Volume No. 33 Issue No. 4 TITLE PX
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CAMPUS CONVERSATION THE QUEBEC CHARTER OF VALUES p6
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THE BIGBRAIN ATLAS SUPERCOMPUTING MEETS NEUROSCIENCE p 10
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
12th annual Pow Wow kicks off Indigenous Awareness Week SEE INSIDE FOR MORE PICTURES
Students and community members gather on Lower Field to celebrate Indigenous culture. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)
McGill rescinds fee for Mental Health Services
McGill Student Services seeks to reallocate funds, reduce student wait time, hire additional therapists Sam Pinto News Editor On Thursday, Ollivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), announced that McGill has removed its one-time $20 registration fee for students using McGill’s Mental Health Services. Students who have already paid the fee at the beginning of September will be reimbursed. Dyens and Executive Director of Student Services Jana Luker cited the growing importance of Mental Health Services as the reason for rescinding the fee. The statement released last Friday assured that eliminating the fee would not result in a reduction of services. “Given the pressing and growing need for these services, we will
take steps to reallocate resources within Student Life and Learning and will try to improve the service, even without the fee,” Dyens wrote in the statement. Initially, the fee was implemented in order to keep up with the demand for mental health services. This has been outpacing enrolment rates, meaning that costs for mental health services are increasing. The fees would be used exclusively to pay for staff and services offered to students. The $100 fee for students seeking help for eating disorders, which was implemented at the same time as the Mental Health Services registration fee, has also been rescinded. On Oct. 11, the office of Student Life and Learning (SLL) will meet to discuss how to compensate for the fee by reallocating funds from SLL and
Student Services. Providing support for Mental Health Services has been pinned as one of the office’s main priorities this year. Luker outlined a number of plans to increase the efficiency of Mental Health Services. One possibility is reducing the maximum number of sessions that a student can attend with a Mental Health Services therapist. The maximum number is currently 16. Rather than completing all the sessions with a Mental Health Services therapist, Luker said students would be referred to therapists in the community, reducing pressure on McGill therapists and student services. “We’re looking at the preventative, the proactive things, so people can be seen before they get to a more acute state,” Luker said. This could also include the cre-
ation of programs such as peer-topeer sessions, support groups, and even online programs. “Maybe we’ll start to do Skype intake,” Luker said. “We’ve got this online program—we got a big grant from Bell to do some sort of pretherapy triage. If we can do some [therapy] in a group, then maybe we can reduce the need for one-on-one.” Luker also noted that wait times are currently significant. Typically, students must wait two weeks to see a therapist, and up to six weeks during exam periods. According to Robert Franck, director of Mental Health Services, the office’s main goal this year is to reduce waiting times so that students can access therapy sessions more quickly. Franck said one in five McGill students sought mental health
services last year. “Our goal for this year is to ensure that no student is waiting more than two weeks to obtain therapy sessions,” Franck said. “Our focus is to hire new therapists for ongoing sessions, and not counsellors for initial consultations.” Over the next few months, there will be several events being hosted at McGill focusing on student mental health. On Oct. 5, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) will be hosting its first-ever studentrun conference on mental health to address important issues such as support, advocacy, and self-care. On Nov. 12, there will be a joint meeting between the Board of Governors and the Senate with the purpose of discussing the issue of student mental health.
Restructuring plan to reorganize Arts administrative units Project seeks to streamline existing processes in wake of budget cuts; staff express concern at consolidation Ben Carter-Whitney Managing Editor
Last Thursday, Dean of Arts Christopher Manfredi held a meeting to update students, faculty, and staff about the ongoing plan to restructure the use of space within the Faculty of Arts. Called People, Processes, and Partnerships (PPP), the project intends to reduce administrative inefficiencies and help the faculty deal with reduced resources stemming from budget cuts. The space restructuring initiative was introduced last April but has undergone substantial change since then due to criticism of the project. The question and answer session was attended by over 50 McGill community members. Currently, each department in the Faculty of Arts has its own specialized administrative staff. The original PPP looked to consolidate all administrative services together on one floor of the Arts Building. The new version will include the creation of six “integrated service groups,” each of which will be responsible for one or more of the faculty’s 16 departments. Some of the project’s steps have already been implemented this summer, including the move of East Asian Studies to Sherbrooke 688, which was done in order to facilitate its administrative integration with the department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. The relocation of other departments will be delayed until
next summer to avoid disruptions in the middle of an academic term. According to Manfredi, this project has become even more necessary due to the unanticipated success of the voluntary retirement program (VRP), a university-wide cost-cutting measure implemented over the summer. He stressed, however, that the project is also taking active measures to reduce the workload on administrative staff by streamlining existing processes. “The other part of this process course is […] looking at what we do, how we do it, and whether there are things we can stop doing, or steps in the process we do now that we no longer need to do,” Manfredi said. Some attendees voiced concern that the plan still puts excessive burdens on staff. Currently, most staff members specialize in knowing a single department in great depth, but this plan would expect them to service multiple departments’ needs with that same level of expertise. In addition, some attendees raised concerns about groupings, which were determined based on distribution of work, rather than department size. For example, one group includes only Social Work, while another contains History, Philosophy, and Polical Science. “I’m concerned about the way that hubs are functioning in terms of the sizes of programs,” said Allan Hepburn, chair of the English department. “My AO [Administrative Officer] has already retired, and I’m
Over 50 McGill community members attended the Town Hall on Thursday. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune) losing my undergraduate coordinator at the end of the year. So I’m particularly concerned about the just distribution of workloads among the admin staff that are left.” Manfredi said there will be training to ensure that all staff are able to provide the necessary services to students. “Obviously there’s going to be a learning curve […] but I have complete confidence that all our administrative and support staff have the capacity to learn multiple program requirements,” Manfredi said. The faculty’s reorganization will also affect the way students access departmental services. Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) President
Justin Fletcher highlighted the importance of ongoing consultation to ensure that students are still provided with the resources they need. “It is critical that the AUS and the departmental associations continue to be involved and contribute their feedback so that these changes benefit students,” he said. The restructuring of the Leacock Building will also see interior space in the building dedicated to student space, according to Manfredi. How this space will be used, however, is left to the discretion of the departments. Associate Dean Gillian LaneMercier has been holding discussions with departments to help guide the planning of these spaces.
“This should be more of an inhouse discussion, so we’re not trying to micromanage how these spaces will actually be re-thought,” LaneMercier said. Fletcher also stressed the potential benefits that this space allocation represents for students. “Student spaces are critical on campus, as many of our student associations do not have offices,” Fletcher said. “Students are always looking for additional places to study and to lounge between classes.” Manfredi said there will be bulletin boards going up in Leacock to receive student feedback about particular elements of the plan as the project moves forward.
Senate addresses Quebec Charter, MUHC relocation Fortier weighs in on rankings, frosh week; Weinstein reports on McGill’s most successful fundraiser to date Emma Windfeld News Editor Fortier addresses Quebec Charter of Values, university rankings, and frosh In her opening remarks at the Sept. 18 Senate meeting, Fortier addressed the impact of the Quebec Charter of Values at McGill and the implications of two recently-released university rankings. Regarding the charter, Fortier re-stated the university’s commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive community. She said no concrete decisions have been made about McGill’s course of action, specifically in regards to the part of the charter that would ban professors from wearing visible signs of religion.
“I view this as a period of consultation,” she said. “It’s too early to see exactly where we’ll be. At the appropriate time, we’ll take action where required.” Fortier commented on McGill’s recent downward movement in the QS Rankings and upward movement in the Shanghai Rankings. She cautioned against changing the university too drastically in response to the data. “One of the negative effects of the rankings is to move all of us [universities] into becoming clones of one another—the uniqueness of what we are makes us special,” she said. “There are some parts of the rankings where, for us, we would lose some of the great qualities of McGill if we were to move in any direction.” Fortier also addressed frosh
week, in light of occurrences at other Canadian universities this year that have received negative media attention for disrespectful or intolerant activities during frosh. Fortier said that McGill’s Orientation Week was well-received by new students and their parents this year. “We need to pay attention to the climate on our campus. For the most part, Orientation Week went well but there are some events that were not entirely positive,” Fortier said. Fortier went on to say that new Deputy Provost Ollivier Dyens is working to improve McGill’s Orientation Week for next year. MUHC to move to Glen Campus Senator Adam Bouchard asked whether the research and graduation time of students working in the McGill University Health Centre
(MUHC) will be delayed by the centre’s move to Glen Campus, which is expected to be completed by September 2014. David Eidelman, vice-principal (Health Affairs) and dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said that a company has been hired to complete the move. Other than delays during the two weeks of moving time, Eidelman said he expects a smooth transition. “Most [students] will be moving into superior facilities from what they have,” Eidelman said. “Even though the short-term hit is real, the long-term benefit [...] will improve the graduate experience.” The move is part of the $2,355 billion Re-development Project which consolidates the Montreal Children’s Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, and the Research In-
stitute of the MUHC into one location at Glen Campus, located near Décarie Boulevard and Rue SaintJacques. Fundraising campaign Marc Weinstein, vice-principal (Development and Alumni Relations), announced that McGill’s History in the Making philanthropy campaign raised over $1 billion since its launch in 2007. “[This has been] by far the most successful campaign that McGill has ever taken, and one of the shortest ones in terms of timeframe compared to other universities,” Weinstein said. The donations received through the campaign are all dedicated to specific projects including student aid and advising, research, and faculty support.
Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, September 24, 2013
PGSS to reduce Council size, oppose Charter of Values Highlights from Sept. 18 Council meeting include motion to support extending Medicare to international students Jessica Fu News Editor Reduction of seats in Council The Post-Graduate Students’ Society of McGill University (PGSS) has reduced the number of seats in its Council from 131 to approximately 80. The reduction maintains the proportions currently set in place for each individual Post-Graduate Student Association (PGSA), with rounding done to the nearest integer. “We conducted a very extensive survey, where we looked at other student associations and how big their councils were and we found that ours was really oversized,” PGSS Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney said. William Farrell, a masters student in Engineering, said he agrees that the Council is oversized. “To give you a perspective, the United States Senate has 100 people to make decisions; Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) has some 40 representatives to deal with 25,000 students,” he said. “I think that this [smaller] size would be much more ideal for Council and allow things to run smoothly without taking anything away.” A student, who could not be identified, said he disagreed with the spirit of the motion because it would limit the perspectives that Council could hear and opportunities for stu-
dents. “This Council is a good place to train people for taking part in other committees and societies in our careers and I think the more people we train here the better,” he said. Brittany Rocque, a member of PGSS’s Policy and Structure Advisory Committee, expressed support for the motion. “We don’t think we’re going to be missing out if we cut down in size,” Roque said. “We will be adding an efficiency component, and when a group is smaller, individuals feel a little bit more accountable, because they’re a little bit more significant.” This change will take effective immediately, which means that some councilors will have to lose their seats. “PGSS leaves the choice regarding how the change will be implemented to the individual PGSA’s,” Rocque said. “Some seats are not currently filled and will be easy to remove [...] and if there are multiple individuals who very much want to be on council and would not want to step down, ‘seat sharing’ or an appropriate transition period could be implemented.” Motion regarding Quebec Charter of Values The Council also passed a motion to oppose the Parti Québécois’s (PQ) proposal to ban public sector
Topics of debate included adjusting the number of representatives who sit on Council. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune) workers from wearing conspicuous religious symbols. “We don’t think it’s the government’s role to manipulate people’s lives to a level where a way of life they’ve chosen, how they want to be represented, how they want to look in public is going to be taken over by government regulation that doesn’t apply throughout the board,” said Michael Krause, Internal Affairs Officer. According to the motion, PGSS will send a letter to Premier Pauline Marois denouncing the proposed ban, and also notify PGSS members
of any upcoming demonstrations against the ban. Extend Medicare for International Students Council also passed a motion to support the extending Medicare to cover international students. Currently, only Quebec and out-ofprovince Canadians are eligible for Medicare. This leads to healthcare costs upwards of three times that of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), the health insurance system in Quebec. While PGSS does not have the power to cover
students, the motion will allow them to publically support policy that will allow international students to be covered. “The idea is that this would create better, more equitable solutions for international students. It would mean that they aren’t being charged differential fees for the same services, and it would not mean that they would be incurring extremely high financial burdens just to have their families here in Canada,” Mooney said. The motion passed with overwhelming support.
Students, staff discuss ongoing changes to libraries
Town Hall provides platform for addressing restructuring concerns as libraries adapt to technological advances Jessica Fu News Editor
On Sept. 19, approximately a dozen members of the McGill community gathered at a Town Hall meeting to address students’ concerns regarding past and future changes to the libraries. Hosted by the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), the meeting was prompted by both budget cuts and the ongoing changes in libraries due to technological advances. “It’s not merely because of budget cuts that we’re going through these changes,” Dean of Libraries Colleen Cook said. “The most significant thing is that libraries as a whole in North America, [including] big research libraries, are changing, and we’re changing in terms of what higher education is doing as a whole.” With the recent merging of several collections—Life Sciences Library with the Schulich Library; Education Library with the Humanities and Social Scienc-
es Library—the Town Hall provided a platform to discuss future plans for the libraries. According to Cook, the merging of collections at McGill follows the lead of many research libraries in North America. “UBC has merged their science and medical libraries, just as we have; Johns Hopkins has actually shut down their Medical Sciences Library [.…] This has been a change since forever,” Cook said. “Libraries across North America and around the world are changing from warehouses of books to spaces that are very student-centered and [provide] a lot of spaces for informal learning.” Other changes to the library this year have included the end of the Laptop Lending Program in August. The end to programs such as these have
[is] going to happen with all the laptops?” “If they are owned by the CIO [Chief Information Office], they are reusing those laptops, and they are accessible from 688 Sherbrooke for teaching and learning,” said Diane Koen, senior director of Planning and Resources and McGill Libraries. “My understanding is that it’s not for undergrads; it’s for visiting profs and for support teaching.” Koen outlined the newly renovated student spaces of the Life Sciences Library, which include three 80-seat active learning classrooms, and an additional eight 14-seat classrooms. Over 450,000 items have been moved, affecting all six floors of the Schulich library, which will be completely accessible by the end of September. Materials that, The Life Sciences Library was previously housed in after the merging prothe McIntyre Medical building [imtl.org] cess, will not remain
raised other concerns for students like Sarah Southey, science representative to SSMU Council. “I’ve heard the Laptop Lending Program has been cancelled,” she said. “What
on shelves but rather in storage at Currie Gymnasium, will be obtainable by students within 48 hours of placing a request. “Material that has not been circulated in the last five to 10 years is being moved to […] storage,” Koen said. “An interesting statistic, though, is [that] 42 per cent of books in the entire McGill library system haven’t been circulated in 20 years.” SSMU President Katie Larson expressed concern that those making these decisions keep in contact with students. “If students find that they might be experiencing something, what’s the best way they can bring it forward?” she asked. Cook encouraged students to voice such concerns. “Call me, email me, talk to Diane [Koen], talk to someone at the service desk in any of the branches, if you are hearing any disruptions of anything,” Cook said. “Just let us know and you will get a response.”
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 |
| Curiosity delivers.
Pow Wow on Lower Field celebrates Indigenous culture First Peoples‘ House hosts traditional event to showcase local Indigenous artists Dylan Lamberti Contributor On Friday, the McGill First People’s House hosted its 12th Annual Pow Wow, a day of traditional dancing, singing, and ceremonies honouring the Indigenous population of McGill and Montreal. According to Paige Isaac, the coordinator of the First Peoples’ House, the event is designed to offer students and faculty the chance to learn about Indigenous culture, and it provides a venue for local Indigenous artisans and vendors to sell their goods. The Pow Wow has been a staple of the McGill Fall semester since it began in 2001. “We encourage everyone to come: the McGill community, their families, the Montreal community,” Issac said. “We invite many Native organizations in the city [….] It’s a gathering and a celebration of Indigenous culture.” This year, live workshops on the art of Indigenous craft-making were added to the Pow Wow, as well as more local Indigenous artists selling their goods.
“I would really like to see more students in full regalia dancing for the Pow Wow.” “I think people are going to notice … a lot more local Aboriginal artists and vendors, selling their own crafts and such,” she said. “We did some outreach to make sure that we had a lot more local vendors.” Towanna Miller, a first-time
vendor at the McGill Pow Wow, was selling handmade traditional Iroquois crafts. She said that the presence of local vendors at such an event would help build relationships between Indigenous students at McGill and those already living in the area. “I like sharing our culture with students,” Miller said. “The students are eventually going to be business owners in Montreal, and it’s good that we’re neighbours […] and we have cultural exchanges.” The effort to reach out to more local Indigenous artisans is one of many changes that Isaac hopes to implement in coming years. “I would really like to see a lot more students in full regalia dancing for the Pow Wow [and] even expanding on our Aboriginal alumni honouring ceremony,” she said. “I’d really like to increase awareness […] and get in touch with a lot more of our alumni and create and expand and enhance that part of the ceremony.” Marne Deszo, a long-time Montreal resident who attended the Pow Wow for her first time this year, said she was impressed with the amount of culture and passion that the performers were able to convey through their acts. “I wanted to come here today because my heart goes out to our First Nations neighbours, and I don’t know what to do about their problems,” she said. “What I saw today was phenomenal. I love their costumes, and the passion that they dance with, and I’m really interested in introducing my granddaughter to First Nations art and culture.” The Pow Wow kicks off McGill’s third annual Indigenous Awareness Week, which runs until Sept. 27.
The Pow Wow featured traditional crafts, dancing, and singing. (Christine Chang and Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)
in brief Student lawsuit approved to proceed to trial regarding alleged police abuse
Sam Pinto News Editor The Quebec Superior Court has granted approval for a class action lawsuit to proceed to trial, in a case against the city of Montreal for the alleged abuse and mass arrest of more than 500 student protesters during a university tuition demonstration on May 23, 2012. The case was filed by JeanPierre Lord, a student at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), who was one of 508 students arrest-
ed and detained at the demonstration that night. He asks for $7,500 per arrested student—$2,500 each for arrest, detention, and human rights violation. In the demonstration in question, police herded a large group of protestors into 17 buses at approximately 1 a.m. Lord claims that the conditions of their detainment were unpleasant. “Eight hours […] of detention, in the bus, the window’s closed,” Lord told the CBC. “It was extreme-
ly hot; many people were sick.” The motion also says each protester was forced to have their hands tied behind their back and denied access to water or bathrooms. Upon their release, each protester received a $634 fine for conducting an illegal protest. The City of Montreal argued that Lord’s lawsuit was groundless since the protest was declared illegal. A protest can be declared illegal if the organizers do not report it to the police beforehand or have their
route approved by city officials. The court dismissed the city’s claim, calling it “frivolous,” and permitted the lawsuit based on the mass arrests, the detention, and the conditions of detention. According to Vice-President External of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Sam Harris, SSMU could theoretically provide support—for example, financially—for the lawsuit if their members were involved, but they have no current plans to become in-
volved. “We haven’t had SSMU members come up to us asking for any help in this regard, so I don’t know if we would get involved in any way,” Harris said. “Obviously, we condemn police abuse, but we also need to let the court case play its course.” While he does not know of any McGill students who were arrested in that protest, Harris believes that some must have been from McGill. The trial will begin in early 2014.
Editor-in-Chief Carolina Millán Ronchetti firstname.lastname@example.org
Stakes too high to legalize student association opt-outs Quebec university students Laurent Proulx and Miguel Bergeron are challenging provincial legislation that mandates that every student in Quebec must be part of a student association, arguing that the current law infringes on students’ right to association. If Proulx and Bergeron are successful, students will no longer be required to pay membership fees to student associations, such as the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU). However, we believe that the law should remain unchanged in that all students should be required to be part of a student association. One of the most important functions of student associations is that they legitimize student representation in front of university authorities. In the case of SSMU, the six executives elected by the student body represent undergraduate students at a high level in the university. For example, the SSMU President is the only undergraduate to sit and have voting power on McGill’s Board of Governors. Similarly, the Vice-President University Affairs sits in the committee that elects the
principal, and also coordinates the different faculty student representatives who sit on Senate.
One of the most important functions of student associations is that they legitimize student representation in front of university authorities.
If students had the possibility of opting-out, the student representatives’ ability to credibly speak on the behalf of the student body would decrease considerably. By opting-out of their student association, students would also forfeit the representation in front of the McGill administration. How these students would make their concerns heard is a question that remains to be answered. Some students, including those filing the case, argue that a major
reason why students should not be obligated to be members of a student association is that the positions taken by student associations often do not represent them. For example, the plaintiffs are concerned that their student fees were used to support the student movement in favour of free tuition, which they did not support. However, it is important to remember that student associations are organized as democracies, and that all students have the opportunity of participating in them. In the case of SSMU, all students have the option of running for executive positions themselves, voting for the executives that best represent their political views, attending SSMU Council meetings to voice their concerns, or debating and voting in General Assemblies. Although ultimately not all students may feel represented by their student association, this shortcoming is inherent to the nature of the democratic system. Student associations are also valuable because they provide services that fill in the gaps left by the university’s administration. For
example, the Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS), WalkSafe, and the SSMU Daycare provide services that otherwise would be absent from the university. SSMU provides an infrastructure for the creation and legitimacy of these student initiatives. As student-run ventures, they are more in touch with student needs and more adaptable to change than if they were run by the university. While we believe that there is value in the fact that all students are required to be members of a student association, the lawsuit provides a valuable opportunity for students to discuss ways in which student associations are failing their members. We believe that student associations need to be held accountable to their members and face periodic review both from individuals and groups. This will encourage them to adapt to changes in needs and technology and and to manage student dollars efficiently and transparently. If students do not feel their associations represent them, it is worth working to improve them rather than shutting them down completely.
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DISSENT: To preserve constitutional rights, allow opt-outs The university students’ association, at first glance, seems like a static entity—immovable, unassailable. However, a current court case filed by two students earlier this year raises fundamental questions about the legal basis for these institutions. Should students be obligated to join a student association, as the law currently requires them to? We consider such a statute, at least as it’s currently constructed, to be an infringement on freedom of association. The students’ specific contentions point to five provisions of the act, including one which mandates that only one student association exist for each type (undergraduate, pot-graduate, etc.) of student on campus, another which mandates that any student who is represented by a student association is automatically considered a part of that association, and one which states that any student registered at a university has to pay the dues of the recognized student association. Mandatory membership in these associations can be problem-
atic. Student associations often take strident political stances on issues—both internal and external to campus—that are, at best, highly contentious among the students they claim to represent. The most prominent example from the recent past is the Quebec student strike, where many student associations throughout the province—though neither SSMU nor PGSS at McGill—voted to boycott classes. These strikes at many universities meant picketed and cancelled classes as well as lost terms, and were the specific catalyst for the current lawsuit. The rationale often given for mandating students to be members of university student associations is that, just as one can’t opt-out of a national government because of specific policies they dislike, students should not be able to opt-out of their ‘government’ simply because it takes stances with which they disagree. While at first glance there is some sense to this logic, it misses the essential difference between the contract one enters with a university
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and with a nation. The citizens are understood to enter a social contract with the nation they reside in, giving up certain freedoms for protection and a livelihood. The ‘contract’ that constitutes being a university student starts and ends with a tuition bill and a basic code of conduct. We feel that constitutionally
The ‘contract’ that “constitutes being a university student starts and ends with a tuition bill and a basic code of conduct.
guaranteed freedoms, such as the right to association, should be upheld first and foremost. However, having the legal right to opt-out of student associations does not mean that this is necessarily the right course of action for everybody. Student associations offer students
resources, many of which we feel are absolutely crucial to fostering a culture of healthy and well-rounded student life on campus. It is vital that, if given the right to opt out of associations, students make a responsible and informed decision. Political association at the university level ought to be taken seriously, and should not be mandated by legislation. If this lawsuit is successful, the financial future of student associations across the province will be put into students’ hands. We urge them to take into account all that their student associations do for them and for those around them before writing them off completely. Mayaz Alam, Alexandra Allaire, Max Berger, William Burgess, Ben Carter-Whitney, Wendy Chen, Jacqueline Galbraith, Alessandra Hechanova, Abraham Moussako, and Emma Windfeld agree with the views presented in this dissent.
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A Campus conversation:
The Quebec charter of values The charter misreads “culture”
Stefan Novakovic Contributor Columnist A lot has been made recently of the proposed Quebec Charter of Values and the limiting of conspicuous religious symbols worn by public servants. The most interesting element of this is the differentiation between “cultural” and religious symbols, with crosses and Christian iconography claiming an exclusive place as part of the cultural landscape of Quebec. I don’t find the Parti Quebecois (PQ) proposal—or those who support it—evil or morally disgusting in the way that it has been generally portrayed by anglophone journalists and commentators. I sympathize with the Quebecers who feel that their province, particularly the island of Montreal, is becoming something that they no longer
recognize. Cultural change can be frightening. However. I do think the charter, and the broader ideology it represents, is deeply misguided on two levels. The Parti Québécois does not understand the culture of Quebec, nor the more abstract idea of culture itself. There are two ‘Quebecs.’ One Quebec is the one that we McGill students know. This is Montreal, a cosmopolitan, diverse, global, city. The sounds and smells of Montreal are not those of Trois-Riviéres or Shawinigan. Another Quebec exists outside of our city, with different ways of life, sets of values, and culture. The Quebec that exists outside of Montreal is beautiful and culturally rich, but fundamentally different. We cannot force the same cultural principles onto two different ways of life. When I hear the words “Quebecois culture,” no unified image of what that might be comes to mind. The Quebec that I know is Montreal. The culture that I know is multi-ethnic, fluid, and worldly. Apparently, that isn’t Quebec. Ev-
erything about the city that I live in and the lifestyle I lead is apparently unauthentic, since it doesn’t match up to some romantic, pastoral vision of a bygone Quebec. In the Quebec I know, burqas, niqabs, turbans and stars of David, the latter of which are symbols people often wear non-religiously, are just as much a part of the culture that I see around me as the cross atop Mont Royal. The smell of shwarma is just as prevalent as the smell of poutine and “pizza-ghetti.” The mélange of French, English, and so much more, is Montreal’s identity, its culture, its heart. Culture is not a government mandate. Culture is reflective and symbolic of our society. Forget about making immigrants into ‘real’ Quebecers or maintaining ‘real’ Quebecois culture. The city is already culturally different from the rest of Quebec. Culture is only authentic if people live it. Nobody ever has any right to tell others that their way of life is ‘unauthentic.’ Lives people are actually living are always more real and authentic than
an imagined ideal. How could we ever privilege an imagined, bygone past (in terms of Montreal) over the real lives that people lead? The most significant problem with the PQ ideology is a complete misunderstanding of what culture means. Culture is the product and expression of the lifestyles and beliefs of our society. It is something that comes from people, not something imposed upon it. It is the organic expression of collective attitudes and principles. In this sense, to privilege one culture over another is impossible. We cannot be against one type of culture or for another. To sacrifice one culture on behalf of another is to sacrifice the very freedom that makes cultural expression possible. The PQ is not in favour of Quebecois culture over other forms of culture. The PQ is against culture, period. The ‘two solitudes’ exist not just between Quebec and Canada, but within Quebec itself. We must remember that culture is a product of society, and that two fundamentally different societies cannot have
the same monolithic culture imposed upon them. There is nothing wrong with the Quebecois culture that the PQ idealizes. The problem is (for Montreal), ironically, that it is an ill fit. My bedroom window overlooks Mount Royal. I see the cross light up every night. I consider it a beautiful symbol of Quebec and Montreal. It represents a part of this city’s past and people. However, if that beautiful cross becomes the only ‘culture’ mandated by the government as appropriate, it will no longer be an expression of Montreal. It will lose its value and beauty as an expression of the people. It will be something imposed on us rather than made by us. That is not culture. I do not want to look at that cross and see freedom and identity nailed upon it in sacrifice. We must not let that cross become a crucifix. The PQ do not realize that they are not only destroying the culture of immigration and multiculturalism, but that, in doing so, they are destroying Quebec.
True neutrality cannot be imposed
Youcef Rahmani VP External, Muslim Student Association At first glance, there may be much to applaud in the “Charter of Values.” Its claims to reinforce gender equality and religious state neutrality are commendable. In such a culturally diverse society, remaining neutral prevents the state from favouring any particular group over others, allowing it to view all faith groups and communities on equal footing. In this sense, the state upholds its principle of freedom of religion, protecting and preserving the beliefs and rights of expression of its citizens regardless of faith or lack thereof. In addition, providing equal job opportunities for both men and women, with
equal pay and benefits, will improve social justice and bolster the economic well being of Quebec families and individuals. Yet under further scrutiny, it becomes clear that the charter’s values have serious flaws. The charter argues that in order to maintain state neutrality, its representatives must themselves be neutral. This seems like a reasonable statement, for how could a state be neutral towards different beliefs if its agents are not? But herein lies the focal point: what makes a state representative neutral? Of course, the agent’s behaviour and work ethic are the ultimate determinants, but according to the charter, prohibiting state representatives from wearing conspicuous religious symbols will help maintain neutrality. Thus, neutrality must be expressed both internally and externally to truly take effect. However, the measure seems to defeat its own purpose. If the state aims to be neutral in order to guaran-
tee freedom of thought and religion, it cannot do so by precisely limiting said freedom. By legislating such measures, Quebec’s government is reflecting an image of non-tolerance to the world, as well as to its own citizens. Canadians are critical of Saudi Arabia and Iran for completely imposing the Islamic veil on its citizens, so why should they themselves allow the complete prohibition of this veil many Muslim women freely choose to wear? By imposing a dress code, Quebec runs the risk of ostracizing many well integrated citizens. Indeed, many civil servants will have to face an uncomfortable dilemma, being forced into either stepping down from their positions, or discarding their personal beliefs. This coercion will be perceived by many communities as Quebec taking a stance against their belief, and so in their eyes the state will have failed its mission to remain neutral. Rather than reinforcing social cohesion, the measure will actually fracture it. In France,
the very same measure bolstered sectarian identity, dividing the indivisible Republic. As for the charter’s other aim— the establishment of full equality between men and women—the imposition of a dress code will work against this as well. Many women upholding the Islamic veil will not have equal job opportunities in contrast to Muslim men, who do not have a dress code as obvious as their counterparts. The lack of equal job opportunities in the many professional sectors affected by the measure will result in many faith groups being unable to integrate into the workforce, ultimately leading to serious social grievances within Quebec. This is why the essence of state neutrality lies in the state’s agents’ dealings and decisions, not in their appearance. The charter claims that Quebec is a pluralistic society, so why should its government not reflect this pluralism? An individual living in a state protecting his or her freedom of thought and
religion thanks to the principle of neutrality will strive to enact this neutrality in all his or her dealings. In short, it is not neutral to impose a prohibition on external religious signs. Rather, true neutrality on the part of state representatives lies in cherishing impartiality as a fundamental element within their profession. This ideal is exemplified in the Qur’an, which beautifully states: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever acquainted with what you do.” Surat An Nisa (The Women) [4: 135]
Charter represents state-sponsored social divison
Director, Newman Centre of McGill University
A Protestant colleague of mine recently noted that the proposed charter seems to fly in the face of a crucial lesson we hope all children learn: thou shalt not judge by one’s appearance. Hopefully one doesn’t judge others at all, but especially not by what they look like. This is precisely what the proposed charter asks us to do. We are called to look at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, a Jewish man wearing a kippah, and think “I know you; I know that you are not smart enough or moral enough to be able to serve me the same as your
fellow co-religionists. Therefore I fear that you, without knowing you, are secretly working against the cohesion of society.” In Christianity, we are reminded to avoid such actions: “Judge not, lest you be judged.” In secular society the same idea takes a different form: “innocent until proven guilty.” Certain members of the Parti Québécois (PQ)—though not all—state that they want a civil debate on the issue that does not descend into hyperbole. They are right to insist upon such a debate. They are even right to insist upon some form of secularism enshrined within the state. At their recent meeting, the Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops made the same point. However, the head of the Assembly, Msgr. Pierre-Andre Fournier also noted, “The more you try to have an identity by pushing back others, the more you create ghettos.” “For by their fruits you shall know them” is part of the Christian Bible, but
also functions as a general principle. In a reasonable debate about public policy questions must be asked not only about why such a proposal is being put forward, or the intended consequences, but also what might be the unintended consequences. Some of the unintended consequences of the proposed charter include the ‘ghettoization’ of immigrants—especially visible minorities— who will be targeted simply because they look different. Evidence of these consequences can be seen in the vandalization of a Turkish bath and an Anglican church on Wednesday and Thursday, simply for attracting people who appear different. These attacks have little to do with religion or a secular state. As the PQ proposes, let us look to France for an example: an aggressive secularism there has marginalized immigrants with resulting race riots that rocked that nation in 2005 and 2012. Is this one of the unintended fruits of a
proposed charter that singles out certain groups of people for exclusion? A reasonable debate on the issue has to look at the possible consequences, as well as those already occurring. Let us continue to look at France. The Stasi Commission was set up to look into the issue of religious accommodation. The French history of laicité is very different from that of Quebec, despite many trying to fit the Quebec experience into a French mould. In France, polls have consistently shown greater support for a clear separation between church and state. There, laws to this effect were proposed to formalize structures and beliefs already held by a large majority. Whether one agreed with the laws or not, one can conceive that they were founded on the principle of fostering social cohesion. Polls in France have consistently shown widespread support for such laws. In Quebec, the PQ’s charter largely ignores
the recommendations of the BouchardTaylor Commission on Reasonable Accommodation, as well as polls that at the very least indicate that the proposed charter is not an instrument of social cohesion, but rather state-sponsored social division. A reasonable discussion must include these elements as well. In a way, the proposed charter has indeed served as a force for social cohesion. Anyone who attended the tens-of-thousands strong rally on Sept. 14 against the charter will have seen Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Christians, secularists, from every colour, size, and shape march together. They marched to underline the simple fact that the proposed Charter of Values does not reflect our values.
Cultural appropriation in pursuit of a noble cause
Helin Azizoglu Contributor
This past week, several professors from McGill donned some of the religious symbols that the Parti Québécois (PQ) has deemed ‘ostentatious’ in protest of the proposed Quebec Charter of Values. This charter would forbid public sector employees, including university professors, from wearing such symbols. Among those falling under sanction are turbans, hijabs, kippahs, and large cross necklaces—small jewelry, however, would be allowed. Last week, political science professor Catherine Lu organized a campaign
with University of Montreal professor Marie Joelle-Zahar that called for professors to wear these symbols in classes starting on Sept. 12 Many lauded the decision of their professors’ statements—in professor Rex Brynen’s Developing Areas: Middle East class, students broke out into applause when he announced that he would be wearing a kippah the following Monday. Nevertheless, some criticized the decision of these professors, on the grounds that it amounted to ‘cultural appropriation.’ Cultural appropriation, which can be described as the adopting of ethnic or religious symbols by a different cultural group, is a topic that has drawn considerable attention in the past few years. From H&M’s Native American “hipster headdresses” to the Christian cross trend, to Lady Gaga’s new single “Burqa,” the fashion and
entertainment industries have been widely criticized for making light of symbols of identity culture. Most recently, the topic was addressed when pop star Miley Cyrus’ hyper-sexualized music video and VMA performance of her song We Can’t Stop notoriously included scenes in which she appropriated elements traditionally associated with black hip-hop culture, surrounding herself with black dancers whose sole purpose was to admire her “twerkfest” from the periphery. In this case, there is nothing about Miley Cyrus’ mimicry of black culture that is commendable. It’s a patronizing, selfserving, mockery of what she likely perceives to be a temporary trend. As many have pointed out, unlike those that she is so crassly imitating, she can choose to remove this persona whenever she grows tired of it, while her African-American counterparts do not
have that option. It is instances like this that create such a negative perception of cultural appropriation, but there is a vast difference between this kind of adaptation and the kind that McGill professors have chosen to undertake. While Hollywood and the fashion industry hamhandedly use cultural appropriation for visual aesthetics, our professors have used it as an act of solidarity, a dissent to a proposition that would undermine minority rights at our university. Professor Lu, in particular, has spoken directly to the issue of sensitivity, stating: “I […] take it off once I leave the classroom, so in no way am I adopting a religion and pretending to be someone who is faithful to a religion.” Lu, whose research interests include several topics that link global issues and ethics, made it clear that she is aware that some may question her
form of protest. However, sometimes the most effective protest is not only verbal, but visual. While by ordinary standards it might seem that Lu, who can remove her hijab upon leaving the classroom, is the essence of a privileged outsider, her circumstances are far from ordinary and ought not to be treated as such. The reason cultural appropriation has earned such an ignoble reputation is because it is rarely implemented in the pursuit of noble causes. Sometimes, however, we have to pick our battles. Our professors are not Miley Cyrus. They are standing in solidarity with people who will be affected by the Charter of Values, and they are fighting a good fight. Sometimes, it really is that simple.
Science & technology Science from
SCIENCE FICTION By Alexander Messina
Two velociraptors stalk through the kitchen as the children crouch. What little light there is shines upon what should be the feathers of these mysterious predators. Somehow, dinosaurs have returned from extinction. Jurassic Park’s portrayal of dinosaurs is not without its flaws. However, the film succeeded at introducing the technology that may bring extinct species back to life. The techniques used to create ‘saurians’ is not radically different from the de-extinction concept (the ressurection of spe-
cies through genetic and cloning technology) developing today. The film was also a trailblazer in the field of computergenerated imagery (CGI). Although most of the dinosaurs in the movie were animatronics, the raptors were entirely digital—a breakthrough for CGI in the ’90s.
De-Extinction In the film, CEO John Hammond brings dinosaurs back to life after he discovers dinosaur DNA trapped in mosquitoes preserved in amber. Alhough the DNA is incomplete, Hammond fills in the empty gaps with frog DNA, creating all varieties of dinosaurs to populate his theme park: Jurassic Park. Such manipulation of species’ DNA was a difficult concept in 1993. Techniques used to determine the details of an organism’s DNA were just starting to see the light of day. DNA is written in a code of four molecules called nucleotides (A, T, C, and G). By sequencing DNA, scientists can determine what order the nucleotides are in, allow-
ing them to gain further understanding of the function of the code. In the early ’90s, however, genetic sequencing was still slow-moving. The entire genome of the influenza bacteria—a minute fraction of a dinosaur’s genome—was only completely sequenced in 1995. The technology necessary to recreate species is so complex that scientists have just started contemplating the possibility very recently. Since 1983, various projects have emerged to restore animals such as the passenger pigeon, the Tasmanian tiger, as well as woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers. The project to revive North America’s passenger pigeon is headed by
expert Ben Novak and evolutionary molecular biologist Beth Shapiro at University of California Santa Cruz. Novak and Shapiro have been collaborating since 2012 in efforts to bring back the species that last flew in 1914. (Ha yley The Lim /M team uses cGi ll Tr ibu ne)
ASK SCITECH What determines your drinking gene? As an equal mix of Chinese and Irish, I had a 50/50 shot at enjoying the stereotypical Irish drinking culture. Unfortunately, I was never able to fully participate due to my inability to handle a large amount of alcohol. Curiously, this has a little less to do with my lifestyle, and a lot to do with my Asian ancestors’ solution to clean water hundreds of years ago. Alcohol flush response (AFR), more familiarly known as the ‘Asian glow,’ affects as many as half of all people of East Asian descent according to Sharon Moalem, a researcher and doctor at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in his book Survival of the Sickest. From rising temperatures to a bright-red face, this bodily response to alcohol makes it difficult for some to consume even one alcoholic beverage.
Evident from its nickname, AFR is most prevalent within East Asian communities. However, it is actually highly uncommon in just about every other population group. The discrepancy begs the question: what determines our ‘drinking gene’? Although people blame factors such as weight, dehydration, or lack of nourishment, the main cause of the Asian glow lies not in our diet but in ancient water purification systems. When people drink alcohol, the body detoxifies alcohol and extracts calories from it through a complex process that involves multiple organs and many different enzymes. The majority of these reactions occur in the liver, and it is here where our ‘drinking gene’ plays a role. After alcohol consumption, your liver takes several steps towards metabolizing your drink by
a technique called gene sequencing to analyze the genome of the pigeon. The genome they assemble is then compared to the bird’s closest evolutionary relative, and any pieces that are different are compared and removed at the Harvard lab. This new genetic code is then inserted into germ cells—special cells that eventually become ova or sperm. The hope is that the cells will successfully proliferate in the womb of the host species and develop into the pigeon. It sounds simple, but most of the procedure involved is untested and still being researched. Genetics is a complicated
Thanks to CGI, the velociraptors moved with a grace that would have been difficult to approximate with physical models. For the first time, a fantastical element like a dinosaur was not a close-up shot of a lizard or a stop-motion figure. The technology used to create these dinosaurs was based on a logical evolution from filmmaking of the past. Similar to physical figures, artists made small models of dinosaurs that were subsequently copied with a laser onto a computer. The animators then added joints and moved the model around on screen. The digital dinosaurs offered an advantage over the physical models
field with many factors that are not completely understood. Still, there are hopes that extinct species may once again roam the earth.
of the past: there were no limitations to the movement of the figure—previously restricted by wires and rods—allowing for more life-like motion. Despite failures in CGI such as 1982’s Tron, filmmakers began to take advantage of the technology after Jurassic Park. Films like Casper and Jumanji improved upon the concept that was first introduced in Jurassic Park. Toy Story was the first completely computer-animated movie to appear in theatres. The rest was, as they say, history.
Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) Special effects have played an integral part in movies for years. With CGI so omnipresent in today’s films, it is hard to imagine a time when movies were made without animation. Jurassic Park paved the way for graphics with its computergenerated velociraptors in the concluding scenes of the film.
By Caity Hui
converting it into a chemical known as acetaldehyde. This process is facilitated by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. A second enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, converts the acetaldehyde into acetate. Finally, the acetate is converted into fat, carbon dioxide, and water. The culprit behind the redness is the second enzyme in this series of reactions. Most people who experience AFR have a genetic variation, ALDH2*2, which causes them to produce a less powerful form of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase—one which cannot convert acetaldehyde into acetate as effectively. As a result, these people accumulate acetaldehyde up to 10 times the normal concentration. Considering that acetaldehyde is 30 times as toxic as alcohol, any accumulation can result in a reaction, where one of the symptoms is, of course, the flushing response.
However, a red face isn’t the only side effect of this genetic variation. One drink is all an ALDH2*2 carrier needs to experience heightened heart rate, headache, extreme dizziness, and nausea. So, it’s clear that the cause of AFR is a less powerful form of the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, but what is the link between flushing when you drink and clean water? As humans began to settle in cities and towns in ancient times, clean water became a challenge. According to Moalem, some theories suggest cultures came up with different solutions to purifying their water. In Europe, the solution was fermentation. This method was based on producing alcohol to kill the microbes contaminating drinking water. On the other side of the globe, people in East Asia boiled water to produce tea as their main
mode of purification. “As a result, there was evolutionary pressure in Europe to have the ability to drink, break down, and detoxify alcohol, while the pressure in Asia was a lot less,” explains Moalem. Based on this theory, it was necessary for Europeans to develop a better ‘drinking gene’ than those of Asian descent, as their water purification system required them to frequently break down alcohol while having a drink—and not just the alcoholic type. While AFR makes consuming excessive alcohol a challenge, Moalem points out an upside to ALDH2*2. “You’re highly resistant to alcoholism,” he says. “It’s just too unpleasant to drink!”
Curiosity delivers. |
science & technology
| Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Security beyond the ‘Internet of Things’
The increasing connectivity of online devices poses new security risks in today’s market Abhishek Gupta Contributor We are all familiar with the feeling of dismay when opening the fridge to an empty shelf. In response to that problem, refrigerators may soon be able to place an order for delivery all on their own, according to Kevin Ashton, a British technology pioneer. In 1999, Ashton proposed the term the ‘Internet of Things,’ which refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like network. In other words, with new technologies, regular household devices like refrigerators can now ‘hop’ onto the Internet. One way this is accomplished is through a machine-readable sensor or RFID (Radio-frequency Identification), allowing objects to communicate with any other service with a virtual presence on this massive network. Other current technologies like QR codes (Quick Response code), barcodes and NFC (Near Field Communication) are also potential linking agents, that too, could connect various devices to the Internet. In fact, an increasing number of devices can be connected in this way. “We have a clear vision: to
By 2020, over 50 billion devices are projected to be connected to the Internet. (www.comsoc.org/blog) create a world where every object— from jumbo jets to sewing needles— is linked to the Internet,” writes Helen Duce, director of RFID technology at the University of Cambridge. “Compelling as this vision is, it is only achievable if this system is adopted by everyone, everywhere. Success will be nothing less than global adoption.” Lost in all this excitement is the additional burden of an already increasing security threat to any device that is connected online. When only computers could hook up to the In-
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ternet, users grappled with problems of viruses. Then came smartphones that added onto the problem of vulnerability to hackers who could potentially steal all your contacts, photos, and account information. The complexity this new network poses leaves several gaping holes for hackers to enter and wreak havoc. At a cryptography and information-security related conference in San Francisco known as the RSA conference, Philippe Courtot, CEO of Qualys says, “We are faced with a dual challenge of not only a secure
infrastructure that is rapidly changing, but we now have to prepare for the Internet of Things”. Projections from Cisco, a leading company in networking, estimate over 50 billion devices will be connected devices by 2020. The implications of this growth involve a new role for traditional manufacturers. Companies will now have to also manufacture these ‘connected devices.’ Hence, the onus of Internet security will in part fall on them. A solution to preventing such online vulnerabilities lies in creating
modular designs for the hardware and software used in these devices. By separating various components of the system into independent modules, the entire system is not safe even if one module is hacked. For example, if there was a breach into the entertainment system at your home, the hacker would not gain access to other modules in the home such as the one that controls the locks, the lights, etc. Open security standards like TLS (Transport Layer Security) and OAuth are better alternatives as security protocols on these new connected devices than having each manufacturer develop their own propriety software. These are largely more reliable because they have been tested extensively by the online community. In the end, we as consumers must exercise caution in terms of connecting devices and sharing information. A refrigerator that can order groceries is a novel idea, but if it has access to your credit card information and the ability to open the door to let the delivery guy in, things could get a little out of hand. This is where a little skepticism and caution can go a long way.
The BigBrain Large-
This summer, researchers from McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) made headlines when they revealed the world’s highest resolution 3D model of the human brain in the June 20 issue of the journal Science. The model, which took nearly a decade to develop and is composed of one terabyte of data, has been dubbed the “BigBrain atlas.” The atlas is a technical milestone in the field of human brain mapping because of its micron-scale resolution, which scientists achieved by using a microtome to meticulously slice the postmortem brain of a 65-year-old woman into 7,404 slices—each 20 microns thin. This extensive process was led by Dr. Katrin Amunts, a researcher from Jülich, Germany. Her team stained and digitized each slice with a high-resolution scanner before sending the data to researchers in Montreal. Dr. Alan Evans, co-developer of BigBrain and a McGill professor at the MNI, led the venture to statistically analyze each slice and reconstruct a comprehensive 3D model of the brain. He explained that this was the slowest part of the whole process. “You have 7,404 slices of saran wrap all wrinkled, crinkled, ripped and torn, and somehow you have to take all of that data and stitch it back together again into a coherent three dimensional entity that is useful,” Evans said. The reconstruction process was possible due to advanced statistical and computational tools. Evans’ team developed new software in order to clean, reconstruct, and register their data in 3D. One platform, called CBRAIN, allowed the group to manage their terabyte-sized data set and granted them access to the network of High-Performance Computing (HPC) facilities distributed across Canada. Without the use of these supercomputing facilities which allow large datasets to be
processed on multiple computers in parallel, the project would have taken several more years to complete. Researchers at the MNI can browse the BigBrain atlas on a large computer screen made up of four screens placed together. The database was also made publicly available online in order to promote research and the development of new neurological tools. Data is streamed on-demand to clients all over the world using a program called Atelier3D, which has previously been used to visualize works of art—including the Mona Lisa— in three dimensions.
“BigBrain [...] can be used to redefine traditional brain maps that date back to the 20th century.” The atlas will, in all likelihood, become known as the world’s most detailed reference brain. All brains are slightly different in shape and size, so neuroscientists use reference brains to compare data collected from different individuals on a standard template. Current templates, however, were acquired using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and are limited in their resolution to the millimeter scale. This means that once zoomed in, each pixel will be equal to 1 x 1 x 1 mm of real life brain space. If the same is done with the BigBrain atlas, however, the pixel dimensions are 20 x 20 x 20 microns, which is smaller than the diameter of a strand of hair. This level of
resolution allows neuroscientists to visualize brain structures at a near-cellular level. The advantage of having such a high-resolution mapping template is that data from a wide range of sources can be integrated and modeled at a a highly detailed level. For instance, molecular, genetic, and cytochemical data can be modeled in addition to low-resolution data acquired by modalities such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional MRI (fMRI), which acquire functional information about the brain as opposed to structural information. Erin Mazerolle, a post-doctoral fellow in the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre at the MNI who uses MRI data in her research, explained the benefit of having a high-resolution brain template. “It’s important for us to consider that the structures and functions we observe at the scale of millimeters with MRI actually result from much smaller structures,” she said. “BigBrain is an important step towards linking MRI findings to the microscopic scale, so that we can start to appreciate the underlying complexity that is otherwise not accessible with MRI.” Another significant implication of the BigBrain atlas is that it can be used to redefine traditional brain maps that date back to the 20th century, such as the Brodmann atlas. This atlas, which was published in 1909 by German anatomist Korbinian Brodmann, is still the most widely used method of delineating the human cortex. However, it was limited by the technology of the era and was therefore based on properties of cells that could be seen through a microscope. The BigBrain atlas, in comparison, could be
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used to develop any number of brain maps based on structural or functional criterion extracted using computational methods. Evans said he was pleasantly surprised by the feedback from the neurosurgical community. He described the reaction of Dr. William Feindel, a 95-year-old pioneer in the field of neurosurgery based in Montreal, when he first saw ‘BigBrain.’ “He was sitting in front of the screen exploring the amygdala and the hippocampus and saying he had never conceived of being able to do this because he was used to looking at a twodimensional plate of the hippocampus,” Evans explained. “Now he’s moving backwards and forwards and up and down and it was delightful to see the reaction of someone of his stature.” Feindel explained that the BigBrain could eventually aid neurosurgeons by allowing them to precisely implant depth electrodes, which are small electrodes used to record electrical activity from the brain to localize the focal point of a seizure or stimulate the brain to provide therapy for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or clinical depression. Currently, neurosurgeons use a stereotaxic atlas—a mathematical map of the brain—as a guide when implanting electrodes. However, stereotaxic atlases are not threedimensional. “You have three dimensions available, but not simultaneously, so you look at a horizontal section of the brain or a sagittal section or a coronal section, but you can only do that separately. With [...] BigBrain you can see them all together at the same time, so you have a confluence of information that you just can’t get on the other atlases. That’s why [this technology] represents a big advance.” Since the BigBrain atlas was created using a single brain, as opposed to other reference brains that were created by averaging together hundreds of brain
maps, a commonly asked question is whether it can be used to capture differences between brains. Evans responded that with the high-performance computational strategies possible today, the atlas can be warped into any statistical brain space. “You can superimpose it on the average brain so that it is sitting in a statistical space that represents a population, but it retains the high-resolution detail that’s in the brain. You can get the best of both worlds at that point.” Evans mentioned that there is still work to be done in the continuous refinement and spatial registration of the data. “When you look at the BigBrain data set at the level of MRI, it looks fantastic. When you go in finer, you start to see the imperfections in the alignment of the individual slices.” These imperfections were caused by rips and tears that occurred during slicing as well as differences in the amount of staining across slices. Evans’ group will continue to work on improving their current data set while they begin collecting data for future brain atlases. Potential projects would be to create 3D brain atlases for different types of brains such as a male brain, a young brain, and a diseased brain. There is also the potential to create a BigBrain atlas demonstrating the white matter tracts of the brain. Although the first data set took a decade to produce, future data sets will be finished much quicker because the technologies required to do so are now in place. The BigBrain atlas is part of Europe’s Human Brain Project, a €7 billion venture to model the brain. Although the Human Brain Project predates Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative, both projects will take advantage of the latest computing technologies to collect and integrate data about the human brain, and are indicative of a growing trend in neuroscience in which large-scale supercomputing has become indispensible to research. As new technologies continue to be developed, BigBrain will only become more useful as a tool for neurosurgery, teaching and research. For now, it represents a major technical achievement in its own right, and a giant step forward in the quest to model and simulate the human brain.
(Co urte Scienti sy o sts u f th e B se a m rain ic Ima rotom ging e to Cen crea te tre, Mo thin s ntre li al N ces of the eur Fors ologic huma a n chu ngs l Instit brain . zen ute trum and Jülic h)
Student living End-of-season tabbouleh salad Alycia Noë Contributor The summer growing season is coming to an end, but there is still time to celebrate the delicious vegetables provided by the warm weather—corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and much more. This riff on tabbouleh salad draws inspiration from traditional flavours, but also incorporates delicious in-season produce. This Levantine Arab dish is a healthy and satisfying way to enjoy this time of year.
1 cup bulgur (can be substituted with couscous or rice) 3 chopped tomatoes
1 chopped and peeled cucumber 1 diced red or white onion 1 cup cooked corn 4 minced cloves of garlic ½ cup chopped parsley ½ cup red wine vinegar (use less vinegar for a less sour flavour) 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ a lemon) salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook bulgur or rice according to directions on package. 2. Chop tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, and parsley. 3. Combine all vegetables with bulgur/ rice. 4. Add vinegar, oil, lemon juice, and other desired seasonings.
Tribune Tidbits (thewickednoodle.com)
On-campus jobs: seek and ye shall find Kathy Anduo Liu, a peer educator at CaPS, shares the best places to look for a job on campus Finding a job as a McGill student isn’t always an easy task in Montreal, especially with Quebec’s language laws. An on-campus job can be a convenient and rewarding alternative to getting a job elsewhere in the city, but students often don’t know where to start their search. Although there are many options available, there are three primary resources: the Work Study Program, MyFuture, and networking. Work Study is a program offered to students with financial need to find on-campus jobs including clerical, research, technical, or library positions. In order to be eligible for Work Study you must be a registered fulltime student in satisfactory academic standing, and be receiving the maximum government aid allowed to you. If you fit these criteria, Work Study can give
you a leg up for certain jobs on campus. The online application is available in the Financial Aid and Awards menu on Minerva. It is a common misconception, however, that most jobs on campus are available or reserved for students who are part of the Work Study program. In reality the number is split pretty 50/50 between them and regular applicants. Although some spots are reserved for the former, it is a lengthy process for employers to apply for wage coverage under Work Study. An employer who wants to fill an employment gap efficiently and hassle-free may find the process unpleasant—for example, professors seeking to hire research assistants. Slip employee-seekers your resume, because if they can’t find any Work Study students for the job, you’ll
be next on the list. CaPS’ online job search and career tool, MyFuture, is one of the rare places where you can browse for job opportunities from different organizations and employers in aggregate. You can further narrow your search to on-campus jobs by utilizing the ‘more options’ button. While this still doesn’t make MyFuture an instant solution for job-hunters, it provides much more than initially meets the eye. MyFuture can be a little underwhelming because it’s often slow to post new job opportunities. In fact, departments often put job listings on MyFuture after they have already advertised open positions in their department, so it might be worth your while to go and personally visit some departments too. Perhaps the best way to get a
job on campus is to find a quality stretch of time, don a thick skin, tuck a folder of CVs under your arm, and tour McGill. You will be surprised to find all the nooks and crannies that hire people, like Frostbite ice-cream parlour in McConnell Engineering, or SNAX in Leacock. Approaching these little places and asking for a job face-to-face will be statistically more rewarding then browsing for one on MyFuture. Some of the more widely known campus employers include McGill Athletics, Alumni Phonathon (soliciting donors), the McGill Bookstore, MFDS, and IT Services. For these ostentatious departments, you can simply openly ask for job opportunities. For other jobs, you will have to resort to old fashioned ‘networking.’ Although associated with pretentious first-year
McGill Engineering & Technology Career Fair
Management Career Fair
Sept. 25 & 26, 2013 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. New Residence Hall
Sept. 27, 2013 Open to B.Comm & MBA students from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m and other students as of 1 p.m. Centre Mont-Royal
McGill Graduate and Professional Schools Fair Oct. 21, 2013 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. SSMU Building
business cards, cheap wine, and unimpressive cheese, networking is not just a formal event with exchanges of resumes. You partake in networking every day— you hear about jobs through your friends, Facebook groups, and student clubs. You actually know more people than you think you do, and your network ties are a lot denser too. Take advantage of these existing relationships, and openly advertise the fact that you are seeking a job. In reality, McGill’s financial situation and budget cuts are not friends to anyone—especially students seeking on-campus jobs. It therefore becomes paramount to explore all the little cracks of campus and scourge for that oncampus job hidden in plain sight. You may be surprised at what turns up!
Macdonald Campus Career Fair
(Agriculture, food, bioengineering, environment) Oct. 29, 2013 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Faculty Lounge and lobby of Macdonald Stewart Building
Curiosity delivers. |
STUDENT LIVING student
| Tuesday, September 24, 2013
by Erica Friesen
KINSEY BROCKiE U3 SOCIOLOGY AND EDUCATION (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)
This week’s Student of the Week was nominated for her role as the founder of It Is Well, a charitable initiative raising money for the construction of a well in Utoo, Kenya. Kinsey Brockie was working at an orphanage in Kenya after her first year at McGill when she started thinking about ways she could continue to help the community after she had returned to Canada. With so many possible ways to provide support, she settled on a project that will protect what she thinks is a fundamental right—providing clean drinking water. “There was a well at the orphanage where I worked, but it was polluted and you’d have to pull worms out of your drinking water before you could drink it,” she says. “I witnessed a lot of kids get very sick. So I thought—these people have water, but it’s not even safe, let alone people in further rural communities who don’t have any water. It’s […] something that everyone can understand and relate to.” Having also volunteered at World Vision, Brockie was familiar with the kind of behind-the-scenes work that goes on at a charitable
organization. “It started really small—I talked to some of the people I met in Kenya, [and asked] how much it [was] going to cost, and figured out what we would need to do on this end,” she says. “They’re taking care of the drilling and everything, so it was just me rallying together some friends who were interested in the cause and passionate about it, and getting the word out on campus.” To date, It Is Well has about 30 members and has raised $14,000, which they have sent over to Utoo in increments. According to Brockie, her previous involvement in Kenya means that she still has personal contact with the people who are building the well. For example, the director of the orphanage where Brockie volunteered is supervising its construction. While it can be challenging to convince students to donate money, Brockie says the key is to emphasize that every little bit helps. “I think that we’re all so privileged—relatively speaking—and everybody has spare change in their wallet,” she says. “If you donate 50 cents and take a brownie or a cup-
cake or a coffee, it makes a difference. People are looking for something to get involved with, or [are] looking for something that is bigger than themselves. This is just a really easy way for people to be able to feel like they’re part of something that is positive.” With other demands on her time like schoolwork and her job as a floor fellow at Varcity515, Brockie says life can be hectic, but that she loves being busy. “I just have all these things that I want to do and I care equally about all of them,” she says. “That’s what helps me get through school—by doing things that I’m passionate about and studying what I’m passionate about, and spending the time that I’m not studying doing things that I love. It’s hard to find a balance, but once you do it’s a great balance to have.”
nominate a student of the week! Email us at studentliving@ mcgilltribune.com
McGill Tribune: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Kinsey Brokie: Prime rib. MT: If you could change one thing about McGill what would it be? KB: I would like to have more ‘pick-up’ sports on campus—anyone walking by could just join in and play for a couple minutes. Everyone just comes and goes when they want to! MT: What’s your least favourite word? KB: “Stuff.” I hate when people say “stuff” because […] obviously they mean more than just “stuff,” and then you don’t get the full picture. MT: What was your dream job as a child? KB: I wanted to be a waitress at Swiss Chalet. It’s my favourite restaurant! MT: What’s your ideal ice cream sundae? KB: Lots of cookie dough. Probably Moose Tracks ice cream, fresh fruit—Just every topping that they have! MT: Who would you meet if you could go back in time? KB: Indira Gandhi– India’s first and longest serving woman prime minister. Despite extreme political turmoil and threats to her life, her dedication to serving her people, and the well-being of her country never wavered.
Local salon cashes in on cat-vertising Furry marketing strategy keeps Salon MOOV on their competition’s tails
(Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)
Kaitlyn Jardine-LaChapelle Contributor A crowd stops dead in their tracks, fixated on the window display of a modest Plateau-Mont-Royal hair salon. The scene has been a common one at Salon MOOV ever since they started employing a powerful yet unconventional marketing strategy. Though Salon MOOV offers quality salon services, it’s not quite the hairstyling that mesmerizes the onlookers, but a litter of newborn Bengal kittens. “I specialize in cat-vertising,” explains co-owner Jean-Marc Richer. Richer purchased the salon together with partner Yves Pednault in 2010 during a tough economic period for new businesses. Despite offering a special no-tax discount to students for hair services, the salon struggled to distinguish themselves in the competitive Plateau-Mont-Royal market. ‘Cat-vertising,’ a term coined by
Richer, was the solution to that problem. ‘Cat-vertising’ refers to the salon’s choice advertising method of strategically placing kittens at the forefront of the salon, directly in front of the window display. As pedestrians stop to ogle the kittens, Richer shamelessly plugs his salon services. It all started by chance when Richer was assigned babysitting duty for a girlfriend’s newborn kittens. Fearing that they would become lonely at home, he decided to bring them to work. “I turned around and there was a crowd of people taking pictures,” he says. “In my head I’m like, ‘Bam! I just found an oilwell!’” Richer worked quickly to capitalize on the kittens’ popularity, starting by increasing the salon’s social media presence. “When people would meet us outside, after I’d inform them about the cats, I would give them the card
and say ‘go look at our Facebook page. We’ve got beautiful pictures of our cats and the cuts,’” explains Richer. “They look and see the beautiful girls with long hair and they call back for an appointment [....] They see baby cats, and they’re already won over. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.” Richer stressed that the comfort of the cats is a top priority. Each of the Bengal kittens is borrowed from, and later sold by, a licensed breeder. Before and after work hours, the kittens are free to roam around the salon, including an enclosed outdoor patio. With an estimated 80 per cent increase in customers since the introduction of their adorable advertising team, Richer claims his salon would have faced closure were it not for his furry co-workers. “I never put in one penny, no paid ads, nothing,” he says. “I banked a lot on social media. In the last seven days, we had 7,000 people look at
our Facebook page. We have 1,917 means of attracting clients, ‘cat‘likes.’ So far not a dollar put in vertising’ is a brazen, yet effective means through which small businesshere—just a two-man operation.” Beyond zootherapy (the use of es like Salon MOOV can leave their animals for physical and emotional mark in a highly competitive market. healing), Richer and Pednault hope As Richer puts it, “In business today, to offer more than just the traditional it’s not enough to only have a good salon experience, by hosting events product or service. You need to have an extra edge that other people such as after-hours barbecues for don’t have.” Their edge just both clients and passersby. In addihappens to be soft and cudtion, the salon also offers free dly. haircuts each Tuesday to local women’s shelters as a means of Salon MOOV giving back to the community. is located at However, they have 163 Ave. faced some criticism from the Duluth. community. Telephone “I find it irresponsible for (514) 223-2229 Salon MOOV to be advocating Opening Hours Bengal cats when we have so many homeless cats in this city and Tues-Wed: province,” wrote Shelley Schecter, 10:00 - 18:00 President of Educhat, an organizaThurs-Fri: tion concerned with animal welfare, 10:00 - 20:00 in a letter to the Montreal Gazette. Sat Though an unorthodox 09:00 - 17:00
arts & entertainment MUSIC
Reaching a fever pitch
Indie-electro quintet FEVERS warms up for the Main gig Diana Wright Contributor Colin MacDougall, guitarist and co-founder of Ottawa-based indie-electro outfit Fevers, has loved music ever since he developed fine motor skills. “I’ve been playing music since I could bang notes out onto a piano,” he says. “My faith in wanting to be a musician has never died, and being in FEVERS has given it a boost.” MacDougall and fellow band members Sarah Bradley (vocals, keys), Martin Charbonneau (keys, guitars), Jim Hopkins (bass), and Mike Stauffer (drums, sampling) all brought this devoted attitude to their debut album released last month, No Room for Light, as well as their own refreshing brand of the ubiquitous electro-rock sound. FEVERS will unleash their musical stylings at POP Montreal this week, with a show at Club Lambi on Friday. For MacDougall, a McGill Management graduate, this is a chance to return to Montreal—the city that he playfully says casts a
“shadow of cool” on Ottawa—and the place he originally relocated to because his songwriting collaborator moved there. While living in Montreal—a time that coincided with the meteoric rise of the city’s indie darlings Arcade Fire—MacDougall explored the its music scene, played gigs at Barfly, and admired the cultural variety of McGill’s student body. “You kind of go in with a conception of what type of person is going to be studying business […] I went in thinking I would be the token liberal lefty, [...but] I was really impressed with the diversity of the students studying there.” These days, MacDougall and the rest of FEVERS are dedicated musicians who support themselves by working outside the band. According to MacDougall, this is mostly due to Canada having a somewhat less than hospitable environment for musicians who wish to earn a living playing their songs. “[Canada is] a small market,” he says. “[It’s] really far apart, and you have to spend a lot of money to
get from city to city.” Despite these difficulties, MacDougall remains enthusiastic about making music, and is unafraid to admit that the band sounds exactly how it is often classified: indie-electro. Similarly, he humbly welcomes the frequent comparisons to fellow Canuck band Stars. “I’ll take that any day of the week,” claims MacDougall. “They’re a very inspirational band […and] they’ve put the Canadian music scene on the map internationally.” Although he admits that touring is integral to a fledgling band’s success, MacDougall’s heart currently lies in in-studio production, rather than live performance. “My favourite part used to be getting up in front of the crowd, rocking the house,” he says with a laugh, “But right now, album writing and recording is what excites me the most.” Thankfully, he’s good at it too. When “No Room for Light” was released this summer, it was met with positive critical attention. FEVERS
FEVERS co-founder Colin MacDougall (centre) says Montreal casts “a shadow of cool” on his Ottawa hometown. (Apt613.ca)
released a music video for the main single “Pray for Sound,” which chronicles the relationship between a young woman in an unhappy straight relationship, and her much happier lesbian lover. For the time being, “proud Ottawa boy” MacDougall will remain based in the nation’s capital, which he says enables the band to delve into Franco-Canadian realms more frequently (a couple members of FEVERS are bilingual), and maintain a strong connection between both of
Canada’s current music centres— Toronto and Montreal. As for FEVERS’ future? “We’re taking it in three month chunks at a time,” explains MacDougall [.…] As long as I can keep writing records and putting them out there, and playing shows whenever we can, I’ll be a pretty happy dude.” FEVERS performs at Club Lambi (4465 St Laurent) at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. Tickets are $8 in advance, and $10 at the door.
Jenny Hval: polymath princess Avant-garde Norwegian songstress talks lyrical honesty, rule-free creativity, and the ‘pornification’ of mass media Daniel Fishbayn Contributor Jenny Hval is a busy woman. As I reach her in her hometown of Oslo, Norway via Skype, she is about to set out on a North American tour in support of her newlyreleased fourth LP, Innocence is Kinky, which will bring her to the Church of St. John the Evangelist on Thursday, Sept. 26, for POP Montreal. In the meantime, her creative output shows no signs of slowing down. Haval’s video feed is turned off, and, as our interview begins, she quickly explains why. “I’ve just walked in the door from doing a [live performance] project last night, so I’m a bit tired and […] video is probably best left off,” she laughs. Hval’s inexorable productivity does not come as a surprise, given her wide range of accomplishments at the modest age of 33. Besides boasting a Master’s Degree in Literature from the University of Oslo, Hval is also a prolific music journalist, poet, and fiction writer whose published works include two free-form novels. But it is her music
that has attracted the most attention worldwide, with critics praising her striking, ethereal voice and unconventional songwriting. On Innocence is Kinky, Hval appropriates a dizzying array of genres and moods, often within a single song. “Oslo Oedipus,” for example, transitions from a pastoral lullaby, to a brooding choral soundscape, to a thoughtprovoking spoken word poem, all in under three minutes. Just as striking are Hval’s lyrics, which probe complex and contentious issues that musicians rarely address. “When you discuss topics like sexuality in academic writing,” she says, “You’re very guarded, very controlled, and you have to make a point. With music, I’m able to take a more spontaneous, and maybe more honest, approach.” Hval’s frankness is apparent in her lyrics—Innocence is Kinky begins with the words “Last night I watched people [having sex] on my computer”—but it strikes her how poorly critics misinterpret her intentions. “I’m surprised people think [Innocence is Kinky] is [just] about porn. It’s about everything, all types of images […] how everything, es-
pecially on the Internet, is ‘pornified.’” At the same time, Hval says she wants to work on letting her music develop more naturally. She credits her producer on the album, long-time PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, with helping her to avoid getting too cerebral in the studio. “[John] was very focused on exploring each song, which to me was fantastic because I tend to get hung up on the concept of an album, the idea that ‘all these songs belong together.’ It’s good to kind of get away from that, to not think so much about the brainy part of things and just perform the music.” In fact, Hval sees performing live as having a dynamic role in the creative process. “I like to play things live before I know what they are. The audience appreciates it because they get to see something that I don’t understand yet. They become part of the process of [developing] it.” Accordingly, she informs me that on her upcoming tour, she will be trying out brand-new material on stage. “I never rest,” she laughs. Whether live or in the studio,
Jenny Hval is unconventionally earnest in her treatment of sexuality. (Last.fm)
Hval is determined to never stop exploring new musical territory, especially with her voice. “I notice whenever I sing with professional singers that I can’t really do that kind of genre stuff that a lot of the more trained [professionals] can do. So I try to do things I can’t do, and it sounds different from what I wanted—but interesting. That’s central to my music, going into those awk-
ward situations and seeing what you can find there. Going out on a limb, in a way.” Jenny Hval performs at the Church of St. John the Evangelist (137 President Kennedy Ave.) at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26. Tickets are $16 in advance, and $20 at the door.
Curiosity delivers. |
arts & entertainment
, lock, and drop it
| Tuesday, September 24, 2013
The Tribune’s picks for POP Montreal Young Benjamins PLants and Animals In the vast landscape of the indie-folk genre, Young Benjamins would lie at the intersection of better-known acts Born Ruffians and Mumford & Sons. Their repertoire features mostly frenetic foot-stomping tracks, with some laid-back tunes mixed in. Relative newcomers to the music industry, the four-piece Saskatoon group only released their first LP, Less Argue, this past spring. The band has equal gender representation, composed of two men (guitarist and drummer) and two women (bassist and violinist/keyboardist). Though they’re still somewhat raw, their versatility and exciting melodies provide glimpses of the high ceiling Young Benjamins has. The presence of the violin really strengthens their sound, and makes for an interesting dynamic when it interacts with the edgy electric guitar. If you’re looking for a lively show that strikes a balance between dancing and artistic enjoyment, look no farther than Young Benjamins. —Max Berger
Playing in POP Montreal is nothing out of the ordinary for Plants and Animals. The Montreal-based trio has been playing shows in the city for years, and their discography even includes a record titled Parc Avenue. They play a style of indie/alternative music that they like to label as ‘post-classic rock,’ and it’s easy to hear traces of classic bands, like The Velvet Underground, and newer acts, like The Black Keys, in their music. Their three-piece set alternates between the standard guitar-bass-drums combo and guitar-guitar-drums. The End of That (2012) is the most recent release from the band, which has been playing together for over a decade. It shows in their music, which is polished and cohesive. They even have some mainstream success to their name, as evidenced by their two Juno nominations in 2009 for Alternative Album of the Year and New Group of the Year. Going to see these established veterans is a safe bet at this year’s festival. —Max Berger
One of 2013’s buzz bands, Toronto’s DIANA flirts with a wide range of sounds, from electronic, to jazz, to pop and finally to rock. After releasing their debut album Perpetual Surrender on Aug. 20 and embarking on a North American tour with fellow Canucks Austra over the summer, DIANA will either sink or swim in the next year. Most notably, they have gained considerable interest from UK-based electronic producer and DJ Four Tet, who remixed their album’s titular track this summer. With a 7.0 rating of Perpetual Surrender on notoriously picky hipster music website Pitchfork, it looks like DIANA are here to stay—at least for a while. Either way, it’s worth finding out if this band lives up to the hype.
Look Vibrant is a project founded by Matt Murphy, an electroacoustics major at Concordia, and Justin Lazarus, a cognitive science student at McGill. The name of their latest single, “Plateau,” refers to both the band’s birthplace in Montreal and an uncertain time in Murphy’s life after his move to Montreal following an extended trip to Dublin, Ireland. Despite the name and a narrow range of frequencies mostly recorded through a Macbook microphone, their sound is anything but flat. Rather, ‘Plateau’ is full of screeching, ecstatic guitar riffs and charmingly sing-songy vocals, both of which translate surprisingly well live. In each of the bands’ two showtimes at POP, Murphy and Lazarus will play with the support of McGill students Alex Rand, Eli Kaufman, and Michael Go, replicating their ‘no-fi’ production with a layered chorus of guitars. —Will Burgess
(Dorothy Yang / McGIll Tribune)
Young Benjamins performs at LeEscrogriffe (4467 St. Denis) at 9 p.m. on Friday Sept. 27. Admission is $10. Other acts will follow. Plants and Animals perform at Breakglass Studio on Thursday, Sept. 26. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. Jennifer Castle plays as well. DIANA performs at Sala Rosa (4848 St. Laurent) at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Tickets are $12 in advance. Look Vibrant performs at Little Italy Park (Clark and St. Zotique) at 12:00 noon on Friday Sept. 27, for free, as part of BBQ POP. They also perform the next day, Sept. 28, at Casa del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent), at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance.
Mozart’s Sister performs at L’Olympia (1004 St. Catherine) at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. Tickets are $40 in advance. Also performing are The-Dream and Team Rockit.
Mozart’s Sister, comprised solely of Montrealer Caila Thompson-Hannant, is no stranger to the Montreal music scene, but she’s definitely worth checking out at POP this year. Despite a poppy, upbeat sound, ThompsonHannant manages to make her music quirky in the vein of Grimes— Kate Bush-esque vocals: check; unusual song lyrics: check—but perhaps without as much artsy pretension. One of the biggest selling points for seeing Mozart’s Sister live is that Thompson-Hannant hasn’t released any new music in quite a while. You’ll hear more live from this up and comer than you can find on Youtube. Wondering exactly what Mozart’s Sister sounds like? Google her biggest song entitled, well, “Mozart’s Sister,” and judge for yourself.
As a DJ, dubstep producer (under the alias Ramadanman)and co-founder of electronic label Hessle Audio, David Kennedy, a.k.a Pearson Sound, is at the forefront of a unique UK electronic sound, where elements of garage, dubstep, and house blend into smooth, danceable mixes. Well-known in the London electronic scene, Pearson Sound’s claim to fame in North America is probably opening for Radiohead in New York. At POP Montreal, he appears as part of a Hessle Audio label showcase, an imprint that has released singles from the likes of James Blake, and fellow UK producer Untold.
Pearson Sound DJs at Le Belmont (4483 St. Laurent) at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25. Tickets are $10 before 11 p.m., and $15 afterwards. Pangaea and Ben UFO also perform.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 |
arts & entertainment
| Curiosity delivers.
This is PFFR Nonsensical duo expound on upcoming POP Montreal showcase of absurd humour Jack Tokarz Contributor
Chevalier Avant Garde Resurrection Machine Fixture Records It’s easy to imagine Chevalier Avant Garde’s new LP, Resurrection Machine, providing the backdrop to a modern day sci-fi film, in the vein of Blade Runner. The vocals are buried deeply behind synthesized sounds, making it hard to distinguish individual lyrics. However, the intimate, husky, whisper-like voice is irresistibly spellbinding—at times it seems the singer is speaking in an exotic language. This is especially true in “Nowhere” and “When We Meet.” The haunting gravelly vocals on the tracks have certain qualities that bring back memories of The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” with a much darker edge. That dark edge grows throughout in the album. Songs like “Killing Fields” invoke images of industrial abandonment and cold mechanisms of machinery. It is slightly jarring when they are juxtaposed by the more seductive sounds of “When We Meet” and “Rose Rider.” The shorter preludes interspersed between the longer songs, like “Five of Cups” and “Temenos” follow a similar pattern, wherein the listener is jolted awake from the stupor of the previous song. The album moves into a strong ending with “Rose Rider,” a short but powerfully potent song. The haunting voice emulates the monophonic sounds of plainchant, most commonly performed by monks at churches. Rather than a religious image, however, Chevalier Avant Garde evokes a clearly dominant sexuality. In Ressurrection Machine, Chevalier Avant Garde organically capture the dichotomies of nature: birth and death, vulnerability and strength, pain and pleasure, love and hate. It cannot be married to one particular genre, though it can be said that a new revival of ‘trip hop’ (the genre of groups like Portishead and Sneaker Pimps) has begun. Catering to a myriad of fantasies and emotions, Chevalier Avant Garde have crafted an album that delivers a complete bodily listening experience. —Mira Sharma
Devon Sproule and Mike O’Neil Colours
Ha Ha Tonka Lessons
Tin Angel Records
Inhabiting a unique spot at the crossroads of modern indie rock and backcountry American folk music, Ha Ha Tonka has delivered yet again with their fourth, highly anticipated album, Lessons. More introspective and instrumentally complex than their previous work, this multilayered set of tracks has far-reaching appeal, but rewards those who enjoy analyzing lyrics. With four-part harmonies and instrumentals comparable to other indie rock acts Beirut and Spoon, the most striking element of the uplifting album is its messages—or, as the title implies, lessons. It’s replete with mature themes; such as the disillusionment that accompanies the process of growing up and the futility of pursuing the American dream. Among noteworthy tracks, “Colorful Kids” is an upbeat but wistful reflection on simpler childhood years. The lyrics reference the fictional American icon, Huckleberry Finn, spurring notions of adventure, freedom, and playfulness. Complemented by the highly textured, fastpaced melody, the track evokes an overwhelming, but enjoyable sense of nostalgia. At the heart of the album, the title track, “Lessons,” throws down a slow-burning, groovy beat—which is sonically a bit of a departure from the folksy tone of the first five tracks. The repetition of the line “I can’t keep learning the same lessons over again” is chanted, like a mantra, over an imaginative bass line. The anguished lyrics seem to have created the scaffolding for the angsty emotional trajectory of the album. Although the album is great for the passive listener, Ha Ha Tonka’s originality stems more from their meaningful lyrics than their raw musicality. With messages stretching throughout, Lessons calls for an active audience committed to deciphering complex themes. —Evie Kaczmarek
Ontario natives Devon Sproule and Mike O’Neil—formerly of the pop combo The Inbreds—have come together to create a record sitting somewhere on the line between upbeat pop and low-key folk. Colours is a collection of warm indie pop tracks that nicely combines Sproule’s folksy tone with O’Neil’s tendency for catchy pop. The two initially met when O’Neil submitted a song to Sproule’s previous project, “Lowkey Karaoke,” in which she spliced videos of herself and other musicians singing together to create remote duets. They realized their potential and continued recording remotely together, he from Halifax and she from Austin. Opening track “You Can Come Home” reels you in straight away, with a catchy guitar and bass riff that makes you want to tap along; a hint of synthesizer towards the end of the song adds an interesting wrinkle. This song does a good job of setting the tone for the record— mellow and relaxing, but not dull. The title track “Colours,” is indicative of the interesting contradiction between the record’s mostly upbeat sound and slightly darker lyrics. Appropriately, Sproule sings “I can be gentle when I’m trying to sell / generous when it serves me well / I hide my colours.” Each track of the record ties together smoothly while still having its own individual feel. All in all, Colours is a lovely record that gets better with each listen. The subtlety of the tracks begs a second listen in order to fully appreciate how the album unfolds–but it’s well worth it. —Kia Pouliot
Known for their absurdly irreverent comedies, produced for MTV2 and Cartoon Network’s sister channel Adult Swim, writers/producers/ comedians John Lee and Vernon Chatman are showcasing several special video clips, and holding a Q & A during POP Montreal this weekend. First achieving recognition for their program Wonder Showzen, the duo continued creating daring comedies for Adult Swim. In accordance with some like-minded comedians, they formed a collective called PFFR, which is currently producing the show The Heart, She Holler on the same network. When I spoke to the odd couple over the phone, they clearly demonstrated a steadfast devotion to their unique comedic style through endless nonsensical asides and fabrications; however sincere the question, every response revealed no perceptible trace of truth. The responses illustrated improvisation comedy at its best, with both speakers building on each others’ lies quickly and effectively, creating scenarios in which the two would lose themselves amid endless embellishment. They will not disclose the inspiration behind the title PFFR, but Lee does clarify that the second ‘F’ in PFFR is silent “just to be confusing.” Such creative decisions characterize the offbeat humour of their programs. I asked them to explain how people typically respond to their work—curious to find out if they had rubbed some sensitive viewers the wrong way. “Going too far?” chuckles Lee indignantly. “We would love for people to get mad at us but it never happens. Anger is still a form of attention. We’re terrible little children looking for attention in the worst ways, but it just doesn’t work.” PFFR is best described as a comedy production, art collective, and electro-rock band ensemble. Like their comedy shows, the music is quite jarring and arrhythmic. When I began to inquire about their music, Chatman quickly redirected me. “It is unqualified to be called music in italics. When presented to the music committee they would not accept it as music [...] PFFR actually stands for nine hairs shy of music.” Without gaining any informa-
PFFR pose mockingly, as per usual. (timeout.com)
tion about their band, I asked more specifically about what to expect at the upcoming POP show. “You know that feeling of going to a mall after eating an entire box of Lucky Charms?” says Lee. “We’re trying to come as close as possible to recreating that. In fact, you will not be allowed into the show unless you bring proof that you ate a box of Lucky Charms that day.” They continued to discuss their recent investment in the Lucky Charms stock and ulterior motives to increase its market share for several minutes before I attempted to get them back on track by asking what they specifically will be doing at the show, as performers. “We will be throwing up at this disgusting display of cereal ingestion,” replies Chatman. “Vomiting out of glee because our stocks are going through the roof. But in all seriousness, the show will mostly be showing clips from Glee—the hidden original episodes from the 70s. That show used to be really [messed] up, really transgressive, you know that real in italics [material].” Looking for at least a shred of real information about this event, I concluded the interview hoping for them to give a reason why people should come to the show. “It will be a defining moment of Canada,” offers Chatman. “Or at least, what was known as Canada. After this show, only God knows what it will be called.” After hearing everything they had to say, I shouldn’t have expected anything less. PFFR’s showcase and Q&A session takes place on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. It takes place at Film Box (3450 St. Urbain). Tickets are $8.
Football— Mcgill 26, sherbrooke 45
Vert et Or leave Redmen feeling green Turnovers doom McGill as they drop to fourth in league Aaron Rose Contributor Looking for their third consecutive win, the McGill Redmen (2-2) hosted the Sherbrooke Vert et Or (1-3) on Friday night for the Red Thunder ‘Fandemonium’ night. Sherbrooke grabbed control of the game early and did not ease up on route to a 45-26 win over McGill. In the first quarter, the Vert et Or offence cut through the Redmen defence with unmatched ferocity, racking up 21 points and 109 of their 174 passing yards. Head Coach Clint Uttley credited this horrendous start to the tough transition that occurred over the summer, which changed the grass to artificial turf. However, the defence picked it up after the first quarter and held the Vert et Or to just three points in the second and third frames. Senior linebackers Alexandre Bernard and Stephan Osman led the team with 10 tackles each, while outside linebacker Jesse Briggs added the team’s only takeaway when he ripped the ball right out of the hands of a helpless Sherbrooke receiver. Unfortunately, McGill’s offence was ineffective, converting just five first
Sherbrooke manhandles McGill at the line of scrimmage. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune) downs in the opening half. Despite coming off an RSEQ offensive player of the week award, senior quarterback Jonathan Collin was less than stellar with a 52 per cent completion percentage and two interceptions. After Collin’s second interception, he was pulled in favour of second year quarterback PierreLuc Dussault in order to spark the offence. The decision paid off as Dussault proceeded to take the team on a five point comeback run while recording 207 passing yards and 41 yards on the turf, including a twoyard touchdown rush of his own.
Just as it seemed like the Redmen might come back, Dussault made his only mistake of the game, throwing a costly final quarter interception at Sherbrooke’s 24-yard line which was returned 92 yards for the score. “I think it worked out for the most part,” Uttley said. “The interception for [a] touchdown, that [was] unfortunate but that’s a young guy making a mistake [and] that’s the only way they learn.” Beyond Dussault, McGill’s running game was nearly non-existent. After three conseutive 100-yard rushing performances, sophomore
running back Luis Guimont-Mota struggled mightily, netting only one yard on nine attempts. The only significant running play came from freshman Pelle Jorgen who had a 10yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Coach Uttley attributed the lack of running success to injuries on the offensive line. McGill’s special teams had a fairly strong day despite a blocked punt that led directly to an easy touchdown pass for the Vert et Or. Samy Rassy, U3 Engineering, was kept busy with 10 punts for 357 yards, including two punts that were
downed inside Sherbrooke’s 20-yard line. The highlight of the night came from sophomore return specialist, Jean-Philippe Paquette, who returned a Vert et Or punt 74-yards for a Redmen touchdown. The return decreased Sherbrooke’s lead to only five, which was the closest McGill came in the match as they fell to the Vert et Or 45-26. Although Sherbrooke’s offence and defence were strong throughout, it was clear that sportsmanship was not a part of their game plan. With 41 seconds remaining in the game, a player on the Vert et Or was disqualified and proceeded to make a vulgar gesture to the 1700 fans in attendance. This lack of sportsmanship was topped on the game’s final play as Sherbrooke Head Coach and McGill graduate David Lessard chose not to take a knee on the game’s final play. Instead, the Vert et Or ran the ball for a 76-yard touchdown. Next week, the Redmen travel across town to take on the Concordia Stingers (0-4) in the Montreal Shrine Bowl, where the Stingers will look to avenge their early-season loss to McGill.
Rugby — Mcgill 15, Concordia 17
Martlets falter in first loss of the season Stingers forwards control course of the game Mayaz Alam Sports Editor The No. 7 ranked McGill Martlets played the No. 4 ranked Concordia Stingers in the annual Drummond Cup this past week. The match is named after the late Kelly-Anne Drummond, a former Concordia rugby player who lost her life in an incident of domestic violence in 2004. The contest now serves as a fundraiser for WomenAWARE, a local group that serves to support victims of domestic violence. This year a total of $1,824 was raised in donations for the cause at the match. The heavyweight matchup between the two top 10 squads lived up to its lofty billing with a tight score of 17-15 that was only decided deep into the second half. Throughout the game, two separate units dominated the course of play. For Concordia, the game plan centered on their physically imposing group of forwards. The Stingers’ pack was dominant in their rucking game, enabling them to control the ball for
Martlet centre Casey Thorburn leads an offensive attack. (Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune) long periods of play while wearing out their opponents. Off of penalties, the visitors were also able to use superior technique and power to control scrums, winning nearly every contest. Concordia fly-half Dara Brunnete was the only back who gave the Martlets trouble. However, she was able to command the game and had multiple runs where she broke through the line and sparked the offence. McGill responded with its tal-
ented and quick group of backs who spread the ball wide and were able to take advantage of their speed routinely. Despite this, it was clear that the visitors had the upper hand as the game wore on. The game’s winning try came off of a maul in which the two forward packs went head to head with Concordia’s pushing back their opponents for 10 yards before the ball touched the ground. “It was our first real test of the season, and I’m glad we had it at
this point,” Stephens said. “I feel as though we will be able to use this game as a real learning point and learn from our errors and improve.” Star fly-half Brianna Miller effortlessly controlled the flow of the game once again as she led the McGill scoring effort with 10 points. Audrey Marcotte, a sophomore prop, also scored a try. Both squads used their kicking games in order to control field possession as real estate was hard to come by. The most impressive instance of footwork occured on Miller’s try. Miller was faced with multiple tacklers after she broke through. Rather than attempt to break the tackles, she placed a perfect diagonal kick over the heads of the oblivious Concordia backs before retrieving her own kick and taking it all the way to the try line. To top it off, Miller connected on a very difficult conversion to tie the score at 12-12. The waning moments of the game provided excitement that left fans sitting at the edge of their seats. McGill elected to kick for a penalty goal rather than attempt to go for a try
with the score at 17-12. After Miller’s attempt sailed through the uprights, the match turned into a back and forth affair where the Martlets marched deep into Concordia territory multiple times. Sophomore fullback Deanna Foster had a game-saving tackle in the last minute that denied the visitors a chance to extend their lead. However, Foster was unable to follow up as her knock-on penalty iced the game indefinitely for the hosts. Stephens stressed the importance of rest following the game. “The game against Carleton will test our depth and our stamina. We have to make sure to rest up […] [because] it will be our third game in seven days.” The Martlets recovered and bounced back in dominant fashion on Saturday as they shut out the visiting Carleton Ravens 41-0. Foster was named MVP of the game and was one of four Martlets to score a try. McGill now looks to continue its bid to sit atop the RSEQ leaderboard as they host Bishop’s on Sunday Sept. 29 at 1:00 p.m. on McGill’s Macdonald campus.
Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, September 24, 2013
American League Awards CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer
Despite Detroit’s loaded rotation, Max Scherzer’s statistics still shine on a staff where all five members have logged over 150 innings with an Earned Run Average (ERA) of 3.44. It might even be safe to say that Detroit would still be a contender without their ace. However, even if you ignore his MLB leading 20 wins, Scherzer clearly edges the rest of the competition. The only other pitchers worth consideration are Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish, who both trail Scherzer in innings pitched and don’t come close to his sparkling 0.965 WHIP.
Dark Horse: Chris Sale
Arguably the only bright spot in what has been a depressing season for the White Sox, the 24-year old Sale has managed to build upon his breakout 2012 campaign this year. Although his 11-13 record isn’t pretty, Sale has been quietly terrific this season, posting a 2.97 ERA with 221 strikeouts. Sadly, due to an anemic level of run support from his team, Sale’s otherwise impressive season will be overlooked by voters who still over-value the win as a statistic. Look for him to seriously contend for the Cy Young in 2014.
The AL ROY award is a onehorse race this year. In what has been a weak season for young talent in the American League, especially compared to the National League, 22-year-old Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays has blown the competition away. Since being called up mid-June, the outfielder has posted a .291/.352/.480 line with 13 home runs in over 80 games. His spot in the heart of the Rays’ batting order shows the respect he has earned from veteran manager Joe Maddon. His numbers will only continue to improve as his already prodigious power develops over the next few years.
Farrell has done a fantastic job righting the ship in Boston a year after Bobby Valentine steered the team to a fifth-place finish through a sea of controversy. The former skipper of the Toronto Blue Jays’ skipper has helped the storied Red Sox franchise rekindle its former glory by clinching their first division title since their championship season in 2007. The Red Sox currently own the best record in baseball, as Farrell has turned a team of off-season and pre-season has-beens into a legitimate threat to win the World Series.
Dark Horse: Joe Girardi
With less than half a month of baseball left to play, the New York Yankees are still in the thick of the Wild Card race. Yes, this is the same team that has witnessed its aging core be decimated by injuries. The pitching staff, including ace C.C. Sabathia, has posted a lackluster collective effort. Girardi has managed a teamrecord 55 players over the course of the season, and yet, without making any excuses, he has kept the team’s off-field issues separate from what really matters: winning games. Girardi’s no-nonsense professionalism and savvy managing are sure to pull in some votes.
MVP: Miguel Cabrera
in a reduced time frame than most rookies playing a full season. All he has to do now is keep his brash attitude in line for the rest of the season, and make space for the first major award of what should be a lengthy and noteworthy career.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Don Mattingly
Clayton Kershaw has put an end to all questions about the race for the Cy Young award with his stellar output this season. This should be the third year in a row for the 26-year-old that he places in the top two of Cy Young voting. His 224 strikeouts in 230 innings, ERA of 1.88, and WAR of 7.5 have cemented the left-hander as the undisputed best pitcher in baseball.
The NL is loaded with young talent, but the one rookie that stood out in the crowded field is Dodgers’ outfielder Yasiel Puig. Although Puig began his MLB career two months late, he immediately lit a fire underneath baseball’s most starstudded team. Since his arrival, the Dodgers have gone a blistering 64-32 after their measly 23-32 start to their season. The 22-year-old from Cuba has been more valuable
The Los Angeles Dodgers were amazing this season and much of their success can be attributed to the steadying hand of Manager Don Mattingly. The third-year manager has guided his team through a tumultuous season that has seen them lose key players to injury. At the same time, Mattingly has been maintaining a balancing act with all the diverse attitudes and outlandish personalities in the clubhouse. At this point, anything shy of a World Series will be a disappointment for an organization that has invested heavily for a chance to win it all.
metric community, Miguel Cabrera will defend his MVP title in 2013. Cabrera has been considered the clear favourite for the award since the AllStar break. At the plate, the superstar infielder has put up outlandish numbers that cement his status as the most feared hitter in the league. Cabrera leads the league in many of the traditional categories, including batting average (.349) and RBIs (136). If we look at the more advanced offensive metrics, we find that Cabrera still leads the pack—his 195 wRC+ means he created 95 per cent more runs than the league average. When the statistics are coupled with the Detroit Tigers’ impressive record atop the American League’s Central Division, Cabrera’s case is iron-clad.
Despite opinions from the saber-
National League Awards
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Yasiel Puig
By Elie Waitzer
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Wil Myers
MANAGER OF THE YEAR: John Farrell
CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw
By Osama Haque
MVP: Andrew McCutchen
The name Andrew McCutchen is slowly becoming a household name in North America. Some call him a WAR (7.7) hero for keeping the Pirates at bay from elimination, and finally giving them their first winning season since 1992. Others call him the future NL MVP. With a batting average of .319, fourth in the NL, and .404 on base percentage, the star centerfielder is looking more like a monster than a pirate. Pittsburgh would not be in second
place without their franchise player.
Dark Horse: Clayton Kershaw
Only two pitchers have won the CY Young award and MVP in the same season. Clayton Kershaw could be the next. Kershaw’s fantastic season has been outlined above, but it shows how well this 25 year old is playing. Los Angeles is a city of stars and big names, but this season Kershaw has shone the brightest.
(Bleacher Report, The Star, Fan Cloud)
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 |
| Curiosity delivers.
In recent months, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and member institutions have been under scrutiny as a rash of scandals have rocked college athletics. The nature of these issues stem from the debate surrounding student athletes maintaining their amateur status as there have been calls to allow schools to pay their players. Two contributors weigh in on whether the NCAA should pay student athletes.
College athletes should be paid According to the NCAA, there are now more than 450,000 student athletes competing in various leagues and conferences across the United States. While the NCAA emphasizes that most students athletes tend to be focused on the former half of their title as opposed to the latter, it often seems as though the opposite is true. Many NCAA athletes train on a level that is at or near that of a professional athlete. These are not regular students. While there are caps on the number of hours that a team can play, practice, or train on any given day, they do not account for the time an athlete will spend training on his or her own. But for all the time that they commit to their sport and their school, student athletes cannot be compensated under current NCAA rules. In fact, they can’t even make money off of their own name—although both the NCAA and the schools are able to. The argument is often made that student athletes are ‘paid.’ According to some, their scholarships plus access to top quality facilities account for enough, but the vast majority of NCAA athletes are not Johnny Manziel. They aren’t on full scholarship, and they couldn’t sell autographs even if they tried. In fact, a comprehensive report from the National College Players Association called The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport concluded that 86 per cent of college athletes live below the poverty line. Unlike regular students, student athletes can’t hold a part-time job during the school year.
College sports are a billion-dollar industry. It makes sense that the people driving the industry should receive fair compensation. Paying student athletes a salary would be a huge boost for those who aren’t on full scholarship. For the past few years, the NCAA has run a commercial explaining that most student athletes “will be going pro in something other than sports.” For those that do go pro, large salaries are commonplace. Often, especially in football and basketball, these players have not been properly equipped to manage this money. According to a Sports Illustrated article from 2009, about 60 per cent of former NBA players declare bankruptcy within five years of retirement. There are a number of factors that contribute to this, but a lack of experience handling money is certainly a part of it. In response, schools—or even the NCAA—could set up programs to help players learn about how to take care of their money. This experience would be invaluable—not just for future professional athletes, but for those entering other fields as well. Perhaps with such a program, we would see fewer retired professional athletes in the news for negative reasons. A system where student athletes receive a salary would require a lot of thought and certainly won’t appear for at least a couple of years, but it is high time that these top-tier athletes get paid what they’re truly worth. — Wyatt Fine-Gagné
Maintain amateur status For years, there have been highly vocal members of the sports community who believe that NCAA Division 1 student athletes should be paid for their integral role in the multibillion-dollar college athletics business. With athletes such as Johnny Manziel and Anthony Davis taking the nation by storm with their captivating play, this argument is once again at the forefront of sports discussions. In addition, the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit and the rash of scandals involving illegally paying athletes gained this issue enough traction that it has the potential to reshape the NCAA. I hope to put this argument to rest once and for all by advocating that student athletes in the NCAA should not be paid. It is important to remember that all NCAA athletes are student athletes, with ‘student’ coming first. No matter which school they attend, athletes are still enroled at an academic institution dedicated to higher learning. Colleges need to treat their athletes as students and not as assets, like their professional counterparts do. By paying their athletes, colleges would be sending the message that playing sports is more important than getting an education; this is a message that we cannot afford to send to the future generation. With less than two per cent of college athletes going on to play professionally, colleges must ensure that their student athletes focus on getting the best education possible so that they are prepared to succeed in whatever career path they choose after earning their degree. In addition, what some fail to realize
is that the majority of student athletes are already being paid for the work they do. Student athletes who are attending college on a scholarship are receiving free tuition, books, housing, and meal plans. On top of that, they receive professional level coaching, strength and fitness training, as well as support from athlete trainers and physical therapists. The sum of the costs of this total package can max-out at anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 per year. It is clear that the benefits NCAA student athletes receive indeed constitute ‘payment.’ A final point to think about is the message that colleges would send to other students by paying their athletes. If American colleges began paying their student athletes, they would be belittling the work of every other student in the institution. What sort of message is being sent when a quarterback on the football team gets a paycheck for throwing touchdowns, while other students labour through all-nighters studying for MCATs in order to fulfill non-athletic dreams without getting paid? It is certainly not fair to reward only athletic achievements with monetary compensation while ignoring the achievements of others. NCAA student athletes are not professional athletes. They are students, some of them barely out of high school. Colleges have to recognize that student athletes are still learning valuable life lessons, such as how to manage money. That is why NCAA athletes should not be paid. — Drew Allen
Editors’ pick: pay the students Although long-standing tradition dictates that college athletes should maintain their amateur status, college athletics have developed into a wildly lucrative industry. However, the system still operates on a flawed business model that assumes little to no revenue. Therefore, colleges must be willing to adapt to the realities that institutions and students face today.
Sports briefs By Mayaz Alam and Remi Lu
Baseball The McGill Redmen took on the John Abbott College Islanders this past weekend for a Saturday afternoon double-header. The star for the Redmen was senior outfielder Channing Arndt, who nailed three home runs and batted in seven runs over the two games. McGill came out roaring in the first match, running away with a score
Soccer On Sunday, Redmen soccer made the short trip to UQAM (3-11) to face off against the Citadins in RSEQ league play. McGill (1-3-1) was unable to build off of a strong showing last weekend and is struggling to
of 7-0 by the second inning. The Redmen dominated the Islanders 15-5 in the first game, and polished off John Abbott 14-3 in the evening finale. The Redmen will play the Islanders once more on Sept. 26 at Gary Carter Field. McGill followed up their Saturday dominance by traveling to Kanata, Ontario to take on the Carleton Ravens. After splitting two games with the Ravens on Sept. 15, the Redmen once again drew
find any sort of offensive rhythm as they lost 3-0. First-year forward Massimo Di Ioia, the reigning CIS and RSEQ Player-of-the-Week was held scoreless and picked up yellow card. The Citadins had a 9-5 advantage in shots and were far more successful in their attacking moves. The Redmen
even with Carleton in a Sunday afternoon double-header. The two teams played a close first game, with the Ravens winning by a narrow margin of 3-2. Likewise, the last affair was a near contest as well, as McGill won 8-7 to keep their record at an evenkeeled .500.
play at home against Laval (2-1-2) on Sept. 27 at 8:30 p.m. as they look to turn around a disappointing start to the season and make the playoffs. The Martlets followed up later in the afternoon with a 2-0 victory over the hosts. Sophomore forward Daphnée Morency and Junior forward
Lacrosse The Redmen (7-0) lacrosse team stretched their season’s winning streak to seven this past weekend, beating the Trent University Excalibur (1-3) in a lopsided Saturday evening affair at Molson Stadium. McGill blazed to an early lead from the opening whistle, finishing off the first quarter leading 9-1 before polishing off their opponents with a final score of 19-7. There were a number of standouts for the Redmen team, most notably third-year attackmen Alexander Rohrbach, who scored six goals in the affair. Adding on to the scoresheet was U2 Science major
Rebecca Green led the effort for McGill. This was the second game and second win of the weekend for the Martlets, who have turned around their season after a slow start. On Friday, they dominated an over-matched Bishop’s squad 6-0 in Lennoxville on a night where six different players found
Connor Goldwin who collected nine points, as well as midfielder Tayler Sipperly who netted a hat trick. McGill has dominated its conference so far., with minimal challenge from any of its CUFLA East opponents. The Redmen have averaged 16.0 goals per game to lead the league, as well as posting the second best defence, allowing an average of 5.83 goals per game. McGill is set to face the Concordia Stingers on Tuesday evening at 9:00 p.m. at Molson Stadium.
the back of the net. The squad faces a tough test this week as they play undefeated league leaders Laval (6-0) on Friday Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in Molson Stadium.
Rugby — McGill 35, Concordia 28
Redmen remain undefeated in RSEQ McGill marches past Concordia to maintain city-wide bragging rights Jacqueline Galbraith Managing Editor This past Saturday, the McGill Redmen attempted to extend their winning streak to three games in their home opener at Percival Molson stadium. Having edged-out both Sherbrooke and Université de Montréal by uncharacteristically narrow margins, the team claimed a more decisive victory against the Concordia Stingers, winning the match 35-28. McGill started slowly and soon fell behind after Concordia’s Joseph Fulginiti converted a kick. This lit a fire under the Redmen as they finally awoke from their slumber and responded with a try of their own, courtesy of senior fullback Cameron Perrin, who went on to tally a total of 15 points during the game. Turnovers were undoubtedly an issue for the Redmen, but Assistant Coach Ian Baillie has an optimistic outlook for the team’s progress. “We took care of the ball a lot better than we have the last little while,” Baillie said. “We have to continue to build up our handling skills.” Concordia mounted a bit of a
comeback in the second half, keeping the pressure on McGill. Fans were on the edge of their seats with two minutes to go in the match, watching the Redmen fight to hold onto a 30-28 lead. Sophomore flanker Konstantin Born spoke about the team’s motivation during the game. “I mean, it’s always hard against Concordia,” he said. “For the last three years we [have played] against Concordia in the finals, so it was a big game for us today. Especially as the first two games of the season didn’t go that well. We really wanted to show that […] we can do better than that and beat Concordia today.” The Redmen managed to open up the lead in the dying minutes of the game, closing out the match 3528. The Redmen lost a number of valuable starters last year, including fly-half Connor McKenzie, and prop Alex Sunell who was team captain for the past three years. With former assistant coach Eric Van Sickle taking on the head coaching position, as well as the roster losses due to graduation, McGill is on a rebuilding path. “We’re young, we have a lot of
THIRD MAN IN This past summer, it dawned on me that I am no longer an enjoyable person to watch sports with. I have stopped asking too many questions, and I don’t scream advice or profanities at the pixels on the screen, nor am I the know-it-all preacher who imparts his ‘knowledge’ on those watching with me. What I am however, is impatient towards horrible commentators and analysts, many of whom are former athletes. As a successful athlete’s career winds down, the natural curiosity of what lies beyond the realm of professional sports takes centre stage. If these athletes ooze any sort of personality, the immediate reaction is to move to television and become a media personality. Shaquille O’Neal, the future NBA Hall of Fame centre, is one such infamous example of a television transition gone awry. When Bleacher Report ranked the worst commentators and analysts of the past 10 years, six of the 10 names on the list belonged to former athletes. Sports Illustrated recently listed the top 20 sportscasters of all time. Unsurprisingly, just one former athlete made their list: John Madden, who was ranked no.20.
inexperience,” Assistant Coach Baillie said. “But the guys that are still around–we have a number of really good leaders. They’re bringing the young guys along, but absolutely, there are some guys that you feel their absence when they’re gone [….] Guys [are] playing out of position and learning new roles. [They] have embraced it and are getting better and better each week.” McGill seems to be on the right track. This is the team’s widest victory margin of the season, and they’re all focused on continuing that pattern, according to Born. “The rucking was really good today. We were all going in [and] we were fighting for the ball. We had a couple of really good runs from our backs—both [the] forwards and backs worked really well together,” he noted. “We have a lot of new guys in, so the communication has to get a little better, but [this game] was really great. I mean, there are a couple of challenges coming up for sure, but in general, I think we’re doing well [and] going the right way.” The Redmen are poised and ready to take on the Bishops Gaiters at home this coming Thursday. Fo-
Redmen fly above Stingers in lineout. (Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune) cused on winning their eighth consecutive RSEQ title, the team should continue developing their younger
talent and remain a dominant presence in the league.
A good analyst does not an athlete make
(The Houston Chronicle ) To clarify: I’m not under the impression that I know more than any of these athlete-turned-analysts. Top-tier athletes are just like professionals in any other industry—they have an intimate knowledge of both the broad concepts and minor intricacies that foster success. Yet, when it comes to explaining something on air, they face unmatched difficulties. In March 2013, ESPN announced that former Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis would join its network. Lewis’ talent was enormous and his personality was even larger, but it will be a surprise if he thrives in his new career. As an interviewee, he was known for his absurd responses and even his former teammates have
admitted that they have a difficult time understanding him when he addressed the team. Simply put, Ray Lewis was trained to play football, not to speak about it. I haven’t always been unforgiving of athletes-turned-analysts, but what pushed me over the edge was an incident involving former pitcher and current MLB Network analyst, Mitch Williams. I have nothing against Williams. In fact, as a Toronto Blue Jays fan, he holds a special place in my heart—he was the pitcher on the wrong end of Joe Carter’s World Series-winning home run in 1993. The incident I’m referring to is a comment he made on MLB Tonight. While a clip of Diamondback pitcher
Brandon McCarthy being hit in the head by a line drive played, Williams declared, “If you don’t pitch in, this is what’s going to happen.” McCarthy was very nearly killed by that line drive and was not amused by Williams’ analysis, tearing into him on Twitter. The point Williams was likely trying to make was that if you throw outside, a hitter is more likely to extend his arms and hit a ball back up the middle. This is baseball knowledge that most casual fans probably don’t have. The problem here, however, is that Williams’ wording makes it seem as though throwing outside is a dangerous strategy, which it isn’t. I have a hard time believing that a trained reporter with the same knowledge would muddy up his or her message the way Williams did. Just as playing and coaching are two separate skills, knowing something and being able to explain it are not the same either. This should be abundantly clear to university students, as we’ve all had brilliant professors who nonetheless struggle as teachers. Perhaps someday networks will smarten up and make sure the athletes
they hire actually have something worthwhile to say. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to learn to enjoy watching sports with the television muted. — Wyatt Fine-Gagné