In their second editorial, Editors-in-Chief Holly and Jordan would like to remind students that The Glasgow Guardian always has been, and will be, on the side of the students.
In our applications for Editor-in-Chief, we were asked why we believed student journalism is important. For both of us, it came down to something simple: to give students a voice. However, over the last few weeks, we’ve witnessed the muffling of these voices on a national scale. We have seen what happens when people in power fail to make decisions to keep others safe. Be it intentional or unintentional, it has jeopardised many young people’s first experiences at university and their safety. In Murano, we saw hundreds of students self-isolating because of these oversights.
Whilst the University has offered the excuse of “sticking to government guidelines” as to why the outbreak occurred, there has been no excuse offered as to why there was a week wait between the University learning of these cases and their delivery of adequate support to these students; some of whom aren’t even 18-years-old yet. We don’t expect everyone to make the correct decision all the time, but what we do expect is accountability for those decisions. Without press coverage, and Glasgow being the poster child for what can go wrong in halls, does anyone believe that things would have gotten better? Without students telling their stories to the front pages of every major publication, would we be seeing the rent rebates and food stipends?
Over the last week, we talked to more journalists than we care to mention; Holly went on BBC Radio and STV; whilst Jordan could be found on the “other” Guardian’s Podcast, and in The Times, all while sharing our experiences talking to students and discussing the conditions in halls and the mistakes that led to this outbreak.
Despite us having the platforms to use our voices, we know this hasn’t been the case for many students. Students have come forward explaining how they’ve been asked to sign agreements which prevent them from talking to the media. As a publication, we want all students to know that we are here to listen and amplify you, even if such agreements require you to be anonymous. We are here for you.
Student journalism is a tricky gig, you don’t have the funding of a major publication, but you have the same expectations; ie legal obligation, practice, and breadth of research. Across the UK we’ve seen student publications budgets slashed right when institutions need accountability the most. Palatinate, Durham’s student paper has been on the front line reporting on the “sleep with the poorest fresher” scandal, but doesn’t have enough funding to go to print. We’ve not been immune to funding cuts, but we are still fighting and willing to do what is necessary to go to print. We’re not saying this to boost our own self worth or plead for donations, but by simply reading and sharing this paper, both online or physically, you make it harder for us to go away. You make it harder for budget cuts. It doesn’t even need to be us: there are several other publications on campus to show support to; GUM, G-You, Qmunicate, GUST, and Subcity Radio, just to name a few.
In times of crisis, it’s important we ask ourselves what we can do. Our commitment at The Glasgow Guardian is, and always has been, to be on the side of the students. We are standing in solidarity with our fellow students. We urge you to use us. Get angry, get passionate, get heard. Use your voice to speak up for what you, and the rest of the student population, deserve. Because if we don’t stand up and shout for us, who will?