Editorial: we put the fun in deFund

On reflection that this is the last issue of Volume 51, it occurs to me that my time as a writer and my time as editor at Arthur Newspaper have been two very different experiences.

When we were elected, I remember being so excited at the idea that we were given a mandate to run an actual newspaper. Where would we take  this so-called leftist rag? I wanted to tackle every issue, take this newspaper’s coverage to new heights, and explore Peterborough in a way that represented the unique lens Yumna and I brought to the table.

My excitement never faltered, but my newfound editorship presented me with unexpected challenges in every possible way. I remember being berated for my affiliation with Arthur. I’ll never forget being at a party and having someone come up to lecture me about the font size and formatting errors we made in one of our first issues. I’ll never forget meeting Christopher Tindale, who conducted the Traill review last year and was a Senior Tutor when Traill was an Undergraduate College, saying that he thought Arthur was terrible. “Just a horrible rag,” were his words. I asked him why, and he never told me, but it haunts me to this day.

In truth, this newspaper has embodied a lot of personalities. I have far more good memories from being part of this organization than bad, and my favourite one is working with my best friends. It was one hot summer day when Yumna Leghari, Zafer Izer and I rooted through old issues of Arthur from the 1960s in this office I’ve come to call home. We had a lot of laughs seeing how satirical this paper used to be, how much humor was in it when it was just beginning.

That’s why I wanted to know why Mr. Tindale hated this newspaper, because it’s funny to me how horrible Arthur can be sometimes. Horrible in the sense that it has typos, it’s had some questionable design choices, but has been more of an authentic reflection of Trent’s identities throughout the decades.

Yumna and I have undergone just about every imaginable obstacle while running an organization whose management changes every few years. Upon receiving an article this week from our staff celebrating mine and Yumna’s work, I was compelled to step back and recognize what we have achieved in our two years here.

So, what was our impact? Nothing tells it better than the gracious piece by our staff on page 6. A look at my own article on page 14, on local twistcore sensations No Pussyfooting, will make plain what I’ve always been passionate about; the Cultural Studies program at Trent, and the incredible culture that exists in Peterborough. Our time as editors of Arthur have become symbolic of celebrating the rich diversity that exists in this community.

In addition to that, we have shed light on some fucked up issues on our own campus. When we looked into archives and profiled the Trent Eight, we got to know a fascinating history of political activism that existed at Trent. During this year, a real story came to our attention about the Athletic’s Centre expansion fee (an update to which can be found on page 5). Upon seeing the reaction to the article, an alumnus said to me, “you know, not everyone can relate to the Colleges being sold off and the SuperBuild/ Bonnie Patterson controversy. This, people can relate to right now, and shows just how little of a say students have in what happens at their University.”

In the same vein as our former editors, Matt Rappolt and Pat Reddick, who exposed a TCSA President conspiring with a member of the Trent Conservatives, we were not afraid of showing what has been going on at our campus.

The talent of our staff shines through so brilliantly in their expositions of recent debates and racial tensions on campus. This topic has been covered by the CBC and Electric City Magazine, but nothing has been so accurate and brave to tell the tale than Zafer Izer’s article on Trent’s alt-right, or Tyler Majer’s coverage of the Make Trent Safe protest. The threat of a lawsuit in reaction to Zafer’s article depicts the dangerous trend of media suppression, and is symbolic of what is at stake for the press when it comes to candidly writing the news.

Along with legal consequences, this coverage precipitated a defunding campaign initiative as well. We never shied away from controversy or oppression, and I have faith that Arthur will continue this tradition under the newly elected editorship of Dan Morrison and Josh Skinner.

Instead of defunding Arthur, I’m going to write about why you should fund it instead. This was the only news publication that dared to tell it how it is. When opposing viewpoints emerged, it is also the only platform to provide a fair a back-and-forth on what is really happening, so even if people feel that this newspaper sucks, tell us why it sucks and it will be in print.

Arthur Newspaper is the best experience a person might have going to Trent, according to some of the heartfelt staff testimonials, which moved me to tears. To quote Holly Stark, “Arthur leaves me thankful for language, for words and for the spaces in between the words.” I am humbled at the things that have been said on page 6, as the article was a suprise  initiated by Holly, a staff member we had to let go mid way through the year.

I actually feel bad for the next editors, because once this newspaper comes out, people are going to see just how cool the Arthur crew is and think, “hey, I want to be part of this!” Tragically, there will never be enough money to hire all the cool and talented people who want to be a part of this endeavour, but you should be a part of it nonetheless. I encourage you to read their words on page 6, and know this:

I only handed in an article to Arthur Newspaper because the editors at the time, Sara Ostrowska and Jasmine June Cabinaw, asked me to write about what I was passionate about. “Me?” I asked at the time, “yeah I like to write, but I’m not a journalist.”

Their insistence for me to write an article eventually wore me down into finally submitting, not unlike the way I have pestered every one of our staff members to apply for this job. They made my article front page. I’ll never forget the shock I felt at seeing my words in print, and I’ll never shake the feeling of pride I still get when someone tells me they read my article, whether they agree or disagree with me, because they fucking read it.

So fund Arthur, not because it creates student jobs, gives you practical experience, and looks good on a resume, but because you are funding a culture. What you end up supporting is women like myself and Yumna, or any other editor to empower others, and make them feel like a part of something. This small student publication rose above it all this year, and here you will find the real story of resilience in the face of adversity, and I loved every moment of it.