingly enough, other campus film groups also view Newsreei's reputation in a similar vein, perceived through their own dealings with film distributors. According to Bill Thompson, treasurer of Cinema Guild, 'Tve received a number of complaints from some of the major distributors, who teil me that Newsreel has some fairly large outstanding debts." Steven Bernardi, liason agent for AA Film Coop, also stated that distributors had complained to his film groüp about outstanding debts with Newsreel. At Cinema II. C'hairperson Bob Honeyman referred to Newsreei's suggestion that it was being singled out of the five current film groups for politica! persecution and repression as "bullshit." Honeyman acknowledged hearing complaints from major film distributors about Newsreel. And Dallas Kinney. treasurer for New World Film Coop (an equally "political" film group not under investigation) stated that he was aware of "a lot of outstanding bilis" on the part of Newsreel. It was further alleged by a film group memberwhorequested to remain anonymous, that Newsreel treasurer Glenn Allvord confidentially stated last year that Newsreei's policy was to put off paying distributors for as long as possible. and then. when pressured by the distributor, woujd negotiate a deal where they"d pay, in instalhnents, only if film shipments to Newsreel were continued. This policy, allegedly revealed at a meeting last year of UFO (the Union of Film Organizations - a now defunct discussion group) was also confirmed as spoken by Allvord by another film group member who also requested anonymity, fearing bad karma with Newsreel for releasing this information. So as it currently stands, Friends of Newsreel has not been absolutely proven continued on page 27