Last week The Lance, a weekly based at the University of Windsor, announced a new agreement between the university and its students’ alliance that will absolve the paper of its deficit and set it on the road to independence . It’s great news and it didn’t come without a fight – and an olive branch.
Five months ago, the paper was nearly forced to shut its doors for good after the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance announced their intention to cease printing due to the paper’s deficit.
The decision was made without consultation of staff who had been working with the alliance to address the financial issues and came days after the paper published a critical feature examining the alliance’s then-recent election. With that the now infamous #savethelance campaign was launched and letters of support from CUPpies and others were sent.
A month later the UWSA reopened talks to disappointing results – directors voted against all three proposals The Lance brought to the table and forced the paper to adopt a budget they determined without any input from staff.
Their decision left the paper with a bare bones budget that made the implementation of operational changes nearly impossible, according to outgoing editor-in-chief Natasha Marar. True to her word a third of staff positions were cut and the number of print issues reduced.
That was the last we heard from The Lance until last week’s announcement of their new agreement with the UWSA and the university.
The entente sees what remains of The Lance‘s deficit shouldered by the UWSA and the university on a rolling basis. The Lance will continue collecting outstanding payments in an effort to reduce the deficit and both bodies agree to absorb any remaining deficit– 50 per cent each – in return for discounted advertising rates for the next three years.
What’s more the UWSA acknowledged its role in contributing to The Lance‘s deficit on two fronts: the alliance’s interference in the paper’s editorial content after their order to stop publication and their breaking of an agreement with the paper.
It’s a victory but the battle is not won. Along with the agreement The Lance announced its intention to become independent of the UWSA, so the next challenge, ensuring the paper achieves its independence deficit-free, is looming.
So congratulations to The Lance and good luck with the next, crucial step – CUP is here if you need a show of widespread support, a cacophony of angry student voices to defend you and cow the opposition, or a phone call offering a word of support.
All the best.