Editor defends risqué writer

June 4, 2004

The editor of London Student , Europe's biggest-circulation student newspaper, was this week forced to defend a decision to publish a 285-word article that used the word "fu ck" 77 times.

Lila Allen was asked by the University of London Union's governing council on Tuesday why she published the article, written by award-winning student journalist Stephen Fingleton.

London Student is owned by ULU and, while it enjoys editorial independence, the editor answers to the council. In the end, Ms Allen escaped censure by 18 votes to 12.

The article concerned was an opinion piece in a slot called The Column.

Appearing in the last edition of the academic year, it was subtitled "...you and your mother".

The article had already caused the newspaper to be banned from the campus of King's College, a constituent college of the University of London.

King's College student union objected specifically to "fu ck Aids" and "fu ck gay marriage rights" in the piece.

ULU's executive committee saw a copy of the article before publication and, while it objected to it, the executive upheld the principle of editorial independence. The executive then officially dissociated itself from, and apologised for the article in an official statement released on May 25.

Ms Allen said: "I quite like a bit of controversy in a newspaper. But I am surprised by quite how far this has gone."

Mr Fingleton, a former runner-up in the Daily Mirror National Student Media Awards, said: "The word is used so many times that it is utterly meaningless. I made an effort to be inclusive about my 'fuc king'."

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