Last week, 10 McGill Tribune editors were forced to take leaves of absence in order to campaign for the creation of a $3 fee to support an independent Tribune. And while we’re ecstatic that students voted “yes” to the fee, the bylaw that required half of our editorial board to resign needs to be changed.
The Students’ Society bylaws require any person campaigning on a referendum question to forgo all editorial duties, including writing articles, during the weeklong campaign period. This undermines campus media during election week – arguably the busiest week of the year.
An additional bylaw (16.3) prohibits campus media from endorsing a “yes” or “no” vote on referenda with which they are directly involved, so the practice of forcing editors to resign is unnecessary. Since media are already prohibited from taking a position on their own referenda, what harm can come from allowing editors to remain in contact with contributors, design the paper, and write stories?
Thanks to a university regulation that requires student fees to be renewed at least once every five years, this bylaw will continue to affect future editorial boards. Give media a fair chance to campaign for our existence and put out a quality newspaper during election period – otherwise we’ll just have to start using pseudonyms.