Nine months ago, I wrote an article stressing the importance of student media as Forge, the student newspaper for Sheffield University, came under attack from its own union. Unfortunately, student media is again under attack from one of the top universities in the country, Cambridge.
It recently came to light that The Cambridge Student, the student newspaper of Cambridge, is having its funding pulled by the very union that set it up 17 years ago. Why you ask? ‘Resource allocation’. In other words, Cambridge Students’ Union does not think student media is a worth while investment and has decided to pull the plug.
I have said countless times that student media provides an important and vital platform to students. It gives people of all backgrounds and all beliefs the chance to be heard, and a chance to hold our institutions to account. This is why what Cambridge is doing is so concerning; by removing their funding from a student newspaper making a profit, they paving the way for the University and the SU to make decisions without a voice to challenge or question them. That is a dangerous road.
I have spent almost all of my degree as part of a student newspaper and it has been an enriching experience. Without my student newspaper, I would never have uncovered such a passionate desire within me to pursue journalism for a career and my experience of university would have been greatly diminished without it.
TCS has served Cambridge students for almost two decades and produces amazing content both in print and online. Cutting their funding will reduce the amount of exposure the paper and student media as a whole receives significantly and result in journalistic talent being turned away due to a lack of resources.
Cambridge was home to some very well-respected journalists, including two Pulitzer Prize winners (John F. Burns and John McPhee). By cutting the funding to their student newspaper, they are throwing away the opportunities for students who may well have gone onto reach such dizzying heights.
Student Unions are there to give students opportunities, not take them away, and the actions of Cambridge Student Union are nothing but inexcusable. To not have a powerful student newspaper providing a voice to students is shameful, and I, along with many others, call on Cambridge Student Union to reverse their decision and hang their heads in shame for making such a call in the first instance.
If you feel the same way, I would strongly encourage everyone with an interest in student media to tweet Cambridge Students’ Union at @CUSUOnline and email their President, Priscilla Mensah, at email@example.com.