I remember, exactly this time last year, that I said I would do everything in my power to serve this student newspaper.
I am writing this open letter today because the time has come for me to enact my promise. As a student publication, The Gryphon is faced with a difficult task, in which it has to balance its journalistic responsibility with the fact that it is an LUU society. This has always sat the newspaper a little awkwardly. It serves to hold the Union to account, yet lives within it. What does that mean for it, and for you, as its readers?
Firstly, it means that the publication’s role as the voice of Leeds University students has to be taken seriously. In the Union bye-laws, it is stipulated that the Editor-In-Chief of The Gryphon has to be elected. This allows the newspaper to represent the views of its readers in the most accurate manner, as well as permitting it to hold the University and Union to account. Sometimes, finding out the truth isn’t easy. People can get hurt. Reputations can be damaged.
Reparations need to be made. Today, we at The Gryphon want to share a difficult truth with our readers. Last year, our Editor campaign was sidelined without discussion, by LUU. As our previous Editor can testify, this decision was conveyed without any liaison between the Editor and senior LUU staff members. This resulted, in the first time in roughly forty years, of the Editor’s removal from all Lead LUU promotional material, the enlistment of a separate briefing for Editor candidates, as well as The Gryphon candidates being placed on a separate ballot.
In spite of promises that LUU would help the newspaper find its feet again after our grievances were made public, we are still struggling in our quest to be a voice that is heard. In spite of the fact that the decision to remove The Gryphon Editor from the Leadership Race ballot, with the other executive hopefuls, was taken without our consent, we have to ensure that 1500 vote on this campus next week to say yes to fair representation for The Gryphon. It might not feel like this should be an issue that matters to you. You might pick up the paper every now and again, find it a mysterious entity, and wonder why we are airing discontentment. To consciously sideline the Editorial campaign without the permission of the campus is to jeopardise your freedom of speech. No matter how subtle these movements are, to marginalise the Editor’s election without the permission of the student body is nothing short of unjust.
Being the voice of the students comes with great responsibility. We decide what you get to read, how we say what you do read, and what is the most important part of those stories. That is a job that needs to be taken seriously, and the dismantling of Editorial responsibility is one of devastating effect.
LUU prides itself on being a democratic platform which allows its student’s voices to be heard. When the paper’s own democracy is threatened, LUU’s reputation comes into question
We would like you to join with us, and appeal to the Union’s finer sensibilities. We want to build a bridge which allows the student body to be given a voice in deciding what happens with the newspaper that is built for them. We offer out this editorial as an olive branch. We want to operate in a way in which we are responsible to you — our students, and only our students.
If you believe in being fairly represented on your campus by an institution that seeks to give you an unbiased perspective on what is happening at your University, then vote ‘Yes’ in Monday’s referendum to give The Gryphon Editor equal coverage in the Leadership Race campaign. We want to build a bright future with you, for you.