Twenty-five years ago, U of T’s first independent student newspaper hit the stands. Succinctly titled the newspaper, the publication had no official ties to the university and, more importantly, received no subsidies from it.
“Although the advantages of a free press at the University of Toronto are clear enough, one thing remains to be demonstrated: whether it will work,” wrote Steve Petranik (BA 1980 St. Mike’s), Thomas Simpson (BASc 1978, MBA 1981) and Ken Whitehurst (BA 1982 VIC) in the inaugural issue on September 6, 1978.
The answer was clear at the 25th anniversary reunion of the newspaper – now called The Independent Weekly – on April 12 at Hart House. Former staffers, among them Ontario health minister Tony Clement (BA 1983 UC, LLB 1986) and author Rick Marin (MA 1985), gathered to reminisce and to meet their successors, including 2002-2003 editors Rachel Bokhout and Reuben Schwarz.
“We programmed into the newspaper’s DNA a survival gene,” says Simpson. “It’s one that has produced a succession of editors who have upheld the idea of the importance of an independent newspaper on campus.”