Editorial: Taking accountability

Earlier this school year, The Medium’s executive team made a series of problematic lapses in judgement for which we must take accountability. 

In October, as tensions in Gaza continued to rise, The Medium’s executive team decided to alter publication policies in an effort to maintain impartiality. However, admittedly, these policies were also made to reduce the fear of criticism by university administration, which had started to consume most of our team. We decided that, while we would continue to cover the genocide unfolding in Gaza in our News and Features sections, we would discontinue any coverage on the matter in the Opinion section. 

This was a grave mistake. 

Along with many other universities in North America, The University of Toronto is a highly censored institution. By rejecting opinion pieces, The Medium was not only complacent but was a contributor to this blatant censorship. What we have done was an enormous disservice to our writers, readers, and the entire UTM community. At The Medium, we have a responsibility to represent student voices, and over the past many weeks, we have failed you. 

Through incidental fees, the UTM community pays for the cushy chairs we sit on, the keyboards under our fingers, and our weekly orders from the printing press, yet we still had the audacity to silence UTM students. Our previous willingness and ability to side-step the publication of sensitive, hugely important opinion pieces reveals the massive amount of privilege we have—privilege that was not used for good. The genocide in Gaza is an issue that will no longer be ignored. The Medium is an independent student newspaper, which means that the university is unable to censor us, as we are a separate entity entirely. We are a unique outlet for student voices, and it is time students use our platform to speak on issues that are bigger than ourselves. 

It was nobody’s responsibility to educate us but our own, and yet, various members of the UTM community and members of The Medium’s team came forward, using their precious time, patience, and energy to enlighten us. For these individuals, we are endlessly thankful.

At this time, the right thing to do has become abundantly clear: we must continue to represent student voices in our Opinion section. At the time of the publication of this editorial, we will be nullifying our previous policy, and writers will once again be able to submit Opinion articles about the ongoing destruction and violence in Gaza and Israel.

The Medium’s goal is to provide a safe space for analytical discussions on various topics, acting as a moderator and facilitator rather than imposing a specific standpoint. Our responsibility is to uphold journalistic integrity and provide a platform that does not propagate hate or misinformation. As an independent student news organization, we acknowledge the right of students to have their voices and opinions heard through our platform. 

The opinions expressed in opinion pieces are those of the author and not the paper. Every article submitted to The Medium undergoes thorough fact-checking and multiple stages of editing prior to publication. Readers who wish to critique an opinion can do so by either writing a letter to the editor or can be put in contact with the author of the opinion piece for further discussion. The Medium encourages constructive criticism that fosters meaningful conversations. Criticism that adds value to the dialogue may be published as a letter to the editor with the author’s consent. 

Taking this first step is important, but we understand that there is much more to be done before we can regain the trust of the UTM community. There are no more excuses. It is time to take accountability and get back to raising up the voices of UTM students. 

Editor-in-Chief (Volume 50); Managing Editor (August-November, Volume 50); Copy Editor (Volume 49) — River recently completed his HBA in Political Science. He is deeply passionate about social justice and law and is always learning more by connecting with members of the UTM community. In his spare time, he can be found playing video games and jamming out on the guitar.

Managing Editor (Volume 50); Copy Editor (August-November, Volume 50); Features Editor (Volume 48) — Jaros graduated with a Professional Writing and Communications major, and a Physics and Mathematics double minor in 2021. He previously worked as the Features Editor for Volume 48. In his free time, you can catch Jaros working out at his small-town gym, curating playlists, or suffering as he defends the latest phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can connect with him on Instagram or LinkedIn.


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