Ex-Salient Editor Questions Solvency

With four staff resignations and a decreasing net worth, The Harvard Salient is undergoing serious financial and organizational difficulties, a former officer who was forced off the publication's senior board acknowledged yesterday.

Ross Frisbie '96, who was Treasurer and Executive Editor of the Salient until last week, alleged that the "by nature conservative" publication has consistently lost money since it became a bi-weekly, has had little success selling ads, has had a large staff turnover in recent weeks and has required a substantial loan by its former president to stay afloat.

But in an interview last night, President Corwyn D. Hopke '96 and former President Whitney D. Pidot '96 denied Frisbie's allegation that The Salient is in trouble, calling him a "disgruntled former employee who was fired."

Of the nine members of the board of directors, two have been asked to resign and two others have resigned their board positions for personal reasons, Hopke said.

In response to Frisbie's allegations of a financial crisis, Pidot said that he had spent some $1,000 on Salient expenses without yet asking to be reimbursed but that the Salient has no unusual financial problems.

As part of an effort to shift the staff towards the business side of the organization, staffers have been asked to try to sell ads to nine or ten businesses if they wish to have an article published, Hopke said.

Most staffers interviewed said they were unaware of the finances of the organization. Some said they did not want to solicit ads.

"We shouldn't have to do this," one said. "It's such a pain."

Frisbie said the net worth of the organization when it changed from a monthly to a bi-weekly in the fall of 1992 wasmany thousands of dollars, but Pidot and Hopkedisputed that, saying there was "no way" that itwas that much.

Pidot said The Salient currently has a Positivecash balance in the bank and a net worth of$1,800.

"That statement shows where he's coming from[with these accusations]," Pidot said.

"Before I handed the books back to the Salient,I had the evidence to prove it... we've beenburning money," Frisbie said when told of Pidot'scomment.

Frisbie said that The Salient may not survivethrough 1996 due to "the loss of discipline andthe financial problems and staff turnover," butPidot said that he would "do whatever it takes" tomake sure the paper comes out.

Pidot said he would personally fund the paperin conjunction with other donors and the Salient'sprimary institutional donor, the Madison Centerfor Educational Affairs, a Washington-basedconservative foundation.

Pidot said that the total cost of producing4,600 black and white issues is $600, color issuesis $700 and Commencement issues is about $1,000.