Europe's largest student paper is to be closed down by its own university, the University of London, over financial concerns, despite the funding needed to keep the paper alive amounting to less than £3,000 per college.
The university voted to close the London Student, which reports on news concerning the 19 colleges making up the University of London (UoL).
According to the University of London Union (ULU), which has since been abolished by the university, the combined personal salaries of the vice chancellors who voted to shut the paper is around £4m.
The paper needs a £54,000 lump sum to keep it going, but VCs turned down the request for a one-year extension on the paper's finance, even though it would mean student journalists could source other funding for the future.
Oscar Webb, the current London Student editor, said: "London Student has been a necessary and valuable asset to the University for the past 60 years.. [but] the current management at UoL seem intent on selling-off this legacy."
The @UoLondon confirmed that is closing its nearly 100 year old student publication at the end of July. We continue to oppose this... [1/2]— London Student (@LondonStudent) July 8, 2014
... and will be writing an open letter to the university. If you wish to sign it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org [2/2]— London Student (@LondonStudent) July 8, 2014
The paper has been funded by the university since the 1950s.
Michael Chessum, who was president of the former ULU, said: "The University of London is engaged in an act of vandalism against organisations and activities that have taken students decades to build up. It costs peanuts to fund London Student, and it is profoundly sad that Vice Chancellors will not put forward funding for a vital source of community, news and scrutiny – but then of course, why would they?"
A spokesperson from the university said: "The University of London is not closing down the London Student newspaper. It is the campaigning element of ULU that is closing, which includes the posts of the sabbatical officers and the editor of London Student. These were directly funded by the College subscriptions, which ceased in 2013, and have now been redirected to support student activity within each individual College.
"The decision to close the campaigning element of ULU came as a result of a university review in 2013, endorsed by the heads of our eighteen Colleges and our trustees. We stood by the conclusions of the review, which recommended focusing on student representation within the individual Colleges’ own student unions. Secondly, we want to make it absolutely clear that the building in Malet Street will stay open and available to all London University students, together with the social, sporting and entertainment activities that students want.
"The request for additional funding last week for London Student was declined. The university’s position has always been consistent: if the student body wants to run a university-wide newspaper and to pay for an editorial staff, it can of course do so, but this is ultimately a decision for the student unions across London."
The final decision to shut the paper will be made by university trustees on 16 July.Suggest a correction