Letter to the editor: January 29

An Open Letter to The Queen’s Journal

An Open Letter to The Queen’s Journal:

We are writing to you as Queen’s students and supporters of the important work of The Queen’s Journal. We are also writing as law students and members of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS).

We must express our profound disappointment in The Queen’s Journal’s coverage choices.

Whereas The Queen’s Journal provides active, attentive and necessary coverage of undergraduate elections at Queen’s, the elections of graduate and professional students receive far less attention.

This attention deficit can be seen in The Queen’s Journal Student Election homepage. AMS, Rector, ASUS, ResSoc, CompSA, ComSoc, EngSoc and CESA elections are represented; yet strangely absent is any reference to the elections of the SGPS or any of the other bodies devoted to graduate and professional students.

A simple search of The Queen’s Journal website also reveals the stark difference in coverage. There have been some 590 pages devoted to AMS elections and only 72 addressing SGPS elections.

As law students, we are fortunate that the elections of the Queen’s Law Students’ Society are covered by Juris Diction, the Queen’s Law newspaper. But this is a very recent development. Many graduate and professional student society elections receive no such coverage. And, as we noted above, there is a dearth of coverage of the SGPS elections.

An active Fourth Estate is essential to a vibrant democracy. Without news coverage, platforms and candidates avoid much needed scrutiny and electors cannot properly investigate their options.

This is particularly concerning given the SGPS represents nearly four thousand full-time graduate students who pay fees to support The Queen’s Journal.

In the winter 2015 elections, a referendum to increase the fee paid by graduate and professional students for The Queen’s Journal failed. This happened while other levy increases — for Bus-It and Student Advisors — easily passed.

The failure of The Queen’s Journal fee increase is emblematic of the broader disconnect between The Journal and graduate and professional students. The Journal needs to provide coverage which is meaningful and relevant to graduate and professional students. This is particularly true at election time. 

If The Journal doesn’t provide this coverage, it fails graduate and professional students, and the broader Queen’s community.

Michael Scott, LAW ’16, is Vice-President Finance of the Law Students’ Society.

Meagan Berlin, LAW ’16, is President of the Law Students’ Society.

Chris Cochrane, PhD Student ’17, is President of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students.

Lorne Beswick, PhD Candidate ’16, is Vice-President Campaigns and Community Affairs of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students.

Christina Huber, LAW ’16, is Vice-President Finance and Services    of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students.

Mark Kellenberger, PhD Candidate ’16, is Vice-President Graduate of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students.

Mark Asfar, LAW ’17, is Vice-President Professional of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students.


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