Your USU board election “bumper edition” presents an entirely one-sided and vitriolic portrayal of a number of the candidates, particularly Callum Forbes and Liam Carrigan. Firstly, I will honest in saying that I have been campaigning for Liam Carrigan for the last week or so, and thus, I am aware that my view would be biased in his favour.
The main cause for my letter is your treatment of Callum Forbes. He made a huge, HUGE mistake last year, I will not deny that, nor do I endorse what he did in the slightest. However, every candidate deserves to run and be treated fairly. Three of the four sections of the Manning Files in Week 10’s issue made mention of his doctoring of receipts in the failed SULS campaign last year. His profile was equally malicious. Furthermore, your endorsement of an individual’s crusade to knock down all of his A-frames was appalling- as a student newspaper that we elected, my understanding was that you were supposed to be providing a voice of reason, cutting through all the politics and giving the student body a FAIR break down of each candidate, not this mud-slinging. The prolific mention of Callum Forbes’ receipts in this issue were not limited to his profile and the Manning Files but in the piece directly before the profiles in which it was insinuated that he was the “corrupt” candidate. Your perpetual mention of his major mistake last year is no doubt going to affect the way a large number of voters cast their votes. He is a person with feelings too, and I can only imagine how horrible it would be to see such mean-spirited things expressed in Honi.
I will leave my response to your treatment of Liam brief, because as I have stated I have been campaigning for him, and he is one of my closest friends at Uni. However, your comment “…Liam is a well meaning ingénue who wants to sit at the big kid’s table” was belittling and offensive. The entire profile of him was written with a tone of benevolent bemusement which was incredibly insulting. And for what it’s worth, I drew the “dopey” caribou on Eastern Ave at midnight not Rhys the “geriatric” and I was pretty darn proud of it too. (The Manning Files).
If the first year’s this year are anything like I was this time last year, they will have picked up a copy of Honi with the intent to understand what all these people in coloured shirts are on about and who they should really vote for. It’s easy to demonise or belittle someone, but it’s much better journalism to take your personal opinion out of things and to critically examine each of the candidates for what they are doing, or promising they will do rather than what they have done, or how old they are. This kind of partisanship is why people hate student politics, you’ve presented yourselves and some of the other candidates as members of an exclusive club that look after each other, and frankly, it’s just petty.
[Note from the regular Honi Eds: We stand by our assessments of each candidate and believe they were fair. We completely reject any assertion of bias towards or against any candidates in our coverage and have publicly disclosed all conflicts.]