By Harrisen Leckenby
UTS cut student journal Vertigo’s budget as the University reports a $29 million surplus in 2021.
The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has cut approximately 50% of the budget for the student publication Vertigo.
Speaking to Tharunka, a Vertigo spokesperson confirmed their disbelief at the changes:
“Vertigo is extremely upset by the actions of [the] Senior Executive at UTS. Overriding the autonomy of the UTS Student Association to cripple the university’s student publication is terrible. This is not a case of “future-proofing” the university or prioritising student needs. It is a case of a democratically elected student voice being stamped out against the student body’s interests”.
The move has garnered significant backlash from students and the public alike. NSW Federal Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi wrote directly to the UTS Vice Chancellor “urging the university to reverse funding cuts” to the magazine. The UTS Marketing twitter account retweeted Senator Faruqi’s tweet.
Vertigo funding is decided at the beginning of the year. However, in mid-year funding negotiations, UTS Deputy Vice Chancellor Shirley Alexander demanded that funding for Vertigo be cut, arguing that the publication “suits the purposes of a very small number of students” and “wastes SSAF fees.”
This backpedaling from UTS executives on previously agreed upon funding, means that Vertigo will no longer be able to print the remaining scheduled volumes of 2022, with volumes 3 through 5 only available online. All five issues would have been available to print had this decision been made at the beginning of the year – just with fewer individual copies.
Honi Soit, The Unviersity of Sydney’s student paper, wrote an editorial declaring the move “an attack on student media and democracy”.
Vertigo is currently running a petition to reinstate their funding. You can view it here.