All Posts Tagged With: "Student Newspapers"
What students are talking about today (April 8th)
1. For the second time this semester, the uneasy relationship between a student newspaper and its student union overlords is front-page news. The Windsor Star, the local daily newspaper in Windsor, Ont., reports that The Lance student paper at the University of Windsor has been ordered to shut down their presses immediately. The outgoing board of directors of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance voted last week—with no warning—to force The Lance to go “only online” because the paper was $24,000 in the red in February. The last printed issue had a cover story called “Electile dysfunction: Multiple allegations of corruption plague UWSA election,” which asked questions about possible corruption and incompetence in a recent UWSA election. Shutting down the print edition prompts questions about freedom of the press and whether the board has been vindictive. Kim Orr, the outgoing UWSA president, points out that the critical coverage was directed mostly at executive members and the chief returning officer, not the board of directors. Still, the timing is suspect. The Lance will be expected to operate on a third of its current $180,000 budget, which would leave it a shadow of its former itself. (Trust me, just because your publication is online doesn’t make it free.) The story is reminiscent of when Western’s student government decided to take away The Gazette‘s offices in January. A backlash caused them to retreat. Let’s hope this follows the same path.
2. American colleges are talking about a crisis in law schools. In 2011, nearly half of U.S. law graduates failed to find work in law, applications to law schools fell 38 percent since 2010 and, despite the poor prospects, graduates now finish with an average debt load of $98,500. Well, it looks like market economics are starting to have an impact in the other direction. The University of Arizona’s law school is cutting tuition up to 11 per cent. In Canada, most new lawyers can still find work, though articling positions are becoming harder to come by and tuition has risen a fair bit.
U.S. student newspaper’s funding deserved to be cut
A student newspaper in the United States is about to learn the hard way that you have to be careful what you preach.
After allegedly having their funding suspended, the Koala at the University of California San Diego went on a tirade against the students’ union president, using sexually explicit language and photographs to brazenly attack her. And now she’s launched a defamation lawsuit against the publication.
I’m not shocked at all. In fact, it sounds like these kids have a lot to learn. Even where defamation law is a heck of a lot more lax than here in Canada, there is no place in public discourse for the childishness the Koala is employing. It’s one thing for media to hold government accountable, but this act is taking things so far past the line of accountability.
The crude language, photoshopped images and retaliatory attacks show both malice and a disregard for simple decency. They shouldn’t be surprised that nobody finds their publication worth paying for, or that the target of their rage is retaliating.
UManitoba engineers publish nipple measurements; investigation ensues. Send us your joke issues.
The University of Manitoba’s equity services office is investigating the Engineering Society’s annual spoof magazine, Red Loin, to determine whether it is offensive. Naturally, the ruckus is over more than just nipples; this year’s Red Loin is full of explicit dating advice, sexy horoscopes, and dozens of sexual references to things not normally associated with sex.
According to an article in the Winnipeg Free Press, some UManitoba professors are concerned that the magazine creates a hostile atmosphere for engineering students who are not heterosexual males. Not content to take their opinion on the matter, Maclean’s OnCampus asked me to review the magazine.
I’m a poor judge of whether other people would find something offensive, (I’ve been known to tell jokes that would make a pimp blush) but a thorough review of Red Loin left me truly disturbed. It wasn’t the sexual content that shook me; I’ve seen more sexually explicit things written on the walls of church bathroom stalls. My reading experience left me grappling with the fear that Canadian undergraduate students are incapable of producing sexual innuendo above a fifth-grade level.
I broke out in a sweat. My old Cold War fears revisited me; surely the Soviets are gaining an advantage on us in this area. We’ve all heard the reports of a Bulgarian seventh-grader who produced a dirty joke so powerful it offended a person hundreds of kilometers away who didn’t even speak Bulgarian. Meanwhile, our university students are making lame analogies between cross-country skiing and the missionary position in a sexy Winter Olympics article?
Red Loin is packed with lists of tired, unoriginal jokes, such as their list of “funny” porn movie titles, including such topical pop-culture references as “Forrest Hump” (a riff on Forrest Gump, 1994) and “Full Latex Jacket” (Full Metal Jacket, 1987). It is littered with reprinted copyrighted comic strips, and includes a sexy horoscope section, which the magazine unabashedly admits was stolen from the internet.
Much of the original content of the magazine is poorly written, virtually unpunctuated nonsense, informed by shallow stereotypes and juvenile sexuality.. Perhaps the worst example is “Oh-Oh-Olympics,” a barely literate screed making an utterly unsuccessful attempt to relate Winter Olympic sports to sex, which by the third paragraph had already broken down to this level:
“Some of the sports I found to be a bit of a stretch converting them. For example snowboarding and some of the skiing events. I like the back and forth motion of alpine skiing. Swish, swish, swish really rhythmic. But the closest thing I could come up with was ski jumping, free style skiing and snowboarding is like spontaneous sex.”
The only concession I’m prepared to make to Red Loin is that the article “How Not 2 Pick Up Girls” is reasonably well-written, original and funny, and contains jokes about social situations, rather than focusing solely on the plumbing-related aspects of sex. Unfortunately, the article is so riddled with parenthetical asides (like this one) that the writer actually employs two different styles of parentheses so he can make parenthetical asides within his parenthetical asides. One would have to be a math major to follow the order of operations and solve the sentences.
It would be easy to blame the parents, to say that in our fast-paced modern world few people take the time to sit down with their children and teach them the difference between a genuinely clever suggestive remark and idiotically giggling at the utterance of the word “pianist”. Ultimately, universities must accept part of the blame.
Our post-secondary institutions must be prepared to handle students who have fallen through the cracks in their early education and reached the university level incapable of making a coherent sexual pun or writing a dirty limerick. When bad humour is published, it reflects badly on the entire institution.
Maclean’s OnCampus is throwing down the gauntlet. Are you ready to stand up for the reputation of your university, of your country? Student editors and writers, send us your humour articles, your satire issues, your spoofs, your (original) comic strips, your hilarious illustrations, and prove that humour is not dead on Canadian campuses.
The funniest, wittiest, and cleverest articles we receive will be appreciated, laughed at, mentioned in a future column on this website and possibly linked to or reprinted here — I haven’t quite worked this out with my editor yet. I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but I assure you, it will be spectacular.
It will be spectacular.
Email your hyperlinks, scanned documents and .pdf files to email@example.com. If you are not capable of producing an electronic version of your publication, simply go to your local post office and mail your paper copy to 1992, where I’m sure someone will be happy to receive it.
If you have a spoof issue that you think might be funny, but you’re worried about being exposed to my scathing critique, please refer to the suggestions on the next page and re-evaluate your work.
Student papers out questionable campaign practices
It seems that many Canadian universities each experience their own bout of political fervor and drama during student government elections.
Well, ‘tis the season for hopeful student politicians to hang posters, hand out pamphlets and make speeches in their respective student centres.
After Carleton took the world stage under profound criticism for a badly worded motion to drop the infamous Shinerama frosh fundraiser, Carleton’s student population was looking for a government who better represented them. However, as is often the case with student elections, scandals and subsequent disqualifications plagued what was one of the school’s most anticipated political races.
In the end, the incumbent slate won out the president position, but now shares executive seats with one third of the opposing slate in what was a somewhat anti-climatic finish.
But for those who cared then and care now about what’s going on behind the scene, there is the student paper.
At York University, the Excalibur already has its nose in some potential issues with the newly announced chief returning officer. Casey Chu Cheong will serve again as the York Federation of Students CRO, who also filled this position last year. The YFS board of directors selected Chu Cheong by vote, facing no opponent to gain the title, the Excalibur reports.
As with many schools, the appointment of important election officials who face allegations of bias and friendly relations with current executives or running slates becomes a heated issue that carries throughout the election season. And it is likely, if you’re following the York election, this won’t be the last you hear about Chu Cheong.
Meanwhile, the Fulcrum, the University of Ottawa’s student paper, in a recent editorial, outlines some strange poster campaigning to encourage candidates to run in the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa. The “BE FAMOUS” posters look more suited to American Idol audition calls than to student government, and as the Fulcrum points out, perhaps the road to executive seats is all about the glamour, but maybe it should be about the responsibility these students find in office.
Remembering that students executives not only vie for a slice of the large executive pay pie, but also control hundreds of thousands of dollars in student funds, paid through tuition, these top spots come with a lot of power. While arguably many respectable, rule-abiding candidates have run, many of them have lost as a result of scandal or failed democracy.
While this isn’t the Hill, the results still affect often large student bodies, so for once, a fair student election at a Canada institution would be welcomed. I dare you.
- photo by Carol Browne
What are your student politicians up to on your campus? E-mail me at jenniferpagliaro[at]gmail[dot]com or leave a comment below.
Student newspapers are about making mistakes and learning from them
The University of Saskatchewan student newspaper, The Sheaf, is at the centre of another controversy related to its editorial content. (PDF version page 10)
Last Thursday, an editor of the paper wrote the editorial page opinion and stated “Remembrance Day is a depraved celebration of war, violence and death.”
While the opinion piece made very valid points about the reasons why Canada became involved in World War I and World War II, it showed a lack of understanding of the true purpose of Remembrance Day. Instead of making a fully meaningful opinion, the piece degraded into a typical anti-military rant.
The piece fails to note that Remembrance Day is a solemn occasion. Veterans and military personnel do not celebrate war, do not like violence, and never celebrate death.
An editorial is supposed to challenge the reader and make them think. This piece had a great deal of potential to do exactly that, but went too far in what appeared to be an attempt to capture the reader’s attention.
This is not the first editorial controversy to occur recently at The Sheaf. Two and a half years ago, the paper was engulfed in scandal after running a cartoon depicting Jesus Christ engaging in the act of fellatio on a cartoon pig representing capitalism. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper resigned over the cartoon.
In the November 13th issue, hitting newsstands today, the editor who wrote the piece apologized “for not choosing my words more carefully.”
While I strongly disagree with the opinion piece, I’m reassured that it ran. The student press is one of the few places that one can challenge ideas which society holds to be sacred.
Student newspapers push the limits with inexperienced writers. The result is some good ideas go bad and outrage follows.
I know I’ve had to learn the hard way as well.
I will have at least three posts related to the University of British Columbia tonight, this is the first. Congratulations to The Ubyssey on their 90th anniversary. The Globe and Mail ran a piece on The Ubyssey today. Many non-UBC students, such as myself, are familiar with the paper due to the excellent work of [...]
I will have at least three posts related to the University of British Columbia tonight, this is the first.
Many non-UBC students, such as myself, are familiar with the paper due to the excellent work of the UBC library to digitize the entire history of the paper. It’s a great resource for researching the history of campus politics in Canada.
Did the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay student newspaper go too far with its April Fools edition? Some people think so, I’m just laughing. The name of the issue "Fourth Mistake" should have been a give-away.
Did the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay student newspaper go too far with its April Fools edition?
Some people think so, I’m just laughing. The name of the issue "Fourth Mistake" should have been a give-away.
York student journalist finds he can get an essay written for as little as $100. Writers claim to be grads of Harvard, Oxford; promise a “B”
You can sell your slightly-damaged futon to the highest bidder on Ebay–and use the money to pay the lowest bidder to write your university course essay, on Essaybay.com.
The web-based service is the latest spin on university cheating, offering custom-made, university-level essays. It works kind of like the tender process that businesses and government use for major contracts: Users post descriptions of the product they are looking for, and others respond with bids to produce the requested essay. Bidders state their price and their qualifications; the individual student decides which bidder they believe is most qualified, and entrust them essay to them.
As York University student journalist Flynn Daunt discovered, even a clearly ridiculous essay request brought multiple offers, at rock-bottom prices, from people claiming the highest qualifications. Flynn went on Essaybay.com and posted that he needed a 1,750 word essay, and had to earn at least a “B.” His topic: “America’s War on Mustaches.”
“Within a few days there were seven bids from writers claiming to be graduates from acclaimed schools such as Oxford and Harvard,” wrote Flynn in the Excalibur, York’s student paper. “The bids had a price range from just over $100 to about $400.”
Essaybay says, however, that it is not engaging in cheating. According to Jed Hallam, Essaybay’s public relations manager, the service is in fact improving the “custom essay industry” by “increasing the transparency of the process.” He says
“It is ridiculous to suggest that using our service as a study aid is cheating,” Hallam told the Excalibur, “and this suggestion is merely a way for universities and colleges to reflect blame for poor assessment methods.”
Right. Got it. All we really want to know is, how much would a paper taking this line of reasoning cost on EssayBay? “Student X requires an argumentative essay with the following title: ‘Putting your name on a paper you didn’t write is not cheating.’ Length: 2,000 words. Required Grade: A”
Canadian student newspapers need to plan to cover a tragic event on their campus
During the recent US college shootings, the campus paper has been the first media outlet on the scene and the first to get substantive reporting out.
Last week’s shooting at Northern Illinois University was no exception. The New York Times and Chicago’s Daily Herald both ran stories about the student newspaper in their weekend editions following the shooting.
The NYT story notes that the editor of the NIU student newspaper had conversed with the editor of the Virginia Tech student newspaper and had a plan in place for the NIU student newspaper. This plan enabled the paper to quickly gather information and only eight hours later, get a special print issue out. They were prepared for the shooting and got the information students needed into their hands before the national media outlets even got there satellite trucks off the freeway.
As campus shootings and violence seem to be becoming more common, should campus newspapers in Canada prepare themselves for one to occur on their campus? I believe the answer is yes.
My preferred (and overly unfair) caption would be: “and this little Tory took the bribe”
There’s a hilarious picture in the Sheridan College student newspaper last week showing a local federal conservative candidate taking a “payoff “from a “jailbird.”
The photo’s just begging for a caption contest:
Editor-in-chief of La Rotonde offers blog format coverage on voting day
Wassim Garzouzi, editor in chief of the French language student newspaper at SFUO, is covering the SFUO election today on his newly created blog:
He tells me "There might be a few typos, but I will keep updating it throughout the day and more importantly, throughout the night."
I say to Wassim, excellent – we need more coverage of student politics, especially up to date information from the student press. My only concern is that you may compete with me — in the typo category! You will definitely beat me in quality of coverage of the SFUO election.
(For those of you that have not seen a copy of La Rotonde, you should try to get your hands on one. Somebody brought one back to McMaster from the CUP conference and frankly, the layout puts a lot of more established papers to shame.)