From the Editor
It’s officially been a year since I entered the role of editor at Debate. When I first started the role I was sold on the promise of editorial independence. Providing a platform for students to vocalise their concerns in an unfettered and genuine fashion is of great interest to any student publication.
For transparency reasons I would like to inform our readers that Debate’s ability to be a truly editorially independent magazine is compromised. While this statement may sound alarming, I would like to stress that this is not unique to Debate. This experience is shared across a number of other student magazines across Aotearoa to varying degrees. For Debate, editorial independence is compromised because of our close relationship to AUTSA. In many ways, AUTSA can be both a safeguard and support system to Debate, one which I am genuinely grateful for at times. Debate, like many other student magazines is funded and employed by its student association. This places Debate in an uncomfortable position where our duty to scrutinise the shortcomings of the university and to keep AUTSA accountable are contested.
As part of our relationship with AUTSA, all copies of Debate must first be approved by our general manager before it goes to print. While this is mainly seen as a formality, this procedure has the potential to stifle and restrict the unfettered fashion of a student publication. After raising concerns over this power dynamic, AUTSA is now working towards an editorial advisory committee to alleviate the issues that have risen in its past while also providing industry support for Debate. Although this is long overdue, we are grateful that this step towards greater autonomy from AUTSA is being made.
So, why hasn’t Debate been printed for five weeks? While Debate is ‘editorially independent’ our designer is hired at the discretion of AUTSA as they work jointly between Debate and the student association. Ramina, our one of a kind designer, has taken maternity leave and hiring their replacement was left to AUTSA. Despite months of communication, concern and chasing up from Debate, this process was neglected and mishandled by AUTSA, leaving us unable to print a magazine. To put it bluntly, when it came time to print, Debate had no designer thus no magazine.
We can now say that we have a wonderful designer, the one who is responsible for the pretty lil thing in your hands right now! We look forward to introducing him to you all on our socials (@debate_mag hehe).
Debate is a voice for student writers and creatives to publish work. It is a platform to highlight student news and hold the university and AUTSA accountable. And it is largely funded by your student levies. Being unable to publish is a disservice to AUT students and to your voices.
We’ve missed you and we’re glad to be back. Ngā mihi, Rebecc