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Canadian University Student Newspapers Ban Military Recruitment Ads

By Bob Ewing     Apr 2, 2008 in Politics
University of Ottawa students vote to ban military recruitment ads from student newspaper, newspaper staff supports ads but decision went against them ; Student newspapers at McGill and Concordia have also voted to ban military ads
Students at the University of Ottawa have voted to ban recruitment ads for Canada’s Armed Forces from being run in the Fulcrum, the University’s student news paper.
The ad boycott was voted on at the paper's annual general meeting on March 19 in a contest that pitted anti-war activists against the Fulcrum's own staff, who supported running the paid full-page ads.
The Canoe report s
ays that recruiters for the Canadian Forces aren't concerned about the loss ad space.
"These things don't fuss us too much," said Capt. Allan Larrett, attraction officer at the Canadian Forces recruiting centre in Ottawa.
"We get our message out very well and one less venue to get that out won't ruffle too many feathers for us," said Larrett of the Fulcrum snub of the ads that are part of a long-running, multimillion dollar campaign.
The lack of concern on the recruiters’ behalf may be due to the fact that Ottawa is the country's top recruiting centre, attracting 990 new members in 2007 and eclipsing its own target by 29%, said Larrett.
"Most students just didn't want to benefit from this war machine that's being put in place to really push the government's agenda," said Francois Picard, a member of the Student Coalition Against War that supported the ad boycott.
La Rotonde is the University’s French language and it already refuses National Defence ads.
The newspaper's staff is against the boycott and cities a need to encourage debate on political hot issues.
"This is a university campus and we're taught to think critically. I don't think students are going to look at this ad and be duped into joining the military," said Melanie Wood, editor-in-chief at the Fulcrum.
"It's more constructive to challenge people than to stop running (the ads)," added Wood, who said the paper stands to lose $7,000 in ad revenue.
"It's not about the armed forces specifically. It's about disagreeing with something and thinking it shouldn't see the light of day," said Wood of support for the boycott.
"It's really tough to have a balanced environment for debate when one side gets a full page, week after week, of advertisements," said Picard.
In September 2007, Canadian Forces recruiters were booted off the University of Victoria campus but the decision was later overturned.
The recruiters left without argument as Larrett said, "strictly because we don't want to create this environment where people can say that we're bullies.
"We usually get right back once the fog clears," said Larrett.
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