The Cambridge Student (TCS) will cease to run print editions after the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) 2016/17 budget cut funding for the paper.
The Cambridge equivalent of The Oxford Student, will lack the funds to run print editions under the new CUSU budget. Passing with 24 votes supporting the budget, three abstentions and 13 in opposition, the new budget decreased the funds allocated to the paper by a total of £4,850, with £2,000 of cuts targeted at website maintenance.
In further drama on the night of the vote, an emergency motion from the editors of TCS aimed at maintaining the paper’s print run in a more restricted form was narrowly defeated during the proceedings. With the decision, the 17 year print legacy of the paper comes to an end, as TCS is forced to switch from its primarily print based form to a purely online publication unless alternative solutions can be found.
“The decision made by CUSU is devastating for the paper.”
Following the announcement of the proposed cuts in April, around 60 people signed an open letter to support the continuation of print copies of the newspaper. Criticism of the CUSU’s withdrawal of funding has also been strongly voiced by the Student Publication Association (SPA), which, in a joint statement with TCS condemned the impact of the reduction in financial support for the paper. Dan Seamarks, SPA Chair, stated, “Student media is vital for democracy and holding Unions to account, a job TCS does only too well. In making this decision the Students’ Union is not only ending the heritage associated to print but also closing something which further educates students.”
Unhappy at the outcome of the vote and the draining nature of campaigning to save the print capacity of the paper while preparing for exams, Amelia Oakley, Editor-in-Chief of TCS told Cherwell, “The decision made by CUSU is devastating for the paper and all its volunteers. We are a print paper at heart, and we are determined to ensure it remains so. After exams we shall be regrouping and discussing every possible avenue available to us. We aren’t taking this decision lying down”.
Reacting to the idea of student news lacking print editions, Emma Becirovic, an English student at Jesus College, spoke of her attachment to print, despite not being an avid consumer of student news, “Although people may not be reading the newspapers cover to cover, they are an important and useful way of bringing together into one place the latest politics/arts/sports that have happened at that university.
“People hear about what’s happening at their university through this medium, even if it is through word of mouth. But at the end of the day, it has to start somewhere, and that place is the student newspaper.”
Chemistry student Ben Rackham, however, displayed both attachment to print and criticism of its excesses, “I think it’s important that there are stories, opinions and reports about the University and student life written by students, including in the print form, although the huge piles of unread copies of such papers in the JCR can’t do the environment much good! I do think the future of journalism lies online.”