The Brunswickan Editorial Board

Editorial: Help us save our office and protect the press

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

The Brunswickan has proudly served the greater University of New Brunswick community for over 150 years. When faculty went on strike, we were there on the front lines as the go-to source for updates. We’ve been holding your student union, administration and provincial government accountable.

This year, we broke a report detailing the high levels of demand on UNB Counselling Services. We provided the most extensive provincial election coverage for the riding of Fredericton South. And when the New Brunswick government rolled out major changes to financial aid earlier this month, we were there, questioning the postsecondary education minister on your behalf.

But our work as a key institution maintaining accountability in our community is at risk.

Student Union Building staff sent an email to The Brunswickan staff, informing us we will be forced out of our editor-in-chief’s office. We were given notice we need to clear out the space in the next two weeks. This is because the building staff want it to be an office space for the manager of The Cellar.

This decision comes without any proper consultation with our staff about the importance of this space in maintaining our day-to-day operations.

This year has been challenging for The Brunswickan. Our editor-in-chief resigned in the fall, leaving us with an absence in critical leadership for a large part of the year. We had heard of the Student Union Building staff’s interest in seizing the space, but had no one in charge to make an official response. They were well aware of this unfortunate reality.

We can only come to the conclusion that the SUB office staff chose the time in which we were most vulnerable to take our much-needed office space. Our incoming editor-in-chief immediately contacted SUB staff after being hired, only to have his concerns ignored and to be asked to vacate the space immediately.

We understand the need for office space for other campus groups. That’s why The Brunswickan willingly volunteered to give up our business manager’s office last year for use by campus security. But we can’t afford to lose more space.

The editor-in-chief’s office is critical to our day-to-day work. We need a secure place to store sensitive documents and a private place to meet interview subjects.

How can we hold the university accountable if we don’t have a private and secure place of our own to meet sources?

The decision to take away our office without consultation clearly undermines freedom of the press. Student journalism on this campus will be greatly harmed by this reduction in our resources.

The Brunswickan will be left with only one limited space for over a dozen staff members to work in, and no space to carry out the essential functions the editor-in-chief’s office currently provides.

After being gradually reduced from several to one office, we can only assume there may be threats of losing all office space in the future. This would require us to end operations and eliminate a historic and vital publication from UNB.

If you support our work and want the university held to account in the future, we kindly ask you to speak out on our behalf. Sign our online petition to tell the Student Union Building’s Board you oppose this decision.

Thank you for your continued support,

The Brunswickan Editorial Board

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