Impr int The university of Waterloo’s official student newspaper
Friday, March 20, 2009
imprint . uwaterloo . ca
vol 31, no 31
Dance at UW — student dance clubs featured on page 16 leaked audio leads to
conservative controversy UW alumni participate in contentious workshop, draw campus politics and activism into question
Michael L. Davenport incoming editor-in-chief
“L “Essentially, the full kaleidoscope of issues that you associate with the left, you’ll probably find that there’s an organization on campus that PIRG is contributing to.” — Aaron Lee-Wudrick , UW Alumni
Listen to the leaked audio recordings yourself, and draw your own conclusions. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/ OPCCA_workshop_on_ how-to_takeover_student_ governments%2C_2009
earn how to carry the conservative flag on campus.” This was the tagline of a Ontario PC Campus Association workshop held on the Wilfrid Laurier campus February 7, 2009. The Facebook description of the event continued, “Trainees will learn strategies to promote a conservative agenda on university campuses in student elections and in referendum campaigns.” Recordings of some talks were posted to Wikileaks on March 13, and the story has since been picked up by other campus media. The workshop, featuring former UW student Aaron Lee-Wudrick, and former Feds VP Education Ryan O’Connor, dissemated strategies which could be used to effect political change on university campuses. On the agenda were items such as, “Campaign Strategies and Tactics for keeping the CFS off Campus” and “Fighting Student Elections as a Conservative”. The workshop also featured a keynote speech by current Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid. Strategies
In a one hour talk titled “Campaign Strategies and Tactics for Challenging and Defeating PIRG,” Lee-Wudrick and O’Connor described means to attack Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) by getting media attention (and creating shell organizations to that end) and turning campus clubs against the PIRG. Lee-Wudrick also highlighted the importance of building alliances with other on-campus conservative groups, addressing how to trigger a referendum and the possibility of overtaking the board of directors. The leaked material indicates that Wudrick also suggested applying for PIRG funding and using that to fund groups on campus. “So, the next best thing to defeating PIRG and cutting out their funding is making sure some of their funding actually does go to some non-left wing causes.” O’Connor was recorded saying, “Sometimes you can’t attach the party’s name to something. You just can’t. If it’s a really controversial issue on campus or something that might show up in the newspaper, you want to be careful. You just have your shell organization and have the Campus Coalition for Liberty and two other Tory front groups which are front organizations, all of those groups might actually qualify for funding too.” Lee-Wudrick also said, “Yeah we had a front group... the Campus Coalition for Liberty. It was really just a front for
the conservatives, but it gave us like two voices.” Lee-Wudrick stated at the workshop that the left had its own shell groups. He later told Imprint, “The basic point is that if a group of like minded people are attempting to create the impression of having more support than they actually do, this will give them more political clout.” Lee-Wudrick described how he got media attention for political events. “March for the war in Iraq, which attracted a total of eight people. This was the year [O’Connor] was in government, so [O’Connor] couldn’t be in it, though he did provide me with the cardboard to make the posters. ... I got six or eight people, and marched up University Ave., with a bullhorn from the student union run by conservatives ... A CTV affiliate came to film us, The Record sent a reporter, 570 News sent a reporter, and campus. So we had four media covering eight people!” O’Connor also related how, as a “guy with a computer and a press release,” he got on CBC radio minutes before the six o’clock news. “Why? Because the position I was taking was so uncommon for a student. Us students are ‘anti-American’, ‘anti-war’ — and I was here, supporting George W. Bush.” Two other tools the pair mentioned in the recording was running for the board of directors of PIRG, and finding various ways to initiate a referendum on university campuses, using their UW experinces as an example. Lee-Wudrick also suggested getting favourable referendum procedure in place (“without mentioning anything about PIRG”) and later using that procedure to launch a referendum on PIRG funding. “You will be surprised at what people will sign if you put it in front of them, especially if you put it in benign terms.” Speaking of this comment, Lee-Wudrick told Imprint, “I advocate using the rules as they are to achieve the ends you seek.” Involvement of an MP
Many have noted Braid’s attendance as a keynote speaker. When asked “In which way should and shouldn’t an MP engage campus?” the office of Peter Braid responded simply, “As a Member of Parliament, Peter encourages everyone to become more involved in government and the political process, including students. Talking to students about his own experiences is one way for Peter to engage young people.” As of press time, Braid’s office did not respond to the question of whether or not “an appearance at an event by an MP constitutes tacit support of items on the itinerary.” See POLITICIZATION, page 3
Black belt roundhouse
E Aboyeji explores world music, page 18
Warriors kick it at the Interuniversity Karate tournament, page 27
Imprint, Friday, March 20, 2009 firstname.lastname@example.org
politicization: Erin Go Bragh
Continued from cover Politicization as Feds executive
At the talk, Lee-Wudrick and O’Connor recount incidents where they collaborated on Conservative activities on campus, despite O’Connor holding the position of Feds VP Education at the time, and not being able to officially support the campus Conservatives. The issue is raised, then, of what extent a Feds executive should let their personal philosophies influence their activities in office. On that, Feds President Justin Williams said, “As long as someone is clear about his or her politics when running and is honest with students about what they are planning to do, then there is nothing inherently wrong with including their politics in the Feds office. I think it would be rare for someone to win with that platform in the current climate. That being said, it is not in the best interest of students for the Federation of Students to enter into political games.” The Conservative side — are PIRGs inherently partisan?
Charlotte Moore, a student in UW’s Faculty of Environment, celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a green beer in hand, on the patio of the Bomber Tuesday, March 17. Bomber’s management estimates that aproximately 1,000 patrons attended its annual event.
O’Connor told Imprint, “The session’s purpose was to encourage conservative-minded students to become more involved in campus life, and to discuss ways that conservative-minded students can build alliances with other student groups on campus. There’s nothing nefarious in suggesting that conservative-minded students organize around issue-based organizations rather than partisan campus clubs.” He added, “No one at the session suggested that PIRGs should be ‘eliminated’; conservative-minded students are often the most vocal supporters of free speech on campuses.” The full audio posted on Wikileaks bears O’Connor’s statement out: Lee-Wudrick said himself at the conference, “I don’t want them to go away, I just don’t want them to get extra resources other than [what] they’re entitled to.” The motivation for such tactics is the Conservative perception that the left wing on campus is similarly organized — PIRG-sponsored front groups to promote political causes, with the PIRG receiving a disproportionate amount of funding. Said Lee-Wudrick on the leaked recording, “On foreign policy, they clearly tend to favour those groups which Conservatives would normally not ally themselves with. They also tend to support more radical environmental pro-justice causes. Identity politics, anything that involves gender, gender identity. Female...I don’t want to say all gay and lesbian issues. ...Essentially, the full kaleidoscope of issues that you associate with the left, you’ll probably find that there’s an organization on campus that PIRG is contributing to.” Lee-Wudrick continued, “The fact that they exist and bring speakers isn’t the problem. It’s that they and they alone have this unique access
to resources that other groups don’t have. They’ll claim, ‘well, it’s refundable.’ It isn’t, really. If they were really sincere about that, they would simply solicit donations, or raise the money themselves. I still wouldn’t go to their events, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them existing on campus. “The equation is flipped for them. Most organizations succeed based on the number of people that are interested, are passionate, that get involved in [them]. The Conservative clubs are only as strong as ... as many people who do things for them. The PIRG is the opposite. They flourish on apathy, because they automatically get money. And if people don’t know about them, that’s good for them, because they keep getting the money and nobody says anything.” Counterpoint
On the subject of shell organizations, Williams countered, “I would have a hard time calling [Women’s Centre, GLOW, etc.] shell organizations as their memberships are often quite different from each other, and it is clear that they are not created for the purpose of supporting a specific party or external organization. That being said, it is common for many of these groups to form partnerships to work on events or causes.” Williams continued, “Creating shell organizations to distort campus discussion, however, is disingenuous, encourages apathy and actually works against developing a diverse and vibrant campus community. I find it disheartening that any political party would encourage actions that would work against these ideals.” Asha Philar, member of the WPIRG board of directors, maintains that PIRGs are non-partisan, saying, “We certainly do support environmental and pro-justice issues. We feel that clean air, access to drinking water and upholding human rights as defined by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are non-partisan issues that merit everyone’s support.” Generally applicable advice
Though much ado is being made about the talk being held by Conservatives, a good deal of the advice is applicable to any sort of political manouvering, whether Liberal or Conservative. The techniques described for getting media attention or initiating referendum would work for any political cause. Other examples are O’Connor’s advice to hold social as well as serious events, LeeWudrick’s advice to plan a Feds campaign years in advance and his advice for motivating students. “They’re not going to lie in bed, awake at night, tossing and turning about the student fee, right? They’re not passionate about this. You are. But they might vote, if it comes up.” email@example.com
GLOW celebrates its pride in style
Members of GLOW’s executive and guests mingle during its first Polar Pride event, which was held at Caesar Martini’s on Wednesday, March 11. Revenues generated were donated to The AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area (ACCKWA) and GLOW’s own queer-friendly video library.
Imprint, Friday, March 20, 2009
Tough times at York University Maggie Clark editor-in-chief Task force created to calm protests
After weeks of inaction from York University administration to campus incidents including heated protests between students divided by real or
perceived stakes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a university task force will seek ways to foster constructive debate, according to the Toronto Star. “We are committed to ensuring that our students can pursue their studies free of harassment or intimidation”, YorkU President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri said in a statement.
Correction In the March 13 issue of Imprint, a news article entitled “Students smoked out” ran with inaccuracies and information drawn into question by later comments from tenants. The names of victims in this kind of event are not conventionally given out, a fact that in this case limited information access to that shared by other invested parties, such as the landlord. Imprint apologizes for suggesting student tenants were to blame for the fire when, in fact, no cause has been established to date.
“This task force will take a hard look at the current environment on campus, and explore ways that we can promote open debate and the free exchange of ideas.” The Task Force on Student Life, Learning, and Community, will be composed of seven students and seven appointed faculty members. The faculty members have already been determined; the student members will be selected in a few weeks at the culmination of an open call process, wherein interested candidates submit short essays explaining why they wish to be part of this group. The task force arises after incidents involving shouting matches between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups on campus, and one incident in which Jewish students reported being harassed by pro-Palestinian members of the York Federation of Students while trying to hold a conference announcing
the completion of a petition for said Federation’s executives to be removed. (See “Campus Watch,” Imprint, March 6, 2009, for more details.) Student protests last week in YorkU’s Vari Hall saw students temporarily suspended and fined for the disruption (which affected exams), but task force head Patrick Monahey, dean of the Osgoode Law School, told the Toronto Star he did not agree with this university tactic. “In my view, calling the police or security forces is the last thing that we should do on a university campus,” said Monahan. “If you are having to call security forces, you know right away you haven’t done the kind of work at the front end to encourage the type of dialogue and exchange of ideas that we want.” The task force’s report to President Shoukri is expected by August 31; whether this will give the university enough time to implement recom-
E T A U D GRA AMS PROGR
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mendations for that fall term remains to be seen. — With files from the Toronto Star and YorkU.ca Difficult beginnings for YorkU’s largest Canadian faculty
The amalgamation of certain York University faculties into the largest university campus in Canada met with surprisingly little mainstream media attention, but is nonetheless incurring controversies on YorkU campus, according to UofT and YorkU student news. The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, comprised of the old Faculty of Arts and the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, will be headed by founding dean Martin Singer, who was listed on the York University website as a “renowned scholar” of Chinese history — and for this phrase became a centre of controversy. According to UofT’s The Varsity, YorkU Prof. David Noble accused university president and hiring committee chair Mamdouh Shoukri of fraud in a press release circulated after perceiving Singer’s credentials to be inflated. Other scholars in the Singer’s field have corroborated the assertion that Singer is in fact little-published or known, and the publication director for YorkU’s website took the word “renowned” down from the article; but the nonconfidence in Singer’s appointment lingers with Noble’s campaign group, York Faculty Concerned About the Future of York University. Also of note are the 20-odd contract professors in the current arts faculty who will not be renewed for the start of YorkU’s first term with the new faculty: more classes must instead be guaranteed to CUPE staff, the ranks of which some disaffected professors say they cannot join without having to accept a loss in seniority and considerable paycut. “We get paid a professor’s salary, and the CUPE 3903 Unit 2 people don’t,” saffected criminology Prof. Paul Baxter told YorkU’s the Excalibur. “They get paid by the course and it’s just appalling.” The success of this very new faculty remains to be seen. firstname.lastname@example.org
— With files from the Excalibur, the Varsity, and YorkU.ca
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Imprint, Friday, March 20, 2009
Katrina Massey reporter
Ryan Webb assistant news editor
Madagascar president cedes office to military
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana has stepped down as leader of Madagascar and handed control over government to military commanders. The president’s resignation occurred after weeks of protests and civil unrest conducted by supporters of the opposition. The military said that they were giving the power to opposition leader Andry Rajoelina. The president’s offices were seized on Monday by pro-opposition troops, and Rajoelina installed himself in the offices on March 17. Over 100 people have died since the presidential crisis first emerged in January. “This decision was very difficult and very hard, but it had to be made. We need calm and peace to develop our country,” Ravalomanana told the Associated Press. Ravalomanana was re-elected in 2006, and under his leadership, Madagascar opened up to foreign investment, especially in the mining industry. However, failure for the new wealth to trickle down caused frustration among civilians. In January, the government blocked a radio station signal supported by the opposition. In response, Rajoelina supporters set fire to a building in the government broadcasting complex, as well as an oil depot, shopping mall, and private TV station, killing many people. Days later, soldiers opened fire on protestors, killing 25 people. This move cost Ravalomanana a lot of militia support. In past weeks, Rajoelina has led anti-government protests, causing further unrest and fear of an out-
break of violence. On March 16, soldiers not only stormed the presidential palace but also seized a central bank in Madagascar’s capital. It is not clear as to whether this decision was supported by the whole army. The African Union and South African Development Community (SADC) have both condemned this military action. “We don’t think anybody has the right to unseat an elected government by force,” Botswanan Foreign Minister Phando Skelemani said on behalf of SADC.
should be disregarded or not, especially those that work with AIDS patients themselves. Over 25 million people have died from the AIDS pandemic in Africa since the early 1980s. An estimated 22.5 million Africans are currently living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In 2007, three quarters of all global AIDS deaths occurred on the African continent.
— With files from BBC and CBC
Attacks on international aid agencies in Darfur prompts an exodus
Pope condemns condoms as a contributor to Africa’s AIDS crisis
YAOUNDE, Cameroon Pope Benedict, who is visiting Africa on a seven day pilgrimage, said that condoms were not the solution to the African AIDS crisis. “[The disease] cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem,” the Pope told reporters on March 17 aboard the plane to Africa. The Pope’s affirmation of the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of condoms, one of the few proven sexually transmitted disease-preventing products, could have a large impact on the continent as tens of thousands showed up to welcome the Pope’s arrival. Africa is the fastest growing continent for the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope said that instead of condoms, fidelity in heterosexual marriage, abstinence and chastity are the best proven methods of preventing the spread of HIV. He said that this was the “correct behaviour regarding one’s body.” The issue of AIDS prevention is a large one within the Roman Catholic Church. Many clergy are divided as to whether condoms
— With files from The Globe and Mail and Reuters
KHARTOUM, Sudan Multiple attacks on foreign aid agencies in Sudan have caused many to withdraw their services. These agencies are in addition to those that President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had already ordered out. On March 17, eight gunmen attacked six UN peacekeepers. The peacekeepers fired back in self defence, but one of them was wounded and later died in a hospital. The four Doctors without Borders, or Medecins sans Frontiers (MSF) staff that were abducted on March 11 in Darfur were also safely released on March 17. After these abductions, MSF withdrew nearly its entire international staff from its Darfur projects, leaving only a few behind to ensure the safe release of those abducted. The abducted were Canadian nurse Laura Archer, French coordinator Raphael Meunier, Italian doctor Mauro D’Ascanio and Sudanese national Sharif Mohamadin. “[The] kidnapping of humanitarian workers jeopardizes humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable. Our independent medical work must be respected if we are to continue working in conflict areas to save the lives of those who suffer most,” said
Christopher Stokes, the Belgian division general director of MSF. Two MSF divisions were among the thirteen ordered out by President al-Bashir in the past month. The president ordered them out in response to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) call for an arrest warrant against him. The president has been accused of multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity including rape and torture in the Darfur region. These 13 organisations provide half of the assistance in Darfur. The groups ordered out were accused by the President of helping the ICC facilitate his arrest warrant, although workers have denied working with the ICC. The President says that he wants all foreign aid groups to stop distributing aid in Sudan within a year. — With files from CNN and The Globe and Mail Two suicide blasts in Yemen kill 14 South Korean tourists
militants with ties to al-Qaeda. He posed for pictures with a group of 16 Korean tourists before a bomb he was carrying exploded. Four of the Korean nationals, two women and two men, were killed in the blast, as well as a local tour guide. A second attack occurred on Wednesday, March 18 as a delegation, representing the South Korean foreign ministry and family members of the victims of the first attack, was in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a’. Reports indicate that the bomber walked between two cars in a convoy carrying the Koreans to the airport from a hotel in the capital city. Nobody onboard the vehicles was injured in the second attack. South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade designated Yemen a “travel restriction region” following Sunday’s attack, and was considering banning travel to the country altogether after Wednesday’s attack. — With files from BBC and The Korea Times
KHARTOUM, Sudan In the latest of a spree of incidents targetting foreign nationals in the country, two separate suicide attacks have been perpetrated against South Korean visitors in Yemen. The first attack occurred on March 15 at a UNESCO world heritage site frequented by tourists, in the city of Shibam. According to the AFP, Yemeni authorities say the perpetrator was a 20-year old Yemeni student, who was influenced by local
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n the days following my last column, wherein I argued for neither wholeheartedly praising nor condemning your UW education (instead always questioning its strengths and weaknesses), the New York Times published an article entitled “Is it time to retrain [business] schools?” while another, entitled “Education means more than job-training,” appeared in the National Post. I love this level of synchronicity in the media: either we’re all right on the money to be discussing these issues, or we’re equally complicit in perpetuating these conversations simply because they’re “trendy.” In any case, last week I addressed the extreme positions of love for, or hatred of, our UW education. This week I tackle the middle ground — why it’s so important to question the quality of our learning, and rigorously re-test its value throughout the whole of our time here, as well as in our lives after. Clearly, from the industry intersections I referred to last week, and the article about business school I mentioned above, it’s fair to assume I’m only framing this debate around whether or not academia is enhanced or degraded by a co-mingling of scholarly and business interests. This is not, however, the only debate I feel university students should be having about what their education at UW amounts to. To this end, it bears mentioning that Stanley Fish, an academic blogger for the New York Times, has been deliberating just as thoroughly on another extreme of academia — specifically the argument that liberal interpretations of academic freedom demand the politicization of scholars in response to world issues. This is just as complex a topic as that of industry’s impact on universities, so please don’t take the pursuant argument to be academic-issue specific: the real point is that we, as students — as scholars — should always ask questions of ourselves, our institutions, our education, and the social context in which we all operate. “Why?” you might ask — and I’m sparing us both the old chestnut of “Why not?” here, so let’s not even start. “Why should we treat something that we’ve paid for, worked for, and now gain profit out of (or don’t) with so much constant doubt? Why can’t we just settle on whether we feel we got our money’s worth or not, and get out, and move on?” To answer this, I turn to the teachings of Prof. Larry Smith, an educator with perhaps the greatest cult following on UW campus — and a small, quieter group of dissenters besides. I belong to the latter category: I understand why so many students love his teaching style, and the content of his stories, but I personally dislike the former, and disagree with much of the latter. Though I’ve heard him speak on a few occasions throughout my university career, one lecture in particular, in a Spring 2008 macroeconomics class I dropped into one day after work, stands out in this regard.
Smith’s thesis for this lecture was quite simple: that civilizations begin to die the moment they cease to expand. To forward this thesis, Smith elaborately highlighted a few of the greatest civilizations in history and attributed their descent to an incertitude emerging in leadership the moment empires stopped pressing their borders outward. Many an historian would have a field day tackling the oversimplifications and causal assumptions at work here, but really, it’s an illustrative example for a mainstream economics course: though I prefer lectures that encourage open debate after the extreme use of persuasive argument, there’s nothing inherently wrong about making such assertions to teach the principles of traditional economics. What irked me about this lecture, though, was the corollary to Smith’s thesis — the tidy complacency of it. After soundly condemning civilizations for an ultimate deficit of bravery, Smith turned his focus to what modern day bravery looks like — and in so doing singled out UW students as exemplars (through co-op and international programs alike) of the sort of fearlessness that keeps empires alive. At this point my complacency detectors sounded the most fearsome alarm: O Captain of Industry! Thy name is UW! Bring out the wine! It is one thing to forward a persuasive
for bringing critical thinking skills with them. If you then go one step further, and praise young undergraduates for the civilization-affirming rightness of their decision to operate in line with the teachings of any one class, you expose said students to a mindset of self-congratulatory complacency. I should note that Smith uses a rhetorical device some may argue offsets the impact of such flattery: specifically, he consistently inserts playfully condescending remarks calling students on their ignorance of a particular school of thought or way of life. But this, in my mind, only further distances students from the use of their own critical thinking skills, strengthening instead their dependency on his words to fill in the gaps. The preference, for me, is clear: the most effective educators are those who facilitate self-learning — forwarding clear themes on specific subjects, but also providing or reinforcing the tools students need to question their own knowledge, as well as that of their textbooks and the teachers themselves, while doing it. The same applies to universities as a whole. Or rather, it should — but since undergraduate students guarantee the university a substantial portion of its operating budget (either through tuition fees or government subsidization), and the university relies in no small part as
The real point is that we, as students — as scholars — should always ask questions of ourselves, our institutions, our education, and the social context in which we all operate.
argument that places constant expansion as a key component of both market and cultural stability. (Although a tougher argument to make today, I’d wager, in light of the current economic climate.) It is in line with this same “thing” to present such an argument in a way that does not allow for a balanced dialogue on the merits and weaknesses of one’s examples and justifications for this thesis. And yes, this is how many professors teach. Fine. A diversity of teaching styles at the very least exposes students to the variation of information models they can expect to engage in the world at large. But the flattery, both direct and for one’s institution, students can and should do without — if only because it makes it ever so much harder for us to think critically and objectively about the material we’re being presented. If you have a professor whose teaching style does not allow for sustained counter-argument (as the prolonged story-telling format of Smith’s lectures naturally discourages), students are already responsible
well on alumni donations and corporate partnerships, it’s no surprise that the maintenance of a reputation beyond reproach is deemed the best way to keep students, alumni, and businesses happily paying in. To this, I have the simplest of arguments to make: a reputation beyond reproach can be interpreted in one of two ways. The first is one wherein difficult issues are suffused in positive PR spin or else largely kept from public discourse, leaving students with an obliviousness about institutional problems they’re free to interpret as they will. The second is one in which the university encourages open and lively debate — through their website, through strong faculty and staff dialogues in public media (in print, on radio, via campus forums), and through challenging their student body — in class and in life itself — to ceaselessly reassess everything they take for granted. Three guesses which approach I find the most scholastic.
Friday, March 20, 2009 Vol. 31, No. 31
Next staff meeting: Monday, March 23 12:30 p.m. Next board of directors meeting: Friday, March 27 at 1:30 p.m.
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Imprint, Friday, March 20, 2009
Relationships for the wrong reasons ust because two people are in a relationship doesn’t mean they are going to spend the rest of their lives together. Don’t get me wrong, because plenty of couples I know plan on going the distance. However, I’m sure I am not the only person who knows a few couples who have no intention of staying together for the rest of their lives. So I ask “why be in the relationship at all?” Catherine, a close friend of mine and a hopeless romantic, once stated that “every relationship I have ever been in, I intended to stay in for life.” Catherine has had some epic relationships and I have witnessed a few of them. It made me wonder how she thought so lovingly of her relationships. Sadly, now that she is single, I had to ask her to elaborate. Catherine explained that “there is no way to tell whether or not you’ve found forever, so the only measure of what makes a good relationship is what makes you happy at the moment. The day it stops making you happy, leave; and if it never stops making you happy, never stop fighting for it.” I couldn’t agree more with Catherine
in this, because I always think that happiness is the number one reason to stay with someone. However, the reasons why couples who have no intention of being together forever stay together is hard to find. If you are dating someone, and you know without a doubt you are not going to marry that person, or have a life-long relationship, then why are you still in that relationship? Maybe it’s just my romantic side talking, but I couldn’t imagine being with someone I didn’t see myself with years down the road. Yet I also don’t think that you should look for forever in someone, because it is about the learning, experience, and growth you find in yourself after every relationship. I remember telling an ex that I would always love him for the rest of my life, and that when the time was right, if we were destined to be together, we would try again. Here I am four years later with someone else, who I now think is my true soul mate. Would I trade in the experiences that I had had with my exes now that I think I have found the one? No. Even though I could never
imagine being with any of my exes again, I would never want to forget how I felt with them. The same goes for my current boyfriend, Devin. He told me that he once considered his ex to be “the one.” It’s not easy to hear, but I completely understand why he thought that way about her. We all change and grow, and over time we realize what we need for ourselves, and what the person we are with should be like. A love from years ago now seems childish to me when I look back on it, but when I was with that person, in that moment, I truly felt that I would have never been able to love another person more. Maybe it’s a vicious cycle of relationships where we fall in and out of love, but each time I do it, I love harder, I fall harder, and doubt even more that I could find someone better next time. That is the reason I think people stay in dead-end relationships — fear of not doing better, fear of being alone, and fear of their partner being with someone else. There was a couple that I knew where one person was just waiting for a certain date to come to break
off their relationship. That date happened to be three months down the road. That person explained it as a “good time” to break up because both of them would be getting new jobs, moving, and experiencing new things so the break-up wouldn’t be so bad. It really bothered me that a friend of mine was saying how he
Maybe some of those people stay in long-term relationships for the experience, but I can’t help but think they have one eye open to the candy around them while they are still in that unfulfilling relationship. If you need to be with someone until you can find someone better, you’re selfish and inconsiderate. Why
If you are dating someone, and you know without a doubt you are not going to marry that person, or have a life-long relationship, then why are you still in that relationship?
didn’t want to be with someone, but was willing to fake it for three months — just to make it easier on himself. Nothing I could say to him would make him realize how selfish this was because he really did wait a few months before breaking up with his girlfriend. I kept thinking that the reason he wanted to stay with her for these three remaining months was so she couldn’t find anyone else in the mean time, and he wouldn’t be the one left alone. Maybe I was wrong, but it sure looked that way. What about the couples that stay together, that clearly know they are not good for each other? Those who know that they won’t be spending their lives together? Like I said before, I think it has something to do with a fear of being alone, and a fear of seeing the person they are with find someone else first. We’ve all heard it, when an ex gets a new girlfriend or boyfriend first — “they win.” If you are left alone and can’t find someone better, “you lose.” It’s stupid, but we’ve all heard it.
waste another person’s time because you can’t bear to be alone while you look for the right person? You owe the person you are with, no matter what they have done to you in the past, the dignity to not be treated as a comfort blanket. This goes both ways as well, because people should stop being the comfort blankets of their indecisive partners. If you are a comfort blanket that has gotten tossed aside once because someone else looked better than you, and you go back to the person who tossed you — you will be tossed again. It’s pretty sad to see what people put themselves through and what they do to others because they are afraid of being alone. There’s not much to say, except that you should all respect yourself, respect your partners, and be in relationships for the right reasons — not for fear of being alone. What goes around comes around, and you want to be the person who deserves someone great in the end.
Imprint, Friday, March 20, 2009
Community Editorial Conversation for dummies Because in the end, it really is all about you
Melody Jahanzadeh reporter
pproaching girls at a bar can be tricky. I get that. You never know if she’s one of those psycho-feminists who insists that she be treated with respect, or if she’s a money-grubbing gold digger who’s only using you for free drinks. And it’s difficult striking up a conversation when you have no idea what a person’s likes and dislikes are. At the risk of offending someone, it’s probably best to just play it safe. Here are some nofail topics for chatting up that special lady while waiting for drinks: Nothing is more fascinating to a girl
1. Your rigorous workout regimen.
than hearing about how often you hit the gym, how much you can bench press and your personal preferences when it comes to protein shakes. It also works well if you interrogate the girl in
question about her workout schedule and tell her what she’s doing wrong; likewise, point out her “problem areas” and give her some tips on how she can trim down those thighs. She will be delighted that you have taken such a keen interest in her well-being and will surely invite you back to her place as a special thank-you.
2. Your impressive drinking abilities.
Make sure to explain in great detail just how far you made it in your journey to join the Century Club, and elaborate on how you would have made it further had your (somewhat regrettable) dinner of Chinese food and pizza not caught up with you. And while not conclusive, there is evidence to suggest that the act of watching a male shotgun multiple beers acts as an aphrodisiac. Keg stands, chugging contests, and other similar quests to show how much you can drink before throwing up are equally attractive to females.
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3. Anything that displays your extreme manliness.
4. Your deep bond with your mother.
There’s a reason you’ve never heard a woman say “That pansy over there is so dreamy.” So man up! Don’t be afraid to confront that 300-pound rugby player if he has the audacity to bump into you and, similarly, if that hulk of a bouncer asks you to leave, don’t give in without a fight. Women love this — nothing screams “awesome guy” like a drunk guy irrationally starting a bar fight [Note: possible effects of this tactic could include massive bruises and a beat down by the bouncers in question]. And to those who have been wrongly informed that the “bigger man walks away from a fight,” I ask you this: where do you think these guys are walking to? Definitely not a hot girl’s house — think about it.
Here, the premise is fairly simple: women automatically equate close relations between a guy and his mom with being great boyfriend material. So feel no shame in telling your lady friend that you call up your mother several times a day and how much you hope your future wife will emulate her. Also, throw in how you’re counting down the days until you move back home because you’ve really missed getting your weekly allowance and explain to her that contrary to popular belief, there’s really nothing wrong with your mother still tucking you in at night. Moreover, outline your future plans to marry and settle down in a house right down the street from dear old Mom, with a wife at home raising all five of your kids. Women always like a man with a plan.
Above all, make sure the conversation revolves around you. The 1950s had it bang-on when they insisted that women be quiet and docile — that’s a standard that females should aspire to even today. So don’t feel bad if your girl’s not getting a word in edgewise; deep down, she prefers that you dominate the conversation and merely use her for your physical needs. Go on and tell her about your dreams of “making it” in the NHL (despite not making the varsity team and not having played for the past five years) and stimulate her intelligence by sharing your proposal that a woman’s place is truly in the kitchen. Explain to her the intricacies of World of Warcraft and why it really is a sport, and enlighten her on why being a guy with a “good personality and a future” is fine for some, but really not something you aspire to. And on the very off chance that these topics do not interest her, or your advances get met with a “Oh shoot, it’s almost 11, I better head home,” simply move on to the next female and play on, player.
Imprint, Friday, March 20, 2009
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First and foremost, Africa is not Europe or America. While many of my African brethren would likely disagree with me on this, I firmly believe that Western society is not the best model for Africaâ€™s development, especially as far as social issues are concerned. The last thing I would want for Africa is a cache of contentious social issues such as divorce, abortion, teen depression, suicide, teen pregnancy, and motiveless
within a permanent commitment is wrong, importing the â€œhook upâ€? culture into Africa under a condom wrap seems to me counterproductive at best and disingenuous at worst. Obviously, tapping into Africaâ€™s moral currents by promoting moral restraints breeds better results, especially since moral restraint is the best-proven method of prevention. No doubt this task is easier said than
There are two major reasons why I believe the Holy Father is right in defending the long-term approach of â€œmoral restraintâ€? against the â€œbanana cappingâ€? operation some groups believe is the panacea for the endemic problems of prevalent AIDS and STDs in Africa. gang violence. As I always say, I do not envy those who must deal with the social development problems on this side of the world â€” they seem to me of the most contentious kind, particularly considering the relative high economic living standards. Africa, I believe, is in a different position. Being a socially conservative continent, we are apt to be in consensus on a wide range of moral values. One of the moral values we can rightly agree on is that even though sex is a pleasurable thing, it is nothing to brag about. In fact, we consider it to be morally wrong under certain conditions. Hence, the general population does not readily accept â€œShaniqua-likeâ€? columns that discuss sex so explicitly. Some say this is part of the problem and in some sense, I agree. Restricting sex to the private sphere may encourage sexual illiteracy. However, I do not think that the Western model of disseminating sex education (i.e. covering everything that sticks up with condoms) will work in Africa. Moral restraint fits in very well with Africaâ€™s general social construct. Since the majority of Africans agree that sex outside of mutual fidelity
done, especially when one accounts for human weakness. However, sex education should promote it as the most preferable. Therefore, in order to accommodate the strains of human weakness, condoms should be made available and promoted as a less desirable alternative to moral restraint. Unfortunately, what happens now is that Western Aid groups come into Africa and overturn these flows by flooding the continent with condoms whilst waving away attempts at promoting moral restraint. Instead of proposing condoms as a prevention method that helps to accommodate human weakness, they make condoms a justification for Africans to knowingly, go against their deepest moral convictions. They end up saying to Africans, â€œHere are condoms, go have an orgy,â€? instead of â€œYou know you shouldnâ€™t be fucking so many randoms, but if you really need to, here are condoms.â€? This approach ignorantly assumes that if everyone wore condoms, we could eliminate the virus. See FALLIBILITY, page 12
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Yes! I hear your protests â€” but donâ€™t heckle me just yet. Unlike the Pope, the reasons for my opposition to this â€œcondom-onlyâ€? solution to HIV/AIDS in Africa are not simplistically grounded in the dogma of Church theology. They are grounded, as always, in the safety of objective reasoning. Before I begin my synopsis on the danger of exclusive condom education, allow me to define a few governing assertions for my observations. First, I must state my bias. I believe that abstinence is the best-proven and most desirable weapon for battling AIDS and other STDs. However, I think abstinence is a misnomer for the concept it is supposed to appropriately define. Thus, in this column, I will replace references to â€œabstinenceâ€? with the term â€œmoral restraintâ€? for the simple reason that it conveys a more accurate depiction of the concept itself. Second, I do not believe, as the radical social conservatives do, that condoms should not be used at all. There is no objective rationale for that sort of thinking. However, I do know that condoms are a short term fix that should not, as it presently does, distract us from the more profitable long term approach of educating people on the value of moral restraint. There are two major reasons why I believe the Holy Father is right in 7!4 % 2 , / / defending the longterm approach of ! NEW EXPERIENCE IN â€œmoral restraintâ€? against the â€œbanana cappingâ€? operation some groups believe is the panacea for the "!-"// &,//2).' endemic problems of 2!$)!.4 (%!4).'