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Despite Debt, Rune Plans to Publish

By Frank Dabek
associate news editor

Rune, MIT's literary magazine, is attempting to overcome financial difficulties and publish an issue this semester.

Rune is currently receiving no funding from the Undergraduate Association, a typical source of funding for student groups, and is battling a near $10,000 debt, said Pooja B. Marria '97, an editor for the magazine.

It costs about $5,000 to print an issue of Rune, said Lucius F. Lau '97, former editor in chief of Rune.

Currently, "we don't have the money," Marria said. "We won't know for a little bit" whether or not funding can be obtained, she said.

Despite current financial difficulties, however, Marria would like to publish Rune sometime this term, hopefully in April, she said.

The last time Rune was published was last school year.

Rune missed UAfunding deadline

Rune failed to receive any funding from the UA this year because they failed to file an application. Rune missed the deadline, Marria said. A further miscommunication prevented the group from appealing the funding decision.

UA Treasurer Russell S. Light '98, said that "the chance of getting a lot of funding is small" for a group which misses both the appeal and original funding deadlines.

However, the UA Finance Board will meet several more times and there is a good chance that some funding could be obtained, Light said.

Three offices - the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Office of the Arts - had each agreed to give Rune $1,500 a year for three years beginning with last year, Marria said. Marria also hopes to receive additional funding by selling advertisements in the publication, she said.

"We're all expecting that we will [publish]," Lau said. An issue published this semester would consist completely of previously unpublished material, she said.

Past debts pose festering problem

Another problem vexing Rune is a debt left over from a previous staff. "[The previous staff] spent lots more money than they had raised," Lau said.

The debt is approximately $10,000, Marria said. Rune has not increased the debt since then and has made an agreement with the Office of Residence and Campus Activities concerning repayment.

The journal has "been trying to work at ways to pay off the debt," Lau said. The debt makes it harder for the magazine to obtain funding. "Offices don't want to give to the debt," Marria said.

In the future, Rune hopes to publish on "at least an annual basis," Marria said. The group had hoped to put out two issues last year but were prevented by funding problems. In the future, the journal could become biannual, Marria said.

Literary magazine helps MIT

A literary publication is especially important at MIT because there is so much talent on campus but not much support, Marria said.

The growing Media Arts and Sciences Program and the Writing Program are examples of MIT's talent in the arts, she said.

A publication such as Rune "helps people to vent frustrations," Marria said. "Art is a great medium." Through Rune, "people come to appreciate students as authors and artists."

Other future plans for Rune include selling the journal for a nominal fee. If this was done, part of the fee would go toward repayment of the debt, Marria said. A portion of the fee would also be donated to a literacy program in Boston or Cambridge.