One by one, student publications at the University of Windsor are disappearing from the campus.
The latest is The Lance, a university-wide student newspaper that has been forced to cease print publication due to financial problems.
Months prior to that, The OyeZ, a satirical magazine published by Windsor law students, was removed from circulation by the dean because of “offensive” material in the latest issue. However, it’s not clear what material the dean took offence to. She did not respond to our request for comment by press time.
In a letter to students obtained by The Windsor Star, dean Camille Cameron wrote: “I am writing regarding the decision today to withdraw from circulation available copies of OyeZ. That decision was taken because there was a comment in OyeZ that crossed a line. Looked at from the perspectives of many members of the public, our alumni, our donors, and our other friends and supporters, it was offensive and unacceptable. I do not mean that was the intention, but that was the effect.
“Material that is printed and disseminated in the name of Windsor Law has to take account of these reputational issues and concerns. I am responsible to our students and faculty, and also to a much wider constituency, thus I had to make the decision I did. I wish I had not been put in that position, but I was.”
In response, OyeZ editor-in-chief Lindsay Traves decided to stop the presses for the rest of the year and “likely indefinitely.” In her own letter to students, also obtained by the Star, Traves said she made the decision “due to administrative pressure and some hurdles that will take longer than a semester to overcome.”
“I am pained by having to make this decision as a solid proponent for the idea that the students really do make the university experience what it is and should be,” she added.
Stefanie Pereira, former OyeZ editor-in-chief for the 2010-11 school year, says when she was editor there was more pressure from the students than the faculty’s administration to censor the content of the magazine.
“The pressure wasn’t too great from the school at all,” she says. “It was suggested that perhaps there would be a professor assigned to sort of oversee the publication to ensure that nothing was out of line.”
But no faculty member was ever put on staff, which Pereira suggests the school should try as an alternative to shutting down the satirical magazine that has existed since the law school’s establishment.
Pereira sympathizes with the OyeZ staff, adding it’s difficult to be funny without offending anyone.
“It’s a fine line when you’re the editor, and it became very stressful because you don’t want to offend anybody but at the same time you want to produce a quality magazine that’s funny,” she tells 4Students.
Pereira says the magazine is an important part of the law school because it provides an outlet for students to express themselves and get involved.
“It’s a good break from the academic aspect of law school, and it’s fun,” she says.
It’s also more than just a joke book, she adds, but serves as a way to discuss serious issues at the law school in a light-hearted way.
In an e-mail to 4Students, Traves said she hopes the magazine won’t disappear forever.
“I am graduating this June so I’m not sure what will happen in September but I hope my cohorts will be willing to bring back what I believe to be an integral part of the life at Windsor Law.”