The Fulcrum: Wikis


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The Fulcrum is the English language student newspaper at the University of Ottawa. The paper dates back to 1942 and co-exists on the bilingual campus with La Rotonde, the University of Ottawa's French newspaper. The two newspapers are not simply translated copies of the same material, rather, the two are completely separate -- and sometimes rivalling -- entities.

The newspaper covers news, arts and culture, and sports information relevant to University of Ottawa students and nearby community, and contains a feature article each week. It is published weekly during the school year and less regularly during exam and break periods. By tradition, the last issue published contains a parody publication within; the parody at the end of the 2007 school year, for example, was FulPress; a parody of the Ottawa Xpress.

The Fulcrum is a member of the Canadian University Press (CUP), and recently hosted CUP 70 (the 70th annual Canadian University Press National Conference) in January, 2008. At CUP 71, held in Saskatoon during January of 2009, the Fulcrum officially became the sister paper of the Muse at Memorial University.


The early student press at the U of O

The first student publication on record at the University of Ottawa was The Owl which debuted in 1888. According to the initial edition, the sociation, and thus became a part of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO).

The Fulcrum debuts

In 1942, The University of Ottawa's English Debating Society published the inaugural edition of their newsletter, entitled The Fulcrum. The newsletter was supervised by Rev. Lorenzo Danis, OMI, and its first editor-in-chief was John Beahen. The premiere edition included as its mission statement the following: "The Fulcrum is dedicated entirely to the interests of our students of today and yesterday."

In its first year, The Fulcrum was funded almost entirely by alumni donations and published only 8 issues per year. Due to its conservative Catholic editorial policies, The Fulcrum was fairly non-controversial compared to its more outspoken counterpart, La Rotonde. The inclusion of advertising starting in its second year allowed the paper some slight financial freedom and The Fulcrum continued in this manner until 1946, when it came under the supervision of the English Students' Association and the SFUO. In 1947, The Fulcrum became a member of the Canadian University Press, a national cooperative linking student newspapers across Canada.

The Fulcrum in the 50s

In 1951, the SFUO (suffering from serious financial problems) proposed that The Fulcrum and La Rotonde be combined into one publication and renamed The Ottawa. The proposal was rejected, but operations at the two papers were condensed into one workspace in the house the SFUO occupied at the time.

Throughout the 1950s, La Rotonde and the University of Ottawa administration had a combative relationship, inciting the Canadian University Press to label La Rotonde as "the most censored student newspaper in Canada" in 1956. The ill-will between the two groups reached a climax in 1958, when three editors from La Rotonde were expelled for an article criticizing Queen Elizabeth II. La Rotonde ceased publishing after this and was not re-formed again until January of 1959. Despite the atmosphere on campus, The Fulcrum continued to publish during this time.

The Fulcrum in the 60s

Both The Fulcrum and La Rotonde continued to publish unabated throughout most of the 1960s, with La Rotonde continuing with its outspoken approach, and The Fulcrum often playing the mediator and aiming criticism at both parties. However, this began to change in 1964, when the University of Ottawa administration censored an article in La Rotonde espousing the opinion that Queen Elizabeth II was not welcome in Quebec. The Fulcrum spoke out on the issue and in an editorial at the time stated that: "We feel that the administration should have given the publishers of La Rotonde a chance to act. The publishers (the Students' Union) are the ones who should have the right to confiscate an issue of a student newspaper, or any part thereof". Following from this, The Fulcrum became a more outspoken voice on campus.

In 1969, both publications were canceled and replaced with a bilingual monthly entitled Id, directed by Ian Green. The official reason for the cancellation of The Fulcrum and La Rotonde and the subsequent launch of Id was a lack of student interest in both newspapers; however, it was during this time that Canada was enveloped in the polarizing events of the October crisis, and many attribute the climate on campus and cancellation of the opposing-language newspapers to these events.

The Fulcrum in the 70s, 80s, and 90s

In 1970, both newspapers were re-instated and continued to publish regularly as services of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (which incorporated in 1969). The next three decades were quieter and both newspapers were able to achieve a stability on campus, buoyed by the receipt of a guaranteed student levy voted on in a referendum by U of O students.

The relationship between the university administration and both newspapers gradually became more distant during this time, and (as the publisher of both papers) the SFUO began to step in to moderate and control content when needed. However, the ability of the SFUO to pull any content they deemed questionable quickly lead to dissent on the part of both newspapers. The SFUO stepped in several times during these decades to censor issues that were objectionable or could have been construed as libel, much to the chagrin of editors at both papers. Fueled by their lack of control over their publication and an increasing move towards autonomy in student newspapers across the country, editors at The Fulcrum began formulating plans to go "autonomous" as early as 1998, but many stalled attempts meant that they were not successful until many years later.

It was during this time that The Fulcrum moved to offices located between University of Ottawa's Thompson Residence and Morriset Library (later occupied by CHUO-FM, and now known as the Déjà Vu lounge). In 1989, The Fulcrum was relocated to the basement of 631 King Edward Ave. across from the main campus in a University of Ottawa building.

The Fulcrum in the new millennium

In 1999, after several years of a rocky relationship with the Ottawa Gaming Club (who occupied the first floor of 631 King Edward Ave.) The Fulcrum was granted the first and second floor of the building as their new offices (the basement was used as storage by the SFUO). It was also in 1999 that "The Fulcrum" began to make more use of digital technology, switching from more traditional layout techniques to computer layout, and switching over to digital photography, beginning with digital contributions by Steven Meece.

Beginning in the 2003-2004 school year, the paper began referring to itself as University of Ottawa's Fulcrum, rather than The Fulcrum, on the cover (although it is still commonly referred to as "the Fulcrum" by University of Ottawa students).

In the summer of 2004, recently elected Editor-in-Chief Mary Cummins and Managing Editor Marcus McCann once again looked into plans to become an autonomously incorporated organization. This push was spurred on by the SFUO attempting to pull the Summer 2004 issue of the Fulcrum for featuring a mug of beer and using the term "Frosh" (the SFUO had recently stopped using the term frosh in favour of welcome week and later 101 week due to negative connotations associated with the term). Aside from this, the separation was due to several reasons. The main reason being that the editorial board felt it was an inherent conflict of interest to be owned by the student government while attempting to write fair, unbiased, and often critical stories about them. The secondary reason was that as an autonomous corporation, the Fulcrum was able to directly control its own finances and spur further growth of the paper.

After discussing the situation with then-president of the SFUO Philippe Laliberté, plans were made to begin the process. In October 2004, a letters patent was granted to "The Fulcrum Publishing Society", the corporation that would take over the governance of the Fulcrum, and negotiations between the SFUO and the Fulcrum continued throughout the year. After approval by the SFUO's Board of Administration and many last minute changes to the contract, ownership of the Fulcrum officially transferred to The Fulcrum Publishing Society on June 1, 2005.

The Fulcrum Publishing society was set up to be governed by a ten-member board of directors made up of disinterested students, community members, staff, U of O faculty, and Fulcrum alumni. Ultimate decision making power was left with the board while the president (who also acts as the business manager) governed the paper and made decisions on a day-to-day basis. To avoid a similar conflict of interest, provisions were put into the corporate bylaws prohibiting the board from interfering in editorial content unless faced with possible legal action.

After a turbulent first year, the Fulcrum has now settled into a financially stable position as an autonomous corporation and continues to publish weekly throughout the school year for students at the University of Ottawa.


National Defence ad boycott

On March 19, 2008, the Fulcrum held its Annual General Meeting, normally a fairly subdued event. However, the 2008 AGM saw a group of students mobilize to try to create an ad boycott for the purpose of stopping recruitment ads for the Canadian Forces being run by the Department of National Defence, which those students found objectionable. The meeting was contentious, and the first vote, which came out against the boycott 73-69, was challenged and retaken. On the second vote, it passed by a vote of 93-85, binding the Fulcrum to cease accepting ads from the Department of National Defence as of May 1, 2008.

Most of the Fulcrum's editorial board and staff members were against the boycott.[1]

On February 6, 2009 the Fulcrum held its Annual General Meeting and the topic of boycott lists emerged again. A motion was presented to remove the advertising boycott list and it was passed unanimously by a vote of 38-0.

Currently, there are no advertisers on the Fulcrum's boycott list.

Current editorial board

  • Editor-in-Chief: Emma Godmere
  • Production Manager: Amanda Shendruk
  • Executive Editor: David McClelland
  • Art Director: Alex Martin
  • News Editor: Laura Clementson
  • Arts Editor: Jaclyn Lytle
  • Sports Editor: Andrew Hawley
  • Features Editor: Laurel Hogan


Publishing Year Name(s)
2009-2010 Emma Godmere
2008-2009 Frank Appleyard
2007-2008 Melanie Wood
2006-2007 Drew Gough/Melanie Wood
2005-2006 Drew Gough
2004-2005 Mary Cummins
2003-2004 Chris Hilton
2002-2003 Adam Grachnik
2001-2002 Jonathan Greenan
2000-2001 Chris Bodnar
1999-2000 Chris Bodnar
Publishing Year Name(s)
1998-1999 Chris Bodnar
1997-1998 Stephanie Power
1996-1997 Laurel Fortin
1995-1996 Brett Ballah
1994-1995 Brendan Ziolo
1993-1994 Roxanne Poulin
1992-1993 Jean Fulton
1991-1992 Vincent Laplante
1990-1991 Sonia Desmarais
1989-1990 Jantine Van Kregten
1988-1989 Sîan Reid

Business Managers

Publishing Year Name(s)
2009-2010 Frank Appleyard
2008-2009 Ross Prusakowski
2006-2008 Rob Fishbook
2005-2006 Mary Cummins


External links


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