By Tharunka Executive
We at Tharunka are heartbroken for our counterparts at UTS and stand with them as they fight to restore themselves to their rightful standing.
UTS has significantly reduced the capabilities of its student publication by cutting its budget by more than 50%.
The argument for the cuts given by UTS Deputy Vice Chancellor Shirley Alexander is that Vertigo is “a high quality publication that suits the purposes of a very small fraction of students” and “wastes SSAF fees“.
This reasoning is ludicrous. The belief that slashing funding because the publication quality is too high punishes a publication for essentially being too good. Vertigo should not have their funding cut because they are too high quality. Do we even need to argue against this?
The simple fact is that student papers cultivate creative talent. They exist halfway between a fully-fledged publication and a University society. Student contributors have an environment where they are free to explore their passions as creators and develop as artists and people. They simultaneously gain industry experience that is attractive on a resume.
Not only would cutting funding from student publications detract from the quality of campus life, but it would result in less opportunities to prepare for future jobs in the creative arts.
We grow tired of attempts by University executives to weed out or even neutralise student reporting. Universities are complex places with few avenues to learn about campus goings-on; most students hear about scandals, mismanagement or outright exploitation of students and staff through investigative journalism by their peers. Student magazines do not publish to tear down universities. They write because they want the university to be the best version of itself, and that often requires holding those who run it, accountable.
The actions by UTS’ senior executive are an attack on student journalists who have little to defend themselves with. Vertigo, like most student publications, is at the whim of the university budget sheet and executives who, in some tragic cases, bludgeon them with it.
Tharunka stands with Vertigo in opposition to the funding cuts. A robust Australian media industry begins at the roots, which have been torn up enough as it is.
Vertigo is currently running a petition to reinstate their funding. You can view it here.