I’ve heard plenty of stories over the past week about the Student Centre expansion referendum. For one, the board couldn’t ratify the results because of “human error”. That means the referendum results will be thrown out the window. Look forward to another campaign at some point in the future.
The biggest story that has come out of this referendum, from my own personal experience, is the number of students that have approached me to discuss the information that the UTM Students’ Union spread about The Medium.
After we published the first article a few weeks ago about the referendum, UTMSU’s president Christopher Thompson and executive director Walied Khogali approached the news editor and me for an interview to answer our questions. During this interview, they expressed concern about our coverage, saying that we had misinformed students and caused confusion.
I read aloud the portion of the article that dealt with the fee increase and explained the numbers in terms of the regular academic year and the semester. I asked Mr. Khogali and Mr. Thompson to point out the incorrect information so I could release a correction. They confirmed that while the information was correct, the article isn’t worded the way the student union wants. This interview is on record.
I have copies of The Canadian Press Style Guide and The Canadian Reporter for anyone who would like to have a read. Newspapers don’t always reproduce the exact wording of publicity materials. They report the facts.
After this discussion, I was under the impression that the issue had been clarified and that Mr. Khogali and Mr. Thompson were in agreement: the article is factual, albeit not worded in the way they hoped.
I’ve heard two things since the results were announced. The first is that UTMSU campaigners gave speeches in lectures stating that The Medium has published “lies” online. The second is that UTMSU executives allegedly expressed their concern to volunteers in a meeting regarding the “lies and misinformation” published in The Medium.
Besides the concerned students approaching me to discuss these occurrences, I also sat in one of these very lectures where a campaigner accused The Medium of spreading misinformation.
How can the student union accuse The Medium of spreading lies, have that falsity clarified, and then continue to campaign on the point that the information we published is false? As it turns out, it’s UTMSU that spreads misinformation about The Medium, not the other way around.
Over the last five years, I’ve had many interactions with UTMSU executives and they’ve always maintained professionalism—at least as far as I know. Presidents past and present have expressed to me their desire to “repair the relationship” with The Medium.
On my end, the relationship was never broken. We cover all UTMSU news, from the time they banned bottled water on campus to the time they were caught in a proxy scandal. We cover the good and the bad, as all credible newspapers should.
When we publish something they don’t want students to know or in a way they don’t want students to hear it, they call it “lies”. That’s the way it’s been for generations of editors and student union executives at UTM. If the relationship is indeed broken, then maybe the finger shouldn’t be pointed at The Medium.