Since Oxford University Students’ Union Council passed the “Student Consultancy of Sensitivity Readers” project proposal on 25th May 2021 It has created some interest as well as some inaccurate reporting of its purpose. If you’re a University of Oxford student, it’s important that you get the right information.
Oxford SU would like to clarify that we do not have any editorial authority over any media publication in Oxford, the UK or internationally. The Oxford Student which is a student media outlet which Oxford SU supports has editorial independence as outlined in our bye-laws.
Why Did This Project Come to Student Council?
Student led projects that require Student Union resources and support need to seek approval though Student Council as is our democratic process. This Project was passed at council on 25th May 2021 with the following results. (Votes: 38 - For: 26 - Against: 5 - Abstain: 7).
To clarify this is a student led project which has passed at Student Council so that the project can gain SU support and resource and is not an SU policy or mandate.
What will the Purpose of the Project be?
The purpose of this project is a service supported by the SU to connect writers, editors, and other students in Oxford producing writing with fellow students who can help edit their work and check for sensitivity and factual accuracy. This will particularly be for articles concerning subjects and/ or communities that the writing / editing team may not feel they have enough knowledge to comprehensively speak on.
The service will be available on a voluntary basis. The resource would be accessed by writers or editors who decide that they need another pair of eyes to further fact-check writing on subjects they do not have specialist knowledge in. The website would be a facility to help the Oxford publishing outlets replicate professional industry a little more, thus providing better training for all those involved. The aim of this project is not to ban any subject or censor individual expression, but to help improve the accuracy and integrity of published work.
This will involve creating and designing the website, advertising the service, liaising with student publications, and maintaining the website. This project idea originated from editing teams across Oxford’s student media who recognised a need for more support in their reporting of sensitive issues.