The McGill Tribune Vol. 41 Issue 14

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The McGill Tribune TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022 | VOL. 41 | ISSUE 14

McGILLTRIBUNE.COM | @McGILLTRIBUNE

Published by the SPT, a student society of McGill University

EDITORIAL

FEATURE

STUDENT LIFE

A curfew cannot get us through the pandemic

How McGill fails Palestinian students

Second semester star signs

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Scenes from a conference

Increased space missions risk extraterrestrial contamination

Matthew Molinaro Opinion Editor To prepare their readers for online conferences, The McGill Tribune unearthed scenes from various breakout rooms and class discussions over the last five years

New paper highlights need for invasion biologists in planetary biosecurity

Gender Studies

Yeah, I mean, and this is just speaking from experience, Judith Butler might be projecting a bit, don’t you think? Like we get that you perform as a member of the diverse LGBTQ community, but there’s got to be deeper meaning there. I actually used to do improv on Thursday nights at the Second City, the one in Toronto; it’s pretty exclusive if you run in improv circles, so performance is just in my blood. Here are my questions: Who is Butler performing to? Can I get a ticket to see them in action? And that obviously connects to moving hands from chest to head the world around us because there are stages and gender and women, of course.

Mikaela Shadick Staff Writer The days of the U.S.-Soviet Space Race are over, and the domain of space exploration is expanding daily to include more countries than ever before. With the advent of private companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which aim to reduce the costs of space transportation, expeditions into our extraterrestrial surroundings are no longer limited to just two contenders. Though this may seem like we are entering an exciting and fast-paced moment in the history of space exploration, invasion biologists and other scientists who study the environments of foreign planets have voiced concerns that this period of expansion carries the risk of unintended repercussions. What exactly is at stake? Anthony Ricciardi, a researcher from McGill’s Department of Biology, alongside a team of scientists well-versed in the fields of invasion biology, biosecurity, and astrobiology, recently released a paper detailing the concerns of crosscontamination of life forms between planets during space missions. PG. 12

History

(Saumya Gogte / The McGill Tribune)

‘Don’t Look Up’ is a bad joke with no punchline

No, I don’t know the date when the Treaty of Paris was signed, but I’ll tell you something more useful. I totally recognize my position of influence as a student of history, because like we study the wars and the fights for justice. It’s not just the past—it’s the present, it’s the future. I’m not so sure everyone knows that, we aren’t that simple, right. One thing I’m becoming increasingly aware of is that just because colonialism ended doesn’t always mean that it has though. So, what do we need to do? I’ll leave you with that food for thought. Maybe you could look at our history and get back to us?

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McGill denies School of Social Work’s decision to hold classes virtually until February 25 Students voice concerns about risk of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable communities Madison Edward-Wright News Editor In light of the increased transmissibility and ongoing health risks posed by the Omicron variant, McGill’s School of Social Work announced via email on Jan. 4 that it would extend online learning until at least Feb. 25. The McGill Tribune obtained the Jan. 4 email and several others, including one sent two days later, on Jan. 6, informing students the

university had refused the School’s decision. Many students in the faculty, including Jo Roy, U3 Social Work, were disheartened by the news. “[Getting the second email] was like a punch in the face,” Roy said. “I blame McGill for its intimidation, and essentially bullying, of not just our school, but of other faculties in McGill as a whole.” PG. 1


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NEWS

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

McGill denies School of Social Work’s decision to hold classes virtually until February 25 Students voice concerns about risk of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable communities Madison Edward-Wright News Editor Continued from page 1. In accordance with the Quebec government’s Dec. 17 announcement that universities cannot hold in-person classes until Jan. 17, McGill announced on Dec. 31 that classes would be held virtually until at least Jan. 24. This announcement excluded Tier 1 activities, such as labs, clinical courses, and music classes, which cannot be conducted remotely. Social work students, however, have opposed the projected return date, citing risks to themselves, the institutions they work in—such as hospitals, centre local de services communautaires, and centres d’hébergement et soins de longue durée—and the communities they serve as reasons to continue virtual learning until safe to return in-person. “[There are] forty or so people in [my] cohort, and if you take the students [doing stages] in the second year cohort [...] that

is close to nearly 100 points of impact for COVID to go around into vulnerable communities,” Roy said. “We go into other community-based organizations in primarily marginalized, racialized communities [....] I do not want any of us to be points of spread for these communities.” Codey Martin, U3 Social Work, was not surprised by McGill’s decision. Like Roy, Martin feels the return to inperson classes does not prioritize the wider Montreal community’s health and safety, but says he will continue to work with those he serves despite the circumstances. “The work I do goes on regardless, with education or without education,” Martin said in an interview with the Tribune. “It is the natural law to a helper, to always help people in need of helping. But at the same time, I am sure many across the McGill community probably have some tough decisions to make.” Many social work students have begun to explore potential action they can take to communicate their disagreement to McGill. In addition to

The McGill Social Work Student Association will be holding a general assembly on Jan. 17 to discuss possible actions students can take against McGillès decision. (Léa Bourget / The McGill Tribune) consulting with the Students’ Society of McGill University and the Social Work Student Association, students have met with law professor Richard Gold to understand the legal grounds upon which McGill made the decision.

In an email interview with the Tribune Gold claimed that McGill’s central administration has no basis for making the School of Social Work return to in-person teaching given the adoption of a Course Delivery Parameter for the Winter 2022

Academic Term at the Nov. 17 McGill Senate meeting. “In the fall, at the initiative of the administration, [the] Senate adopted [...] guidelines for online teaching,” Gold wrote. “While it recommended that 80 per cent of teaching be in-person, it left the actual decision to [individual faculties] [....] Rather than respect the guidelines for which it itself advocated, [the administration] is ignoring them.” At the request for comment on this situation, McGill media relations officer Frédérique Mazerolle, on behalf of the McGill administration, wrote that the university remains dedicated to student health and wellbeing. “The uncertainty around the impact of the new Omicron variant remains high,” Mazerolle wrote in an email to the Tribune. “However, we intend to return to in-person education as soon as safely possible and when government directives permit. Our planning for Winter 2022 remains flexible and if the COVID-19 situation changes, we have contingency plans in place.”

Principal Suzanne Fortier to step down on eve of Fall 2022 term

McGill’s first francophone Principal and Vice-Chancellor will end her contract at the end of August Signy Harnad Contributor

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n a message sent to the McGill community on Jan. 7, Suzanne Fortier announced she will be stepping down nearly one year before the end of her second five-year term as principal and vice-chancellor, effective Aug. 31, 2022. On Fortier’s behalf, McGill media relations officer Frédérique Mazerolle, explained that, having served as McGill’s principal and vice-chancellor since 2013, it was time for a change in leadership. “After almost a decade in this role— and with the university now entering its third century—Principal Fortier felt it was an ideal time to pass the baton to a new leader who will shape the future of our university,” Mazerolle wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “Until then, Principal Fortier will remain focused on building on the strong foundation of McGill University, embedded in its Mission and Principles.” Mazerolle did not give reason as to why Fortier has chosen to step down almost a year before the end of her contract, which was set to expire on June 30, 2023. Fortier is a two-time alma mater of McGill, receiving a BSc in 1972, and a PhD in 1976, and served as a former chair of the Natural Sciences and Engineering

Research Council of Canada (NSERC). As McGill’s first francophone principal, she was selected primarily to help strengthen McGill’s connection to Quebec. Yelena Simine, assistant professor of Chemistry at McGill and VP Communications at the McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT), feels as though Fortier lived up

An Advisory Committee will be formed in the upcoming months to recommend candidates for Fortier’s successor. (mcgill.ca)

to the task, conveying appreciation for the principal’s work during her tenure. “She has helped improve relations between McGill and the Province of Quebec, she has always made her pride in McGill clear, and has been dedicated to the cause of promoting the university,” Simine said. “During her time as principal the university became more inclusive in many ways.” In other ways, however, Simine was critical of the way Fortier altered McGill’s governing structures over the course of her tenure. “Collegial academic self-governance weakened further in favor of top-down managerial approach,” Simine said. “Centralization of operations has increased the everyday bureaucratic burden and led to increased burnout among faculty. We feel that the perfect successor would bring new unexpected and exciting ideas for uniting our community and will make it a point to shape McGill through collegial consultation and implementation of local initiatives and ideas.” For Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) vice-president (VP) University Affairs Claire Downie, Fortier’s tenure over the course of the pandemic will be remembered as one marked by a blithe disregard of student issues. “While I’m sure Principal Fortier

accomplished a lot of work that students aren’t aware of, I think many students will remember most strongly what she did not do, things like implementing strong COVID-19 safety measures, ensuring graduate students were paid a living wage, or standing up to the provincial government when its actions directly harmed students,” Downie said. “I wish Madame Fortier the best in any future roles, but at the same time, I hope we can also acknowledge the harm caused by inaction during her tenure and push her successor to do better.” Still, students like Juliana Malka, U3 Science, explained that while she disapproves of how Fortier has handled the past two years, she will remember her time in office with nostalgia. “Although I have issues with how the administration dealt with the past four semesters, serving as head of an institution as diverse as McGill is no easy task, and definitely warrants our respect,” Malka said. “I remember hearing about Suzanne Fortier before applying to McGill, and now that I’m graduating and ‘Big Suze’ has announced her leave, it kind of feels like the end of an era.” An Advisory Committee will identify and recommend possible candidates to the McGill Board of Governors with the expectation that the Board will appoint a new principal by Fall 2022.


news@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

NEWS

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Contract negotiations between McGill and MUNACA at impasse

Ongoing talks expose deep issues in admin’s relationship with unions Leo Larman Brown Contributor

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egotiations between McGill University’s Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA)—a union that represents nearly 2,000 support staff employees—and the university’s administration have reached a standstill after McGill’s most recent contract offer left MUNACA representatives unsatisfied. The contract between the two has not been updated since it expired late November 2018.

In an interview with The McGill Tribune, Thomas Chalmers, president of MUNACA, explained that McGill’s salary offer, which is “close to being final” is unfair for MUNACA members. “According to their latest offer, [McGill said] there is not much room to move,” Chalmers said. “They offered a 1.5 per cent increase for three years over each year, which is well below the cost of living [….] The cost of living [would be a] 3.5 per cent [increase]. I think that’s a huge

“McGill is not an institute for higher learning, it’s more of a corporation” says Thomas Chalmers, President of MUNACA. (Liam Kirkpatrick / The McGill Tribune)

difference.” Nancy Crowe, MUNACA vice-president (VP) Labour Relations, added that the low salary offer causes an imbalance in the negotiations, favouring McGill. “The expectation [...] is that we move toward them [in our offer], not the other way around,” Crowe said. “[It is] clear that discussion stops if [we] don’t reduce our demands.” McGill media relations officer Frédérique Mazerolle provided a statement about the impasse on McGill’s behalf, which reads that both parties have met extensively to create a new contract. “Following the MUNACA union drive which resulted in a new MUNACA bargaining unit, parties have met regularly with the aim to conclude a first collective agreement (i.e. under the new bargaining unit),” Mazerolle wrote in an email to the Tribune. “While details cannot be shared at this time given the ongoing negotiations with MUNACA union leadership, discussions will continue in January in presence of a conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour pursuant to a request filed by McGill.” Chalmers expressed uncertainty that the conciliation

will help overcome the dispute between the two parties. “Hopefully the conciliator will be able to bring the parties together, but there is a significant difference [in what the two want],” Chalmers said. “We’re not talking about a strike yet, there are other things we can do in terms of pressure tactics [....] Nobody wants a strike [...] but also nobody is ready to be treated like shit.” With MUNACA members forced to do in-person work during the COVID-19 Omicron variant surge, Crowe feels that issues between the McGill administration and its employees have been exacerbated. “We now have people working in a library, not in the back of Service Point, where there is no one to serve,” Crowe said. “We have admin staff in a wellness centre for which students have no access [….] We’re dealing right now with [McGill’s] disregard for the health and safety of our members during this rapid spread of Omicron.” Fanta Ly is the president of the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE), a union representing approximately 1,500 employees, most of whom are students. She is disappointed with how

McGill is treating its employees, particularly the floor fellows who live in student residences, amidst the Omicron wave. “[McGill] had issued contracts for floor fellows even when they knew the semester was going to be online and then withdrew those contracts,” Ly said. “Some of [the floor fellows] had already relocated to Montreal, and [McGill] did that very last minute.” Representatives from MUNACA and AMUSE both cited Workday, an HR software McGill implemented in August 2020, as an ineffective platform for payroll. “It was such a mess when it was implemented that thousands of people weren’t paid for a substantial amount of time,” Crowe said. Reflecting on the negotiations and the struggles that employees and unions are facing, Crowe spotlighted the essential role employees play in ensuring McGill’s smooth functioning. “I would frame this [...] as a typical worker’s struggle,” Crowe said. “We are support staff, we make this university run, we’re on campus, our members are working [....] McGill works because we do.”

Tribune Explains: COVID-19 restrictions and the Winter 2022 semester

New government restrictions have altered university operations and services Anoushka Oke Staff Writer What government directives have been put in place, and what do they mean for McGill? Quebec Premier François Legault announced on Dec. 16 that high schools and post-secondary schools must operate remotely until Jan. 10. Stricter capacity limits on non-essential businesses and services, as well as tighter limits on the sizes of gatherings, were also implemented. As daily case counts rapidly grew to over 15,000, however, Legault tightened the province-wide restrictions even further and imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Legault’s Dec. 30 announcement also included the extension of virtual learning. Schools are now required to remain remote until Jan. 17. and indoor gatherings are banned. In light of the announcement, McGill informed students and staff that instruction would be online until Jan. 24 with the exception of “Tier 1” activities, which resumed on Jan. 10. “Tier 1 activities are educational activities that are extremely difficult to conduct online, and include critical teaching laboratories, clinical activities, project courses, various activities in music, and other experiential in-person components

of courses,” McGill media relations officer Frédérique Mazerolle wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune.

On-campus testing The Quebec government has implemented restrictions on who can be tested for COVID-19. As of Jan. 4, those eligible for a PCR tests include people showing symptoms of COVID-19, healthcare workers, hospital visitors and staff, those working with more vulnerable communities, and members of those communities. McGill’s on-campus rapid test pilot project that focussed primarily on testing asymptomatic people, has thus been suspended until further notice.

What does this mean for students in McGill residences? Because of limitations on gatherings, students can only have one guest from within their residence in their room at a time. Additionally, students cannot socialize with others in their residence past the curfew, and are expected to stay in their rooms during curfew hours. Similar to the beginning of last semester, external guests—including guests from other McGill residences—are not allowed. All dining halls are now takeout only,

Planning for Winter 2022 is currently being approached flexibly as a result of uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant of COVID-19. (Corey Zhu / The McGill Tribune) and common rooms and gyms are closed. These restrictions aim to prevent people from gathering in indoor spaces.

How will library services be impacted? Library services will be available virtually until Jan. 23. Pickup services— requesting a book through the library website and retrieving it from a designated location—and the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) started on Jan. 10.

Most of the library’s physical spaces will be closed until Jan. 23. However, starting Jan. 10, students will be able to study at Study Hubs in the Redpath and Nahum Gelber Law libraries without prior booking. The spaces at Redpath are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, while the spaces at the law library are open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students will have access to flex spaces, which allow talking and eating with sufficient social distancing, on both campuses. The downtown flex space, located at Campus 1, is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the flex space at the Macdonald Campus, which is in the Macdonald Stewart Building, is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What mental health supports are available to students? The pandemic itself and the restrictions on social life that come with it have taken a toll on the mental health of university students. Staff and administrators have reiterated the mental health resources that McGill has to offer. “We would urge any student in need of support to reach out to one of the mental health resources available to them, such as the Wellness Hub, Local Wellness Advisors, and Keep.meSAFE,” wrote Mazerolle.


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NEWS

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

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SSMU BoD discusses COVID-19 measures amid student concerns over SSMU inactivity Directors pass motion to approve bulk purchase of respirator-style masks, more details to be approved soon Ella Fitzhugh News Editor

support for Downie’s motion to make respiratory masks available for students to purchase in light of McGill’s current plan to return to in-person learning after Jan. 24. Coussa also suggested that SSMU cease buying respiratory masks if the student demand is not as high as expected. Ultimately, the motion passed with six directors in favour and two directors against. Directors plan to discuss more details about the motion via email.

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he Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Board of Directors (BoD) convened on Jan. 6 with all directors present except the SSMU president, Darshan Daryanani, who has been on leave since at least Sept. 23. Directors heard vice-president (VP) University Affairs Claire Downie present a motion for SSMU to make an $8,000 purchase of respiratory N95 or KN95 masks which would be made available to students through SSMU. Details about the cost of each mask, and whether or not they will be free, is still to be decided amongst directors. Downie also introduced the idea of establishing a remote learning bursary for students in need of access to technology. Surrounding this meeting was widespread student concern about SSMU’s inactivity regarding the president’s absence. In an email interview with The McGill Tribune, U3 Arts student Randall* said they believed SSMU’s inability to function as a support to students was due to the president’s absence from office. “There are a lot of wonderful and talented people on the SSMU [Executive] this year, but they seem overburdened by the controversy surrounding the Society and the lack of a leading figure to help direct the organization’s efforts,” Randall wrote. In early November, The McGill Daily investigated the president’s absence, and VP Internal Affairs Sarah Paulin asked the paper to discontinue their inquiries on the matter and to stop contacting SSMU employees. Randall argued that this, coupled with the fact that the Society has not acted to instate a new president, has had a negative impact on other student societies. “SSMU’s inactivity over its recent controversies have forced the undergraduate societies to pick up their slack, for

MOMENT OF THE MEETING

According to VP UA Claire Downie, McGill is estimating the number of people present on campus based on the number of McGill WiFi connections. (Léa Bourget / The McGill Tribune) lack of a more polite way of putting it [....] Also, the lack of accountability [or] transparency is pretty frustrating, if not insulting at this point, to the students that SSMU claims to serve.” In response to student concerns about SSMU’s inaction, Downie stated that SSMU executives have been able to work effectively despite the president’s leave. Downie also claimed that there is work being done behind the scenes to aid students, such as discussions about bulk-ordering COVID-19 rapid antigen tests—an initiative they ultimately decided against. “The [SSMU] office opened back up on Monday, [Jan. 3],” Downie said in an interview with the Tribune. “There was a lot of work done over the break, but unfortunately a lot of it was just watching and waiting, because we don’t have answers from McGill.” Yara Coussa, Legislative Council representative, showed

Downie asked speaker Alexandre Ashkir for a suspension of the Standing Rules for her motion on respiratory mask expenditures. During the ensuing debate, VP Finance Éric Sader argued the motion was being presented in a faulty manner with which he was not comfortable, and Sader stated he would rather flesh out the amount of masks they aim to buy rather than starting with a monetary amount.

SOUND BITE “Everyone seems to know someone right now who doesn’t know where they got COVID [...] and that anecdotally, whatever meaning anecdotal has, tells me that this is a good time to be proactive. If students are going to be going back into these crowded environments, [...] it would be a good use of student money to help people access better safety equipment.” — VP University Affairs Claire Downie on why McGill’s current distribution of surgical masks will, in her mind, not be sufficient for the return to classes after Jan. 24.

McGill residences facing greater restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

Residents cite concerns about the impact of new rules on mental health Adrienne Roy Contributor

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he Winter 2022 semester has started off in uncertainty as the Omicron variant gives rise to unprecedented COVID-19 case numbers and the university moves to implement new restrictions. In a Jan. 4 email, Student Housing and Hospitality Services (SHHS) informed students in

residences that dining halls, gyms, and common areas would be closed indefinitely and that residents could only entertain one guest, from their same residence, at a given time. For residents in double rooms, no guests are allowed. Despite recognizing that public safety is a priority, residents have voiced concerns about widespread mental health problems, reporting feeling discouraged, disappointed, and neglected by both Quebec policymakers and McGill.

Many students have opted to stay home for the duration of online learning, while others have returned to Montreal: McGill recently reported a presence of approximately 6,000 employees and students on campus per day. Kendal Williams, U0 Education, is among those who choose to return to campus. In an interview with The McGill Tribune, Williams detailed feeling isolated by SHHS restrictions to the detriment

McGill’s student residences, normally buzzing with first-years, have been unusually quiet since the beginning of the semester. (mcgill.ca)

of her mental health. “We can’t have dinner with a friend because [the] cafeteria is closed, we can’t study with a peer because we can’t have anyone over into our dorm room, we can’t go work out to help our mental health because the gym is closed, and we can’t go to a common room to see a friend or study because it is closed,” Williams said. “Overall this wave of COVID-19 has affected us all, but with the strict restrictions placed by [SHHS], it is only making students’ mental health worse.” Solin Hall resident Alice Dubois, U1 Arts, echoed a similar statement when she spoke to the Tribune, stating that the restrictions exacerbate existing mental health issues. “Online classes are depressing enough, plus seasonal depression,” Dubois said. “If we can’t spend time with our friends in our apartments, or even go to libraries to change environments and have a place to focus, this is going to be a really rough semester.” Marketing communication manager of SHHS, Monique

Lauzon, detailed the support channels currently accessible to students. “Our residence life team, composed of floor fellows and residence life manager and our mental health counsellor (residence LWA), actively supports students in need through different events and programming activities,” Lauzon wrote in an email to the Tribune. “As well, we help to orient students to the appropriate mental health resources that are available through McGill’s Student Services / Wellness Hub.” Of the services Lauzon mentioned, the Wellness Hub is notoriously challenging to access. Lauzon also reiterated that administrators are doing what they can and delivering updates to residents when possible. “We rely on the government for directives,” Lauzon wrote. “Our priority is to dispense accurate updates to both students and staff in a timely fashion [....] We also reinforce messaging via our social media platforms and digital screens.”


opinion@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

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Editor-in-Chief Sequoia Kim editor@mcgilltribune.com

A curfew cannot get us through the pandemic

Creative Director Ruobing Chen rchen@mcgilltribune.com

The McGill Tribune Editorial Board

EDITORIAL BOARD

Managing Editors Kennedy McKee-Braide kmckee-braide@mcgilltribune.com Madison Mclauchlan mmclauchlan@mcgilltribune.com Maya Abuali mabuali@mcgilltribune.com News Editors Lily Cason, Ella Fitzhugh & Madison Edward-Wright news@mcgilltribune.com Opinion Editors Matthew Molinaro & Sepideh Afshar opinion@mcgilltribune.com Science & Technology Editors Shafaq Nami & Youssef Wahba scitech@mcgilltribune.com Student Life Editors Holly Wethey & Wendy Zhao studentlife@mcgilltribune.com Features Editor Tasmin Chu features@mcgilltribune.com Arts & Entertainment Editors Lowell Wolfe & Michelle Siegel arts@mcgilltribune.com Sports Editors Sarah Farnand sports@mcgilltribune.com Design Editors Jinny Moon & Xiaotian Wang design@mcgilltribune.com Photo Editor Kate Addison photo@mcgilltribune.com Multimedia Editors Noah Vaton multimedia@mcgilltribune.com Web Developers Abby de Gala webdev@mcgilltribune.com Copy Editor Jackie Lee copy@mcgilltribune.com

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any living in Quebec experienced a sense of déjà vu when premier François Legault announced that his administration would once again impose a curfew in response to a shocking rise in cases of COVID-19. Put into effect Dec. 31, the move came just under one year after the province’s first curfew–– which lasted for just over five months––which was put into place Jan. 9, 2021. Sharp criticism of the policy has been persistent and widespread since the announcement, with many questioning its effectiveness. While it remains crucial that Quebec residents band together to curb the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the curfew amounts to little more than political theatre that risks severely harming society’s most vulnerable. There is no doubt that the rise in COVID-19 cases, along with associated hospitalizations and deaths, is serious. On Jan. 1, the province reported an alltime record of 17,122 new cases at a 31 per cent positivity rate.

OFF THE BOARD Wendy Zhao Student Life Editor

Social Media Editor Taneeshaa Pradhan socialmedia@mcgilltribune.com Business Manager Marilie Pilon business@mcgilltribune.com

TPS BOARD OF DIRECTORS Sequoia Kim, Reem Abdul Majid, Matthew Molinaro, Shafaq Nami, Marilie Pilon, Namrata Rana, Shreya Rastogi

STAFF Azwar Ali, Léa Bourget, Elissa Dresdner, Saumya Gogte, Bronte Grimmer, Arian Kamel, Louis Lussier-Piette, Adam Matthews-Kott, Abby McCormick, Adam Menikefs, Zoe Mineret, Juliet Morrison, Anoushka Oke, Juwel Rana, Mikaela Shadick, Corey Zhu

CONTRIBUTORS Sébastien Géroli, Saumya Gogte, Sophia Gorbounov, Signy Harnad, Lauren Hicken, Rose Kaissar, Cyril Kazan, Leo Larman Brown, Lucía Linaje-Ferrel, Maiuri Maheswaran, Annika Pavlin, Adrienne Roy, Courtney Squires, Isy Stevens

TRIBUNE OFFICE Shatner University Centre, 3480 McTavish, Suite 110 Montreal, QC H3A 0E7 - T: 519.546.8263 The McGill Tribune is an editorially autonomous newspaper published by the Société de Publication de la Tribune, a student society of McGill University. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of The McGill Tribune and the Société de Publication de la Tribune, and does not necessarily represent the views of McGill University. Letters to the editor may be sent to editor@mcgilltribune.com and must include the contributor’s name, program and year and contact information. Letters should be kept under 300 words and submitted only to the Tribune. Submissions judged by the Tribune Publication Society to be libellous, sexist, racist, homophobic or solely promotional in nature will not be published. The Tribune reserves the right to edit all contributions. Editorials are decided upon and written by the editorial board. All other opinions are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the McGill Tribune, its editors or its staff.

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, like many university students, grew up on the internet. Between the tabs and usernames, I slowly built a self. As a slightly awkward high schooler, I found camaraderie in online spaces run by other teenagers, and learned the fundamentals on topics like sex and menstruation by scouring the many corners of YouTube. In elementary school, I sustained a long-distance friendship over weekly Skype calls, and later, I hesitantly organized my first date through an app. I used to relish having pieces of my past self preserved forever

It is as important as ever to get vaccinated, wear proper masks, and minimize close contacts. However, a curfew is not the solution. Being trapped in one’s home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. is undoubtedly difficult for the majority of the population. Nearly two full years into the pandemic, many have given their all to do their part to prevent contracting the virus and infecting others. To be back in what feels like the same dark place as a year ago, even with huge swaths of the population vaccinated, can spur feelings of hopelessness amongst even the most privileged. Such a policy also serves to worsen the mental health crisis brought on by isolation. That said, the curfew does not impact the population equally. Consider unhoused communities––last year, no exception was made for those living on the streets until courts decided otherwise almost three weeks in. Even with the exception, the situation remains critical: A lack of beds in shelters compounded by outbreaks among clients and staff is ravaging the shelter system in Montreal. The absence of

support for unhoused people is iniquitous, especially when this group is more likely to contract and die from COVID-19 for a myriad of reasons out of their control. The curfew also allows for increased police surveillance and overreach, almost certainly impacting racialized and migrant communities at a disproportionate rate. Even one’s modes of transportation add a layer of privilege: Those with access to cars are generally less likely to be stopped than those travelling by foot or public transit. What makes this current situation so egregious is that it could have been avoided. A proactive approach could have very likely lessened the blow of the current wave. The rollout of booster shots, for example, was far too slow compared to other countries with similar resources. Provinces across the country also dragged their feet on the distribution of rapid tests to the general population, despite the fact that the federal government began shipping them out well over a year ago. Even now, access to kits remains scarce and guidance on how to use them is confusing. And as cases and hospitalizations rise,

OPINION

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EDITORIAL the government has chosen to further restrict access to “gold standard” PCR tests and shorten the isolation period for those who test positive. Exhausted Quebecers have been left to deal with the consequences of the government’s poor crisis management with jarringly little support. All the while, there remains no scientific proof that a curfew does anything in its own right to lessen transmission. This kind of restriction risks leading to a decrease of public trust in government, and science by extension––making it all the more difficult to get out of this pandemic. The curfew and its consequences are symptoms of longstanding systemic problems, and it is easy to feel powerless as governments fail to keep their populations safe. While the onus is ultimately on those in power to do what is right, students and others with time and resources can take actionable steps like volunteering to help with the vaccination campaign and within the shelter system, and responding to calls for mutual aid. The only way to make it through the pandemic is together.

Learning to stay afloat while browsing in the digital ether. As I have grown, however, I often wonder whether I have given too much of myself to the web, been molded to conform too intimately to its addictive designs. Depictions of the internet in the media have no doubt shaped how I see my own agency online. The Internet Novel, a recently emerged genre within popular media concerned with dramatizing our digital lives, often represents the internet as a force of corruption. Social media films of the past few years like Mainstream (2020) or The Social Dilemma (2020) depict society’s selfdestruction in a vapid arena of likes and comments. Attention spans are fleeting, anger ineffectual, or so the story goes. The screen’s sheen has turned slimy: Users are perpetually distracted, scrolling into their own abyss. A “digital detox” frequently sounds promising, a key to some spiritual rejuvenation. Though I may romanticize an unplugged society, the virtual world is here to stay. Trying to purge myself of digital attachment has never been productive: When my weekly screen time report tells me that I’ve reduced my phone usage, the morsel of pride that creeps in—some illusion of management or healing—only sustains my unhealthy habits. Instead, when I

find myself falling into a tedium of passive scrolling and watching, I try to remember that, contrary to monolithic media depictions, I’m not just a mindless idiot hypnotized by the algorithm. There are ways of using technology without existing within its predatory designs. Instagram user @sighswoon, for instance, tells her followers to not feel guilty when they’re having a good time online. In her guide to having a positive experience on the app, she advises that feeling joy may just mean that you’re finally using it correctly. Gabi Abrão, the artist behind the page, advocates for people to use social media with intention. Abrão first started the “digital resting point,” a genre of Instagram stories that includes peaceful nature scenes—a trickling waterfall, gentle waves, a spiralling flock of birds—accompanied with the text along the lines of “congratulations!” and “stay as long as you’d like.” Coming across one of these posts makes me feel like a character in a video game suddenly surfacing into reality, pressing pause on the preceding action. When the momentum of social media becomes laborious, I log off. In defiance of the discriminatory violences of algorithms and data collection

emerges “data healing.” Jumpstarted by curator Neema Githere, the term refers to the practice of reorienting our relationship to technology in alignment with spirituality and nature. The project’s web page yields resources that explain the hostile tactics of our digital interfaces, rituals for dealing with stressful encounters on social media, and interactive technologies designed with marginalized communities in mind. In 2017, Netflix’s CEO named its biggest competitor sleep. Within the capitalist architecture of Big Tech, these holistic digital practices then reflect a collective will to care for each other’s well-being. In spite of the superficial imitations of human connection promoted by likes and threads, internet communities can still help foster the real thing. Especially during times of isolation, I have learned to not be too hard on myself when attempting to reorient my relationship with technology. Like our physical world, nothing in the virtual realm exists on a polar good-evil binary. Though cyberspace is often described as an attention economy, I have come to the realization that my attention is not just a commodity to be exploited, but that I can redirect my energy to deeper forms of connection and care.


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OPINION

COMMENTARY

opinion@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

Ask for an extension, I dare you

Courtney Squires Contributor

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ith finals period now a distant memory and the add/drop period beginning, stress levels are subsiding as students leave the last semester behind. However, between harsh syllabi guidelines and stigma surrounding asking for help, asking for extensions is often the last thing students want to do. In a competitive atmosphere where prestige is valued over mental health, McGill fosters a toxic environment where students are reluctant to ask for extensions. But as we enter the new semester, hindsight is key—be it 20/20 or in 2022, and students should not hesitate to ask for extensions when they need them.

In many syllabi, asking for extensions is explicitly discouraged, with strict requirements in place to prevent students from pursuing them. Professors often plan out a grading schedule ahead of time, leaving students responsible to manage their own time for assignments. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, where health-care systems are already overwhelmed, medical notes might not be as easily accessible or be the doctor’s first priority. On top of this, assignment deadlines seem firm, unbendable, and unapproachable, contributing to the idea that professors are unwilling to provide any sort of leniency. This generalization, however, cannot be made for all professors; many of them are understanding and happy to extend deadlines. A blanket overstatement of formality seems to be

Students should ask for extensions when they need them and advocate for definitive changes from McGill. (The State Press)

COMMENTARY Matthew Molinaro Opinion Editor Continued from page 1.

English Literature Toni Morrison, wow what an author? Right, guys? And what a name? Toni? Must have been a risk in the 1970s. polite laughter. So what was up with that woman killing her baby or whatever? That’s child abuse, and that is wrong. Period. Full stop. I’ve supported children my entire life, always taken on this sort of proto-father role, no exceptions. Did that just happen in Ohio or is that an American thing? The movie was good though. Did you know Oprah’s an actor and not just a Black woman who likes butter in her coffee? And she has a book club?

International Studies

Development

We have to be reasonable here. If we accept that the purpose of development is to enact

a common theme: Students often feel dissuaded from even emailing their professors. And the immense level of scrutiny and effort that students put into writing their emails is rarely matched by their professors. Though understandable, this kind of attitude deters newer university students from asking for help, clarification, or expansion of lesson material. McGill, a university filled with overachieving students who are constantly being chased by the threat of academic burnout, is, at its core, a breeding ground for competition. A level of academic prestige, derived from the common high school mantra, “Professors won’t be this lenient in university!” often prevents students from feeling like it is okay to ask for help. Aside from being academically isolating, especially during the pandemic, a competitive atmosphere like McGill demands the impossible: Get perfect grades, and do it all by yourself. Furthermore, with thousands of the best students from across Canada—and the world—competing for top grades, asking for an extension carries with it an academic stigma. Because everyone else is assigned the same deadline, if a student cannot make that deadline, it can falsely perpetuate the idea that they are somehow less competent than the others. Asking for extensions should be normalized, as there are often factors out of students’ control, whether mental, physical, or situational, that might affect their ability to complete an assignment on time. Students need to do their part to combat this toxic academic environment and understand that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Beyond individual efforts, students should voice concerns to their faculty’s curriculum committees, or the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU)’s VP University Affairs. Talk about supporting students throughout the pandemic has suffered from hollow and inconsistent follow through. Students should ask for extensions when they need them, raise awareness in committees that have the possibility to make substantial changes—such as re-instating the S/U policy—and push their student leaders to advocate for their needs.

Scenes from an arts conference change, we have to reconsider what change and development actually means, wouldn’t you think? What if there are some reasons that inequalities are in place? Like, that’s the economy? Isn’t that just inevitable? My point is, who am I to interfere, right? I’m, of course, only talking about Europe. That’s not true of the Middle East, Africa, most of Asia, and South America though, as they need us! If you remember correctly and pay attention to the news, you would remember that we as Canadians, as citizens of this country, set the best example for the world.

conference. That’s life. That’s reality. That’s, therefore also, what politics is. Just to kind of circle back to my own life, I’ve started to realize that, like what noted theorist John Rawls says, dramatic pause we live in a society, and that hurts politics, because society links to politics and back to society.

Philosophy I’m not going to lie, I had a pretty busy weekend. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was in the audience when Slavoj Zizek debated McGill alum Jordan Peterson, so I’d consider that an extraordinary reason for not doing the

reading. I’d beg this question: What if there were 500 people instead of 5 people in the trolley problem? I’ve seen The Good Place a few times, even though I don’t think Jameela Jamil’s funny, and thus I’d argue that numbers and ethics matter in real life, especially when we are alive.

Political Science If I could just––and I’m not going to say play the devil’s advocate, that’s bad now, I guess liberals just get what they want–– speak to another perspective that is much-needed in this setting and in this cultural milieu, or cancelculture environment if you’d put it that way, is that politicians make mistakes. Makes eye contact with every member in the

Many scholars of conference dynamics also stress speaking loudly, almost like a yell, to assert your point in class. (Smartifier Academy Blog)


arts@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

7

‘Don’t Look Up’ is a bad joke with no punchline

Netflix’s political dramedy fails to be either truly political or comedic Courtney Squires Contributor Warning: Contains Spoilers

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ith a laughably talented cast and a whopping $75-million budget, Netflix’s original film Don’t Look Up generates lofty expectations that it ultimately fails to meet. The film follows astronomers Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Dr. Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio)’s attempt to warn the U.S. government and general public about a comet large enough to cause mass extinction barrelling toward earth. By extension, it aims to provide social commentary on how a global population responds to, or simply ignores, crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Over the course of the film, the protagonists’ concern for the future of the human species meets humorously grudging resistance from characters that walk a precarious line of clichés. Don’t Look Up emphasizes the danger of apathy, and media-fuelled politics’ twisting of facts—even as morbid as imminent extinction— into headlines palatable for public consumption. The forced humour

and supersaturated clichés detract from the film’s political punch, and bury the moral of the story. Directed and produced by Adam McKay, the film’s impressive cast and contemporary relevance have attracted much buzz. Regardless of which celebrity’s appearance they anticipated, viewers flocked to Netflix’s streaming platform, amassing over 111 million hours of watch-time in the film’s first two days of release. From a laissez-faire U.S. president (Meryl Streep), to incessantly positive news hosts (Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry), to a socially anxious billionaire (Mark Rylance), the characters are distinct in their portrayal, yet trite in their stock. The film’s characters border on the annoying and one-dimensional. Scattered cameos of other actors—such as Ariana Grande’s musical appearance—provide little purpose other than shock value and name recognition. Numerous political allusions are made, though the most obvious is that of the U.S. president and her chief of staff, who bear semblance to the Trump family. Although Streep’s performance as the U.S. President is comedic, it is cartoony—and

her son (Jonah Hill) simply fulfills the stereotype of the bland, spoiled rich kid. However, Timothée Chalamet provides genuine comic relief, and rumours that he improvised much of his role are believable. The two protagonists, Kate and Dr. Mindy, manage to narrowly subvert stereotypes: Their frustration evokes sympathy, and their flaws and character development feel authentic. Still, after two agonizingly slow hours of brain-numbing dialogue, perhaps the most redeemable scene is the last one. It is a well executed balance of calmness and dread, aptly conveying the Everything-Is-Totally-Fine mindset with a biblical nod to the Last Supper. In the simplicity of the dinner party, an almost uncomfortable feeling of acceptance radiates out, allowing for a perfectly melancholy ending. As the rest of the film leaned heavily into satire, here it feels like it’s finally giving up, just like its characters. It is the one scene where jokes are not unnaturally forced into the script and viewers are not spoon-fed political allusions. It stands out as a different caliber of cinematography than the rest of the film.

Star-stacked cast attracts over a hundred million hours of watch-time within the first two days of release. (Saumya Gogte / The McGill Tribune) Ironically, the film itself experiences the same struggles as its protagonists, as its own execution distracts from the main message: We are all going to die if we don’t do something soon. Don’t Look Up was advertised as a political comedy, and though jokes are littered throughout the script, it simply is not very funny. Whether intentional or not, the failed humour of the film acts as a thinly veiled coping

mechanism for the societal collapse it alludes to. But as jarring as Kate’s profane explosion on live television was, it seems that seeing Timothée Chalamet sport a mullet or one too many of Jonah Hill’s cringe-worthy remarks is enough to steal the media spotlight. So, like the Dibiasky comet, it seems the moral of this film has gone right over most people’s heads.

‘Anxious People’ is underwhelming as a TV series The series fails to pull off the complexities of its successful novel form Suzanna Graham Staff Writer Content warning: Mentions of suicide, drug addiction, and violence

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eing a bank robber isn’t easy. From attempting to rob a cashless bank, to accidentally taking eight lovable yet bizarre people hostage at an open house, Anxious People’s anti-hero has found himself in a no-win situation. However, as police storm the building to rescue the frazzled hostages, the bank robber is nowhere to be found. It is this central question that plagues the police throughout the six episodes: Where did he go? Based on Fredrik Backman’s 2020 novel, Anxious People follows local police father-and-son duo Jim (Dan Ekborg) and Jack (Alfred Svensson) as they attempt to make sense of this seemingly nonsensical hostage crisis. While the book focusses on the characters who were taken hostage, the Swedish-language limited series spends more time on the police investigation, for which the cops are wildly unequipped. Their incompetence adds humour to the narrative, such as when Jack runs out during a haircut with a trailing hairstylist and Jim steals several pizzas from a local pizzeria to hand-deliver a meal to the armed bank robber—one of his bizarre requests. The informal and unorganized nature of

the duo balances with the heavier themes of trauma and redemption within the show. At its core, Anxious People is a story about getting second chances and coping with life’s messiness. After failing to prevent a man’s suicide when he was 12, Jack strives to help those in need and prove his competency as a police officer, despite living in his father’s shadow. On the other hand, Jim is more concerned with helping his daughter—who struggles with addiction—than working on the case. As Jim sees it, nothing got stolen and nobody got hurt (except for a hostage’s

bloody nose and Jack being hit in the eye with a lime); therefore, there is no need to search for the missing robber. Unfortunately, while Jim and Jack are compelling characters, their prevalence in the six episode series limits any exploration of the eight complex characters who Backman created in the novel. For example, married couple Anna-Lena (Marika Lagercrantz) and Roger (Leif Andrée) have little in common besides their joint hobby of flipping apartments. After Anna-Lena undermines her husband by hiring Lennart (Per

Despite their innocent façade, every character in this hostage situation has something to hide, and the story reveals their secrets and insecurities. (netflix.com)

Andersson) to creatively lower the asking price, Roger struggles to trust his wife. Yet the real communication issue is between the show and audience, as real—and fictional— relationships are not magically fixed in a single afternoon, especially with limited verbal interactions between husband and wife. Similarly, the series neglects to show the novel’s most compelling love story, the one of Lennart and Zarah (Anna Granath). As a straight-laced wealthy lawyer, Zarah is wildly different from Lennart, who is paid to create chaos. While in the novel the two kindle a delightful slow-burn romance, the series expects its audience to root for the couple without revealing their original chemistry. These rushed storylines are almost insulting to the characters that Backman creates in his novel, whose actions and motives are well explained—not to mention highly entertaining, even without the television visuals. Although the actors make the best out of a questionable situation with top-notch physical comedy, it’s hard to achieve a full emotional range while being constricted by a weak script and rushed pace. By neglecting to round out these eight pivotal characters, the series turns hollow, relying on two cop characters who Backman created to] be about as complex as the average sidekick. As a show, the narrative loses its focus, resulting in an underwhelming story that fails to reach its potential.


How McGill fails Palestinian students Doxxing, harassment, and blacklists—what goes on beneath the surface

multiple blockades and restrictions on movement. During the pandemic, while the world applauded Israel’s vaccine effort, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were not offered vaccines for months. Israel’s actions have been so unjust that the watchdog Human Rights Watch, along with other organizations, has labeled Israel’s current legal system as perpetuating apartheid. In response to the steadily mounting human rights concerns, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was born in 2005, pushing the international community to sanction and end their support for Israel. The BDS movement urges individuals to boycott Israeli goods and withdraw investments from the state. At McGill, students have been active in the fight against the human rights atrocities perpetrated by Israel for years. Students for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), a McGill club, educates people about the Israeli occupation and advocates for Palestinian liberation. One of SPHR’s central objectives has been to push the McGill administration to divest from Israeli companies. The club released a petition in May 2021 in response to the 11 straight days of brutal atrocities carried out by Israel, including airstrikes in Gaza that left at least 60 dead. It was the deadliest escalation since the 2014 seven-week war on Gaza, which killed around 500 Palestinian children in one summer. Despite the fact that these actions are clearly wrong, the situation is consistently referred to as a “complicated conflict.” Murder, land-theft, and apartheid are words quietly avoided by Western media. Instead, they deploy muddling adjectives like “complex” and “nuanced.” But one does not need a master’s degree in political science to recognize injustice.

Maya Abuali Managing Editor

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rowing up, introducing myself was a persistent gamble. When I, inevitably, would say that I was Palestinian, the words would taste heavy with reluctance. They were never just accepted as a crucial part of my identity, but instead as a political statement, an invitation for debate, and in some unfortunate cases, an incitement of blatant racism. Still, I consider myself lucky that I grew up in Southeast Asia, and not, say, the United States, where saying you were Palestinian could be considered an act of verbal terrorism—until maybe last year. Needless to say, receiving this kind of reaction was always frustrating. Containing my exasperation has not gotten easier. To me, there is a very distinct similarity between Palestinian anger and female anger: When you describe your oppression, you are often belittled, dismissed, and infantilized, which only serves to exacerbate your irritation. My grandmother, who was born in Bethlehem, would always say that emotions are our people’s fatal flaw. She advised me to maintain a cool head when telling our side of history, lest our message get lost in emotional translation. But being a fervently nostalgic people, maintaining this even temperament seems to be unrealistic for most Palestinians—particularly when we are told to our faces that our country is not real, or when we wake up to news of another child dead. It provokes the kind of rage that makes you stare daggers at a tub of hummus in the middle of a supermarket because it was created by an Israeli company that profits from stealing your culture. As I got older, I learned to deal with the reactions I received when introducing myself, and my trepidation dissolved into an unwavering sense of duty. Now at university, among friends and coworkers, I constantly refer to myself as the “annoying Palestinian,” given my incessant and unflinching ability to link any topic of conversation to my ethnicity. As much as this may seem like a slightly obnoxious personality quirk, it is a habit that is ingrained in me and many other diaspora Palestinians to desperately remind those around us that we exist and that our people are still struggling. I visited Palestine for the first time when I was 16, when my parents decided it was time for my two siblings and me to see it. Before then, it had been a sort of mythological place in my mind. My grandparents would tell us tales of our homeland, and I’d feel a knot form in my chest, longing for the roots that I only knew were real by the unmistakable homesickness in their voices. My grandfather would sit at the head of the table—always peeling fruit—and tell my siblings and me of his time as a boy scout in Gaza, teaching us all their chants. Though he would be smiling in reminiscence, a telltale mist would brim in his eyes each time he spoke of the home he lost. The mourning for Palestine persists year after year, each period less hopeful than the last. All four of my grandparents were born in Palestine. They were among the 750,000 Palestinians—roughly half of the population—who were expelled from the country in 1948. This was during Al-Nakba, literally translating to “the catastrophe,” when European Jews colonized the land by force at the behest of the British after World War II. Their armed forces destroyed at least 500 Palestinian villages, and then gave the rest Hebrew names, virtually erasing the country’s geographical history. Israel declared itself over the unceded lands. Most Palestinians, including my grandparents, left their homes with the plan to come back when the massacre was over. They packed for a temporary trip and kept their house keys with them. Many of the older generations have held on to those keys, which have become a symbol for the Palestinian right to return where their families lived. But the first Israeli government implemented a series of land laws that prevented any Palestinians who left during this period from ever returning. The Nakba is what rendered us “stateless,” and the resulting trauma is still very much alive for Palestinians 73 years later. For the Palestinians who managed to stay behind, the discrimination and violence they face from the Israeli state have become part of their daily lives. Israeli authorities have razed the homes of Palestinians in East Jerusalem in order for settlers to move in. Those living in Gaza have been subjected to

Harassment, Blacklists, and Doxxing When McGill students have attempted to protest Israel’s human rights violations, the pushback has been severe. People, particularly Palestinian students, have been doxxed, harassed, and bullied. Those involved with SPHR are familiar with these methods of harassment. Farah*, a Palestinian student who has been involved in SPHR for three years, explained that they have been frequently targeted for their activism on campus. “I’ve been harassed and followed around on campus,” Farah told The McGill Tribune. “I’ve been filmed without giving my consent. I’ve also been followed by McGill security guards that were sent by the administration while we were protesting a couple of years ago.” Farah recalled a time when, while tabling for SPHR at an activities night, she was non-consensually filmed by several students. “Imagine just being on campus minding your own business, trying to talk about your struggle for liberation, and some random students feel that they have the right to literally follow you around and film you and post it on social media because they know that they are going to face zero consequences from the administration,” Farah said. These instances of harassment and surveillance generate an atmosphere of fear on campus for Palestinian students. Not only are they at the risk of discrimination and surveillance, but they are also in danger of being falsely labelled as anti-Semitic. Students who call out the human rights abuses perpetuated by the Israeli government are often put on blacklists like the Canary Mission, which document supposedly “anti-Semitic” student activists and professors. “We can see doxxing websites like the Canary Mission where students, professors, and staff are put into these lists and smear campaigns are launched against them,” Farah said. “They take things out of context, they take screenshots of things people have said, and post them with the intention of ruining these peoples’ academic careers or actual careers.” The Canary Mission also lists organizations such as SPHR, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), BDS, and the newspaper Al Jazeera. It lists Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), an organization on campus comprised of Jewish people who stand in solidarity with Palestine against Zionism. IJV’s former membership and fundraising coordinator Geneviève Joëlle, 3L Law, talked about the experience of being posted on these public blacklists. “Being on Canary Mission and that being the first thing that comes up when people Google your name—I’ve been experiencing that for the past four years,” Joëlle said. “It is very stressful. The university needs to be taking this seriously, and the fact that they haven’t is very distressing.” These websites demonize students advocating for the liberation of Palestine by conflating anti-Semitism—an insidious form of discrimination against Jewish people and Judaism—with anti-Zionism, which is an entirely


different position. Zionism is the desire for a Jewish nation-state or homeland only for the Jewish people—a movement that is now closely coupled with support for Israel, and thus the oppression of the Palestinian people. It is a settler-colonial movement that supports an apartheid state where European Jews have more rights than the land’s native inhabitants. To equate opposition to the systematic killing, dispossession, and occupation of the Palestinian people with anti-Semitism is either intellectually lazy or manipulative—and in both cases, profoundly wrong. Currently, Zionism is not regarded as a legitimate form of racial discrimination according to McGill’s “decolonization” and EDI initiatives. As a result, when McGill students are met with this kind of racist hassling on campus, they cannot seek institutional support from equity channels. Their attackers can act with impunity.

The 11-day-war Things came to a head last year when the 11day war erupted. Israel attemped to forcibly evict eight Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, in violation of international law. When Palestinians in Jerusalem protested against the eviction, Israeli Defence Forces proceeded to bomb, raid, and maim Palestinian worshippers in the Al-Aqsa mosque, during the holy month of Ramadan. Meanwhile, Israel launched a military attack on residential buildings in the besieged Gaza strip, where there was no evidence of military targets in the vicinity. The Israeli air strikes killed at least 200 Palestinians in the first week alone— more than one quarter of whom were children. During Israel’s attacks last year, SPHR wrote an open letter calling on McGill to recognize Zionism as a form of racism and divest from corporations that participate in the expansion of illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. Unfortunately, their request was swiftly dismissed by the administration. Instead, Provost and VicePrincipal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi sent out an email to students and staff that condemned Palestinian students for speaking out at all. “[It was] genuinely one of the most offensive [things] I’ve ever read,” Farah said. The Provost referred to the atrocities that had occurred as “unrest in the Middle East,” not even bothering to use the words Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank. By choosing not to specify any of these places, the Provost is contributing to the colonial erasure of Palestine. “The raiding of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the bombing of Gaza, all of that stuff was called ‘violence in the Middle East,’” Farah explained. “So imagine being a Palestinian, receiving this email while your people are literally dying, and the administration doesn’t even acknowledge the

existence of your struggle.” Instead, the Provost called this activism a “misuse of our EDI-based plans and policies.” What are the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) policies for if not for students to call out discrimination and injustice on campus? Nothing could have been more insulting to Palestinian students on campus, who were already burdened with mourning their people and trying to attend classes while their family’s homes were being bombed. Perhaps the most harmful element of the entire email was when the Provost carelessly wrote that the unrest impacted “Palestinian and Jewish members of the campus community.” Not only did he dangerously confound Zionism with Judaism, but he implied that all Jewish students were in support of the Israeli state, and thus the violent oppression of the Palestinians. Joëlle explained not all Jewish students share those views. “This is an attempt to paint Jewish people as a monolith, and in the process undermines efforts being done [by anti-Zionist Jews] to further Palestinian rights,” Joëlle said. In some ways, McGill’s inaction comes as no surprise, considering their reaction to activism against South African apartheid. In the 1980s, Black and African students urged McGill to divest from South Africa, but it took several years and significant student pressure for it to happen. The campaign was primarily led by a club called the McGill South Africa Committee, which, like SPHR, advocated for divestment through workshops, informational sessions, and protests. They also had their very own Anti-Apartheid Week. The McGill Daily published an editorial called “South Africa: Love it and leave it” in 1985, at which time student organizations had been calling on the administration to divest for years. Though the administration finally divested in 1986 after a four-hour protest involving 1,200 McGill students, total divestment took several years. It seems the administration needs years of pressure to be on the right side of history.

Blacklists on Campus In May of 2021, an anonymous student tipped off The McGill Tribune that there was an alleged blacklist of pro-Palestine students circulating on campus. In the same month, according to SPHR, several sources told the student organization that the list may have existed for decades, with the alleged objective to surveil and document proPalestine students at McGill. According to SPHR’s sources, some student politicians have used the list to mobilize against “Anti-Israel” candidates running for Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) positions. In a statement regarding the list, SPHR claimed that when a student raised the issue of the blacklist with the dean of students, he dismissed it due to lack of evidence. Shortly thereafter, however, the student began to receive text messages from random strangers asking about their sexual activity. Harassers posted their name and personal phone number to a website that stated they were offering sexual services, and depicted them as an anti-Semite. “When our university is not even trying to pretend that they believe that this blacklist exists, that Palestinian students on campus feel unsafe, then when someone decides to be an activist on

campus, they are putting themselves at future risk,” Farah said. Bryan Buraga, former president of SSMU, expressed his disappointment that further investigation into these claims about a blacklist never materialized. “In my opinion, if someone is incredibly accused of aiding and abetting violence against certain individuals on campus, in this case proPalestinian activists, that should demand a full investigation and suspension,” Buraga said. SSMU’s history of disapproving policies in favour of Palestinian human rights reinforces this theory. The BoD has also refused to ratify a joint SSMU-SPHR statement acknowledging the Palestinian Nakba, despite its endorsement by SSMU’s Legislative Council. The Board’s decision was made during a confidential session. “[The conflicts of interest involved] just tell me that they fundamentally don’t care about the safety concerns of students, at least when it comes to pro-Palestinian activists,” Buraga said. Our university often chooses to recognize political injustices only in retrospect. Why should the administration wait to issue a useless apology in 50 years, when it has finally deemed my people’s suffering worthy of its acknowledgement? Here’s a revolutionary thought: McGill should make substantive changes in the present tense. It can begin to do so by answering SPHR’s demands. It must not just acknowledge that Palestine exists, but also that its people are being subjected to a racist apartheid. It must not just call Zionism what it is—a settler-colonial movement—but also divest from the institutions that fund and profit from it. It must not just investigate the blacklist that threatens students and faculty on campus, but penalize those involved. Claiming to foster a “safe” campus for racialized students is not enough; McGill must take action to fulfill this commitment. Design by Jinny Moon, Design Editor


10 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

arts@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

What we liked this winter break Our favourite films, books, and shows over the holidays

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he return to class, whether online or in person, following the holiday season is a frustrating yet familiar struggle for McGill students. As per tradition, the Arts and Entertainment team used their time off to take in lots of exciting TV, movies, and books. Here’s the best of what we liked this winter break.

My Body by Emily Ratajkowski Isy Stevens Contributor

My Body, a memoir by Emily Ratajkowski, describes the model’s rise to fame in the male-dominated, and often toxic, fashion industry. Through a series of essays, Ratajkowski explores topics that include the internalization of the male gaze, the power of externalized sexuality, and the dark side of the “momager” phenomenon. Ratajkowski’s writings reveal a surprising shrewdness and vulnerability, subverting assumptions that social media personas like herself are vapid and one-dimensional. Although much of the memoir’s content will resonate deeply with readers, Ratajkowski did miss a major opportunity to examine her own role in perpetuating the harmful beauty standards she condemns. Nevertheless, My Body is an insightful read that should provoke important discussions among us all.

A Discovery of Witches by Rebecca Harkness

past aches at not receiving a Hogwarts letter. An accompaniment to my annual holiday Harry Potter marathon, the popularity of A Discovery of Witches is an example of how magical fiction can mature alongside its readers, with new books emerging to replace ones we’ve outgrown. As we enter our third year of the pandemic, A Discovery of Witches provides a bout of much-needed escapism.

Succession Season 3 Louis Lussier-Piette Staff Writer

From its synopsis only, Succession gives the impression of a bland show specifically designed for Desautels students, but it is able to to transcend clichés in the most surprising ways. Described by some as the corporate Game of Thrones, Succession centres one dysfunctional family of Wall Street billionaires dealing with issues ranging from tax fraud controversies to third-degree murder. Showrunner Jesse Armstrong constructs characters complex and relatable enough that the audience can’t help but root for them despite their questionable moral standing. After ending its second season on a cliffhanger two years ago, Succession came back for a third season and delivers narrative twists more akin to a Greek tragedy than a TV series, acclaimed by both critics and fans. With its genius writing, im-

peccable cinematography, and hair-raising soundtrack, Succession checks all the marks, making it one of the best shows on TV right now.

Licorice Pizza Arian Kamel Staff Writer

While the rest of the world was recoiling from the Vietnam War and Watergate in the 1970s, the San Fernando Valley felt like its own little world. Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest triumph, Licorice Pizza, follows the lovesick Alana (Alana Haim) and Gary (Cooper Hoffman) as they explore the valley. Contrary to expectations, it is exactly these first-time actors’ inexperience that makes their performances a joy to watch, as their raw acting blurs the boundary between actor and character. Alana and Gary test out different callings, while a wide array of eccentric figures enter their lives like Sean Pean’s charismatic Hollywood star or Bradley Cooper’s batshit crazy hairdresser. Each job or situation seems so full of potential, yet ends up subverted and befuddled. Nonetheless, Alana and Gary continue and try something new again, hoping to finally find their place in the valley and in the world. It’s a shock when the film ends, since it felt so real and so warm that I’d hoped it never would.

Honoring black comics annually, this online festival hosts an array of interesting workshops, panel discussions, cosplay shows, and more. Thursday, Jan. 13 to Saturday, Jan. 15 (Various times) Online Free

Easy Fiesta Steak Fajitas Cooking Class

An online cooking class that teaches viewers how to make sweet and savory steak fajitas in only an hour. Tuesday, Jan. 11 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Online Free

The Living Room Comedy Show Straight to your Living Room!

The longest running stand-up show in Brooklyn, online, featuring experienced and amateur comics alike who try their latest material. Friday, Jan. 14, 8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Online

Courtney Squires Contributor

Rebecca Harkness crafts an adult, darkacademia version of the fantasy novels that shaped our generation’s childhoods, weaving romance, magic, and scatterings of historical alchemy together in the first novel of the All Souls trilogy. Set in the delightfully dreary university town of Oxford, A Discovery of Witches follows Diana Bishop, a magic-avoidant witch who discovers a long lost book and, of course, a vampire. Despite a somewhat predictable plot, Harkness carefully cultivates an aesthetic that will reignite any fantasy-lover’s

The Schomburg Center’s 10th Annual Black Comic Book Festival

Ageless: the science of getting old without getting older Join Andrew Steele’s discussion on aging and how new research shows promise for slowing it down. Thursday, Jan. 13, 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Online Free A&E spent winter break exploring everything from celebrity memoirs to contemporary TV shows. (Winnie Lin / The McGill Tribune)


scitech@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

11

Tribune Explains: The Omicron variant

Exploring the symptoms and biology behind the new surge in COVID-19 cases Maiuri Maheswaran Contributor Over the past few weeks, there has been a surge of coronavirus cases around the world. As of Dec. 21, it was estimated that the new Omicron variant accounted for more than 80 per cent of total cases in Montreal. The variant was first detected in South Africa on Nov. 24, and on Nov. 26, it was designated as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).

What are the symptoms of Omicron? Common symptoms include body and muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, runny nose, fever, and fatigue. These symptoms are similar to those of the common cold for some people. Like previous variants, symptoms such as fever and nasal congestion are common, but the loss of taste and smell are less prevalent among Omicron patients than they are among the older variants. In most cases, especially if a patient has no underlying health conditions, the symptoms are milder than previous variants, making it hard to track cases as infected people are more likely to either ignore the symptoms or assume it is the common cold. However, there has still been a concerning rise in hospitalizations in Canada since Omicron took off, with the unvaccinated making up the majority of intensive care unit admissions.

What are the mutations present in the omicron variant? Compared to the original SARS-CoV2-strain, the Omicron variant has 50 additional mutations. Thirty-two of these mutations are found on the virus’s spike proteins. The spike proteins allow the virus to enter the body and spread. Fifteen of these mutations are found in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein. These mutations make it easier for the virus to bind to the ACE2

receptors, infect cells and replicate—making it a faster spreading variant. A study conducted by researchers in Hong Kong corroborated this finding, showing that the Omicron variant replicated 70 times more quickly in the upper airways compared to the Delta variant. However, additional studies show that Omicron fails to replicate in the lungs because it cannot interact with TMPRSS2— a protein found on the surface of the lungs. This is good because infection of the lungs leads to more severe disease. Dr. Brian Ward is a professor in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences whose research involves monitoring the evolution and development of vaccines. “Most of us working in the field believe that massive exposure due to the Omicron variant will trigger the transition from ‘pandemic’ to ‘endemic’ phases of the outbreak.” Ward wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. A Danish study recently showed that people who received the booster shot were 56 per cent less likely to be infected than those who received two doses.

How effective are vaccines against omicron? Will routine boosters be necessary? “Pandemic viruses tend to evolve to lower virulence, bad when they first appear and then progressive declines in virulence,” Ward wrote. “In some cases, this is driven by adaptation of the virus to a population with high levels of immunity.” It is important to note that vaccines protect the body against viruses by making the body produce not only antibodies, but T-cells that recognize the virus. When a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, the antibodies and T-cells recognize the spike protein and will bind to the spike protein and “neutralize” the virus. Compared to the antibodies, T-cells are slower to form. However, they offer longer-lasting protection and prevent severe infection. The mutations in the Omicron spike protein allow it to evade

Some researchers believe that the Omicron variant first emerged from an immunocompromised individual who contracted a chronic case of COVID-19. (Al Jazeera) the antibodies generated from the vaccine but not the T-cells. This means that the antibodies are no longer able to recognize and bind to the spike proteins of new variants. However, the more antibodies you have, the greater the chance the antibodies will recognize the virus. The antibodies from people who received the booster were 25 times more likely to bind to the virus than those that did not receive the booster. One question of particular concern is whether boosters would need to be administered yearly. Jorg Fritz, a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, speculates that this may become the case. “Given the current high viral circulation rate and low vaccination rate overall worldwide it is very likely that we will need an annual booster shot for the years ahead,” Fritz wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “The booster shots might need ‘adaptation’ to include antigenicity of novel circulating viruses (e.g. Omicron, or newly arising variants that might appear and transmit highly).”

A selection of 2021’s top advances in science

Creating a human-monkey hybrid embryo, flying a helicopter on Mars, and much more Cyril Kazan Contributor Content Warning: Mention of traumatic injury.

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n 2021, despite the pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on society, scientists continued to break boundaries in diverse fields of research. The McGill Tribune highlights four remarkable advances that occurred over the past year, while we were busy wondering whether the pandemic will ever come to an end.

its-kind surgery. Fortunately, it was a success. Based on the approximation that nerves grow one millimetre per day on average, the doctors expected him, in the best-case scenario, to be able to move his elbows after one year, and his hands after two years. But Gretarsson is making incredible progress and has already surpassed the doctors’ predictions. According to his last update on Instagram, just nine months after the surgery, he was already able to move his right fore-

To look for signs of ancient microbial life and to search for evidence of past habitability on the red planet. What’s even more special about it, however, is that the rover transported in its belly another vehicle: Ingenuity. Ingenuity is a helicopter capable of flying in Mars’s thin atmosphere that has a density of about 1.2-1.5 per cent of Earth’s atmosphere at sea level. It weighs only four pounds and has carbon-fibre blades that can spin at up to 2,400 rpm, significantly faster than a helicopter on Earth

World’s first double arm and shoulder transplant On Jan. 13, an Icelandic man named Felix Gretarsson underwent the world’s first double arm and shoulder transplant. The 15-hour surgery took place in Lyon, France and involved medical teams from four different hospitals. In 1998, Gretarsson, 48, was working as an electrician when he mistakenly grabbed a 11,000-volt live line which projected him nine metres down onto ice, leaving him with a broken neck and shoulder, and setting both his arms on fire. More than 20 years after the accident, Gretarsson had the opportunity to undergo this high-risk, first-of-

Ingenuity flies on its own, without human control. (NASA) arm and fingers.

A helicopter on Mars On Feb. 18, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars. Its mission:

that typically spins at 225 to 550 rpm. Ingenuity was designed to fly for up to 90 seconds per flight, to distances of about 300 metres and heights of up to 4.5 metres off the ground. Its first Mars flight on Apr. 19 was a success, and so

were the 17 ones thereafter. It is indeed mind-blowing to think that little more than a century after the Wright Brothers’ first flight here on Earth, humans are now flying a helicopter on a planet hundreds of millions of kilometres away.

Human-monkey hybrid embryo A team of American and Chinese scientists managed to create humanmonkey hybrid embryos for the very first time. They did so by injecting monkey embryos with human stem cells, which successfully grew into hybrid embryos. Human-animal hybrid embryos, also known as chimera, are a useful technology that can potentially be used to grow human organs for transplant. It is important to understand that developed embryos would not lead to half-human, half-animal creatures, but rather to animals with human cells in some parts of their body—for instance, in a specific organ of interest. Before the creation of the first human-monkey embryo, other human-animal hybrids such as human-cow and human-pig embryos already existed. For instance, scientists in Japan are using humanpig embryos to grow pigs with human organs that can be transplanted into a patient. The research team that created the human-monkey embryos did not

intend to implant them into a monkey uterus and it is highly unlikely that these embryos will ever be used directly for organ production. However, observing crosstalk between human and monkey cells in the embryo, two very closely related species, could provide valuable information to improve the ability to fine-tune human cell migration in other human-animal hybrid embryos.

Oldest sequenced genome to date Before 2021, the oldest DNA to have been sequenced was that of a horse bone from the Yukon Territory in Canada. Its estimated age lies somewhere between 560,000 and 780,000 years old. In 2021, evolutionary geneticist Love Dalén of the Swedish Museum of Natural History broke a record by sequencing a genome estimated to be 1.65 million years old. The sample came from mammoth teeth excavated in Siberia in the 1970s by Russian paleontologist Andrei Sher. The permafrost-preserved teeth had severely damaged and fragmented DNA, but thanks to advances in DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatics, the DNA fragments were successfully sequenced and reordered. The sequence information indicated that the teeth belonged to a mammoth from an entirely new and previously undiscovered lineage.


12

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

scitech@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

Increased space missions risk extraterrestrial contamination New paper highlights need for invasion biologists in planetary biosecurity Mikaela Shadick Staff Writer Continued from page 1. “In the face of increasing space missions [...], it is crucial to reduce the risks of biological contamination in both directions,” Ricciardi wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “The most plausible life forms would be microbial [....] We have no informa-

tion [yet] to anticipate whether they could survive on Earth and what effect, if any, they might have.” According to the team’s paper published in BioScience, contamination of extraterrestrial bodies through space missions transporting organisms from Earth—termed “forward contamination”—and the introduction of foreign planetary organisms to Earth—“back contamination”—have very different scientific ramifications.

Yet, both stem from the difficulty of ensuring complete control over what enters and exits NASA “clean rooms”—the rooms that discharge and receive spacecrafts. “Given that various strains of microbes have been discovered in the clean rooms in which spacecraft have been assembled, it is conceivable that some organisms were introduced during [the missions to Mars], and it is also conceivable [...] that some

Extraterrestrial contamination includes both the contamination of other planets with micro- and potentially macroscopic organisms native to Earth as well as the contamination of Earth by such organisms from other planets. (Lauren Hicken / The McGill Tribune)

may have survived on the planet,” Ricciardi wrote. This poses novel challenges for scientists who are searching for specific environmental conditions found on Earth as clues to help determine if and where life can be found on other planets. “If astrobiologists ultimately discover extant life on Mars, they must be able to distinguish truly indigenous organisms from those that might have been introduced accidentally during the previous space missions,” wrote Ricciardi. From this emerges another concern for scientists like Ricciardi: In the event that a foreign-turnedinvasive organism disrupts the environment around it, the origin of this organism might be more difficult to determine due to events of forward and back contamination, and might interfere with measures to restore the balance of that environment. “Effective risk assessment and rapid response depends on reliable identification of the origin of an encountered microbe—is it endemic to Mars, or did we put it there? Or was it introduced previously?” wrote Ricciardi. To prevent such scenarios, Ricciardi and his team aimed to learn

from past examples of “insular ecosystems”—flora and fauna that evolved in isolated regions such as Hawaii, Australia, and Antarctica. Ricciardi explained that invasion biology and the effects that invasive species have had on such insular ecosystems are central to understanding the impacts of extraterrestrial contamination. “Biological invasions have often been devastating for the plants and animals that have evolved in these systems,” Ricciardi wrote. “I would argue that planets and moons potentially containing life should be treated as if they were insular systems.” Because of this, Ricciardi and his colleagues believe that invasion scientists are crucial to the development of preventative measures to help limit contamination between the habitats of our planet and others. “The search [for] life beyond our world is an exciting endeavour that could yield an enormous discovery in the not-too-distant future,” Ricciardi wrote. “Given the obvious parallels between this issue and biological invasions on Earth, we believe that collaborations between astrobiologists and invasion biologists could help to enhance planetary biosecurity.”

Storming the ivory tower: Students securing research opportunities in STEM Three McGill students share their experiences in the world of research and teaching Adam Matthews-Kott Staff Writer For many undergraduates, it can be challenging to find opportunities to learn the applied skills of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in a classroom setting. Being trapped memorizing facts only to regurgitate them during midterms and finals can quickly stifle the enthusiasm that students would have otherwise brought to the scientific community. As a result, many students at McGill search for alternative ways of practicing scientific methods and propelling their careers forward in STEM. It can be daunting, however, to find research opportunities and co-ops without prior knowledge of the opaque inner workings of academia. Nevertheless, there are students who prevail, and hearing their stories can hopefully guide others in pursuing their own goals. Hadrien Helfgott, a U2 student studying cognitive science, wanted to get a more hands-on feel for the subject, so he contacted his academic advisor to explore his options. “I told my academic advisor that I was interested in labs, and he sent me an old list of labs and professors that were recruiting at the time,” Helfgott said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “I emailed a paragraph introducing myself and I told them that I was interested in their project. [Before applying] I would read scientific articles on their project so that I had a good idea about what they did [….] The seventh professor emailed me back.”

The professor was running an experiment that required participants, so Helfgott experienced the lab as a participant before coming back to run the experiment himself. Being a participant, Helfgott explained, allowed him to gain a deeper understanding of the purpose of the experiment. “I can’t talk too much about the experiment obviously, but it involves putting EEG caps on people and measuring their brain waves while we observe specific stimuli,” Helfgott said. “We look at how their brains respond to the stimuli and that allows us to draw our conclusions.” Darren Li, a U1 student studying quantitative biology, holds a fair amount of experience in lab work. Having reached out to professors in his first semester at McGill, he has been assisting at the Pollock Quantitative Biodiversity Lab research lab for over six months and continues to work into his most recent semester. “I just went on to the biology [faculty] website and chose professors that I was interested in working with. [Laura Pollock] was the first professor that I contacted and we met and talked about it,” Li said in an interview with the Tribune. After reaching out to the professor, Li quickly found a role within the lab. “I made a trait database for every single vertebrate in Canada,” Li said. “And now the lab can use my database [...] to publish recommendations on which lands to protect based on different metrics.” Like Li, U1 pharmacology student Alia

McGill is the 3rd largest generator of publications in Canada. Learn how some students are participating. (nature.com) Devasahayam decided to reach out to a professor who inspired her. After taking CHEM 120, Devasahayam emailed Pallavi Sirjoosingh to see how she could work with her in the future. “I was always interested in [science], but after meeting [Professor Sirjoosingh] I was interested in doing it with her,” Devasahayam said in an interview with the Tribune. “Hearing about her work and how she talks about science, it made me think, ‘Yeah, now I’m into it too.’” Devashayam is also part of the Tomlinson Engagement Award for Mentoring (TEAM). Founded in 2001, TEAM was created to allow students to assist in the teaching of a multitude of courses at McGill. TEAM students are selected to provide peer mentoring to other undergrad students. For Devasahayam, the process of joining

TEAM was as easy as contacting her professor, completing a form, and undergoing a selection process. “Last semester I was a lecture help, so I was answering questions during the lectures, which was really interesting because a lot of people ask questions that aren’t in the textbook,” Devasahayam said. “They’re so curious and I love that.” The consensus among the students interviewed was that pursuing extracurricular activities in the STEM fields allowed them to develop a deeper practical understanding of their chosen disciplines while creating memorable experiences along the way. It goes to show that there’s more to science than can be found in the classroom, and that there are fantastic opportunities awaiting for those who seek them out.


studentlife@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

STUDENT LIFE

13

Second semester star signs

What does the winter semester have in store for you? Holly Wethey Student Life Editor

secret crush. Play it cool though, Cancer; you know your worth.

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s we ease into the semester—or perhaps it’s more accurate to say, as we are thrown unwillingly into a new term—change is on the horizon. With classes online, Big Suze stepping down, and a new season of Too Hot to Handle soon to be released, there’s so much up in the air. Forget your academic advisor—The McGill Tribune is here to help you map your course of action. Find your sign below for completely accurate and not-at-all made-up astrological predictions.

Aries

This is your warning, Aries: If your professor asks you why you took their class, do not reply that it is because of them. You may be a fan, but you’ll save yourself some embarrassment if you keep that to yourself. (It’s also best not to mention the book of quotes from them that you’re currently compiling.)

Taurus

Redpath Café may be closed, but your kitchen definitely isn’t. It’s time to start going easy on the home-brewed cappuccinos, Taurus (we can feel your jitters from all the way over here).

Gemini

We’re going to go out on a limb to say that you’re not enjoying those long and verbose emails from the provost, Gemini. Are we right? We thought so. This is your sign to follow Spotted McGill (@spottedmcgill) for much-needed recaps in everyday language.

Cancer

It’s time to check your Slack DMs, because you’ve got a

Leo

We can hear your sighs all the way from the Tribune office— we know you’re looking for love, Leo. If you’re searching for a sign to do something about it, look no further; why not give Datamatch a try? Be on the lookout for the matchmaking service’s 2022 edition.

Virgo

Have you noticed that all your guests leave their sunglasses on inside your apartment? They may be too polite to tell you this, Virgo, but it’s time to stop collecting those neon construction signs. We know nothing says “Plateau Chic” like a bright orange “Rue Barrée” sign, but at some point, you have to think of the guests.

Capricorn

Uh oh! I just spilled my decaf caramel macchiato on my charts so I can’t see what the stars hold in store for you! But if I remember correctly, it did involve some form of studying.

Aquarius

You know that personal anecdote you’re thinking of bringing up in your conference? Perhaps you’re better off keeping it to yourself. Don’t get us wrong, we certainly find your personal experiences with the Montreal Metro system of the utmost interest, but it’s worth asking yourself whether those in POLI 342 will feel the same way.

Pisces

So you made it this far? Joke’s on you!

Libra

This may be a long shot, but we’re sensing that you’re an Arts major. Are we right? Please let us know—we’re in desperate need of validation.

Scorpio

It’s time to stop messing around and ask yourself an important question: Do you really want to be taking The Art of Listening online? We know you’re definitely registered because you have a passion for the subject matter, so we’d hate for the quality of your education to suffer this semester.

Sagittarius

Now is looking like a great time for you to donate to Big Suze’s GoFundMe. She needs your help (especially in light of recent events).

This semester, Virgo will have to make a very important decision about their apartment decor. (goop.com)

In lockdown, time for takeout Local spots to check out for delivery

Qinghua Dumpling

Wendy Zhao Student Life Editor

You can find this restaurant’s dumplings at either of their locations, in Chinatown or near Guy-Concordia. They serve a large variety of dumpling flavours in sets of 15, from pork and corn, to beef and cheese, to pumpkin. For a less adventurous and more staple choice, the pork and coriander dumpling is one of the most popular menu items among locals. If you find yourself close to the area, you can also pick up some frozen dumplings or wontons to save for later meals. Though it varies depending on the filling flavour, an order typically costs around $15.

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tudents’ busy schedules and––mostly––amateur cooking skills makes getting takeout food a huge comfort. During another COVID-19 wave, it’s also especially important to support local restaurants—and when possible, remember to avoid corporate delivery services and order directly from businesses. For when you have no time to cook, or just want to summon a special treat, The McGill Tribune brings you six local restaurants with a wide range of delicious options that can be brought to your door.

Nouilles Zhonghua

Nothing brings comfort, especially in the winter, like a slurp-worthy bowl of noodles. Though students might not be able to pass this quintessential noodle spot on their way to class in person with remote school, they can always bring the tastes of campus home for around $12-15 a bowl. As many students know, the noodles here are hand-pulled, giving them a chewy texture primed for flavour-soaked bites. Try their classic Lanzhou beef noodles, the oil spill noodles for

Bocadillo’s vegan arepa combines savoury and sweet flavours with a combination of fried plantain, black beans, avocado, and tomato slices. (restomontreal.ca) extra spice, or their vegetable noodles, which ditches the meat without scrimping on umami flavour.

Bocadillo

This family-run Venezuelan spot has two locations you can order from—one in Little Italy and the other in the Plateau. Bocadillo is famous for its arepas, a South American staple bread made from

cornmeal. Stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as cheese, shredded chicken, beef, egg, avocado, and even passion fruit pork, these tasty creations come in a wide selection of forms to excite your taste buds. If you’re looking to pair your meal with a dessert, try their Venezuelan caramel flan or Tres Leches. Dishes here cost around $12-14, and can be ordered through their online portal.

6 Green Banana Grassroots Jamaican Food

Bordering Milton Park and the Plateau, this Jamaican food spot is operating at reduced hours from 12-7 p.m., Friday to Saturday. They offer traditional dishes and vegetarian alternatives. Highlights include the jerk chicken roti and jerk tofu. Locals rave about the rich combination of slow-cooked flavours in each dish, as well as the generous portions, priced at $15.

Restaurant Queen Sheba

Located on Park Ave just steps away from Jeanne Mance Park, this venue offers a variety of hearty Ethiopian dishes, including both traditional meat stews and a vegan menu. As Ethiopian food is usually enjoyed communally, this would be a great spot to order from for a special dinner with roommates. Try the classic Doro Wat, a redcoloured chicken stew simmered in an Ethiopian red pepper sauce and topped with fresh cheese. Queen Sheba’s vegan options are just as flavourful—to share with a friend, or simply to indulge in yourself, try the Yetsom Beyaynetu, a set of three vegan dishes of your choice made complete with their freshly baked injera.

Faroujj Express

Tucked in the Galeries du Parc mall, this Lebanese food spot can be easy to miss in the underground food court if you’re not a regular. The Shish Taouk plate and Shawarma are must-tries that provide comfort without denting your wallet. Their sides—especially the crispy garlic potatoes, seasonally prepared salads, and creamy hummus— deserve their own spotlights. Just make sure to get your orders in early, as this restaurant closes at 6 p.m.


14

STUDENT LIFE

studentlife@mcgilltribune.com

TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

Ask Ainsley: What can I do for fun this winter in Montreal with all of the new restrictions?

Ways to make the most of the city Dear Ainsley, The Quebec government’s announcement of new public health measures has me discouraged, to say the least. I’m entering my last semester at McGill, and I want to make the most of my time in this dynamic city. During normal times, I enjoy socializing with friends, going to the gym, and eating out in restaurants, but none of this is possible with the current guidelines. What can I do for fun this winter in Montreal while still staying safe? Sincerely, MISER (Montreal Isolation Seems Ever-Returning)

Dear MISER, It is completely understandable to be discouraged by these new measures. As we enter our third year of the pandemic, a 10 p.m. curfew, a ban on indoor gatherings, and the closure of dine-in restaurants can make us feel as though we are right back where we started. Just remember that, as we learnt from previous waves, lockdowns don’t last forever: Eventually, we will

regain the freedoms we enjoyed just a few short months ago. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Montreal in the winter while respecting COVID-19 restrictions. Outdoor sports and activities are a great way to stay fit and socialize with friends this winter. Bring out your inner kid by sledding at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The park’s Espace 67 slope, perfect for tobogganing, overlooks the St. Laurent river with the stunning backdrop of Montreal’s skyline. Or, take the metro with friends and explore a new part of the city, like the Jean-Talon Market. Just make sure you stay socially distanced and follow the provincial COVID-19 regulations. For somewhere closer to home, try skating at Parc Jeanne Mance. The park’s two recreational rinks—one for skating and the other for hockey—help to keep skaters distanced while catering to different interests and skill levels. Don’t forget the quintessential Montreal hike up Mont-Royal. When you reach the top, you can take in gorgeous views of the city that even lockdown can’t stop you from enjoying. You could even rent cross-country skis and explore one of the mountain’s numerous ski

trails. If you’re looking to cater to your sweet tooth while out and about in the city, be sure to stop by the Beavertails food truck located in Montreal’s Old Port. Bring a friend along with you to enjoy these delectable deep-fried pastries while taking in Old Montreal’s historical landscape. Just make sure to dress warmly! You might also wish to order from one of Montreal’s many cafes to help you power through your early-morning Zoom classes. Cafe Humble Lion—a locallyowned cafe, known for its creamy lattes and delicious scones—is a great place to start. For more cafes to try, check out The McGill Tribune’s guide to indie coffee shops. While the outdoors offer many venues to enjoy the city, do not shy away from developing new hobbies at home this winter. Try creating something new by finger knitting or expressing yourself through paper mache. Craft your own signature recipe for a favourite dish—family and friends’ recipes can be great inspiration for this. During times of isolation, writing down your thoughts through journaling is a great way to remain mindful and grounded. Plus, it might serve

Though Montreal is in lockdown again, don’t underestimate the plethora of slopes and skating rinks the city has to offer. (Sébastien Géroli / The McGill Tribune) as a time capsule as to what life was like during the pandemic. To combat the winter urge to hibernate from exercise, try creating a homeworkout routine to help release feel-good endorphins that will keep you motivated throughout your day. Finally, spending time with friends and family—whether it be through a Zoom Movie Night or a socially distanced walk—is a great way to feel connected during lockdown. Remember, it is normal and more than okay to be frustrated by

these new COVID-19 measures. During these difficult times, be sure to take care of your mental health by talking to a professional if needed and reaching out to friends and loved ones—there is comfort in sharing frustration. While this season will be different from those in years past, I hope that these tips will help you make the most of your last winter in Montreal. Stay strong, Ainsley

Student perspectives on virtual and in-person learning

Varying opinions on the optimal mode of instruction Rosie Kaissar Contributor

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fter nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, opinions on the merits of online versus in-person learning tend to be passionate. Having experienced virtual learning for multiple semesters, students have adapted to different methods of schooling. With public health conditions once again necessitating online school, McGill’s return to a virtual teaching format has reignited the debate about how students learn best. For certain music students, like Daniel Marmer, U0 Music, it’s difficult to study a subject like jazz online, because the experience of practicing an instrument in person is unmatched. Practicing in ensemble format has been put on pause until Jan. 24. “Playing with other musicians is the most important part of learning and helps you develop the quickest,” Marmer said. “Jazz is all about conversing with the musicians you’re playing with, reacting to them and expressing yourself, and that can’t be done when you’re not playing with them live.” Students in all faculties may have experience with other disadvantages of online learning, including the extra stress of having internet issues for reasons out of one’s control, the difficulty of forming meaningful bonds between instructors and students, and more. Such impediments of virtual learning have proven to be significant. A survey revealed

Some students appreciate that recorded lectures allow greater agency over time and increased accessibility of learning material. (ripplefoundation.ca) that 51 per cent of Quebec university students reported higher levels of psychological distress during the Fall 2020 semester––which was remote due to the pandemic––and 56 per cent of students found online courses as a principal stressor for their diminished mental health. Despite these drawbacks, one obvious benefit of online school is that it curbs the spread of COVID-19. This becomes especially crucial with the airborne and highly transmissible Omicron variant. In December 2021, a petition urging for final exams to be moved online circulated around the McGill

community and received upwards of 3,200 signatures. The petition cited safety concerns about rising COVID-19 cases and alleged a lack of attention paid by the university toward ensuring safe and comfortable examination environments. With rising COVID-19 cases in Quebec, virtual learning allows students to earn their credits with greater reassurance for personal and communal safety. There’s also the practical aspect of not having to commute all the way to campus for class—an inconvenience that Arantza Fernandez, U3 Arts, is grateful to be relieved of.

“I like online learning because it gives me control of what to do with my time,” Fernandez said in an interview with the Tribune. “I can choose how to spend [my time] or how to organize [my day] without taking into account transportation [to campus].” Virtual learning has also brought students more accessible modes of learning, including recorded lectures, easier organization of work with all material in one place, scheduling flexibility, and more. “I find with online classes I enjoy having all of the lectures recorded for me to go back to if I didn’t understand something or if I need to pause the video to finish taking my notes,” said Emma Smith, U0 Arts. “Online classes [also] teach you to be accountable for yourself and to achieve your work goals.” For students who find it difficult or nerve-wracking to participate during inperson classes, engaging in a discussion over Zoom can be less intimidating. “I feel calmer and more confident when I’m just alone in my room, talking,” Gabby Orle, U2 Arts, told the Tribune. “It doesn’t feel as scary as when I’m in a room and everybody is physically looking at me.” After more than two years of the pandemic, each student—each with unique circumstances—has had their own experiences with virtual and in-person learning, making this a highly nuanced debate.


TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

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Business and pleasure: The intertwined world of sports management Sports Management Club connects students to the professional sporting world Sophia Gorbounov Contributor

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espite what grandpa might say at the dinner table, professional sports have been and continue to be a business, with management roles that span from athlete representation to brand marketing. Founded in 2018, the McGill Sports Management Club (MSMC) aims to bridge the gap between business skills learned in the classroom and those found in the world of athletics. Sports management, as the name suggests, deals with the business aspects of sports and recreation, professional or not. Thomas Atchison, U2 Management, serves as the MSMC’s senior director of speaker relations. In an interview with The McGill Tribune, he spoke to the wide range of positions possible within the sports management industry. “A lot of people think of sports management as being the general manager of a team, but it’s much broader than that,” Atchison said. “It relates to anything where you have to manage the resources, the people [....] it can be marketing, it can be many different channels.” Indeed, sports management encompasses countless professions, including analysts, agents, lawyers, and specialists in marketing, health, and athletic development. MSMC co-president Wyatt Gilbert, U3 Management, further emphasized that those who pursue careers in sports management do not need the impressive abilities of the athletes they manage.

“The word ‘sport’ [in sports management] does not necessarily imply that those entrusted with manager roles have the same athletic ability,” Gilbert said. “Managers in accounting firms or marketing firms can be just as effective in a sports management position.” Since McGill lacks a sports management program or specialization, the MSMC team hopes to provide their peers with a comprehensive introduction to the sports business world. The club acts as a touchpoint for students looking to penetrate the field. “As a club, we do not take a general membership fee,” Gilbert said. “Other clubs will take a fee and provide services only for students who paid that fee, which is a bit exclusive.” In contrast to other Management Undergraduate Society (MUS) groups that require a membership fee, the MSMC’s funding is eventbased: Students from all faculties pay to attend events of their choosing. All events focus on educating attendees on how to grow one’s network of professionals in their specific field of interest. Last year, the MSMC started a mentorship program that pairs applicants one-on-one with a host of industry professionals, including Trevor Timmins, former assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. “It isn’t just that you sign up and get paired randomly, there is a little method to the madness,” Gilbert said. “It’s about connecting people with [professionals with] aligned interests and aligned goals [...] to tangibly help a student wanting to break into their industry of interest.” Additionally, the program aims to provide a

Many of the professionals that the MSMC works with are McGill alumni, former students who all went into the industry despite the lack of a formal sports management program. (www.msmcgill.com) wide range of options for students to choose from, including athlete representation and analytics. “We are trying [to diversify] as much as we can,” Atchison said. “We try to have someone from every field, so anyone interested in sports management in general can work with someone in their preferred field.” Both Atchison and Gilbert know and understand the daunting nature of management, which is typically characterized by stern, gogetting businesspeople defined by their net worth. Though Gilbert emphasized that the MSMC and the professionals they work with all started off in university, it is important to recognize that one’s background and opportunities can impact one’s network starting out. Atchison further explained

that a passion for the sports management industry and an equal dedication to improving your skills are what matters most. “Regardless of your network, [when you enter a field] they’re going to look at your skills either way,” Atchison said. “So, if something interests you, start with the simple stuff. You don’t need to go to the biggest person you see, you can start small. The main priority should be to hone your skills.” Sports management is a unique and developing field, where the tasks lie less in trying to beat out the competition and more in seizing your passions. The MSMC holds the door to the athletic industry wide open for any McGillian interested in stepping in.

2022 NFL postseason predictions

The 2021-2022 playoffs look to conclude a tremendously entertaining regular season Adam Menikefs Staff Writer

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ince 1990, more than 75 per cent of Conference Championship victors have been seeded in the top two. It has been almost an entire decade since an NFL team seeded third or lower have even appeared in the Super Bowl—the last time being the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. This season may see a continuation of these steady trends, but two teams may disrupt these tendencies come Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13.

The Top Seeds #1 Green Bay Packers The Packers are led once again by the reigning MVP and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is looking to return to his first Super Bowl since 2010. The future Hall-of-Famer has lost four

straight NFC Championship Games, but with a number one seed and a bye in the wild card round, the path to the ultimate game is possibly the most straightforward of Rodgers’ career. With All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari returning right before the playoff push, the Packers are not only the favourites to win the conference, but the front-runners to bring home another Lombardi to “Titletown.” #2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Led by the “G.O.A.T” Tom Brady, the Buccaneers remain poised to lift the Lombardi trophy for the second year in a row, a feat that has only been achieved once this century, accomplished by the very same quarterback almost two decades ago. Despite many believing Tampa Bay to be the favourite to win the NFC, the Bucs have shown serious lapses in the latter half of the season, and will likely have to go on the road in the conference championship game again to capture a berth in Super Bowl LVI. Potential Spoiler - #4 Los Angeles Rams The Rams have returned to their magnificent form under head coach Sean McVay’s first two seasons, with 2009 number one overall pick Matthew Stafford and NFL leading receiver Cooper Kupp driving one of the top offences in the league. On the other side of the ball, three-time Defensive Player of the Year—and the most dominant player in all of the NFL—defensive tackle Aaron Donald has spearheaded a superb defence along with first team all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Although the Rams have talent loaded on both sides of the ball, the history of their quarterback in the playoffs has raised questions about the potential of a Super Bowl return for Los Angeles.

American Football Conference (AFC)

The top-ranked Green Bay Packers are favourites to win their fifth Super Bowl in 2022. (Acme Packing Company)

#1 Tennessee Titans For just the second time since their heart-breaking SuperBowl XXXIV defeat in the 1999 season, the Tennessee Titans have finished the season atop the AFC. Losing to Kansas City in the

AFC Championship Game just two seasons ago, the Titans are looking to finally dethrone the back-to-back AFC Champions and return to the ultimate game for the first time in two decades. A team complete with strong offensive and defensive lines, and formidable playmakers on offence such as Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, the Titans boast a 7-2 record this season at Nissan Stadium, and will look to prove to the rest of the league that both this season and the future of the conference will run through Nashville. #2 Kansas City Chiefs A team that needs no introduction, the Super Bowl LIV champions and the 2020 AFC Champions will look to return to the big game for the third year in a row, a feat that has only been achieved once since the early 1990s by the New England Patriots. Led by former MVP Patrick Mahomes and his reliable receiving crew of Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs struggled early on this season, but have since won nine of their last ten heading into Wild Card Weekend—a trend that may seem intimidating to those trying to knock off the kings of the conference in late January. Potential Spoiler - #4 Cincinnati Bengals The dark horse in these NFL playoffs, the Bengals have already beaten AFC favourites Kansas City in January this season and will look for similar results through the end of the month. A strong front seven on defence and two of college football’s most recent superstars—former LSU Tigers Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase—lead Cincinnati’s “new kids on the block” mentality, as head coach Zac Taylor looks to become the second-youngest frontman to win the Lombardi Trophy. The McGill Tribune Predicts: AFC Championship Game: Chiefs defeat Bengals NFC Championship Game: Packers defeat Buccaneers


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TUESDAY, JANUARY 11 2022

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Next up: Top sports events to catch in 2022

From the Olympics to the World Cup, the sports world has lots in store this year Sarah Farnand & Madison McLauchlan Sports Editor & Managing Editor

2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in February will boast a range of exciting events, from popular sports like hockey, skiing, and figure skating, to more unique sports, like the skeleton, the luge, and bobsled. These Games will feature 45 per cent female athletes, the largest share to ever compete in the Winter Olympics, due in part to the introduction of more mixedgender events like the freestyle skiing aerials and snowboard cross. Notable Canadian athletes to watch for include ice dancing duo Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, as well as bobsledder Cynthia Appiah. On the Paralympic side, notable athletes include Josh Dueck, the first athlete to land a backflip on a sit-ski; Brian McKeever, Canada’s most decorated Paralympian who will retire after the 2022 Games; Ina Forrest, who is looking for her fourth medal in wheelchair curling; and Billy Bridges, one of the most accomplished Canadian Para ice hockey players, who hopes to lead his team to gold against the top-ranked U.S. team. The Games’ have been shrouded in controversy due to China’s human rights violations, namely their detainment of Uyghurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority, in the Xinjiang region. Several countries floated the idea of boycotting the Games, but as it stands, none have officially rescinded their participation— and neither have any competing athletes. Instead, Canada, the

U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia have announced a “diplomatic boycott,” where government officials will not attend the Games. As for pandemic restrictions, Chinese officials are planning to welcome spectators from mainland China who meet the vaccine requirements, in contrast to the Tokyo 2020 Games, which were played in empty stadiums.

Fallout from the MLB lockout The Major League Baseball (MLB) offseason is always rife with dramatic deals, trades, and contract negotiations. But in December 2021, after the Atlanta Braves took home their first World Series title in nearly 30 years, the MLB imposed a lockout. This comes after a labour dispute between the Player’s Association and the league teams, and their disagreement on player salaries and the competitive disparities among different teams. During this work stoppage, teams are barred from communicating with players, even about simple things like workout regimes, and players are locked out from training facilities. Though the lockout is intended to put pressure on the union to speed up negotiations, the shutdown may extend into the beginning of the regular season, which is slated to start on March 31. Regardless, these restrictions will undoubtedly reduce players’ abilities to build team chemistry and adequately prepare for the start of the season.

Djokovic’s chance at greatness The Serbian tennis star walked away with the 2021 Wimbledon

title, and this year, has the chance to surpass Nadal and Federer for the most Grand Slams of all time. All three greats are tied for 20 apiece, but Djokovic has not been plagued by injury like the other two—that is, if he can even get into the Australian Open. Originally unable to enter the country due to his unvaccinated status, and now waiting to see if the Australian government will cancel his visa, it is unclear whether he will have the chance to compete for the major title. Currently, there is an online campaign to #BoycottAustralianOpen in support of Djokovic’s decision to not get vaccinated; on the other hand, many Australian citizens are against the player flouting the regulations and endangering others. Despite his anti-science stance, the tennis player has donated millions of euros to COVID-19 relief funds in three different countries. Barring what happens (or doesn’t) in Melbourne, Wimbledon in July will serve as another opportunity for the trifecta of tennis masters to tiebreak their three-way majors lead, and is not to be missed.

2022 FIFA World Cup The 2022 FIFA World Cup is the first to take place in the Middle East, held in Qatar this November. While the milestone is welcomed by many, the host country has come under scrutiny for allegedly bribing FIFA officials for their bid, and using migrant labour to build the stadiums. Qualifying teams for the tournament include Canada, the United States, and Mexico from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). Italy and Portugal have yet to hash it out in the European playoffs, so there is a chance that Cristiano Ronaldo will not be playing in Qatar. The favourites to take home the cup this year are Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands; however, that could all change if Italy does not qualify. As for women’s soccer, the qualifying competition for both the 2023 Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Olympics will take place in July.

Will Tiger Woods return to the Masters?

Beijing last hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, astounding the world with breathtaking opening ceremonies.(Prince George Citizen)

Casual and dedicated golf fans alike were shaken when Tiger Woods, arguably the best golfer to ever grace the green, was injured in a life-threatening car accident in February of 2021. He shattered his ankle and suffered two fractures to his legs. After news broke that he would make a full recovery,

(Nick Turchiaro / USA TODAY Sports) the world has been waiting to see if, or when, he will make his return to professional golf. After coming second place in the 2021 PNC Championships with his son Charlie, the odds of Woods playing in the Masters shot up significantly. He told reporters after the tournament that he would not return to competition anytime soon, but many fans are still hopeful that he will attend, if not play in, the Masters. More likely is that he will return to the course for the British Open, whose St. Andrews course has fewer hills to climb.

NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and the implosion of the Habs The 2022 Stanley Cup has a myriad of possible contenders. The Colorado Avalanche, despite failing to make the conference finals since 2002, are a favourite to win. Tampa Bay is another team favoured to do well in the playoffs this year. The Lightning have won the Stanley Cup two years in a row, and the only people rooting for a three-peat are Lightning fans. Tampa Bay’s cross-state rivals, the Florida Panthers, are also having a strong season and could potentially pose a challenge to the defending champions as they are currently tied. In the Metropolitan division, the Carolina Hurricanes are dominant, a shift that could see the organization winning its second-ever Stanley Cup championship. Unfortunately, the Montreal Canadiens, having won only seven of their 35 total games, will not be in contention for the cup this year. The only Canadian team with a real chance of winning is the Toronto Maple

Leafs. Just behind the Lightning in terms of points, the Leafs have a roster filled with star players. If they can find a way to make it past the first round of the playoffs, the Leafs could be a team to be reckoned with.

Formula 1 Season 2022 will bring with it a new car design and a longer season. While the season will feature a new Miami Grand Prix, favourite courses such as Montreal will be reinstated after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from hosting in previous years. There will be several exciting battles between teams that finished neckand-neck in the 2021 season. Ferrari and McLaren will be battling for third place this season, with Mercedes and Redbull a fairly certain top two. Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris have breathed life back into their respective teams and will be extremely exciting to watch this season. Unfortunately for Mercedes, George Russell is ranked eighth in the power rankings, a gap that might allow other teams to better challenge the defending champs. In the midfield, the triple As—Alpine, Aston Martin, and AlphaTauri— will battle it out once again. Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri is a phenomenal driver and will keep his team in the hunt for fifth place in 2022. Aston Martin finished significantly behind the other two teams in 2021, and while they may have potential, most of it comes from billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll’s potential to spend money. However, he will have to contend with the new spending cap of $140 million for 2022, which aims to give smaller-budget teams a better chance at victory.