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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pillocks of the Establishment

A propos the general lack of press coverage of the Edinburgh Student sit-in, it is evident that the University's weekly "Student" has for its part deliberately suppressed such coverage. Here's the full story from Jess Chilton McConnell:

Subject: Student Newspaper White-wash

University Newspaper White-wash of Student Occupation...

Instead of covering the student occupation in any meaningful way, Edinburgh
University's 'Student' newspaper has chosen to undermine the editors of the Comment
section to ensure the student body is kept 'in the dark' over what should be a
multi-perspective, unbiased reflection on last week's events.

'Student' senior editors re-worked the 3-page Comment section after the deadline
without consulting its editors, in clear breach of good working practice. Moreover,
they put pressure on those editors over the nature of some of the articles (the
section as a whole was well-balanced but they took exception to those portraying a
pro-Palestine/pro-student occupation stance), to the point where the section is at
risking of losing its editors, who will not stand for being intimidated and
undermined.

While the whole affair is deeply worrying, two outrageous executive decisions stand
out.

Firstly, an article written by Barrie Levine of Scottish Jews for Just Peace was
removed entirely. He is a guest writer providing a vital Jewish perspective on the
matter and examining the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. This
is the same distinction the occupying students were trying to make throughout the
event itself, when faced with unfounded accusations of intimidating Jewish students.
This is a serious matter that would have been largely dealt with by Barrie's
article. Beyond trying to prolong ill-informed opposition to the occupation, in the
face of wide support and actual understanding, there is no justification for
removing the piece.

Secondly, to add insult to injury, the chief editors hijacked half a page of the
Comment section for an advert for the paper itself! If they wanted to argue too many
articles on the occupation took space away from other issues (a conceivably just
argument) this proves no such logic lies behind their actions.

These actions taken by the chief editors are unprofessional in the extreme and show
prejudice against both the Comment section editors and the occupying students, who
despite having the support of the Rector and many world-renowned scholars and
organisations, and who are now working in a respectful collaboration with the
university administrators, are still being black-balled by a highly-prejudiced
minority of students, including it would seem the chief editors of Student.

Where can all students involved in this situation get a fair hearing if they cannot
rely on their own newspaper? These editors must be bought to account.

Meanwhile, it is more important now than ever before for those in possession of the
truth to share it personally with as many fellow students as possible. Do not let
this white-wash succeed.

In solidarity.

Perhaps the senior editors of Student are hoping for a slice of
Blair's blood-money in the form of a few of those nice scholarships. Maybe they're all planning to work for the BBC.

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