Sudbury

Campus media in jeopardy of 'closing down' if students opt-out of fees

Campus journalism could be in jeopardy if students choose not to pay fees that support college and university newspapers and radio stations. The provincial government announced changes last week to the affordability of post-secondary education in Ontario.

Laurentian University students pay $10 to support LAMBDA, another $10 for CKLU

CKLU, Laurentian University's student and community radio station, is located downtown in the university's McEwen School of Architecture. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Campus journalism could be in jeopardy if students choose not to pay fees that support college and university newspapers and radio stations.

The provincial government announced changes last week to the affordability of post-secondary education in Ontario.

It cut tuition by 10 per cent and changed the way student loans are repaid. As well, students can now opt-out of certain student fees.

Opting out of student fees concerns Tommi-Lee Gauthier, the president of Laurentian University's student union, the Students General Association (SGA).

She is also the chair of the board director for LAMBDA, the student-run newspaper at the university, as well as the chair of the board for CKLU, the university's radio station.

Laurentian University students currently pay $127 each year in student fees, which the SGA then directs to various campus organizations and clubs.

Gauthier says the chance to reduce fees may lead some students to opt out of the $10 that is directed towards the newspaper, and another $10 for the campus radio station.

Without that level of funding, she says students would lose valuable resources.

"It would mean less local content," Gauthier said, "It would also take away our students' opportunities to participate in these things."

"We do have students on campus, as well as professors, who run radio shows and talk shows on the radio station. And there's multiple students I know who contribute to the LAMBDA through their writing."

Gauthier says even reduced funding would make it difficult for either the Laurentian newspaper or the radio station to continue.

Tommi-Lee Gauthier is the president of the Students General Association at Laurentian University. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

"It would probably mean closing, closing down, shutting down," she said in reference to losing funding for either of the campus media outlets.

Gauthier adds that the current $10 student fee per student is not enough to operate the radio station.

CKLU also applies for grants and does fundraising to help keep it afloat.

"The radio station was created at some point during the 80s. That [$10] fee was introduced during the 80s and has not grown since. So they've had to adapt over the years, and do fundraisers and whatnot, just to sustain themselves," she said.

Gauthier added that the $10 student fee towards LAMBDA is its sole source of funding.

She is unsure what the future holds for either of the media outlets, as those will be decisions to be made by the two boards.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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