The Lance, the University of Windsor campus paper, received a temporary reprieve from the student government to print the final edition of the semester. The 85-year-old newspaper was ordered to end all its print productions immediately, following a decision made last Wednesday by the University of Windsor Student Alliance. But following student outcry and a Facebook campaign to save the newspaper, the board of directors has given the student newspaper until the end of the month to submit a new operating plan. 

The Lance, the University of Windsor campus paper, received a temporary reprieve from the student government to print the final edition of the semester.   

The 85-year-old newspaper was ordered to end all its print productions immediately, following a decision made last Wednesday by the University of Windsor Student Alliance, based on The Lance’s $24,000 deficit. But following student outcry and a Facebook campaign to save the newspaper, the board of directors called an emergency open meeting on Monday.

The Lance is Windsor’s only free weekly, second-largest publication and serves the local community as well as the campus. The paper employs 14 paid contract staff as well as numerous other volunteer and co-op students.

The board passed three motions – to let The Lance pass its April 17 special edition, to let the student newspaper create a new operating plan due on April 30, as well as have a representative from The Lance update the board with its financials twice a semester.

Ahmed Farhan, one of the directors, said the decision to move to online-only operations was “the better option” than cutting staff.

“It’s two major costs were staff salaries and printing,” Farhan said, adding the student government wants to have The Lance continue to publish. “It would be great if we could move pass the animosity and have a more productive dialogue.”

[node:ad]

However, The Lance’s editor-in-chief Natasha Marar told J-Source that she decision was “premature” and came without any warning. She said she was has always been transparent about the newspaper’s financials and that the UWSA never asked to look at its books.


Related content on J-Source:


“There was no signs whatsoever that this was something being talked about before the decision came down last week,” Marar said. “It was hasty, uncalled for, and frankly embarrassing for my staff and the university.”

She also disputed the board’s deficit figures based on March earnings, since The Lance’s projected end-of-year earnings show it would have been $7,000 in debt, she added.

Windsor’s president Alan Wildeman said his office is prepared to work with The Lance and student government to cover half the deficit, buying the newspaper time to redesign its business plan and become financially stable again.

The Lance editors also want the student paper separated from the UWSA. As a student newspaper, The Lance reports on the UWSA and holds it accountable to the student body, but it is technically a part of the student government in that its bills get paid by the student subsidies managed by the UWSA. Earlier this year, WesternU's campus paper The Gazette claimed it was being muzzled by the student government.

Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.