By Jacob Dubé (RSJ ’18)
Editor-in-Chief, The Eyeopener
On Jan. 17, the Ontario government announced an array of changes to the financial frameworks of post-secondary finances. Some major changes included a reduction to school funding and OSAP—which undoubtedly prevent students in need of support from continuing their studies. They also announced that ancillary fees—the extra fees students pay along with their tuition that go to other services around campus—would be optional.
Aside from a few exceptions, this means that most aspects of student life will be at risk of losing their funding, including student media. A healthy and active press is a vital service at a post-secondary institution, and without it, students would be left in the dark.
The work of campus publications makes a significant impact in the communities they represent. This past year, The Varsity reported on the University of Toronto’s Muslim Students’ Association when they were receiving surprise visits from law enforcement. The Fulcrum has been covering the ongoing crisis with their student union at the University of Ottawa. The Eyeopener, Ryerson University’s independent student newspaper, reported on questionable credit card statements made by their student union, allegedly amounting to $250,000.
These publications are embedded in their communities. The editors and reporters that work there are taking classes with their readers, and interact with them with a degree of closeness not seen anywhere else. The stories they write can’t be done anywhere else, and if these publications shut down, they won’t be told at all.
I came into The Eyeopener in my first year, and my editors taught me everything I know. They took the time to develop my skills, make connections, and send me off into the world—and reporters across the province have stories just like this.
Campus papers are a vital part of campus life, teach students necessary skills and keep administrators accountable. Once they come for us, students won’t really know what happened after that, will they?
For additional reporting and editorials on this topic, the Ryerson School of Journalism has compiled the following list:
The move sparks discussions about whether a free student press is essential on campuses
By Alanna Rizza
For some communities, campus newspapers are a major—and reliable—source for local news
Documents outline essential versus non-essential fees, enforcement mechanisms, timeline for implementation
By Andy Takagi
“This is an attack on the voice of students to advocate for themselves.”
By Emma Paling
Campus media outlets are vehicles for free expression, something Doug Ford says he wants to defend. But his government’s new education-funding framework threatens their very existence, writes H.G. Watson
By H. G. Watson
Ontario government plans to make it easier for students to opt out of paying certain levies
By Jaren Kerr
To fight for the future of The Varsity as an advocate, I am recusing myself from editing articles about student fees
By Jack O. Denton
In the end, it doesn’t matter; the Student Choice Initiative will do irreparable damage
By Matteo Cimellaro
By the Journal Editorial Board
Student Choice Initiative will risk student newspapers unless universities step in
By Iain Sherriff-Scott