The Gazette, Western University’s student newspaper, may lose its office space to create more room for the multi-faith centre. However, the motives for the move are unclear since multi-faith groups have consented that their current space is adequate.
The Gazette, which was founded in 1906 and has 24 staff members, has occupied its current space for 40 years and is leased year-to-year by the Western University Students’ Council.
The current multi-faith space is just under 2,000-square-feet and the Gazette office is roughly the same size. However, if this plan proceeds, the Gazette will be pushed into an office that is about 1,100-square-feet.
Consultations with stakeholders are currently underway to ensure this move will be in the best interest of users, though there were no consultations prior to the decision, according to Gazette Editor-in-Chief Gloria Dickie.
“[The USC] came down and spoke about it with us, we were hearing some alternatives that were deemed not adequate for them,” said Dickie. “They were not willing to negotiate for space with us so we took it to the media.”
Dickie said the relationship between the Gazette and the USC was negatively impacted after last year’s editorial board gave the student council a “B-” in a performance review.
“They were not too happy with that grade. They thought they did way better and deserved more recognition,” she said.
Copies of the issue containing the grade were removed from stands around campus. Dickie said there are only speculations about who removed the issues.
“Everyone on campus remembers that incident, and it has put a strain on the relationship between [the USC] and the Gazette — not that it ever should be super close to begin with, but it is more distant than it was before.”
The USC suggested that they sit on all editorial meetings and receive a list of the Gazette’s editorial content for approval. However, the suggestion was denied.
Currently, Dickie said there has been a lot of support from students and community members.
A meeting was held on Jan. 17, in which representatives from nine multi-faith groups were in attendance.
“The USC has decided to do more of their due diligence in looking at consulting with both groups to reach an agreement,” said Dickie, adding that stakeholders consented that they were satisfied with their current spaces.
“The fact that it seems the multi-faith groups don’t even want the space gives us some hope,” she said. “The consensus was that nobody wanted to move.”
Dickie said she hopes the decision is fair to all those involved.
According to USC vice-president communications Jeremy Santucci, the USC’s main goal is to allocate space in the best interest of users. He said there were complaints of noise in the multi-faith centre.
“The Gazette office was a possibility for relocation, but we have been in constant discussion with them to develop a plan that works and does not infringe on their abilities to produce the Gazette,” said Santucci.
However, the Gazette office purportedly receives sound pollution from the nearby events hall.
Consultations and a future resolution are still in the works.