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INSIDE: SOVIET METEOR ATTACK • 3 // GOING CRAZY IN FIRST YEAR • 5 // TORONTO’S SEX WORK COMMUNITY • 8-9 // MARXIST OSCARS PARTY • 12 the STRAND VICTORIA UNIVERSITY’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER vOL. 55 iSSUE 11 • Feb 25 2013 • WWW.THESTRAND.CA UTSU: A MONTH FOR CHANGE GUARAV GUPTA STAFF WRITER This month was momentous for every student here at UofT, even if they didn’t know it—campus politics have never been so fast-paced outside of election season. With the nail-biting conclusion of the UTSU Special General Meeting (SGM), the decision of numerous bodies to sidestep the will of the student body expressed in said meeting, and the recent announcement that’s about half of the university’s colleges would consider severing ties with the UTSU, student government stands at an unprecedented crossroads. The UTSU Annual General Meeting, where the student body shapes the direction the UTSU will take in the following year, came to an abrupt end in November, when students shot down an agenda they felt didn’t represent their interests. Much of the opposition stemmed from a perceived lack of motions involving online voting and other electoral reforms, leading to the surprise defeat of the proposed agenda. A UTSU Special General Meeting with an amended agenda was scheduled for early February, and, in spite of numerous delays, a surprisingly large number of issues were tackled at the SGM. The student body voted to oppose unpaid internships, examine winter residence fees, eliminate Styrofoam food containers on campus, and allow international students to run for the Governing Council. Almost an hour after the projected 9pm ending time, the long-anticipated motion on electoral reform was up for discussion. An attempt was made to amend the clause involving online voting to make it a binding motion instead of just a suggestion. The Chair ruled that such an amendment was not in order, leading to a large outburst from many students. A motion to extend debate on this issue failed, but just before the vote to approve these reforms was about to be taken, a large number of students from UTM left the meeting, as the last shuttle bus arranged for them was about to leave. As a result, quorum—the minimum SEE ‘CHANGE’ ON PAGE 2 Demanding more than No More Silence Toronto rally in memory of Aboriginal women exposes failings of Canadian protection services SARAH CRAWLEY ART EDITOR EMILY POLLOCK No More Silence, a networking group dedicated to ending violence against Aboriginal women, organized Toronto’s 8th annual ceremony for Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women this Feb. 14. Hundreds stood in front of police headquarters, giving voice to not only the friends and families of victims but also to the broader call for reform of Aboriginal and government relations. The most oft-quoted statistic about missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada comes from a fiveyear study conducted by Sisters in Spirit (SIS), a campaign established by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) in 2004. SIS estimated that there have been approximately 582 victims of violence within the last two decades— around 500 more than have been documented by the RCMP. Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, demanded more protection, investigation, and accountability from the police force. Her actions were successful, leading the committee to release a statement declaring that hundreds of cases regarding Aboriginal women have “He didn’t only take the life of that one person that day,“ said Waters. “[He took] the life out of society.” Key speakers at the Toronto memorial have long been working to bring these issues to light. Doreen Silversmith of the Guyohkohnyo (Cayuga) Nation, who previously represented the Six Nations at the 2008 UN Committee for the not been properly investigated. Wanda Whitebird of the Bear Clan, a member of the Mi’kmag Nation from Nova Scotia, has been working with incarcerated Aboriginal women since the 1970s and remains a vocal activist for prison reform. Whitebird led a strawberry ceremony for the memorial, which demonstrates respect for the Creator and remembrance for one’s ancestors. The strawberry, or ode’imin in Ojibwe, means “heart berry” and represents courage and love, as it bears its seeds (its children) on the outside. The ceremony presented the overarching goal of these organizations: to voice concerns about—and heavily criticize—Canada’s judicial and policing systems and to heal those who are affected. As Jackie, another prayer leader, said, “we will assert sovereignty in the most beautiful way we know how”: through tradition, music, and prayer. SEE ‘SILENCE’ ON PAGE 2

The Strand Issue 11

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