Leeds Student Paper Loses Funding
Does anyone remember this front page of the Leeds Student Paper?
It was a corker. It was like the time that other paper exposed that high-level, drug-running mob ring, complete with blurry pictures of the suspects as they were snapped outside of their homes through long lens cameras.
Only it wasn’t. What they’d found out was that four fast food restaurants that students drunkenly frequent, covered in their own vomit and not having washed their filthy hands that they’ve been fingering each other with all night, are in fact unhygienic. They had received ‘zero hygiene ratings’.
One of these bandits, ‘Nemo’, was quoted as claiming, “Their rating had improved since their last inspection”. Now I’m no hygienist but as this has nothing to do with dentistry it’s probably irrelevant that I point that out. However, one thing I do know is that declaring you’ve improved on a zero is no big claim. It’s like a sprinter saying “I may have fallen over after just two meters this time, but last time I fell asleep in the starting blocks”.
The article goes on to say of the fast food joint, “a new inspection has not yet even been completed”. So Nemo was found (pun intended) to be not just unclean, but a dirty unwashed liar! He hadn’t improved at all!
The reason I write this post, however, is that there is genuinely sad news for the Leeds Student Paper. Today we have found out that it has been cut its funding and will hence have to cease printing. And as students we should be outraged by this. Not only is the Student paper a bastion of free speech, the job of which is to hold the university itself accountable for its actions, but it is also a platform for so many students to acquire skills in journalism. Many careers have started in student papers and LUU has some serious questions to answer on how we can’t find £5000 (or about £6 per student) to keep this important institution alive.
The underhand tactics are worth mentioning as well, the exclusion of the candidates for next year’s editor from the main Exec voting system, and the timing of the announcement of cut funding coming on the night of the last print, demonstrating calculated intent from LUU to marginalize the papers voice.
Well I don’t think that we should lay down and let this happen. If the newspaper stops printing then who’s gonna stop Mr. Sulfi, or Mr. Nemo putting pubes in our kebabs! No! It’s not on! We need our Student Paper to carry on doing what it’s doing so well, holding the university to account, giving voice to the student body, providing a platform for students to get their work published. Oh and running cutting edge front-pages that expose local restaurants, whilst simultaneously taking money from the very same restaurants to advertise on the very next page…
Oh…. Maybe that’s why the advertising funding’s stopped?