Students express dismay at censorship
Thu, 27 Jan 2005
Students express dismay at censorship by associations Student Choice 27th Jan 2005
Student Choice has expressed dismay over the fact that student associations throughout the country are banning the on campus distribution of publications that are not owned by those associations.
Student Choice recently discovered that the Otago University Students Association (OUSA) have banned the distribution of Lucid, a free student magazine, on campus. On further investigation it was discovered that the same thing had been done by students associations at Canterbury Universiy, Massey Palmerston North, AUT, Waikato University, Unitec, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, UCOL Palmerston North and the Eastern Institute of Technology. According to Student Choice spokesperson Glenn Peoples these are
"Soviet style tactics," which he says "have got to stop." He said yesterday, "This is just outrageous. On a university campus of all places you would expect that freedom of speech and freedom of the press would be upheld without question."
Peoples said that the actions of these associations highlighted their inability to cope with what other organisations take for granted, namely, competition. "What are they afraid of?" he asked.
"If they are so sure that they are in tune with the students they represent, and if their publications are so good, why should the fear that students might be exposed to other magazines? These are tertiary students we're talking about, not little children." Peoples says that actions like these are symptomatic of the way association exectuives see students as incapable of deciding what is best for themselves.
"You've got to remember, these are the people who think that students lack the ability to decide whether or not they want to be a part of a students association in the first place. These backwards outfits are still compulsory, which basically means students get treated like kiddies who have no clue what's best for themselves."
According to Peoples, part of the blame lies with the tertiary institutions. "One thing we have to remember," he said, "is that these are only associations. The reality is that they just do not own the campus. The only way publications can be banned from campus, just as the only way any person can be banned from campus, is with the compliance of the institution itself.
The institutions need to stick up for students' freedom when the association fails, and basically put these over zealous student nannies in their place. Association execs do not own campus, and nor should they be telling students what they should or should not be allowed to read on campus.
The clearest way to send them the message that they have no right to tell us students what to do is by making these organisations voluntary. We all know it's only a matter of time before this happens, but draconian practices like banning student magazines from campus only aggravate the situation by further walking all over the rights of students."
Student Choice upholds voluntary student association membership on the grounds of freedom of association www.studentchoice.org.nz