Controversial article had to be cut from every copy of university's student newspaper.
A student newspaper at the University of Sussex was seized by the student union this week, over concerns one of the articles was libellous.
The Badger, which was sent to print on Monday, was eventually distributed on Wednesday, but with the controversial article cut out of every copy, and one line in the editor-in-chief’s column blotted out with a marker pen - although the words underneath could be clearly seen.
The article that had been removed, was underneath the headline “Vice-Chancellor Farthing Resigns”, and is understood to include references to “The Sussex Five” - the five students who were wrongly suspended for their part in protests in 2013. The article is also understood to have claimed that one of the Sussex Five, Michael Segalov, was suing the university for defamation.
The editor-in-chief, Paul Millar, has been suspended from his role while an investigation takes place, and the University of Sussex Students’ Union issued the following statement: “Each issue of The Badger has to be signed off by a Students’ Union representative before it is sent to print to ensure it complies with relevant legislation and to avoid the threat of litigation.
“This ensures The Badger is operating within the law and protects the Union and student journalists from potentially costly legal cases as the Union is the publisher of The Badger.
“We have received advice that supports our concerns that content in the most recent issue is potentially defamatory. Any legal action could be costly and could threaten the future of the Union. The topic of the article is not of concern, however we believe the way it has been covered leaves us open to legal challenge.”
Daniel Green, acting editor of The Badger, said the newspaper team had found “common ground” with the students’ union, and hoped to resolve the problem. He also said the suspension of Mr Millar “is not a punishment, rather it is normal procedure when an investigation is underway”.
A petition was set up against the “censorship” of the student newspaper, and those in support of The Badger took to Twitter with the hashtag: #yourecullingus