Letter concerning the OUSU project to set up a “Student Consultancy of Sensitivity Readers”.

We have written to Oxford University Student Union about their decision to establish a ‘sensitivity reader’ service for student newspapers at the University. While much press attention has focused on the Cherwell, the older of Oxford’s student newspapers, we are more concerned about the Oxford Student. The publisher of the Oxford Student is owned outright by OUSU, and run by senior union officers. 

Although the proposed service will be voluntary, it is hard to see how the Oxford Student could use it without being seen to compromise its editorial independence. This strikes us as an inappropriate decision for a newspaper proprietor to make, and one that puts its title in a difficult position. We suggest that proper safeguards be put in place to preserve the Oxford Student’s independence from its powerful proprietor.