University of Manitoba student newspaper subject of debate

The U of M Students' Union's student-funded paper has been the subject of debate.
The U of M Students' Union's student-funded paper has been the subject of debate. Amber McGuckin / Global News

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union was set to debate the future of the school’s student newspaper Thursday night.

An UMSU councillor had put forward a motion to hold a referendum on de-funding The Manitoban.

Cole Parsons argued the paper “has consistently failed to uphold the role of an impartial campus media outlet” and pointed to an editorial which Parsons claimed “sought to influence the results of a vote of all UMSU members”.

However, UMSU issued a release late Wednesday saying ‘after a tremendous amount of feedback from the student body in support of the paper’, Parsons had withdrawn the motion.

“I thought perhaps students wanted an opportunity to re-evaluate this service that they pay for, but since putting it forward it’s clear that The Manitoban is an important service to many students,” Parsons said.

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The paper’s Editor-and-Chief Garett Williams explained the editorial in question.

“There’s a plebiscite that’s being held putting a vote to students whether or not they want to decertify from the Canadian Federation of Students. The editorial basically challenged that that shouldn’t be a priority of UMSU at this time.”

He said the responsibility of the paper is to allow students the opportunity to share their opinions.

“There’s a bit of an adversarial relationship I guess between the paper and who we cover, but it’s nothing that can’t be sorted out through the debate that we have on our pages,” Williams said.

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Tanjit Nagra, president of UMSU, said they were prepared to debate the motion Feb. 1, but many students upset by it.

“I’ve seen a lot of students unhappy that this is even being put forward. A lot of students are questioning whether freedom of speech is a priority for us at UMSU. It definitely is,” she said.

“I’ve seen articles about myself in the Manitoban and editorials, but that’s just that. There’s editorials and they’re opinion pieces and I think sometimes it’s tough for some folks to be able to understand that.”

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Parsons suggested his original goal of the motion was to spark dialogue on the topic of the student-funded newspaper.

“I think it’s important for media to showcase both sides of a story when reporting the issues, and many students have found content in the
student newspaper to be one-sided,” Parsons said. “Ensuring the campus media is fair when reporting, and inclusive of all opinions, is
exceptionally important.”


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