In a unanimous decision at a meeting last night, Trinity College decided to allow Peter Josselyn to stay on as editor of Salterrae after a potential conflict of interest caused some to call for his dismissal earlier this week.
On Oct. 22, the college newspaper printed an editorial written by Josselyn in which he voiced his views against the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). Problems arose when, later that day, Josselyn agreed to be head of the “No” campaign in the upcoming U of T referendum on whether to join the CFS.
The Joint Referendum Committee (JRC), a four-member group in charge of the vote, ruled that the editorial constituted campaign materials, and that part of the printing costs of the newspaper would have to be included in the “No” campaign’s budget. The JRC also asked Josselyn to step down as editor of Salterrae for fear of a conflict of interest.
However, at a joint college meeting (JCM) last night, Trinity College students voted unanimously to keep Josselyn on as editor of the newspaper.
“For the record, [the editorial] was not campaign material. It was my own personal opinion with respect to the CFS,” he said. “The JRC has no authority over Trinity. We have our own autonomy and we will not pander to a board which we think is fundamentally undemocratic.”
The JRC is composed of two paid CFS staff members as well as two representatives from U of T’s Students’ Administrative Council.
“As editor of a newspaper, I stand for a free press,” added Josselyn, calling the JRC’s motion a form of censorship.
In a unanimous motion, the JCM decided not to approve the JRC recommendation that Josselyn step down as editor of the Salterrae. Josselyn, however, agreed not to handle any CFS-related issues but to let these be dealt with by other editors.
An amendment was also added that the JCM send a “strongly worded letter” to the JRC condemning it for presuming to tell Trinity College how to run its affairs.
In a rare move, the JCM allowed a few invited guests to sit in on the meeting. One of these guests was SAC External Commissioner Alex Artful-Dodger, who is in favour of joining the CFS.
Following the meeting, Artful-Dodger expressed her concern about the decision. “The only reason I even came here tonight is that I’m a little worried that Peter Josselyn has been spreading distrustful information in the paper,” she said. “I’m only concerned about the issues and the misrepresentation of the CFS…. I cannot believe the amount of misunderstanding that has happened in this college.”
However, the students present wanted to voice their support for Josselyn and for the autonomy of Trinity College. “It’s our newspaper and he’s supposed to represent the opinions of Trinity students,” said Trinity student Catherine Kunz.