University of Windsor Campus Paper Shut Down by Student Government ‘Without Warning’

The Lance, the longtime student newspaper at Canada’s University of Windsor, has been ordered to stop publishing its print edition immediately.  The edict came from outgoing members of the school’s student government “without warning or consulting with the paper”– a clear sign something is severely amiss in the house of Windsor.

The student government’s claim is that the decision is a must due to a $24,000 deficit racked up by the 10,000-circulation pub— the city’s only free weekly paper.  The Lance’s EIC Natasha Marar disputes the figure– saying it’s closer to $7,000– and cries foul at the abrupt, out-of-nowhere manner in which the stop-the-presses order was determined and passed along.

As Marar tells The Windsor Star: “They have access to the finances and all year have not so much as requested anything.  It’s a very embarrassing, unfortunate situation and very confusing given that there was no dialogue with us.”

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Beyond the numbers, is there editorial retribution in play here?  The student government is shuttering the paper’s print dreams directly after a Lance issue appeared containing a front-page article that sported a “critical look at the many complaints and allegations surrounding the student election held two weeks ago.  The article reports on allegations that candidates were disqualified at the last minute with no justification, that students were disenfranchised when they were locked out of the online voting system, and that some newly elected executive members had access to computing resources that would have allowed them to hack the results.  Stephen Hargreaves, the managing editor of the Lance, said he hopes the timing is just a coincidence.”

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My Take: This action is appalling.  Something underhanded is obviously happening. Exhibit A: The apparently complete lack of communication provided to the paper or the public that the SG was considering this move.  Exhibit B: The extreme nature of the decision– without any offering of a compromise (staff pay cuts perhaps, a loss of one issue per month, etc.).  Exhibit C: The fact that the decision was made by the outgoing SG group.  It’s called vote, duck, and run.  Exhibit D: Yes, the timing.  A prominent article about student government misdeeds appears and, lo and behold, the paper’s very existence is threatened.  Coincidence, I’m sure.  To Be Continued…

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