The students of City University have voted to repeal the controversial newspaper ban less than three months after it was brought in.
The motion, which was passed at the student union’s UGM in November last year, banned The Daily Mail, The Sun and The Daily Express from university campus and properties.
Titled ‘Opposing Facism [sic] & Social Divisiveness in the UK Media’, the motion accused the papers of publishing “stories that demonise refugees and minorities” and that they “actively scapegoat the working classes they so proudly claim to represent.” It passed with 69 students voting for the motion and 54 against.
The ban received widespread attention in the national press and criticism from within the university. George Brock, lecturer and former head at City’s journalism department, said the move was “foolish, illiberal and meaningless”.
The repeal motion was voted through at the the UGM in early February. It argued that banning newspapers was an “inherently undemocratic act” and that it harms the education of the numerous journalism students at City. One of the key arguments was that it would harm the employment prospects of journalism students, many of who seek employment or internships at these papers.
The Daily Mail is the most read newspaper/ online news source in the country, followed by The Sun in second. The Daily Express is ranked sixth. Prominent journalists such as Robert Fisk and James O’Brien begun their careers at The Daily Express.
Vincent Wood, a journalism student and key member in the campaign to get the ban repealed, said:
“The damage to our reputation was our overall concern. The ban itself was unenforceable and therefore irrelevant – what mattered was the way it made our journalism department look, as well as the reputation of our university as a whole.
I think as long as people fight to oppose policies which shut down debate we can make it clear that this is not sympathetic of some academic ‘snowflake’ generation, but the actions of overreaching student unions who disregard the very foundations of education and critical thought which many people entered university to be involved in.
We were all ecstatic to have put the final nail in the coffin of the frankly bizarre and degrading policy, now we just have to hope the SU’s executive committee sees sense and carries the repeal through to completion.”