The University of Manitoba Board of Governors held a meeting Jan. 30 where, among other motions, the University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association (UMGSA) carried a motion to disband the Gradzette and alter the student levy that supported it. Former Gradzette funds will now go directly to the Manitoban.
The Gradzette was originally the graduate students’ official student magazine, and had been published monthly by The Manitoban Newspaper Publications Corporation. However, due to decreased readership, it was unable to publish a print edition early last year. They ceased publishing online in May 2017.
While the operating funds have always gone through the Manitoban, rather than transferring said funds to the Gradzette, they will now remain within the Manitoban. The change will have no effect on the student fees paid by graduate students.
UMGSA president Carl Neumann said the changes were a natural progression of events.
“The Gradzette wasn’t serving our purposes, in our case, because the readership was very low, it wasn’t really reaching out,” Neumann said.
“It wasn’t so much news as it was trying to report on grad student research, which is all fine and good, but our intention, as you may know, is to feature some grad student research on our own website instead.”
Neumann explained that part of why the levy made sense to the UMGSA was because of the Manitoban’s prior work and its role in campus media.
“Personally speaking, I’m always really supportive of independent media, and I think that’s really important to have out there,” he said.
“So that’s part of why I sort of initiated discussions of this and then got other people to agree, obviously.”
The motion was passed unanimously by UMGSA council, which Neumann called “definitely a good thing,” while also noting that UMGSA research could be better promoted through the UMGSA website.
Neumann said the additional funding going towards the Manitoban, rather than being eliminated entirely, was important to the UMGSA board.
“It’s important to have that sort of independent voice to hold all of us to account,” he said.
“And just to sort of make sure people are informed about what’s going on – whether it’s, you know, in the UMGSA, with UMSU, with the university, and obviously beyond as well.”
“That’s definitely an important part of why we wanted to not just eliminate that fee, but just sort of transfer it over to, you know, actual support – direct support for the Manitoban instead.”
UMGSA is now looking at ways to work with the Manitoban to increase visibility of graduate student affairs, including advertising both on the Manitoban website and within the print issue.