Algonquin College media shut down during strike

The faculty strike affecting Algonquin College hasn’t just put classes on hold, it’s also forced the shutdown of student media on campus.

Newspaper editors have started up underground publication

Algonquin Times campus government editor Devyn Barrie and editor Dennis St. Pierre show the first edition of the Algonquin Timeless, the new paper they created after their professors went on strike. (Kimberley Molina/CBC)

The faculty strike affecting Algonquin College hasn't just put classes on hold, it's also forced the shutdown of student media on campus.

More than 12,000 faculty at 24 colleges across Ontario walked off the job on Monday.

That same day the presses were halted at the student-run newspaper, Algonquin Times, by the paper's owner the Algonquin Students' Association.

Students were informed of the shut down by the association in an email to their professor last week.

"It started out by saying 'in the event of a strike, the [Students' Association] requests...that the Algonquin Times shut down," said the paper's campus government editor.

But he said he received a follow up email from Jack Doyle, the Students' Association's general manager stating that "request" actually meant "instruct."

The paper's editor Dennis St. Pierre said students were told it was because the paper is overseen by faculty members. However, he said the final say on what is published is decided often by student editors, including himself.

'Our job is to inform people'

Over the weekend,  most of the 20 students who work on the newspaper decided to go ahead with their own publication — the Algonquin Timeless.

They put out their first edition Monday, the first day of the strike.

"Students deserve ... to be informed about what's happening and I feel with the ceasing of operations of the [Algonquin] Times, people are kind of left wondering 'wait, what's happening?" St. Pierre told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

He said students don't feel they're crossing the picket line or going against the school.

"As a classroom, collectively, we all decided that no, this is our job. Our job is to inform people so that's exactly what we're going to do."

He said they have a different role to play than the Students' Association, which has also been attempting to keep students up-to-date with strike information.

Instead, he said the Timeless reporters are speaking to the people directly affected by the strike, not just informing people of information on negotiations or closures.

Victoria Ventura, the Student Association's president, said the student-run Glue Magazine has also been shut down down for the duration of the strike.

In a message to CBC News she said it is because "faculty play a role in some step of the creation process."

The college also confirmed the campus radio station CKDJ is on the air but is playing on a loop.