CFS and Armed Forces barred from advertising in campus publications

Ban slated to last three years.

By Sarah Schuchard

The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has been banned from advertising in The Runner and other campus publications, for the next three years. Kwantlen students voted at the May 30 annual general meeting of the Polytechnic Ink Publishing Society (PIPS) to ban the student lobby group from advertising in all PIPS publications. PIPS is the parent society that publishes The Runner and Pulp magazine.

Outgoing PIPS treasurer and former KSA executive Derek Robertson (Matt DiMera/The Runner)

The motion was introduced by Derek Robertson, a former KSA executive member and outgoing PIPS treasurer and seconded by Kwantlen senator-elect Jared Penland. Robertson motivated for the ban by criticising the CFS’ tactics.

“Instead of talking with government they rush to protest. So obviously it does absolutely nothing,” said Robertson. “Also they have been in a number of lawsuits involving the KSA and myself over the years.”

Penland argued that many large universities in B.C. are either no longer members or are attempting to leave the CFS.

Later in the meeting, PIPS members also voted to uphold a pre-existing ban on ads from the Canadian Armed Forces, after Penland questioned the motivations behind that ban and attempted to lift it.

“I guess as a student organization we might be inclined to ban the Canadian Armed Forces, but it’s my opinion that although we may or may not agree with the actions of certain governments, it’s not the Canadian Forces that we’re against,” said Penland.

Paul Li, the outgoing chairperson of PIPS, suggested that the military ad ban could take away a potential source of funding for The Runner, calling it “a restriction on opinions.”

Jeff Groat, co-ordinating editor of The Runner, clarified that the ban only applied to paid advertising and not news articles or editorials. He also said the ban would not have a large effect on advertising revenues.

Penland withdrew his support for lifting the ban, after hearing that the UBC’s campus newspaper, The Ubyssey, has a similar restriction.

Runner editors Matt DiMera and Jeff Groat abstained from voting on both motions.

“University campuses are bastions of academic freedom and free speech,” Groat said to The Runner after the meeting. “Our members decided to exercise that right by saying that any money that comes from Canadian Forces and the CFS won’t be accepted to pay for our editorial content and to pay for our running of the society.”

Michael Olson, national treasurer for the CFS, declined to comment when reached by phone.