Students and graduates from City University London, which has one of the UK’s top journalism schools, have reacted with outrage after its student union voted to ban the Daily Mail, The Sun and Daily Express on campus.
City University, which has been described as the “Oxbridge of journalism”, has the top ranked journalism department in London, according to the Guardian University Guide.
Last night, the university’s student union passed a motion to ban the tabloid newspapers, claiming they “stir up racial hatred”, “attack the weakest and poorest members of society” and publish stories that are “inherently sexist”.
In its resolution, the union declares: “There is no place for the Sun, Daily Mail or Express (in their current form), on City University London campuses or properties”.
However, as the papers are not currently sold on campus, it is unclear how the SU will implement this.
It also states that the university should encourage students to pressure these newspapers to stop fuelling “fascism, racial tension and hatred” and should use its industry contacts to do so too.
The decision, which was passed 69 votes to 54 at the union’s annual general meeting, has caused a storm among the university’s many journalism students and graduates.
MA Newspaper Journalism student Alice Cachia said: “This is absolutely ridiculous. It should be the students’ choice whether they purchase a paper or not.
“What happened to freedom of the press? What happened to freedom of choice?”
Writing in a blog on the Huffington Post UK, journalism undergraduate Jack Fenwick said: “Since when did university students choose to ban people they disagree with instead of debate them? It’s outrageous. Universities should be safe spaces for open debate.
“But instead, a small group of militant activists, spurred on by an SU too weak to step in when needed, has trashed the reputation of a university that houses one of the greatest journalism schools in the world.
Fellow student Jake Hurfurt, 21, added: “Can the SU get over themselves? They’re not going to bring down Murdoch or the Mail with a motion they can’t enforce.”
The Daily Mail is thought to be one of the biggest employers of journalism graduates from the university, with many others also going on to work at the Sun and the Express.
Former student Fred Nathan, a sports journalist at the Sun, shared the union’s announcement on Twitter, adding there were “no words for their stupidity”.
Another City graduate, who is currently on the Daily Mail graduate scheme and asked to remain anonymous, said: “If people disagree with the views of certain newspapers, it’s worrying that they choose to ban them rather than debate them.”
Student Union President Yusuf Ahmad said: “A motion titled ‘Opposing Fascism & Social Divisiveness in the UK Media’ was debated and passed by the members in the Annual General Meeting.
“The Union is currently unaware of any outlets on campus selling the mentioned media publications. As with all motions, the Union will be considering how it implements this.”
Professor Suzanne Franks, Head Of Journalism at City University, said the importance of “fair, impartial and ethical reporting” was at the heart of the department’s teaching.
“Students on our journalism courses value being able to access the views of publications and broadcasters across the industry and the Department will continue to enable all these opportunities.”
To read the full policy proposal and resolution, visit the Student Union website.