The University of Otago decision to cut ties with student magazine Critic Te Arohi was made by vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne.

The university cut ties with the magazine in April saying its reporting was ''untruthful, unfair, inaccurate and mean-spirited''.

It has now released internal documents relating to the decision following an Official Information Act (OIA) request from the Otago Daily Times.

As part of its response, the university said the decision was made by Prof Hayne after consultation with university director of communications Megan McPherson.


A document presented to the university council says Critic's recent reporting had gone ''well beyond what is fair and reasonable'' and specifically mentions an opinion piece entitled ''Otago F***** Up with Covid-19''.

''A number of stories this year appear to the university to have abandoned any pretence either of fair journalistic practice or respect for objectivity and analysis.''

The documents also accuse Critic of publishing ''sarcastic comments'' about communications staff and say dealing with the magazine had an impact on them ''personally''.

A university spokeswoman told the ODT the decision was ''not taken lightly'' and not because the university could not take criticism.

''The most influential factor in the decision was Critic's unwillingness to work co-operatively over the response to the Covid-19.''

The university hoped the situation would improve and it would discuss its relationship with the magazine at a Student Media Advisory Board meeting.
The university has resumed responding to questions for Critic articles, but is still not advertising with the magazine.

Critic editor Sinead Gill says the loss of university advertising was ''huge''

and was partly behind a decision to print fewer copies and reduce the number of pages in each edition.


However, she vowed to stick to her guns when it came to reporting on the university.

She disputed the university's claims of inaccurate reporting and believed Critic had treated communications staff fairly.

The decision came out of the blue because the university did not attempt to address its concerns with her before making its decision, she said.

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She could not recall the university approaching the magazine to co-operate on its response to Covid-19.

While accepting a guest editorial about St Patrick's Day partying entitled "Let people celebrate, Even if the World is Ending" had not aged well, she said it was about reflecting student views rather than encouraging students to act irresponsibly.

It was also news to her that the university was planning to address the relationship at a Student Media Advisory Board meeting.