Inside this issue...
FROSH MYTHS Debunked
MEET YOUR PREZ Here’s looking at Shaun Shepherd
the newspaper The University of Toronto’s Independent Weekly
VOL XXXV Issue 1 • September 6, 2012
September 6, 2012
President for a Year
UTSU President Shaun Shepherd seeks to improve student life and university cohesion Yukon Damov Above Shaun Shepherd’s desk on a cork board hangs a poster announcing Angela Davis’ lecture at Convocation Hall. To the right of it is a sparsely highlighted copy of the Students’ Code of Conduct. Down the left side of the board are a series of pins encapsulating the University of Toronto Students’ Union’s typical advocacy issues: diversity, equity, flat fees, sustainability. In the middle of the board is a small, sepia-toned photograph of Shepherd with a friend. Both of them are in a suit leaning against the dragon at the bottom of the central staircase in University College.
This is the only item on the board that he put there; the rest are part of UTSU tradition. He claims not to know yet what he’ll leave on the board for his predecessor. Asked by the newspaper about the future, he replied, “I never really considered myself an activist. I just really wanted to change the perception of the university and do good for the world and for the university.” Every year there’s a new UTSU President elected in March. The Presidency is not exactly a figurehead, but more of an organizer. On a typical day, he talks to university administrators, faculty, and students, gathering opinions and problems, while offering the
UTSU’s response. “The best way to describe it is that I have a hawk’s-eye view of the university,” said Shepherd. The President assists the Executive Members and the work they do through their commissions. The five commissions--Internal and Services, University Affairs, Equity, External, and Campus Life--are where participatory democracy can happen. “We’re an organization that welcomes criticism,” said Shepherd. “Any organization that doesn’t is set for failure. We’re always listening. This
year especially, we’re definitely interested in hearing constructive criticism and being able to work with the university community that works for everyone.” Every student, as a member of the union, can propose a motion. After two consecutive attendances to the commission, the student can vote on the issues. A one-year term puts constraints on the ambition of an election platform. Shepherd’s promise to pedestrianize St. George Street will require a multi-year effort, like the Student Commons campaign.
The response to preliminary discussions with the relevant parties--the University, the City, and neighbourhood associations--has been positive, according to Shepherd. “The reality is that the devil is in the details, “ he said. “People can act favourably towards something, but once you get into the nitty-gritty, that’s where the work comes in.” In February, the City made the closure of Willcocks Street on campus, as well as Gould Street at Ryerson, permanent
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the newspaper the newspaper is the University of Toronto’s independent weekly paper, published since 1978. VOL XXXV No. 1
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Contributors Aberdeen Berry, Suzie Balabuch, Sarah Boivin, Bodi Bold, Dan Christensen, Yukon Damov, Calan Panchoo, Vanessa Purdy, Nick Ragetli, Fang Su
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Sexual assaults near campus prompt community action Recent reports of sexual assault in the Annex and Kensington neighbourhoods concern Univeristy of Toronto students, residents Sarah Boivin Local neighbourhoods bordering U of T have recently witnessed a disturbing number of reported sexual assaults. While efforts to raise awareness and solidarity are mounting, so are concerns for the safety of the area, both as a residential neighbourhood and student hub. Descriptions of the offender vary, yet are consistent enough to convince Toronto Police that the attacks are linked, as constable Wendy Drummond expressed to the CBC. The female victims of the latest string of attacks in the last few weeks have described the suspect as a young, black male with a medium to heavy build.
from “Prez” subject to five-year renewals. Businesses on the busy Yonge Street strip near Ryerson complained that the closure could harm their finances. The trouble with St. George Street would not be only a question of economics, but also a matter of traffic flow between the major arterials of College and Bloor. Closing St. George to motorized traffic has the potential to create greater cohesion on campus. It would provide a
The university area--including Kensington market, Spadina, and recently Bloor and Christie-has been the site of relatively frequent reports of assaults since July, with one account occurring directly on campus at Emmanuel college. Yet students and residents alike can take comfort in the efforts for mutual support, awareness, and action that have risen from community anger. Reports of eight attacks in the area surrounding Christie Pitts this past month alone drove locals to rally in the park this Labour day in protest. Hundreds mobilized following a call to action on Facebook to take a stand against the recent attacks, both in raising
awareness and pressuring direct action from Toronto Police. Protesters are calling for community and Police Service cooperation in an attempt to guarantee proper precautionary steps are taken. Some have demanded free self-defense classes to women and young girls, while others have voiced concern on the lack of police presence on the streets on weekdays. The world renowned SlutWalk Toronto has announced its full support and solidarity with those affected. the newspaper is pursuing details on Campus Community Police special efforts and precautions in light of these attacks. A link to the Toronto Police Service news release on the details
of the August 29th attack can be found on the Campus Community Police site. Information on how to take action against sexual harassment can be found online or at the Campus Police office. In addition to online reports of criminal activity, University of Toronto Campus Police offers the WalkSmart escort service, available Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. during the academic year. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
central meeting place while creating a kind of unifying force for the infamously pocketed spheres of U of T’s student life. At the very least it would be symbolic: U of T space would be reclaimed for U of T. Shepherd considers the Faculty of Engineering an ideal model for the university at large. Students who come together at Frosh share classes together for the rest of the year; share a common space in a single building; share traditions, songs, and unprintable pranks. It nurtures what the
college system was designed to provide. “I think everyone wants to see a U of T that’s cohesive. Honesty and building bridges--people want to see that of everyone. It’s not to say that we won’t have our issues or that we’ll be a happy-go-lucky family where everyone’s on the same page. That’s not the case; that’s cult behaviour. It’s a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Whether or not it happens this year, it will happen. I’m very hopeful of that. This is the year we lay the ground-
work for that.”
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September 6, 2012
A guide for the hungover
Hedonism and Epicurianism: the newspaper introduces you to a new dimension of Greek life.
Following the blur of parties, tours, and brief yet deadly serious commitments to a series of increasingly dubious world views and friendships that is frosh week, I come to divert your attention from your collective hangovers and towards the pursuit of wisdom. While hedonism has its undoubted charms, chasing fleeting pleasure is a tiring affair. Both the value and methods of the pursuit are the objects of serious philosophical debate. English philosopher Jeremy Bentham is perhaps the most well known modern proponent of hedonism as an ethical position. Hedonism maintains that pleasure is the only intrinsic good, and everything else that we do is ultimately for the sake of pleasure. According to Bentham’s view on the matter, pleasures can be differentiated
(if not impossible) to provide empirical justification for his position, consider that you are probably hung over reading this; thus, your excessive pleasure at the toga party last night has lead to your excessive pain this morning. Thus, certain minds might conclude that the world regularly works in this way. They will likely stop drinking, at least to excess. While this seems sensible, Epicureanism also involves several darker implications emphasized by critics: given that your friends are all going to die, you ought not to love them too deeply, because this will make their loss greater. This sort of dispassion seems at odds with some of the elements we consider (at least conventionally) part of a good life. Perhaps this is true. Perhaps, for the optimistic, we can even reject Epicurus’ calculus. For instance, I have found an excellent and (usually) expedient hangover cure: vast quantities of orange juice drank quickly, as soon as you can force yourself to the fridge.
This is the first installemtn in an irregular series of columns that apply philosophy to practical student problems.
only on the basis of quantity, rather than quality. We might assume certain points about how we ought to lead our lives follow from this. For instance, our ethics now dictate that it is correct to avoid studying in order to go out drinking, because being satisfied by your intellectual cultivation and being satisfied by your gleeful inebriation are no different. Of course, even if we are to accept utilitarianism, the position is fraught with a variety of challenges. Even without calling the idea of undifferentiated pleasures into question, it is possible that overall pleasure will be maximized only by an oblique approach. Such was the view proposed by Greek philosopher Epicurus (today chiefly and mistakenly known as a proponent of good food). He claimed that the life of extreme pleasure was also the one of extreme pains; therefore, to avoid this, we ought (in general) to pursue only moderate pleasures, which would be unaccompanied by distressing extremes. While it’s extremely difficult
the campus comment
the newspaper asked: Where do you see yourself in four years?
GIANCARLO Music Education “I want to be a high school music teacher”
JOSH Music Education “Hopefully in grad school for piano somewhere in Europe.”
MARIA Year Abroad Student “Working on my PhD thesis on German or Latin literature.”
MIRA Trinity “I would like to do my masters in Los Angeles because I love that city.”
BIANCA, LYANNE UTM campus & Lyanne, New College “Completing the MCAT’s and going to med school.”
“Dedicate my time to volunteering as much as I can and travel to somewhere in Indochina.”
FROSH MYTHS 101
The top 8 university life myths, debunked by your favourite independent newspaper very inquisitive client wanting to know everything about azaleas, you’d be pretty pleased. Same goes for professors: they will be thrilled to know their carefully planned lectures are reaching someone’s ears. Go to office hours armed with one or two questions. Then keep going. Your professor will remember you, and you will do better in the course because you took initiative.
Suzie Balabuch Just arrived at the University of Toronto and no idea what to expect? Read on to clear up some pesky myths about life at the top school in Canada.
Myth #2: You’re going to meet all of your friends within the first week. Okay, so frosh week didn’t turn out to be so awful. You attended events and even made some friends. Odds are, you may not see much of these people after frosh. But never fear! The school year’s just begun, and the potential for making life-long friends is abundant. Increase your chances by joining teams and organizations that interest you. Attend the meetings regularly, and get involved. People will remember you for helping to set up the bake sale, not for showing up to that one meeting. Myth #3: Everyone has an awesome first year experience! No, they don’t. It’s just statistically impossible. The first year of university is fraught with a whole bunch of life changes; some amazing and some painful. This doesn’t mean that you should just give up now and ride out the storm until next year. Be positive and don’t be too hard on yourself if you look back on this year as being the hardest of your university career. A little bit of hardship builds character. Myth #4: That freshman 15 is just a bite of pizza away. Did you know that part of your tuition goes toward paying for the numerous fitness facilities U of T has to offer? Take advantage of them and stave off weight gain. You don’t have to succumb to the dreaded fresh-
Myth #8: Since you’re an adult now, you have to deal with tough situations on your own. There will be times when you will feel overwhelmed with something, be it a bad grade, a failed relationship, or a health crisis. Resist the urge to hide away, and reach out to one of the many resources available to you as a U of T student. Services like CAPS (Counselling and Psychological Services), SEC (Sexual Education and Peer Counselling Centre), and Health Service are available for your every need. Visit http:// life.utoronto.ca/get-help/ health-wellness/ for more information.
Myth #1: The frosh week events are lame and a waste of time. Sure, icebreakers and forced chit-chat with strangers is not many people’s idea of a good time. Like any new beginning, though, the awkwardness will recede and the fun will start to kick in. So don’t skip that dance or Jays game. You will learn something new, and make a giant step to immersing yourself in your new community.
man 15 if you treat fitness like you should your courses. Set aside a certain time every week, and maintain your interest by switching up workouts or going with a friend. (Bonus: hotties hang out at the gym. That is not a myth.) Myth #5: Choosing a major right away is a must! The time to choose your Subject POSt (Program Of Study) comes the summer before second year. Even then, you don’t have to have all your shit figured out. For now, try to get your pesky distribution requirements out of the way, and focus on finding out what makes you tick. Take time to savour all the academic flavours that the university has to offer by taking a variety of courses, talking to professors and just enjoying first year. Myth #6: Midterms and finals are hell. This particular myth can be true, but you yourself can debunk it with two words: study smart. When your professor hands you a copy of the syllabus, don’t scrunch it into a ball at the bottom of your bag. Read it, and note the dates when important tests and assignments take place. Next step, study in advance. This rule is so incredibly simple but ignored by so many simply because it takes a little forethought. Do the readings before class, and
start studying for midterms more than three days before. Your nerdiness will turn to awesomeness when the grades come rolling in. Myth #7: The classes are huge, so professors must not care about getting to know you.
Even for students who are no longer wide-eyed freshmen, professors can be intimidating. You might think that since your class is so huge, your professor has no time or interest in getting to know you. That’s where you’re wrong. If you were a landscaper and had a
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September 6, 2012
Frosh Week concert gets Offishall, and other unrelated artists Annual UTSU orientation concert headlines rapper Kardinal Offishal, supported by pop artist Anjulie and indie rocker La Sera Calan Panchoo A local rap legend, a pop darling, and an American indie girl are set to perform in front of a sea of frosh during orientation week. The clash of styles is undeniable, as each performer brings their distinct personality to the stage. Whether through his dancehall breaking party tunes or his reggae inspired rhymes, Canada’s Kardinal Offishall has become a music staple in
recent years. His songs are often heard booming throughout clubs, and his distinctive style and unabashed love for his hometown have made him a ubiquitous sound reverberating out of the radio as well as a darling to his fans. But the boy from Toronto was not always a superstar. For more than a decade Kardinal, born Jason Harrow, had been rapping and running in the underground scene. While he released albums to criti-
cal acclaim , including “Eye & I” (1997) and later “Fire and Glory” (2005), and collaborated with other Canadian artists such as Rascalz, he never truly broke out. It wasn’t until 2008, when he hooked up with Akon to create the much loved club single “Dangerous,” that his career sparked into a torrent of popular singles. Oakville native Anjulie has been singing and songwriting since she was young, and credits her affinity with music to
growing up in what she calls “racial ambiguity.” Raised by Indian parents from Guyana, Anjulie Persaud never seemed to fit in with any one group as a child in Canada. Instead, she immersed herself in music. Anjulie’s unique alternative pop style has led her to such success as performances and tours with the likes of T-Pain, Shwayze, and B.o.B. La Sera, on the other hand, hails from a very different realm of music. Originally one
member of the trio band Vivian Girls, La Sera is deeply connected to the noise pop movement in her native Brooklyn. Having gone solo, she has crafted a peppy, bouncing, almost ethereal indie sound that has won her international regard. With grooving reggae rhymes, piercing popping vocals, and dreamy guitar riffs, the concert is sure to feature a wealth of converging genres. Concert starts Friday, September 7, at 3 p.m. on Back Campus. Free.
What would John Cage want for his birthday? Listen up. U of T Faculty of Music celebrates 100th birthday of experimental composer John Cage Robin Reid-Moran John Cage was a minimalist composer. Wednesday, September 5, 2012 was his 100th birthday. People are celebrating his life. With time he may come to be seen, like Mozart, as epitomizing genius for our time. But celebration must begin within the spirit of the individual. A gentle, humble, and softspoken man, Cage, if he were still alive (he died in 1992), might well find the pomp of an anniversary absurd. He didn’t make music to reflect his personality. Cage intended for his music to be more concerned with the human experience of sound. And, for Cage, music is sound and sound is music; there isn’t really a distinction. Concert halls should train us for the streets and vice versa. Cage never turned his ears off and neither should we because the sound world never stops.
Sound is always in perpetual motion, always relentlessly penetrating the inner currents of our imagination to remind us of how much lies within and beyond. “I love the activity of sound,” Cage said. “What it does is it gets louder and quieter and it gets higher and lower and it gets longer and shorter. It does all those things, which I’m completely satisfied with. I don’t need sound to talk to me.” Cage’s wonder at sound comes together with his belief that we can never be completely sure of what it means. Instead of subjecting the acoustical sphere to our limited and finite processing of it -- in essence, fixing it’s meaning -- we should trust that what we hear will intrinsically change the way we perceive and enjoy the world. Sound doesn’t “talk”; sound is sound. And so we should rest in this, Cage maintained, for it is liberating to surrender oneself to the external world
without feeling the need to consciously digest it. And there is something utterly familiar and reaffirming about Cage’s music. Since his sensibility was as attuned to the traffic outside his apartment as it was to music’s history, his pieces offer us vivid glimmers of experience that look past the sometimes stale and artificial world of high art. Cage’s life was an example of how to engage our senses with attentive, unrushed curiosity. The man, after all, was a mycologist, a student of fungi. His mind was eager to learn hidden things, constantly engaged with Zen philosophy, indeterminacy, space-time relations, and the development of a truly new musical language. And though we may not speak this language fluently at all moments, the more we listen, the more adept we’ll become. The best way to celebrate his life and work is to always practice the art of listening.
How to enjoy Toronto International Film Festival, even if you just heard about it
Dan Christensen As TIFF’s international profile has skyrocketed over recent years, to the point that TIFF is now frequently considered the most influential film festival in the world, the demand for tickets has ballooned with it. So if your interest has just recently piqued as press surrounding the festival reaches a fever pitch, you might be discouraged to discover that, yes, all ticket packages have been long sold out, along with seats at many of the more prominent screenings. However, as the festival organizers will be quick to remind you, only around thirty percent of the screenings sell out each year, which leaves lots of opportunities to purchase single tickets not yet snapped up by the more eager ticket-package-holders. Many of the most popular screenings are for films that are likely to see a Toronto release down the line. As such, there are still many single tickets left for the smaller, less conspicuous films that you may never get to see again outside of the festival. Thanks to TIFF’s newly-redesigned online ticketing portal, you can see in real time which screenings still have availability. If the film you’re interested in is listed as off-sale, you can check the website or phone the festival box office at 7 a.m. on the day of the screening to check if extra tickets have become available. Failing this, you still have a chance to make it into your screening via the rush line. You’re advised to show up two hours before the scheduled showtime, even though the tickets are only made available ten minutes before the lights go down. Should you plan to roll the dice in these rush lines frequently, make sure to be organized, and be realistic. The most common rush line mistakes are attempting to rush only the most star-studded screenings, or leaving inadequate travel time between screening locations. Beyond the excitement of the films themselves, the city, now chock full of film-industry members, will have a lively, star-studded night life for the
next ten days. In order to take advantage, your best bets are to stick with the classier joints both in Yorkville and in the Entertainment District, where liquor licenses are often extended to 4 a.m. for late-late-night parties. If you’re moving out of the hub however, The Drake Hotel on Queen West is a good stop with a likely chance of some TIFF action. Now, in terms of which films you should see, selection can be rather daunting, as the slate of options never seems to end. However, all of the selections are grouped into “programmes,” such as Discovery (for new up-and-coming directors’ works) or TIFF Docs (for documentary features) to help guide you. If you require a little more specific direction, here are my five picks for screenings (or events) that you’re advised to try to catch: 1. Jason Reitman’s Live Read of American Beauty This is a live-screenplayreading idea is one that Reitman, famous for directing both Juno and Up in the Air, has had much success with in LA, where he runs the readings as a series. He’s helped in no small part by the marquee actors he has to recreate the roles, all of whom are unrehearsed and directed live by Reitman. At this reading, Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks will be joined by the likes of Woody Harrelson, Nick Kroll, and even George Stromboulopoulos! Though this reading would seem a great candidate for being long sold out, you can thank a late announcement for the chance to make it in. Thursday the 6th, 6pm, Ryerson Theatre 2. Reality, dir. Matteo Garrone (Italy) This film picked up the Grand Prix at Cannes this year, and Garrone previously directed the 2008 crime feature Gomorrah, which also received wide praise from the critics. A fish seller in Naples becomes more and more absorbed with becoming a reality TV star in this feature that Garrone had originally intended the film as a comedy. However, his perspective on the modern fame culture obsession seems to
have turned out bleaker than anticipated. Wednesday the 12th, 6:45pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1; Thursday the 13th, 9:30, Scotiabank 3 3. The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema dir. Sophie Fiennes (UK, Ireland) Slavoj Zizek, the closest thing the philosophy world has to a rockstar, is our host on this tour through frequently familiar 20th century cinematic territory (Jaws, Titantic, The Sound of Music, to name a few), but providing his deeply insightful and idiosyncratic annotations on popular 20th century modes of thought along the way. This film comes
on the heels of Fiennes and Zizek’s Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, so you can rest easy in a tested formula without worries that it will be too familiar. Also, the screening will be followed by a live talk with Fiennes and Zizek themselves, which is guaranteed to be both stimulating and outrageous. And it’s on campus to boot! Friday the 7th, 6pm, Isabel Bader Theatre 4. Room 237, dir. Rodney Ascher (USA) In this documentary, Ascher delves deep into the bottomless well of interpretive possibilities that fans have unearthed in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, by ask-
ing the very obsessive fans themselves. Whether or not you’ve been captivated by the later Kubrick’s painstakingly particular yet frequently vague style, the investigation of movie-cult fascination alone is reason enough to check this one out. Thursday the 13th, 6pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema; Saturday the 15th, 5:45pm, Cineplex Yonge and Dundas 2; Sunday the 16th, 12pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 Tickets for patrons under 25 are $15.04 for standard and $25.00 for premium screenings. All above screenings are standard.
Dear Suzie The art of letting go: what to do when you’re faced with a hard goodbye Dear Suzie, How do I let go? What are some practical things I can do to get out of those negative spiral moments? Yours truly, Belle Dear Belle, I can only imagine that you are trying desperately to let go of someone, and have written to me because you are just as desperately trying to hold on. I feel for you because that shit ain’t easy. But the bottom line is, part of the letting go has already happened because whatever or whomever it was got up and left. The question you have to ask yourself now is this: what am I able to control? Once you define those things, get to work on making them what you want them to be. For instance, you can’t control whether or not a person will call you or text you. You can control whether or not you will. So don’t do it. Put down the phone, block them from Facebook. By cutting off avenues of communication, you are in control of what comes in and out, like a bouncer is in control of who enters and exits a club. Once you have the communication thing down, move on to your next object of control: your time. Stop wasting it on this painful situation. At first, it will be very, very hard and you will realize how much you think about them. Little by little, it will get easier. So stop looking at old pictures, going to old hangouts and playing favourite songs on repeat. Get your shit together and do all the things you’ve been putting off to fill the time you now have at your own disposal. Make a list, and painstakingly check each thing off. Slowly, the art of letting go will become second nature to you, and I promise, one day you won’t even notice the fading aroma of the things that just don’t matter anymore. Just say goodbye to all that, and life will reward you with a new hello. Sincerely, Suzie
Got a question for Suzie? Submit it anonymously at the newspaper.ca in the blue box
September 6, 2012
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Published on Sep 7, 2012