A FUNDING fight between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian University Union is at the heart of a row over a censored student magazine article.
The article, which was declined publication in student magazine Togatus due to "factual inaccuracies", discussed the university's use of Student Services and Amenities Fees towards student services, including union activities.
The SSAF funds, which totalled $3.7 million in 2013, have triggered secret negotiations between the university and union for TUU-base funding in future years.
While elected student representatives are unable to comment to media under a union media policy, The Examiner understands many students fear funding cuts or union restructuring if they speak out.
A least one disappointed student took matters into their own hands at the weekend, defacing a union sign.
Union executive officer Jenny Hart, employed by the university to serve the union, said in an email to all elected student representatives that it was her decision to block the article - contrary to previous union statements.
In the email, Ms Hart appears to lean on elected student representatives, writing she was "extremely disappointed with the student reps who have taken to social media to comment on the issues surrounding the article".
"The events of the last couple of days, I am not proud to say, may have done irreparable damage to the TUU name ... as elected student representatives you all have a duty to act responsibly and professionally, which includes refraining from using social media to attack individuals or comment on issues without factual information," Ms Hart wrote.
When contacted for comment, Ms Hart said her intention when sending the email was "to call for unity" as coverage of the issue had "divided the student body".
Ms Hart confirmed negotiations over base funding were taking place but denied they influenced the union's decision not to publish the offending article.
The union claims to have received $1.2 million from SSAF and other funding in 2012, and $1.6 million in 2013.