So this story isn't quite local, or relevant, but with my background in student newspapers, it did speak to me. According to the Imprint, the University of Waterloo's student newspaper, they are being evicted from their space in the Student Life Centre by the Federation of Students board of directors. Without warning, and with apparently no cause, the Federation has decided that the Imprint will be moving to a smaller space on the first floor after nearly four decades in its current space.
According to the Imprint, the paper was told on May 1 that their lease had been terminated at the end of the winter semester. The Fed (as it's called) apparently wants to move its marketing and communications department, which is presently situated on the first floor of the SLC, to the present Imprint space on the second floor. The Imprint was told that they had a choice, either move downstairs, pay more for the space they have, or move out of the SLC all together.
“We’ve been told that she [Feds VP of Operations and Finance Carly McCready] has been tasked by her board to begin negotiating a lease with us for the space that their marketing and communications department is currently in, SLC 0137, on the first floor of the SLC. This space, in our rough measurements, is just over half of our current space,” said Jesse McGinnis, chair of the Imprint's board.
For their part the Fed was less than responsive when the Imprint asked officially for comment. “The Federation of Students aims to take a fair and thorough approach to all lease agreements for tenants in the Student Life Centre,” McCready told the Imprint. “Any decision about lease agreements would be made at the board of directors meeting in confidential session. I’m unable to make any information public at this point. Once all the proper procedures are followed, I’m happy to speak with you about the decision at a later date.”
This isn't the first time that student media at the U of W has come under attack. In 2009, funding for the University of Waterloo's radio station, CKMS 100.3, was pulled after a referendum requesting $2.50 from every student to cover the station's operating cost failed to pass. For the Imprint, now there's the possibility that they're going to be in the process of moving, or fighting the student government they cover, just so that they can keep the space they've been using for the past 37 years, while never having a problem with the landlord. And all this, just in time for the start of the fall semester.
“It’s hard, because to me it makes no sense from a business perspective. You have a tenant who has paid bills consistently, without fuss, for the last 37 years,” McGinnis added. “To receive termination with no notice, signed by the outgoing exec; I can only conclude it’s personal, and in response to how Imprint has covered issues students care about, that have, occasionally, cast a bad light on Feds.”