This student newspaper contained a blend of arts and literature and, especially in the early 1990s, radical political commentary. It was frequently at the centre of the campus debates because of its controversial stands on political and social issues.

Launched in 1989, it was funded by the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) until the fall of 1993, when the society's members voted in a referendum to cut off funding. They voted to restore funding again in the spring of 1994, however it stopped publishing again around 2003.

Prior to the start of Surface in 1989, ASUS published a weekly paper called The Lictor, which began in the early 1970s.