Eli Ridder | Report
The longstanding Canadian University Press, a national organization bringing together student publications across Canada, said Thursday night that new moves by Premier Doug Ford allowing students to opt-out of certain student fees are a threat to the student press.
“This decision is a direct hit to institutional transparency, healthy democratic dialogue on campuses, freedom of the press and the free speech that the Ford government claims so strongly to defend,” CUP said in a statement.
The option for student fees is part of a broader move carried out by the Queen’s Park that also gets rid of free tuition grants and replacing them with 10 per cent off the full tuition cost.
Read More: OSAP Changes
“As the Canadian University Press, we believe strongly that student publications are essential to the well-being of post-secondary students,” CUP executives said.
“Our members offer scrutiny to university and college administrations, ensuring that there is transparency in university governance. They are uniquely positioned to do so, and provide this important coverage without the same resources as the mainstream media.”
CUP added that most student newspapers rely on student fees–usually levies in the form of a few cents on each student fee dollar–and that without the funding, student publications will not be able to operate.
The Avro Post does not receive any funding from the University of Guelph, Guelph-Humber or Humber College and only received money from IGNITE for a short period of time when it was approved.
“The jobs they provide to students will be gone. Their important role of holding governing bodies, whether student unions or university administrations, to account will go unfulfilled. The need for a platform that amplifies marginalized voices on campuses will no longer be served,” the statement continued.
“Furthermore, student publications offer a space to build a sense of community among students. It is often first within the pages of campus newspapers that ideas are shared, community events are highlighted and student issues are brought to light.”
“The Canadian University Press is disappointed in the Ford government’s decision to open the possibility of defunding Ontario’s student publications.”
CUP also slammed the Ford government for not consulting enough with students, saying that it is “further proof that the Ford government does not truly have the interests of students in mind.”
Parliamentary Assistant to the pos-secondary minister, David Piccini will be interviewed by The Avro Post on Friday at the University of Guelph-Humber, where he will look to point out the positives in Thursday’s moves.
A full story and video of that interview will be posted by Friday afternoon. The Avro Post reached out to IGNITE executives for comments but have yet to receive a response.
More details to follow.