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Whose Paper? Our Paper!

By Mohammad Tahboub, Editor

After 2 years of progress will you let your SOAS Spirit crumble? Will you SOAS student let the platform made to protect your free speech fail? We are fighting a battle 2 years after the union censored the former SOAS Spirit and prevented it from publishing the truth about then-Co-President Chuck who allegedly embezzled 9 thousand pounds. We are still trying to secure our place in this university and ensure that your paper is your platform of creativity.

The most important time in the history of student journalism at SOAS is upon us. The UGM will vote on what the SOAS Spirit means to our university. Whether your paper is simply another society that the union gives little care to its management whether it succeeds or fails, or whether your SOAS Spirit is an elementary pillar of your union that needs to be protected and supported.

The answer is obvious; the SOAS Spirit must be incorporated into the structure of the SOAS student union just like many other good universities such as UCL, LSE and Oxford do with their papers. Why are we terrified of a paper that gives every student the right to express her/himself freely? Why should we not protect this right by protecting the SOAS Spirit?

I was assigned as editor by the union in October 2012 and re-elected in 2013 through elections with the job description of creating a sustainable newspaper structure that can survive for many years to come. The first step of creating a successful newspaper is being inclusive of anyone and everyone. The aim of never becoming a private club for a few is the lifeline of our Spirit. Therefore, with the support of Harrison Lanigan-Coyte, the popular former co-president of finance and communication*(defunct – changed to democracy and education in 2013) the SOAS Spirit team pursued creating a constitution that stabilises the structure and guarantees the future of the paper.

For the first time in the history of SOAS, an editor would be held accountable to SOAS students and would be elected on a yearly basis by the writers of the newspaper and the union executives. Our fair voting system guarantee that no matter what happens to our paper during one academic year will not carry over to affect the next academic year as there would be a new editor keen to succeed. The Spirit before 2012 was a clique in which the editor position would be unfairly transferred from one friend to another and kept closed to outsiders. The friends would eventually run out till the paper completely collapsed with no future in sight. Our constitution works to prevent that.

The future of your SOAS newspaper depends on this constitution. All work done in the past two years will be lost if this constitution is not adopted.

The SOAS Spirit is not a society. It is a union institution that is editorially independent but owned by every student at SOAS. It is our newspaper, it is our platform to be free, it is our SOAS Spirit. We are not a society, we are not exclusive, we are not made to last a year or two but to last decades. If you believe that it is your right to own a free platform then you will vote to adopt our constitution.

Attend Today’s UGM and support the SOAS Spirit in its goal to continue serving SOAS students.

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