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Editorial

Open letter sent to Board of Directors

A letter examining transparency.

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To our elected Board Directors,

Last spring, each of you were either acclaimed or received hundreds of votes to represent us at our student union as part of the Board of Directors, the body responsible for holding our executives accountable and making decisions with the money we give you.

But now, you have completely closed off from us. IGNITE has always had significant problems with transparency but Board meetings were always open students were encouraged to attend until a few weeks ago.

This letter is our request for you to consider the state of our student union. You are part of the only Board of Directors in IGNITE history to be closed off, not to mention potentially province-wide. 

IGNITE’s executive director told us earlier that it was within the student union’s right to close off the meetings and go in-camera. In fact, that kind of decision can only be made by you, the Board directors yourselves.

We’ve been asked to only send media requests through the executive director but we need the truth and not carefully crafted answers and largely ignored emails. We have been told by student unions across the province that this is not the norm.

Tonight, as students who only seek to find the truth, we are reaching out to ask for you to give clarity. It does not matter what any staff member of IGNITE says, you are the Board of Directors, our duly elected representatives and you are in charge.

The many complaints about the lack of transparency and the anger some students feel right now after opting to an organization that claims to have their back but yet hides everything away is in fact on you.

As a director, your priority over resume-building and gaining new experience is to represent the student body. Follow through and communicate to the students the many questions we have asked and they have asked.

Any lack of information, shut down of communication or refusal to reach out is on you and you alone. We hope, as fellow students, that you can come out of the shadows and allow us to question and understand.

Democracy, knowledge and transparency dies in darkness. We ask that you respond to us via any of our communication channels and let’s get the conversation flowing again.

— The Board of The Avro Post

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Editorial

In the age of fake news, The Avro Post is targeted

The Avro Post’s first editorial.

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Eli Ridder | Editorial

“Not sanctioned” — two words used as a defence not to respond to inquires seeking the truth and clarity from The Avro Post.

Sanctioned, as defined by Mirriam-Webster, is to make valid or binding usually by a formal procedure, such as ratification.

Maheen Nazim, vice president representing Guelph-Humber at IGNITE, told The Avro Post in the public forum of Instagram that we are “not sanctioned”, that we are not valid.

The Society of Professional Journalists, the oldest organization representing journalists in the United States, has a code of ethics defined by four principals.

Firstly, seek truth and report it. Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair, and those writing should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Number two: be accountable and transparent. Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work — including the mistakes — and explaining decisions with clarity and truth.

Three: minimize harm. Ethical journalists understand that sources, the public and everyone as deserving of respect.

Lastly, journalists need to act independently, without influence or corruption. Ethical journalism serves the public.

These are pillars adopted and used by The Avro Post. We have established credibility in our intentions.

Our ethical journalism has been able to establish trust across the student body, a force evident with our investigations where students trust The Avro Post with sensitive information for the cause of truth.

Even right now, students talk to Post reporters, delving deep into their experience with Guelph-Humber so that accountability can exist.

The public audience of the Post is the student body of the university, and by association, Humber College.

Even now, a member of staff at the university has agreed to be the Post’s faculty advisor, seeing validity in establishing our publication.

Credibility in our intentions and trust from the public that we serve have, by any definition used by those in the field of journalism, established The Avro Post as valid. Ratified by the public.

Sanctioned.

These are the facts.

Our job as a student publication is to hold the student government accountable, a microcosm of the larger world.

When a person of authority attacks a validated press, that can be interpreted many ways, but one of them is suppression of the press by framing them as having no credibility.

This is commonly known as the “fake news” syndrome, which was largely brought into the mainstream by populists, with their leader rising to power down south.

Finding The Avro Post “not sanctioned” and invalid is an attack in symmetry with “fake news” — a student government refuses to be held accountable because the organization seeking truth is invalid, according to one of their leaders.

This assault on the free student press is one of recklessness, immaturity and nervousness.

Choosing not to recognize the obvious validity of The Avro Post is motivated by cowardice, not by rules and common sense.

Yet, The Avro Post will continue diligently to inquire, request and hold accountable, without bias, the elected student leadership.


Editor’s Note: The Avro Post remains dedicated to impartial, accurate journalism — however, we have taken this unprecedented move to publish this Opinion-Editorial because we find our freedom and a pillar of transparency and democracy to be under threat.

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