Volume No. 33 Issue No. 6
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Asbestos conference reignites corporate-funded research debate
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Story P 2 Editorial P 5 “Asbestos: Dialogue for the Future” featured speakers from across Canada. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)
First student-run mental health conference confronts stigma Workshops and speakers address possible solutions to mental health issues faced by students Jessica Fu News Editor McGill’s first student-run conference on mental health took place last Saturday and featured guest speakers, discussions, and workshops aimed at addressing the impact and stigma of mental health, as well as discussing possible solutions to these problems at McGill. Named “Students in Mind 2013,” the day-long event was attended to full capacity, with 120 members of the McGill community present. According to Clara Lu, chair of the organizing committee, the conference was meant to provide a platform for discussion as well as to showcase the resources pertaining to mental health that are available at McGill. “While in the past there have been substantial efforts by students to act on mental health, few until now have brought all of our diverse mental health resources together under one roof,” Lu wrote. Lu said the planning of the
event was unique, since the organizing committee is independent and completely student-run. “We did encounter some initial difficulty gaining support, since we weren’t officially associated with the university or any established student group,” she wrote. “In the past few months, however, we’ve received overwhelming support from student health services, SSMU, PGSS, MFDS [McGill Food and Dining Services], and many other groups, all of which recognize the need for an effective conversation about mental health among the students they serve.” Conference participants were provided with a package that explained the significance of mental health at academic institutions like McGill. Over the last two years, Mental Health Services at McGill has encountered a 25 per cent increase in cases they have handled. Doctor Joseph Rochford, a professor in the department of psychiatry who spoke at the conference, said he views the increase in people
seeking support as a societal trend rather than a phenomenon specific to McGill. “I believe [the increase] has come from concentrated efforts through a number of institutions, [including] universities, hospitals, advocacy groups, even much of the mainstream media, to inform the public of what mental illness is, where it comes from, and what can be done for it,” Rochford wrote. Sarah Berry, a PhD student and research associate for the Opening Minds Anti-Stigma Initiative of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, offered an analysis of the social and economic stressors that students face, which may contribute to vulnerability to mental illnesses. “The issues facing students are, as always, wide-ranging and complex,” Berry wrote. “However, students are undertaking post-secondary education at a particularly challenging juncture: high tuition costs paired with high loan interest rates, and relatively dire prospects in an increasingly competitive post-grad job
market mean that financial stress is elevated [….] All of these stressors emerge at a time in one’s life when serious mental health issues are most likely to appear.” According to Berry, the key to tackling mental health issues is to do so through student initiatives. “Grassroots, peer-to-peer exchanges are the best way to start tackling stigma and to address both short- and long-term solutions to student mental health issues,” she said. “Ongoing dialogue will hopefully lead to more regular on-campus initiatives, and ultimately to a more supportive campus and learning environment.” In addition to a wide range of speakers, the conference also included workshops designed to address personal mental health and peer support. Marina Smailes, U1 Arts and Science, praised the conference as a student-run initiative. “It’s really invaluable to have students running [the conference] because they know how to present it
in a way that really makes it accessible to all students and can then bring in other more knowledgeable people to give more advice,” she said. According to Lu, the committee aims to make Students in Mind an annual event. “We hope to expand to maybe even 200 [attendees] in future years,” Lu said. “We’d like to even invite other campuses.” Rochford said the conference had a positive impact, but he also stressed that it could be improved in the future. “We know that education can reduce […] stigma, so this is why ‘Students in Mind’ events are so important.” Rochford said. “But if the only people who show up for these kinds of events are friends and family [of people with mental health illness], then we’ve only addressed a small part of the problem. We have to find ways to reach a broader audience—one that is bigger than just friends and family—so that we can get the message out most effectively.”
Asbestos conference examines ethical research at McGill Participants question role of corporate funding in research, call for McGill to revise ethical review system Erica Friesen Managing Editor A conference designed to address past criticisms of research on asbestos at McGill and to discuss the role of privately funded research at universities was hosted by the Faculty of Medicine on Oct. 1 at McGill. The conference, titled “Asbestos: Dialogue for the Future,” was organized following a controversy in February 2012, when a CBC documentary challenged the findings of research conducted between 1966 and 1998 by retired McGill professor John Corbett McDonald. McDonald’s studies found that chrysotile asbestos was “essentially innocuous” and that no adverse health effects would come from its use except at extremely high levels. The documentary accused McDonald of misrepresenting his results and questioned the legitimacy of his research because it was funded by the asbestos industry. “Professor McDonald’s research is still of huge concern today,” anti-asbestos advocate Kathleen Ruff said at the conference. “The asbestos industry is targeting developing countries, saying that chrysotile asbestos […] can be safely used [even though] no country has ever succeeded in safely using chrysotile asbestos.” Last October, McGill released the report of an internal investigation on the studies by research integrity officer Abraham Fuks, who concluded that McDonald had publicly acknowledged the asbestos industry as his funding source and that he was not guilty of research misconduct. Tuesday’s conference is the result of a recommendation Fuks made in his report. Dean of Medicine David Eidelman said that the event was planned to allow for an open discussion of the issues surrounding the controversy. “We made sure it was structured in a way to make sure there was a very open and frank exchange of views, and made sure we seriously considered the issues that were brought up in the context of the McDonald controversy,” he said. “I was very glad to have the people who raised the controversy present so they could present their views.” These critics included Ruff, who denounced McGill for holding an internal investigation on McDonald’s research rather than allowing an external party to examine the case. At the conference, Ruff emphasized that she will continue to push McGill to retract McDonald’s
Kathleen Ruff calls for McGill to address the issue of industry influence in research. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune) initial research despite the conclusions of the internal review. “It’s a real concern that’s having impact in the real world, so it is important that McGill address this issue,” she said. “McGill should become a leader in Canada to introduce an effective ethical review system that protects scientific integrity and the public good.” According to David Egilman— a professor at Brown University and a critic of McDonald’s research in the CBC documentary—the way in which McDonald conducted his research on asbestos points to greater problems in the way corporatefunded research is conducted at universities. “In [McDonald’s] case, money should have been given to the workers [and] the unions to hire independent experts to consult with them, to evaluate the protocols in the research,” Egilman said. “The same thing’s true for drug research—if you’re doing corporate-funded pharmaceutical-medical research, there should be an independent group evaluating that research, [but] the norm [today] in drug research is that the data analysis is all controlled by the company.” Jaye Ellis, a professor of law at McGill, said communication can be difficult between university researchers and corporations, as each player has a different understanding of their goals in the research. “It’s not possible for all of the players in these relationships—the university, administrators, the corporation, the researcher—to be on precisely the same page,” Ellis said. “[We need to] talk about how we present communicative structures among these different players to protect the values that we want to protect—rigorous academic freedom, independence, and so forth.” McGill has several Research
Ethics Boards (REBs) intended to promote ethical standards of research and protect the rights and welfare of individual participants in research projects. Researchers must obtain approval for their project from an REB before they begin recruiting participants or collecting data. However, McGill philosophy professor David Weinstock criticized the way university researchers tend to view REBs. “[Researchers] still have a vision of REBs that reflects a conception of ethics that is altogether too superficial, too checklist-like, and too much at the tail end [of the process],” Weinstock said. “Everything that we do can be ethics-free until we get to that point when we have University of Ottawa
to fill out the ethics checklist and at that point all the important decisions have been made. That has to change.” One potential solution that was suggested in the discussion was the creation of an additional body concerned with ethics at McGill, which would investigate and follow up on projects after they have received REB approval. “All major corporate-funded research should set aside funds to establish an oversight board that is dominated by study subjects and the subjects [should] be given funds to hire a consultant who works for them,” Egilman suggested. According to Weinstock, however, this idea presents logistical
difficulties. “Questions about composition, mandate, independence, [and] the purview become crucial,” he said. “We don’t have the time to do the kind of serious research on the ways in which these details would need to get worked out.” While Eidelman said he could not comment at this time on how the ideas raised at the conference will be used, he emphasized the potential for improving the university’s ethics review system. “There is an imperative for the Faculty of Medicine and the university […] to think about how we can make sure that when we’re doing research we’re really meeting the highest standards,” he said. Ruff said she was skeptical about the effect the conference would have on corporate-funded and asbestos-related research at McGill. “It’s a good opportunity for the issue to be discussed, but […] the conference is not a substitute for doing the right thing,” Ruff said. “I think that we still have a very serious problem in the way McGill has dealt with this issue of misuse of research and the asbestos industry influence. I don’t think that has been properly addressed.” McDonald did not attend the conference. —Additional reporting Abraham Moussako
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Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, October 8, 2013
PGSS Council discusses supervision, upcoming referendum
Oct. 2 meeting includes approval of referendum questions on fees for Writing Centre, McGill Tribune Emma Windfeld News Editor
Review of supervision Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney announced two major projects that PGSS is currently working on. The first is the improvement of the quality of supervision for students in all departments by clarifying students’ and supervisors’ rights and responsibilities. The second project focuses on ensuring that international students receive tuition waivers—a type of financial aid that reduces or eliminates tuition fees for students who qualify. “We plan to work with departments and faculties to promote the use of funding that is sent by the central administration to the faculties to support and retain international students on tuition waivers for these students,” Mooney said. “Some of this money, which is tied to the number of international students in a faculty, seems not to be reaching these students.” Fortier addresses funding, student space Principal Suzanne Fortier fielded questions from graduate students at Council and outlined future projects. These include reviewing supervision and funding
for graduate students. Questions mainly concerned the university’s financial situation and the lack of workspace for graduate students. PGSS Financial Affairs Officer Erik Larson asked Fortier to explain the financial state of McGill. Fortier said that she places importance on putting money towards attracting talent to the university. “If we agree that it’s largely about [investing in] people, maybe we’ll have to see other things that aren’t as good as we’d like them to be because while important, they’re not a top priority,” she said. Economics Councillor, Guillaume Lord. expressed concern about the allotment of workspace for graduate students. “Space is very uneven across departments,” he said. “A lot of people in our department do not have office space, and it was heartbreaking for me to see this at the beginning of the year. […] Office space is not only a workspace; it’s also a community space.” Fortier said she had not known this was an issue, but that a solution would not be easy. She mentioned that she would add the issue to future discussions on issues of space at McGill. “Physical infrastructure is an issue at this university,” Fortier
said. “We’re pretty tight on space and we [...] don’t have much extension room, and of course there’s the matter of funding.” Tribune fee referendum Council approved a PGSS referendum question regarding funding for the McGill Tribune. If the question passes during the November referendum period, graduate students will pay a nonoptoutable fee of $0.75 to the Tribune for both the Winter 2014 and Fall 2014 semesters, with a vote on renewal in 2015. “Right now, our mandate as a newspaper is only towards undergraduate students,” said Carolina Millán Ronchetti, editor-in-chief of the McGill Tribune, at the meeting. “However, we recognize that post-graduate students face unique challenges [ .... ] Membership will help bring more coverage [of] issues that pertain to post-graduates such as supervision and office space.” Mooney explained that the Tribune ran a similar question last May, which asked graduate students for $1.00 per semester, but that the question did not pass by a small margin. McGill Writing Centre Another question Council approved to run in the referendum
Principal Fortier fielded questions from Council. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune) period is for a fee of $1.50 per term to support graduate use of McGill’s Writing Centre. However, Council voted against a motion for PGSS to contribute a one-time sum of $3,000 from PGSS’s Special Projects Fund. Without the fund transfer, the Writing Centre will no longer offer tutoring services to graduate students. Letter opposing Charter of Values Mooney asked Council for feedback regarding a letter to Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Pauline Marois that he wrote on behalf of
the PGSS, which expresses their opposition to the section of the proposed Charter of Values that bans public workers from wearing conspicuous religious symbols. “Some of our members are technically state personnel [ .... ] and so [the charter] implicates us directly,” Mooney said. “Freedom of expression is particularly important in a university setting.” Council was supportive of the letter, though upon the suggestion of Lord, a section of the letter stating that PGSS does not oppose other sections of the Charter was removed.
McGill community addresses gentrification in QI project Discussion group seeks to foster university’s links to Montreal as part of SEDE’s Community Engagement Day Meghan Collie Contributor The potential gentrification of a Montreal neighbourhood as a result of the Quartier de L’Innovation (QI) development project was the topic of a discussion group held by McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office last Friday. The event was part of SEDE’s second annual Community Engagement Day (CED)—a day of discussions, speaker events, and activities aiming to bridge the gap between the university and the surrounding community. The QI is a neighbourhood development project by McGill and l’École de technologie supérieure (ETS) that aims to foster research and innovation in the neighborhoods of Griffintown, Petite Bourgnone, Saint-Henri, and Pointe Sainte-Charles. The devel-
opment project consists of various tasks and sub-projects led by professors and students organized into the four ‘pillars’ of innovation—industrial, education, urban, and social and cultural. Attendees of Friday’s discussion included Vincent Perez, the representative of the community of Petite Bourgnone in the QI, as well as McGill professors and students. “The main focus of the Quartier de l’Innovation is knitting together the fabrics of the neighbourhood,” said Professor William Straw, director of McGill’s Institute for the Study of Canada. Due to the extensive changes to the district projected by QI, there have been concerns regarding potential gentrification of the area. Nik Luka, a professor of architecture and urban planning at McGill who sits on the board of
the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre, questioned the way that the initiative is going to proceed regarding the relationship between local residents and those involved in the development of the area. “How can planners and architects in particular work with local residents and other stakeholders on projects that we always have to work on, in ways that are productive, generative, [and] positive? How can we tap into what people know about their area?” he asked. “How [do] you make the connections when something new comes into a certain area? It’s a very important theme that we haven’t done enough work on.” According to Perez, McGill’s influence in the area will prevent commercial overtaking, as an educational institution would uphold an emphasis on the arts, sciences, and culture in the area. “University existence within
the city prevents the commercial overtaking that many fear when they hear about approaching gentrification,” he said. Dan Moczula, Communications Coordinator for CED, described the event as a way to create dialogue among members of both the McGill and the Montreal communities. “The way we try and do this is to use CED to put people in contact with organizations and with people who they normally wouldn’t meet in all the time they spend around the McGill downtown campus,” Moczule said. “This fosters the discourse that breaks down a lot of walls and a lot of preconceptions that students may have about these communities.” Louisa Bielig, U2 Arts, said these efforts to connect the McGill community to Montreal made CED worth attending.
“I was at CED last year, and that’s how I got into volunteering,” Bielig said. “I met my organization [Entraide Bénévole Montréal at CED] and I’m still doing it now. You see issues through the eyes of other people […] and CED provides the starting point for this exposure.” Emily Boytinck, the project coordinator from SEDE, pointed to this year’s continuation of CED as a promising sign for the event’s continued success in the future. “The success of this year’s event is very exciting, and the momentum is steadily building,” Boytinck said. “Preparations for next year will be underway before the end of this year.” Boytinck encouraged students who are interested in becoming involved to ask for more information at the SEDE office, located on McTavish Street.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 |
| Curiosity delivers.
speaker on campus
Walrus Magazine brings discussion on energy to McGill
Speakers draw attention to high Canadian energy consumption, advocate empowering students to tackle issues Eman Jeddy Contributor
Last Tuesday, McGill hosted “The Walrus Talks Energy,” an event intended to raise awareness about energy use and sustainable practices in Canada. The event was sponsored by Suncor, Canada’s largest energy producer and provider, and organized by The Walrus Magazine. It featured eight speakers of varying backgrounds and professions. The Walrus Magazine is a general interest magazine that focuses on Canadian affairs as well as their relation to the rest of the world. According to Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of The Walrus Magazine, the purpose of the event was to provide a platform for increasing knowledge about energy and driving the conversation on the future of energy in Canada. “We need to have the conversation on energy in terms we can all understand,” said Ambrose. “To do that we need to achieve some energy literacy because creating a vision for the future is very challenging and complicated [.…] All of these amazing people doing these amazing things feed our brains and help us cope with these big decisions that we have to make.” The speeches touched on a
Peter Calamai speaks at “The Walrus Talks Energy.” (Alexandra Allaire / McGill Tribune) variety of issues, from the political climate surrounding energy and the pricing of energy to more specific topics such as the use of LED lightbulbs and the role of Indigenous peoples in a sustainable Canadian future. Peter Calamai, fellow of the Institute of Science, Society, and Policy and one of the speakers at the event, talked on the importance of independent research in the energy sector and the need to change
people’s perception of energy use in Canada. “Canada’s use of energy is profligate, [it is] way above everyone else’s in the world, but most people don’t realize it,” Calamai said. “A lot of what’s going to help this problem are technical advances, but it’s also going to be major scientific discovery.” According to Ambrose, the decision to hold “The Walrus Talks Energy” at an academic institution
such as McGill was made as a way for promoting student awareness and involvement in the energy discussion. Kali Taylor, co-founder of Student Energy, a global movement of students focused on building a sustainable energy future, emphasized the necessity of educating students on the issues in the energy sector. “I think the way we think about energy is broken,” Taylor said. “Student Energy is a non-
profit organization that focuses on educating the next generation of energy leaders and empowering them [...] so our whole meaning for being is that we want students to be more educated, inspired and united to take on [....]energy in the future.’’ The event attracted over 200 students and members of the McGill community. Remi Kahwaja, U4 mechanical engineering, said he attended the talk because his career could be related to the topics that were addressed. “You rarely hear about specific Canadian energy issues so I thought it might be interesting.” Kahwaja said. “I would like to work in the energy sector later in Canada, so it’s about getting involved.” Mariana Smailes, U1 Arts, said the talks were informative in relation to techniques on energy saving that can be applied across McGill. “I’m actually working with a McGill energy project right now and so, as a student group on campus, we’re really interested with how energy is being efficiently used on campus,” she said. “It was very interesting to see some of the things they said that would be [applicable] at McGill that would change maybe the student perspective on energy.”
speaker on campus
Harvard professor talks role of food in shaping culture ‘You Are What U Eat’ examines the shift in accessibility of food in a cosmopolitan society Samiha Sharif Contributor On Oct. 3, Harvard professor and historian of science Stephen Shapin gave a lecture titled “You Are What U Eat” as part of a Mossman Lecture Series hosted by McGill. Over 200 academics, professors, and students gathered at Tanna Schulich Hall to hear Shapin speak on the role of food in shaping identity and culture, and how perspectives towards food have changed since the 17th century. Shapin, who is best known
for co-writing a 1985 book called Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the Experimental Life, has written works of science covering the periods of 17th century England to the modern-day United States. “Food is a kind of lens through which our way of living has been refracted,” Shapin said. “Food is self-making in a pervasive way.” According to Shapin, most people currently believe that their bodies and the food they eat are composed of chemicals, and that their health depends on taking in the right combinations and
amounts of food constituents. In the past, however, many physicians and patients believed that consuming foods allowed you to absorb the virtues and powers associated with it—for example, if you ate rabbit, you might become timid, while eating beef might make you bold. Shapin also discussed the “index of cosmopolitanism”— how perspectives about food and its accessibility have changed so that now, food choices in a cosmopolitan city such as Montreal are inherently different from the food choices of previous generations. For example, Shapin
explained that garlic has only recently become readily available and was in fact quite scarce in the past. Nicholas Dew, a professor of history at McGill and one of the organizers of the lecture, said he is a long-time fan of Shapin’s work. “I have been reading Shapin’s work since I was an undergraduate,” Dew said. “I’m sure McGill students from all backgrounds will find the talk interesting.” According to Shapin, the purpose of the lecture was to urge attendees to rethink their
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approach to food. “I like to be able to teach the historical facts of food in a way that encourages people to think differently about their next meal,” Shapin said. “I like to engage people’s sense of the present […] while at the same time telling them about the strangeness of the historical past.” Alice Hutin, U1 Arts, said the lecture changed the way she views food. “I had never thought of food from such a perspective,” Hutin said. “This talk really made me think about the history of food in a way that I never had before.”
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Asbestos conference not a solution to corporate-funded research Last Tuesday, McGill hosted the “Asbestos: Dialogue for the Future” conference, a full-day symposium on McGill’s role in asbestos research, asbestos as a substance, and the broader role of corporate funding in the university environment. The conference was the result of one of the recommendations made in a 2012 internal review of a series of hotly contested McGill studies of asbestos from the 1960s to the 1990s. These studies, conducted by now-retired McGill professor John Corbett McDonald, were funded by the lobbying arm of the Quebec asbestos industry. The research concluded that under certain levels of exposure, asbestos was not only “innocuous” to mine workers, but even had a “protective” effect. McGill’s role in this research triggered strong reaction both in the scientific community and on campus after a CBC documentary in early 2012 brought the shortcomings of the research into sharp relief. Chief among the issues was the close relationship between McGill and the asbestos industry during the course of these studies, as well as the continued use of these studies to support Canadian exports of asbestos to poorer nations. There is nothing that can be
done to fully repair the harm—both to the asbestos mine workers in Quebec and to those exposed to asbestos in countries Canada has exported to—that the original research may have helped precipitate. However, the conference does represent an effort, however halting, towards creating the sort of institutional protections that would prevent a similar situation from arising in the future. During his presentation, David Egilman, a professor at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School–and a valiant critic of McDonald’s studies–argued that in the specific case of the asbestos studies, the unions and workers of the Quebec mines examined should have been given money to hire independent experts to look at the research methodology and data. Such independent oversight should aim to prevent instances of university-corporate collusion like the one that makes McDonald’s research so problematic today. At the final panel, additional recommendations were proposed. Professor Daniel Weinstock pointed out that universities often see themselves to be in a weaker negotiating position vis-à-vis corporations than they are be. The American Association of University Professors pre-
pared a package of suggested “best practices” for universities in dealing with corporations, including prohibiting faculty members from lending their names to ghostwritten corporate papers, and discouraging faculty members from participating in corporate-funded studies where not all research results would be available to third-party investigators.
does represent an effort, however halting, towards preventing a similar situation from arising in the future
McGill’s current regulations on conflict of interest, which were ratified in 2009, do apply to all members of the university community, and the university does already have multiple Research Ethics Boards which examine project proposals. The current regulations on research conduct, approved in 2010, do prohibit researchers from entering into agreements which allow interested
parties to suppress results (rule 3.8 of the “Regulation on the Conduct of Research). Still, they do not require researchers to bring in ongoing third party oversight for corporatesponsored projects. The university should give serious consideration to establishing such a framework. If the university truly wants to look to the future, more safeguards should be in place. This debate still leaves the question of what should be done with McDonald’s studies, especially his 1998 paper. Critics, including anti-asbestos advocate Kathleen Ruff, have argued that the ethical review of the papers already undertaken by McGill’s research ethics officer was severely flawed by not being carried out through a third-party. Establishing a truly independent review of these studies would be the least that can come out of this conference. The asbestos conference this past Tuesday was worthwhile insofar as it continued the conversation this university needs to have–not only about the past, but about the future of corporate-funded research. To amount to anything more than talk, however, the discussion should lead to action; the issue can’t end here.
Commentary Faculty of Arts gets short shrift Lauren Konken Columnist It may have been two weeks ago, but announcements at the first meeting of the Faculty of Arts Committee concerning the Teaching and Learning Spaces (TLS) budget remain on my mind. At this meeting, Associate Dean Gillian Lane-Mercier announced the results from the TLS working group. For the 2014-2015 year, the IT budget used to upgrade classrooms under the committee has been frozen due to budget cuts. What remains is a general maintenance fund that will be divvied up among all of McGill’s faculties. The Faculty of Arts was described as the “poor cousin” by those leading the committee session, which left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Sure, renovating classrooms for Science, Engineering and even
Management students seems, on the face of things, ‘more beneficial.’ But why is this the case? As a student representative sitting on the committee, I asked the panel at large why a general maintenance budget wasn’t being used to fix lecture halls like Leacock 132, where the floor tiles in the stairs have been known to slide off and the seat tablets are half broken. Professor Christopher Manfredi responded in saying that lecture halls like Leacock 132 are primarily used by Science students, and that Arts students use large lecture halls in Engineering and Medicine buildings as well. It seemed to me like an evasive response. I walked away with the feeling that, because a room like Leacock 132 is used frequently by Science students, the Faculty of Arts doesn’t want to pay to renovate it. However, because it’s an Arts building, the Faculty of Science won’t ever request muchneeded renovations. Thus the room is left in near permanent limbo This sounds a lot like a classic political science dilemma surround-
ing a public good, no? Lane-Mercier iterated that the faculty’s priority was in fact Arts West 120 and that priority for other rooms will be addressed in the next meeting, as previous priorities will need to be revisited given the tight maintenance budget. Why is it that Arts is considered the poor cousin in all of these debates? In the year’s first senate meeting, Campaign McGill, the university’s fundraising drive, failed to highlight the notable accomplishments of the Faculty of Arts in attaining alumni, corporation, and other donations. In 2012, the Faculty raised the highest amount of money out of all those on campus, even Medicine. But, Manfredi himself pointed out that Arts has never had a Lorne Trottier or a Marcel Desautels–individual donors and alumni that committed tens of millions to the Engineering and Management faculties, respectively. One student rep asked whether Arts simply failed to produce anyone of the same calibre. Manfredi replied that certainly
wasn’t the case, but that of course they were always working on the issue. Perhaps I take issues like this more personally than some. Why is the Faculty of Arts, which is training tomorrow’s politicians, economists, writers, anthropologists, historians—just to name a few—so under-prioritized? Why, even normatively speaking, is it harder for me to sell myself as a student of political science than as a student of pharmacology? Is it because my career prospects appear more uncertain? Perhaps, but this is still disconcerting overall. Such budget constraints and the politics of allocating committees such as the TLS working group will likely ensure that the Faculty of Arts remains the poor cousin at the table. It seems unlikely that we’ll have a Trottier or Desautels coming to our rescue anytime soon.
A Campus conversation:
Is McGill in Decline?
(Andrew Su / McGill Tribune)
EDITOR’S NOTE In this week’s edition of the “Campus Conversation” series, we convene voices from across McGill to answer the question: “Is McGill in decline?” The debate sparked on campus in the wake of McGill’s noticeable drop in the QS World University Rankings in September left many wondering if the value of a McGill education is decreasing. Other rankings have since been released, indluding a better position in the Shanghai Rankings and a slightly lower rank in the Times Higher Education World
University Rankings. Concerns have been raised about the validity of these ratings, as they often rely on methodology that may seem divorced from factors that encompass a valuable university education. Rather than rely on these rankings, we asked campus leaders and student representatives for a qualitative look at where the university is headed.
A halt in forward motion
SSMU President, 2012-2013
I would be hard pressed to say that McGill is in decline, however I do not think the university is doing the work necessary to be moving forward. Throughout my interactions with a wide variety of people at McGill, from staff to students, faculty to administrators, many would say that McGill has been resting on its laurels for too long. I think a more accurate description of what we are experiencing is a halt in forward motion, and it’s time for McGill to wake up and start taking a fresh look at how it operates so it can continue to innovate in the ways that used
to set it apart from the competition. There are a few issues at high levels of the university that have hurt its ability to move forward, but I will only mention two briefly here. First, the university is continuing to allow professors to use “academic freedom” as an excuse to get out of pedagogic innovation at the undergraduate level. When professors are continually allowed to bypass teaching and learning innovations that central units work tirelessly to research, implement, and support, they are only hurting the students they are ultimately here to serve. Academic freedom is innovation in how you teach a course, what materials you use, and how you interact with your class. Refusing to use the centralized myCourses because it requires learning or ignoring hard research about lecture recordings is not an expression of academic freedom, but rather blatant and
selfish laziness. This laziness is what hurts undergraduate learning at our university. As the university continues to allow professors to teach its undergraduates courses as if it were 1950, it is only natural that we are not moving forward. Also natural is perceived decline when compared to universities that have a stronger push on their professoriate to use some of the incredible teaching and learning innovations coming out of their own schools. These include creative uses of active learning classrooms, forward thinking uses of multimedia in the classroom and in specialized labs, and much more. McGill, on the other hand, merely suggests professors use these resources, all in the name of protecting academic freedom. Second, the central administration has focused too long on preventing student groups, clubs, services, and soci-
eties from doing amazing new things. Instead of creating bridges for groups to put their extreme talent to use, they drop roadblocks at almost every step of the way. While it may be forgotten by most, the McGill name issue, to me, embodies the central administration’s flawed view on student life. For years, the central administration has hunted down groups that use a mythical bird and a six-letter family name in ways that enter the school into liability. Instead of providing financial support, encouraging new work, and finding ways for groups to create projects that break out of current frameworks, the central administration has insisted these groups change their names and logos (and put money into it!) so that the university is free of risk and liability if the group does something wrong.
A university should take risks with, assume liability for, and pour money into its student life. The focus on doing the opposite (and keep in mind, there are many people at this university that work quite hard to help student groups; the focus here is on central administrators), as seen with the policy on the use of the McGill name, is what has halted true development with central administration’s support for student life. Pushing students away by telling them they are not McGill has resulted and will continue to result in a loss of affinity for McGill post-graduation. So, is McGill in decline? Perhaps.; and it is certainly not doing itself any favours with regards to moving forward. However, if the university continues to combat against its own students, it will absolutely find itself in decline in the near future.
Look beyond the rankings; follow the money
Jonathan Mooney Secretary-General, PostGraduate Students’ Society As a university, McGill is not in decline. Looking at both the QS and Shanghai rankings, McGill has maintained roughly the same ranking for the last five years, and small year-to-year variations are statistically insignificant. That said, a closer look at the data reveals that McGill is advancing in some areas and falling behind in others. For example, according to the QS rankings in 2008, McGill was ranked 229th in terms of citations per faculty; it is now ranked 113th. On the other hand, in 2008 McGill was ranked 22nd in faculty-to-student ratio; it is now ranked 84th. Generally speaking, in terms of research, McGill’s profile is strong and improving, while in terms of operations, McGill is suffering.
How are we to understand this? Follow the money. First, let’s look at research funding. According to the Canadian Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Bank statistics, the Canadian government spends more per GDP on higher education research than the United States or many European countries. The situation is even better in Quebec where the Fonds de recherche du Québec serves as an additional funding source for Quebec researchers and, notably, also provides McGill with a roughly 50 per cent top-up for each grant awarded to cover the indirect costs of research (federal funding for indirect cost is much lower at about 20 per cent). Moreover, McGill made a conscious decision in the early 2000s to allocate financial resources to an aggressive academic renewal plan, hiring hundreds of top young researchers. McGill’s researchers consistently rank among the best in Canada in terms of research funding “yield” (funding awarded per
professor). When you combine a strong research funding model in Quebec and Canada with a willingness from McGill to fund an influx of bright young researchers, it is not surprising that McGill’s research profile is now on the ascent. But that’s not the whole story. While Quebec is a leader in research funding to its universities, it is seriously under-performing in terms of ensuring that universities have sufficient revenue to fund day-to-day operations. In 2012, the Council of Ontario Universities examined operating funding available to universities per student among the different provinces, weighted to account for costs by program and discipline. The study found that Quebec ranked no. 10 out of 10 Canadian provinces in terms of operating funding. The Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ) estimated the gap in operating funding between Quebec and other provinces at $850 million in 2013. Operating funding allows for competitive salaries to professors, increased hiring of course lectur-
Current data insufficient
Devin Bissky Dziadyk
Science representative to SSMU
Is McGill in decline? Possibly, but with a large margin of error. Most metrics that we have available to us would indicate that McGill is in some form of decline. Budget cuts, fewer TAs, lower rankings, rising deferred maintenance, larger class sizes, student dissatisfaction, among others, are some of the relevant indicators of a university’s health. In our case they are not looking overly positive. So if these things are all heading downhill, why the hesitancy is saying McGill is a sinking ship? That is where the wonders of statistics come in. If there is
one thing that climate science has taught us over the past decade, it is that the individual changes in measurement from one year to the next do not indicate longterm trends. It is with this in mind that it is best to analyze the current state that our university is in. While certainly we have lost ground in some areas, we still produce world-class research and graduates, while working within the constraints handed to us. The fact that we remain at all competitive on a worldwide basis certainly indicates some resiliency. It is with this in mind that I am hesitant to say definitively which way things are heading. Although things have gone downhill a bit, there is ultimately not enough data to say with any significant degree of certainty whether or not the ship is sinking.
ers and TAs, maintains world-class library collections and journal subscriptions, and supports stateof-the-art undergraduate teaching labs. It is also the kind of funding Quebec’s universities are sorely lacking. Insufficient operating funding has eroded McGill’s student to faculty ratio from 17 in 2008 to 20 now. “If so, what do we do about it?” First, let’s stop messing around with the data. Some groups claim that because Quebec universities have more research funding than the Canadian average, the lack of operating funding is not a problem. But research grants are dedicated to specific researchers and specific projects and cannot be used to fund general operating activities. Second, let’s be consistent and acknowledge the facts. The Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec stated in 2010 that Quebec universities were underfunded, but out of a fear that acknowledging underfunding would be used as a justification for a tuition increase. The policy question of how to fund
universities is a separate issue from whether they are in need of additional funding in the first place. Finally, let’s engage in an aggressive lobbying campaign for public reinvestment in education. A Quebec election may be on the horizon for early 2014. Government spending on education yields many benefits, including lower crime rates, greater civic participation, and lower reliance on social services. Students, professors, and supporters of higher education should push for all Quebec political parties to adopt a credible plan for reinvesting in Quebec’ universities, and make sure they stick to it if elected. When the PQ recently tried to cut research funding to health research, 2,300 researchers came together and launched the “Je suis Michèle” campaign, which resulted in the restoration of $26.5 million in funding. Quebec needs to come together and demand that properly funding universities be a requirement for any political party to get or stay elected.
Change of course requires change of leadership Kate Sheridan Arts and Science Senator Is McGill in decline? It depends on your perspective. We’ve dropped in some rankings and our budget has been slashed. The 2011 results of the National Survey of Student Engagement showed that students rated McGill below the national average for student-faculty interactions and campus environment, among other measures. While these facts might suggest that McGill’s glory days are fading, I disagree. The difference in the QS ranking this year is by no means
insurmountable, particularly because McGill has the same exceptional human resources it’s always had. The university is still home to some amazing faculty, staff, and—of course—students. Go to the Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Conference on Thursday, Oct. 10 in the Arts Building. Listen to the young researchers there, and you’ll be reassured that the students here are just as brilliant as they were last year. No doubt, the last few years have dealt McGill some hard knocks. It’s been a difficult time for the university, in a basic financial sense. However, with the new blood we’ve got in the senior administration this year, I have no doubt that any fears of decline will be alleviated
soon. Principal Suzanne Fortier and new Deputy Provost, (Student Life and Learning) Ollivier Dyens are, in my opinion, up to the challenge of building a better university. Best of all, they seem to genuinely want our help doing it. So is McGill actually declining? Will we still be a worldclass university in five years? I believe we will; because at the end of the day, it matters less what trajectory we’ve taken up to this point than what we do next.
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Sowing seeds for a greener future
McGill alumnus Lauren Pochereva promotes sustainability and health through elementary school urban agriculture Remi Lu Sports Editor McGill alumnus Lauren Pochereva’s passion for urban agriculture stems from her love of gardening, which she picked up as a hobby while studying Buddhism as a World Religions undergraduate student at McGill four years ago. In her classes, Pochereva learned about Japanese esoteric thought and the relationship between people and the environment, leading her to question global environmental issues. “I started getting really interested in food and saw food and food systems [as a way to] create positive change on so many levels,” Pochereva said. After returning to McGill to pursue a Diploma in Environment, she has ushered in a new era of urban agriculture in Montreal, and helped to revolutionize education and com-
munity-based learning through her efforts with Action Communiterre, a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) located in the NotreDame-de-Grace (NDG) community of Montreal. In 2012, Pochereva was named an inaugural Pathy Family Foundation Community Leadership Fellow which involves a grant of $20,000 to bring about sustainable social change in a community of her choice. As a member of Action Communiterre, she took advantage of the resources that the NGO offered to contact a number of schools in NDG, with the goal of creating a partnership project based on urban agriculture and gardening. The first school she contacted was St. Monica’s Elementary School and Pochereva quickly realized that they were a perfect fit because of how well their goals aligned. Pochereva committed herself
to establishing an urban garden program at St. Monica’s by working with the daycare and afterschool programs five days a week for eight months to give rise to the St. Monica School Garden Project. The garden aims to give students the chance to establish a relationship with their food system through many different mediums, including non-competitive physical activity, nutritional education, and increased access to fresh produce. Pochereva also hosts sessions on the weekends that allow parents and neighbours to partake in the maintenance of the garden. Beyond its role as a source for fresh fruits and vegetables, Pochereva intends for the garden to serve as a teaching resource. “My goal is for more teachers to take their students [to the garden] and do lessons that incorporate the garden or environmental learning,”
she said. “One of the things that I’m developing now at Action Communiterre is developing those resources, making them available to teachers, and presenting alternative ways of viewing a classroom—it doesn’t have to be sitting at a desk inside.” Pochereva has high hopes for the garden to serve as a hub for community discussion on wider issues related to the food system. “Society has made a lot of food available for really cheap, but it’s not healthy,” she said. “Childhood obesity, depression and cardiac disease, diabetes…it’s all interlinked. For me, a garden is a concrete way to provide more access to fresh fruits and vegetables, to teach kids about healthier eating, and to make those links about how we cook, prepare, and grow healthy food.” In recent years, McGill has seen an eruption of organizations dedicated to the promotion of urban
agriculture, led by both students and staff. On-campus initiatives include Campus Crops and Edible Campus—a joint endeavour of the School of Architecture’s Minimum Cost Housing Group, and non-profit organization Santropol Roulant. Pochereva encouraged members of the community to look into and research the issues her program targets on their own. “I think a lot of people might be sceptical about urban agriculture or sustainable agriculture and this whole organic movement,” Pochereva said. “For sure there are some things to be sceptical about, but I think that it really comes down to assessing what your values are. Our future and our present are immediately linked to environmental problems. It’s everyone’s problem and it’s everyone’s concern.”
Branching out: exploring McGill’s libraries Six things you didn’t know about the McLennan-Redpath Library Complex (mitchahn.blogspot.ca) Marlee Vinegar Student Living Editor McGill’s downtown campus is home to no fewer than 13 libraries, but students commonly limit their study space to one or two—often simply out of habit or convenience. In honour of the abundance of midterms and papers this week, this is the first in a series of spotlights on McGill libraries to help you branch out and learn to appreciate each library for its individual character.
McLennan-Redpath brary Complex
Consisting of Redpath Hall, Cybertheque, Blackader, and McLennan, this library complex is the largest, oldest, and possibly the most notorious library on campus. Particularly during exams, the building tends to be overrun by stressed-out, sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled zombies. The sevenstory building houses the Humanities and Social Science library collections, which include books for the faculty of Arts, Management, Religious Studies, Social Work, and Education. Furthermore, the library holds a collection of government, government agency, and intergovernmental organization publi-
cations; the Blackader-Lauterman collection of architecture and art; and McGill’s collection of rare books.
Although the library collection dates back to 1855, it wasn’t until 1893 that Peter Redpath, a businessman and member of the McGill University Board of Governors at the time, donated the oldest part of the library complex, Redpath Hall. The Hall was the first building constructed to store the main university library collection. In 1969 the reinforced concrete McLennan Building opened—named after Isabella McLennan, who helped fund the purchase of many of the school’s books. While some describe McLennan’s interior as stale, impersonal, and dull, the repeating concrete pattern was meant to elicit a calm and quiet atmosphere to facilitate focused studying. Redpath and McLennan merged to form the Humanities and Social Sciences Library in 1988 and throughout the 1990s materials from other departments were incorporated into the collection. Much to the chagrin of a majority of the student body, the building continues to face ongoing construction.
The library grows and changes to fit the student body’s needs, and is now much more focused on serving the demand for study space and digital research tools, and less focused on books.
With a staggering 2,000-plus seats for quiet study throughout the library complex, it’s shocking that they all manage to fill up around exam time. Included in this number are large group tables, and carrels conducive for efficient individual work. Graduate students and Honours undergraduates can reserve carrels by applying at the service desk on the main floor. For more collaborative learning, meetings, or presentation practice, there are individual rooms that can be reserved online through the library website, including high-tech glass pods in Cybertheque with computer adaptable large flat-screens. There are also open group study areas in Cybertheque and Redpath where talking is permitted.
The basement of Redpath has a cafeteria with staples like Tim Hortons, Pizza Pizza, and Bento Sushi. Snacks, beverages, and coffee can also be pur-
chased from vending machines right outside the cafeteria. Signs indicate that food is not permitted upstairs, although that doesn’t seem to deter most people.
Besides stacks—on stacks, on stacks—of books, the library has much more to offer. They even have their own blog, the McLennan Post, which features posts written by librarians on topics pertinent to students and faculty who use the library. The library also has microform readers and scanners that are connected to the library’s network, allowing for printout retrieval from uPrint machines. On top of that, the library runs workshops on topics such as research strategies and how to get your research published. Workshop schedules are posted on the McGill Library website.
One of the true treasures of McLennan is its Rare Books and Special Collections section on the fourth floor. The collection was started in the 1850s and contains books, memorabilia, maps, and other artifacts from a wide range of different disciplines. Due to the fragility and value of the collection,
there are guidelines for accessing these resources. Visitors must register upon entering and personal belongings like bags, hats, and coats must be stored in special locations. Once this is done, you can carefully browse through the collection at your own will, although you must return all material to the Reading Room staff before you leave.
Operation *24-hour access only in the Redpath Library Building and on the main floor of the McLennan Library Building. The upper floors of McLennan (2- 6) are open for study until midnight.
MONDAY-THURSDAY Opening Hours Service Hours 8 a.m.-Midnight 10a.m.-7p.m. FRIDAY Opening Hours 8 a.m.-10p.m.
Service Hours 10a.m.-6p.m.
SATURDAY Opening Hours 10 a.m.-10p.m.
Service Hours 10a.m.-6p.m.
SUNDAY Opening Hours 10 a.m.-Midnight
Service Hours 10a.m.-6p.m.
Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Are you a citizen of procrasti-nation? Missing out on all the fun even though your paper’s due in a month? The Tribune is here to help you decide if it’s time to hit the books.
Apple Pumpkin Spice Muffins Makes 12 muffins
Makes one serving
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground cloves 3/4 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 2 eggs 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup milk 2 tbsp canola oil 1/2 cup grated apple
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Have you been going to class?
1. Preheat oven to 375 F and line a muffin tin with muffin liners 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves 3. In another bowl, combine pumpkin puree, applesauce, eggs, brown sugar, milk, and canola oil 4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until smooth 5. Fold grated apple into muffin batter 6. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full with batter 7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until tester (toothpick or fork) comes out clean 8. Let muffins sit in pan for about five minutes and then remove to finish cooling o
Do you have a
I cup milk or non-dairy milk beverage 2 tbsp canned pumpkin 1 tbsp maple syrup 1/3 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup extra strong coffee or 2 shots espresso 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ginger Pinch of nutmeg
1. Combine all ingredients (except coffee) in a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds 2. Brew coffee or espresso 3. If desired, strain milk mixture through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any small bits 4. Pour coffee into milk and stir 5. Optional: garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon or nutmeg — Marlee Vinegar
midterm or an assignment due within
done the readings?
ABOUT IT YET?
YOU still can
STARTED THINKING N
Catch up with your classes before they catch up
DO YOU THINK
IT WILL BE
A LOT OF WORK?
Is it a friend’s
JAIL FREE CARD Celebrate!
MORE INTO The
CHARACTERS’ Lives THAN YOUR OWN?
GET A HEAD START!
GET OUT OF
ARE YOU CLOSE TO THE FINALE OF A TV SERIES YOU’VE BEEN WATCHING?
special occasion ?
Photos courtesy of inspiredtaste. net and inthepinkandgreen. blogspot.ca
the lectures or
the next two weeks
— Alycia Noë
Have you watched
DON’T LEAVE IT
TILL THE LAST MINUTE
BY BEN CARTER-WHITNEY
From a quiet office tucked away on the fourth floor of the Shatner building, Elections SSMU takes on a huge task. It is the branch of student government responsible for enabling the political participation of all 25,000 members of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU). Amidst the chaos of the upcoming Fall referendum period, Benjamin Fung, SSMU’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), reflects on his organization’s core mandate. “You have student democracy happening on SSMU Council, but that’s representative democracy,” Fung explains. “If you want every single person participating, there are only two ways of doing it; General Assemblies (GAs), or elections and referenda. The role for Elections SSMU is to be the impartial body that manages [both], and allows […] student democracy at large to happen.” As with most modern democratic systems, SSMU typically operates on this representative basis—executives, councillors, and senators who have been elected by the student body are responsible for the day-to-day operation of SSMU. Even within this framework, however, students can participate directly through biannual referenda, in which issues are voted on by the entire membership. The end of the academic year brings the opportunity for students to reflect on the quality of the representation they have received and elect those who will steer the ship for the year to come. These moments, when the student body engages directly with the political process, are when Elections SSMU comes in. It is responsible for conducting all of SSMU’s elections and referenda; this includes overseeing technical and administrative aspects of the campaign periods, acting as a resource to the campaigns, and reaching out to students to encourage participation. All the while, it must also act as an arbiter and a watchdog, ensuring that everything from campaigning practices to referendum
wording is up to code. Fung (U2 Science) leads the Elections SSMU team, which also consists of Deputy Electoral Officer David Koots (L2 Law), and Elections Coordinator Hannah Rackow (U4 Arts). Even once the second elections coordinator position—for which hiring is currently underway—is filled, it is a small team with a daunting mission.
The importance of adaptation and interpretation Just like the rest of SSMU, the Elections team is governed by the constitution and bylaws of the society. These lay out all of the guidelines and regulations by which Elections SSMU operates; some of these are the rules that must be enforced during campaign, while others detail internal processes—such as the official procedure for counting ballots. With every advance in electoral procedures or technology, the bylaws must also change to accommodate such advances. For example, in 2003 SSMU voted in favour of implementing an online voting system. While this innovation facilitates student participation and greatly increases accessibility to the political process, it also brought with it logistical complications and a plethora of new regulations to ensure that the online voting met the same quality and privacy standards as physical polling. These changes can now all be found in the bylaws. The tweaking of the bylaws is a perpetually ongoing project. Hubie Yu, last year’s CEO, left behind a list of bylaws which she feels need to be added, many of which stem from ambiguities in the rules that she encountered during her tenure. “This is something I told [Fung] about, as it happened several times last year. Many candidates try to take advantage of bylaws that are up for interpretation, and would try to argue and convince me to see it their way,” Yu
explained. “This is a tough situation as some bylaws don’t specifically say that they can’t do [certain things], but also don’t clearly state that they can.” Fung recounts such a situation from this year’s First Year Council (FYC) elections in September. “I had a student come up to me the other day, and she’s running for FYC. There’s a limit on the [size of posters], and she asked me how close [together] the posters could be; she wanted to paste them to make a bigger poster,” he laughed. “When students get really creative and we learn about things that we haven’t encountered before, then there becomes a need to introduce new bylaws—and there’s always a need to introduce new bylaws.” In the meantime, Fung explained, even having found a need for revision, the CEO must make a ruling interpreting the bylaws as they stand. “My authority and my interpretation just comes from the constitution and by-laws, and I do my best to represent the spirit of the constitution and by-laws. And try not to get ‘J-Boarded.’”
The J-Board The sole body that can overturn an Elections SSMU decision is the SSMU Judicial Board (J-Board), a panel of five full-time students from the McGill Faculty of Law. Any member of the society can bring a case to the J-Board, and after review they can chose to conduct a full investigation. Elections SSMU (then referred to as Elections McGill) was involved in a high-profile case after the Fall 2011 referendum, when then-CEO Rebecca Tacoma was brought before the J-Board for allegedly failing to fulfill the duties of her position. The case centred around QPIRG’s existence referendum, for which it claimed the wording of the question was unclear. It also alleged campaign violations from the ‘Yes’ committee,
and claimed that Tacoma had failed to demonstrate diligence and impartiality while carrying out her duties. Although the personal charges against Tacoma were not upheld, the result of the referendum was invalidated and it was held again in the spring. For Yu, who took office the following year, this case was a reminder of the level of scrutiny aimed at Elections SSMU. “During my time as CEO, it definitely made me very careful. When I made decisions, I sometimes would think about whether it could be justified if it [got] to J-Board,” Yu wrote. “CEO’s get J-Boarded pretty often. We only hear about the [cases] that get accepted by J-Board, but I was told that petitions [get] submitted—sometimes they’re just not accepted.” While a review by the J-Board is a concern for all members of Elections SSMU, the CEO is both the final decisionmaker and the front line of accountability. “In the constitution, the office of the CEO is synonymous with Elections SSMU, which is just another way of saying that the CEO is held responsible for all the decisions Elections SSMU makes,” Fung said. “It’s a way of holding us accountable for the decisions we’re making, and making sure we are following the constitution and bylaws.”
The pains of being apolitical While there are always ideas and initiatives within Elections SSMU to engage its membership and increase accessibility, its status as an arms-length agency of SSMU provides a logistical obstacle to any major institutional change. While it technically falls under the President’s portfolio, none of its actions or initiatives can reflect the politics of the sitting president. Redel expressed
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10 | FEATURES
A closer look at Elections SSMU
there are few opportunities to quantify it the way that an election can. As such, it is very easy for the issue of apathy to fall to Elections SSMU. According to former SSMU President Josh Redel, the Elections team has a role to play in this issue, but the burden of responsibility has to be shared. “You’d call the Elections SSMU [team] apolitical and purely logistics, and [yet] voter apathy is a political problem, [so it’s] something that would fall within [the SSMU] executive’s role,” Redel said. “It’s [Elections SSMU’s] role to get people out to vote, but not to get them interested in SSMU [itself].” Current VP University Affairs Joey Shea expressed a similar sentiment. “It’s up to the students, once they’ve heard the speeches and seen the chalkboards, whether they’re going to click on that email,” she said. “That’s not Elections SSMU’s responsibility.” At times, however, apathy has morphed into negativity and hostility. Yu received angry—and at times vulgar—emails and tweets in response to her outreach efforts during last year’s election period. “Most of the negative emails I received last year acknowledge the importance of elections, but they just don’t care,” Yu said. “I think people are sick of getting listservs, and sick of constantly getting information forced onto them, via class announcements or when candidates are handing out flyers,” Yu wrote. Fung says he learned from Yu’s approach. “Hubie’s philosophy was ‘Don’t let the haters get you down,’” he recalled. “She had no problems powering through it, and it was quite impressive.”
the frustration that came with this semiindependent status. “How do we find that balance where I’m not interfering or influencing Elections SSMU, but still putting into place some new projects—like the new elections software [and] videos in the ballots,” he said. “I think that’s why we always see, year to year, in the end, the same stuff put forward, because there’s so many of these nuances in the politics of things and the boundary between SSMU and Elections SSMU that don’t let us work to find those creative solutions in the middle.” While some initiatives were successfully brought to fruition, such as video pensketches for elections candidates, and increased web presence, there were also roadblocks put up by this division. There was an idea to put hyperlinks to external resources and background information into the text of referendum questions, though it was brought to a halt when the concern arose of how to choose an unbiased range of sources. “The issue with that is inherently it’s going to be political,” Redel pointed out. “So it’s that never-ending circle of how to inform people. No matter what you do, even if you list articles from all sides, you’re going to be missing something, or someone’s going to think you’re missing something.”
Moving forward An unavoidable reality of Elections SSMU is that regularly scheduled events will always take precedence over all other potential plans. Already this year it has conducted the FYC elections, and the student nomination period for the Fall referendum is open until Oct. 11. Nevertheless, there are also biggerpicture projects and initiatives for the year already underway. Fung has ambitions to establish mobile polling stations by equipping elections officers with iPads rented from the library, and is already contemplating his outreach strategy for the Winter election and referendum period—easily the biggest event of the year for Elections SSMU. “Exactly how that’s going to turn out we’re not sure yet, because it could be something like sharks and gorillas
fighting each other, or it could be more like awareness campaigns you see everywhere else,” Fung said, gesturing to last year’s SSMU Executive candidate debate posters, which featured various animals engaged in combat. For Fung, however, the most important legacy that he can leave behind will be found in the constitution
Infographic by Alessandra Hechanova Photos by Wendy Chen Data from Elections SSMU
Ph oto s co urt esy of t he Mo ntr eal
Confronting student apathy While some students do seek to hold the organization accountable, others seem not to care at all. Elections SSMU continues to have extremely low visibility and awareness amongst students. This is a serious problem for an organization plagued with chronically low voter turnout. Last year’s Winter election was considered a success with 29.1 per cent of students showing up to the polls; Fall referendum periods generally experience even lower turnout. Student apathy is a significant challenge faced by SSMU as a whole, but
and bylaws. “It’s the institutional memory—it’s what stays through generation after generation,” Fung said. “That’s why the [constitutional reform] process works so well, because the avenues for change are there.”
David Koots Deputy Electoral Officer
Hannah rackow Elections Coordinator
Ne uro log ica l In stit ute
Benjamin Fung Chief Electoral Officer
Science & technology Science from
SCIENCE FICTION Alexander Messina Contributor From the moment it was first ignited in an old hermit’s home in the middle of Tatooine, the lightsaber captured the imagination of moviegoers. The steady humming of a blue blade of plasma bouncing off its scarlet counterpart has made generations of fans all over the world want one of their own. Made popular by the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the lighsaber has generated quite a legacy for itself. Lightsabers have remained in the realm of fiction ever since they first appeared on screen. No known physics model could explain the ways the bars of light made contact with each other. However, this past September, recent findings by a team of scientists from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showed light behaving in a fashion reminiscent of the blade of the lightsaber. Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Physics Professor Vladan Vuletic managed to bind photons—particles of light—together to form molecules. Using weak laser pulses, the scientists shone photons through a special medium—a cloud of rubidium atoms—in a chamber just a few degrees above absolute zero. Normally, photons are described as massless particles that do not
interact with each other; when you shine two rays of light together, the beams simply pass through one another. However, when Lukin and Vuletic sent two photons through the special medium, the particles escaped the other end as a single molecule. This phenomenon—where the photons clumped together as if they had mass and formed molecules—can be explained through the Rydberg Blockade concept. As the photons travel through the cloud, their energy excites the rubidium atoms in the medium along their path. This excitation causes the photons to interact in such a way that they slow down tremendously. The photons regain their normal behaviour once they leave the special medium, exactly like when light passes through water or a prism. While Star Wars fans would love their own lightsabers, the motivation behind this particular research was instead its potential applications in quantum computing—a field introduced in the ’80s by mathematician Yuri Manin and theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. Quantum computers are similar to current computers on the market, except that instead of using bits as a storage basis, they use qubits. A bit represents a 1 or 0 in classical computers, and is sim-
The Rydberg Blockade concept could lead to the development of lightsabers. (Dorothy Yang / McGill Tribune) ply an electrical switch, which can be either on or off. A qubit, on the other hand, relies on the quantum mechanical notion that something can exist in all its states at once. As computers progress, the size of their processors continue to get smaller. There is a limit to this, however, and manufacturers are rapidly approaching the smallest sizes possible. Theoretically, quantum computing would help increase computers’ processing
power. Lukin and Vuletic’s findings provide a clue in the direction of the storage of quantum information and on the process of inducing photon interaction—two important concepts for designing a quantum computer. With the discovery of a new state of matter comes a veritable flurry of new applications. In an interview with the Harvard Gazette, Lukin suggested that by
utilizing this phenomenon crystal structures could one day be made entirely out of light. The day we all own our own lightsabers might not be so far off. Despite the fact that these “blades of light” do not radiate heat, generate energy, nor can they be contained in a single hilt at the moment, these findings just go to show that science will go to the greatest of lengths to realize the impossible.
Research brief: Computer game aids DNA research Caity Hui Science & Technology Editor Thanks to the work of McGill professors Jérôme Waldispühl and Mathieu Blanchette, anyone with access to the Internet can contribute to current research in molecular biology. The duo designed a computer game known as Phylo, aimed at harnessing the problem solving abilities of humans to decipher the multiple sequence alignment problem—comparing sequences of DNA, RNA, and proteins to identify regions
of similarity. These comparisons can be used to trace the source of certain genetic diseases. Though the game was released in 2010, it has recently gained attention for its innovative use of citizen science, and the future applications of similar technologies. Phylo allows you to slide coloured blocks back and forth to align them with other similarly coloured blocks, leaving as few gaps as possible. These blocks represent the DNA, RNA, and proteins that are present in our genome (the genetic material of an organism). Accompanied by piano
music and resembling a cross between Tetris and Connect Four, this computer game is one of several crowd-sourcing initiatives to engage non-scientific volunteers in researching and troubleshooting scientific questions. “We wanted to tap into casual gamers, not into people with a foundation in science. That’s why we make it accessible: You can just go on a website, play one game and leave. It takes 30 seconds, and it might change your mind; [if] you had fun, and you’ll reuse it,” Waldispühl explained in an interview this September with
the Globe & Mail. While computer algorithms are usually used for comparing genomes, these programs do not generate optimal results. According to the Phylo website, “This is due in part to the sheer size of the genome, which consists of roughly three billion base pairs, and the increasing computational complexity resulting from each additional sequence in an alignment.” With Phylo, humans have the opportunity to improve the algorithms that the computer has already generated. Waldispühl and
Blanchette based this idea on the fact that humans have evolved to recognize patterns and solve visual problems efficiently. The comparison of genomes is one of the most powerful tools in molecular biology. It aids in identifying new genes and mapping DNA. Most importantly, by comparing sequences between animals, biologists can trace the source of certain genetic diseases—a process the public may now contribute towards. Phylo can be accessed at: http://phylo.cs.mcgill.ca
Curiosity delivers. |
science & technology
| Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The PREDICT program: an effort to fight newly emerging disease Project has discovered more than 250 new viruses in areas of the world where people and animals live in close contact Krishanth Manokaran Contributor SARS, HIV/AIDS, H1N1, and West Nile: these diseases are not just notorious for their human and economic impact; they also share a common trait. All four of these diseases are derived from animals, and they’re only a few of many. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), zoonotic diseases are diseases transmitted between animals and humans. “They aren’t new—the first cases occurred thousands of years ago,” said William B. Karesh, executive vice president for Health and Policy of EcoHealth Alliance. Rabies, while still prevalent today, is an example of an ancient zoonotic disease, he explained. “In addition to these persistent zoonotic diseases, we’re also facing an emergence of novel diseases.” In a recent study by the CDC, zoonotic diseases were shown to represent 75 per cent of the newly emerging diseases affecting people worldwide. In an effort to identify and respond to them before they spread to humans, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) established its Emerging Pan-
demic Threats (EPT) program in the fall of 2009. The EPT program consists of four projects: PREDICT, RESPOND, IDENTIFY, and PREVENT. “What PREDICT is trying to do is get in front of potential outbreaks to find viruses that are at risk of infecting people and prevent them before they become the next pandemic,” Karesh explained. PREDICT operates globally in 20 countries that are hotspots for disease emergence through an association with U.S.-based organizations including EcoHealth Alliance, UC Davis, Smithsonian Institute, as well as local and international governmental and scientific partners. Karesh explains that in such countries as Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia, disease surveillance is focused on a range of settings to help identify where and how transmission opportunities may occur. For example, it is important to look at free-ranging animals, hunted game, or animals sold in markets. After scientists collect swabs or small amounts of blood from animals, they analyze the samples in the lab to look for evidence of disease. These findings are catalogued in a database that
mathematical experts use to create predictive maps of potential disease outbreaks. “This [approach] not only allows researchers to find new diseases, but also helps communities prepare for and respond to the threat of an outbreak,” Karesh said. “The PREDICT program is a great model of how we can move from response and detection to control and prevention.” What makes certain animals better hosts than others? According to Karesh, genetic relatedness plays a big part in shaping risk of transmission to humans. Bats, rodents, and non-human primates are the target for surveillance given their past history of zoonotic disease emergence. However, Karesh explains that “Human-animal contact also plays an important role—domestic animals have historically had an influence, but we’re seeing that as humans create more opportunities for contact with wild animals, we’re also creating opportunities for disease emergence.” “PREDICT has so far identified [more than] 250 previously unknown viruses lurking in the wild,” Karesh said. “The program has also helped respond to human and animal outbreaks
ASK SCITECH Can we rust to death? Clad in a red iron power suit, this American superhero is known for defending the world with the Avengers. However, Iron Man’s plates of armor proved more than just a military weapon; they also saved his life and allowed him to escape captivity to become the superhero he is today. What distinguishes this character from his super counterparts is that unlike Spiderman and Superman, one in every 200 people in North America faces a similar condition; and they, too, can attribute their survival to these suits of iron. Hemochromatosis is a hereditary genetic disorder that disrupts how the body metabolizes iron. A mutation in the gene HFE, which controls the amount of iron absorbed from the bloodstream, is responsible for this disease. Though rare, the condition can lead to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart arrhythmias, and
cirrhosis. So, why would such a deadly disease be bred into the genetic code? According to Sharon Moalem, author of Survival of the Sickest, hemochromatosis is still prevalent within the population because it could have conferred a selective advantage to those suffering from the bubonic plague in the 1300s. Normally, the body regulates the amount of iron it absorbs from food. Through releasing the peptide hormone hepcidin, it can control how much iron is absorbed by the intestines, used in body processes, and stored in various organs. Hence, when the body detects sufficient iron levels in the bloodstream, it reduces the amount of iron absorbed by the intestines, allowing any excess iron to simply pass through. In this case, if one were to stock up on iron supplements, it would still be impossible for the body to overload on iron. Hemochromatosis disrupts the normal role of hepcidin in a
Using the PREDICT program, scientists hope to better anticipate and prevent outbreaks of disease caused by zoonotic viruses. (giornalettismo.com) such as Ebola and yellow fever”. This program will assist in investigating the epidemiology of outbreaks and, in the case of human outbreaks, determine if there is an animal component. According to Karesh, the Bas Congo virus—named for the region where it appeared in the Democratic Republic of Congo— represents a recent example where PREDICT responded to an undiagnosed human outbreak and
identified a novel agent as the source. “As we head into the last year of the program, we are focusing on compiling final results and producing meaningful outputs that will benefit global health,” Karesh explained. “Our local partners are working with government ministries to develop plans to continue in-country efforts [towards similar goals].”
By Caity Hui
person. The body consistently believes it is in a perpetual state of iron deficiency and absorbs the compound unabated, even once it has surpassed a typical absorption limit. This iron loading has deadly consequences. Over time, the excess iron is deposited throughout the body in various organs and acts as a poison by disrupting their function and causing disease. In a sense, hemochromatosis victims are rusting to death. So, if hemochromatosis is such a lethal disease, why is it still prevalent in our population? Thanks to a process known as natural selection, everything in our genes happens for a reason. The link between hemochromatosis and human survival can be explained by the relationship between organisms and iron. Iron plays an important role in almost every organism’s survival. Just as humans require iron for their metabolism, many forms of bacteria also depend on this compound in
order to grow and propagate within their host. As a result, the human body has developed several mechanisms to sequester its iron reserves in an effort to make it unavailable to invading pathogens. Starve the pathogens, and it becomes more difficult for an infection to develop. Curiously, people with hemochromatosis are actually less susceptible to infection than a non-hemochromatic person. Although the disease distributes excess iron throughout the body, it comes with one very beneficial side effect: the excess iron that the body absorbs isn’t distributed everywhere throughout the body. Macrophages—the police cells of the immune system—end up with significantly less iron available to pathogens than normal. This iron-lock down in macrophages confers a significant advantage to people fighting infection. When a normal person’s macrophages encounter an invading
pathogen, the pathogen may often harness the iron and use it to grow, spreading the infection throughout the lymphatic system. For a person with hemochromatosis, the lower iron content available to pathogens in macrophages means that the cells not only have the ability to kill intruders, they can also starve the infectious agents to death. “People who have the hemochromatosis mutation are especially resistant to infection because of their iron-starved macrophages,” Moalem explained in his novel. “So, though it will kill them decades later, they are much more likely than people without hemochromatosis to survive the plague, reproduce, and pass the mutation on to their children.” Moalem adds, “In a population where most people don’t survive until middle age, a genetic trait that will kill you when you get there but increases your chance of arriving is, well, something to ask for.”
arts & entertainment Theatre
Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the Real McCoy
Production set in the roaring ‘20s and dirty ‘30s breaks all the rules Chris Liu Contributor
The Segal Centre kicked off its season with a delightfully rambunctious musical revue. Ain’t Misbehavin’ celebrates music from the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the “Roaring Twenties” when AfricanAmerican artists sought to affirm pride in a new black identity. First conceived by Richard Maltby Jr. and Murray Horwitz with music by jazz pianist Thomas “Fats” Waller, the show went on to receive the Tony for Best Musical in 1978. This rendition, co-produced with Copa de Oro under the direction of Roger Peace, lives up to its reputation. Five outstanding performers deliver song after song, each more infectious than the last. The three-time Junowinning Kim Richardson is a devastating presence on stage, matching rich, full-blooded vocals with go-forthe-throat aplomb. When she sings, “If you break my heart I’ll break your jaw,” not a single soul in the room doubts her. Toya Alexis, Richardson’s frequent sparring partner, is equally ravishing, with two outstanding solos in “Squeeze Me” and “When the Nylons Bloom Again.” It’s former McGill student and rapper Jonathan Emile, however, who hits the high note of the show with “The Viper’s Drag,” a song fittingly about the fine art of getting high. The
lyrics are funny as-is (“I dreamed about a reefer, five feet long/A might immense, but not too strong”), but Emile’s delivery displays impeccable comedic timing and genuine charm. The slick and suave Michael-Lamont Lytle, who also served as dance captain, likewise won over audiences with both the romantic (“Honeysuckle Rose,” with Richardson) and the outrageous (“Your Feet’s Too Big”). The breakout star of the revue was clearly Aiza Ntibarikure. A 2011 Dawson College graduate, Ntibarikure proved capable of roughing and tumbling with the rest of the cast with an effervescent, no-holds-barred performance that channels Janelle Monáe. The cast is accompanied by an equally-talented quintet under the direction of Chris Barillaro. A McGill alumnus and former member of Players’ Theatre, Barillaro is also an incredibly talented pianist, and the production is fortunate to have his skills. Jean-Claude Olivier’s elegant, jazz club set design and Karen Pearce’s stylish costuming add touches of opulence to the production. As a celebration of a pivotal movement in music and American history, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is also very much an artefact of its times. Sometimes this requires a stretch of the imagination on the audience’s part, such as when Richardson appeals for us to donate our metals to the war ef-
The Ain’t Misbehavin’ chorus lines up another number. (Andrée Lanthier, courtesy of the Segal Centre)
fort (“Cash for Your Trash”). At other times, such as “Find Out What They Like,” the cost of datedness is too great to justifiably bear: “Find out what they like, and how they like it, and let him have it just that way/Give them what they want, and when they want it, without a single word to say/ You got to cater to a man and if you don’t, day and night, he’ll find some other gal to do the things you won’t.” Robin Thicke couldn’t have said it better himself.
In keeping with the light-hearted, full-throttle nature of the production, the cast double downs at such moments. Indeed, Richardson sings the aforementioned lines with such gusto and strength that she almost succeeds in turning the song into a message of empowerment. That the production could still be so entertaining, warts and all, is truly a testament to the skill of the performers in wooing and winning the audience over. Besides, there are plenty of numbers that are a pure
joy to see and hear. The sum total is a night of unforgettable music and passion, where the very essence of entertainment is distilled into a highly potent punch. Montreal last saw a production of the play in 1986, so no fan of theatre should pass up the present opportunity—Ain’t Misbehavin’ is nothing short of an absolute spectacle. Ain’t Misbehavin’ runs until Oct. 20 at the Segal Centre (5710 ch. De la Cote-Ste-Catherine). Student tickets are $29.
Virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani improves with age
Veteran musician discusses his latest album, the inspiration behind his music, and his love of sci-fi Martin Molpeceres Contributor
One could say that I have a love-hate relationship with Joe Satriani. I love his music, but I hate that he ruined the guitar for me. This may seem a little overdramatic, but hear me out. For when I was a young naïve lad, trying to learn the guitar, the first song I attempted was Joe Satriani’s “Tears in the Rain” from his acclaimed album The Extremist. This attempt failed miserably, forever turning me off of stringed instruments, and forcing me to swear a blood oath of vengeance against Satriani… …all of which flew out the window the moment I learned I would interview him about his latest album, Unstoppable Momentum, released earlier this year. “The whole album really is all about the different shades of my continuing, unexplainable enthusiasm about all things musical,” explains Satriani. Enthusiasm is right. With over
14 released studio albums, the savant guitarist is nothing if not prolific. “I think I’m much better today than I was 20 or 30 years ago,” he says, when asked how he feels his music has evolved since his beginnings. “The hope is that you go into this thinking ‘I can do this better than ever before.’ And I know a better way to tap into what my true talents [are] and how to more effectively connect the hearts with the note and not let the profit of making a record derail my emotional intention.” It’s that emotional intention that makes Satriani such a versatile composer. He draws on his life and day-to-day experiences and incorporates them into his music in order to create something people will find both compelling and relatable. “When I was 14 years old, I was just so excited about getting into writing for the new album, turning into music all sorts of feelings that seemed to be surrounding
me. Things going through life—the good times, the bad times; I really wanted to annotate musically and share it with people. The music on the record is a real journey. I think people will be able to see it’s a real cathartic record.” Released in May, Unstoppable Momentum is a fantastic symphony of optimism and energy that has almost come to define much of Satriani’s work. “One of the high points of this album was that there wasn’t anything that was really very difficult [...] which is why I think the album is so energetic and accessible. I think the emotion you can get out of the track has a quality to it that is a result [of not having] to struggle so much.” Along with enthusiasm and love of music, one of the more prevailing themes that Satriani has often visited in much of his work is that of science fiction. From Surfing with the Alien, which featured comic book character Silver Surfer, to album titles like Time Machine, there has always been an un-
derlying sense of otherworldliness with much of Satriani’s music. “Science fiction doesn’t seem that odd to me at all. It’s a method of telling the story of the human experience [...] which is that we are human beings, on a spinning ball, that [is] part of a solar system that [is] part of a galaxy.” “I’m not like a ‘Trekkie’ or anything like that,” he adds hastily. “I guess I’m a fan of science.” Unstoppable Momentum is yet another fantastic album from the acclaimed musician, and if the album’s title is any indication, then it is clear that Satriani has no plans to slow down anytime soon. “I’m living one day at a time, and I react with what goes on in my life by writing music, so I don’t know what’s coming at all.” Joe Satriani performs at 7:30 p.m. on October 9 at Théâtre StDenis (1594 St-Denis). Tickets are between $62-$92. Joe Satriani leans in to the groove. (weimprovise.net)
Curiosity delivers. |
arts & entertainment
| Tuesday, October 8, 2013
McGill Symphony Orchestra flourishes with triad of pieces World-renowned conductor Alexis Hauser leads a well-rehearsed group of students Julia Donahue Contributor This past Friday marked the opening of the McGill Symphony Orchestra’s 2013-2014 season, led by conductor Alexis Hauser. McGill music students were selected through an intense audition process at the beginning of September, and those who place in the orchestra represent some of McGill’s best talent. Friday’s program consisted of three contrasting pieces: Verdi’s Overture to La Forza del Destino, Alberto Ginastera’s Harp concerto, Op. 25, performed by McGill concerto competi-
tion winner Kristan Toczko, and Dvořák’s Symphony no. 8 in G major. The brass opened the Verdi with a powerful—and perfectly in tune—unison that effectively captured the audience’s attention. The strings followed in response, and they achieved a clarity and resonance that perfectly represented a professional performance. This piece went magnificently well, with beautiful sonorities coming unanimously from the woodwinds, brass and strings. The next piece featured harpist Kristan Toczko, winner of the McGill 2012-2013 concerto competition. Toczko performed
Ginastera’s harp concerto, a contemporary piece divided into four movements. This piece is percussive and dance-like in nature, and it was highly influenced by Argentinian folk music. It requires a great amount of virtuosity and advanced techniques from the soloist, and Toczko succeeded in this respect, while still maintaining a high amount of energy throughout her performance. Although the piece itself was overwhelming at times with its rhythmic and melodic complexity, especially in comparison to the Verdi that preceded it, Toczko displayed mastery of both the piece and her instrument.
After the intermission came Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. The orchestra handled this large undertaking well, with highlight performances from the cello section as well as from concertmaster Elizabeth Skinner. The woodwind section never failed to impress the audience with their tasteful interpretations and communication as a section. However, even though each section performed well individually, the orchestra as a whole lacked the energy and cohesion that was present in the other two pieces. This could obviously be a result of fatigue or nerves, but after the concert’s impressive opening, very high stan-
dards were set for the Dvořák, which the orchestra fell just short of attaining. The McGill Symphony Orchestra has a big year coming up as far as repertoire goes. They will be playing their next concert at the Maison Symphonique, home of the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, on Nov. 2. I would highly recommend going to a concert at least once this year to catch a glimpse of the amazing talent that McGill students have to offer—at very reasonable price—student tickets are only $10.
Miley Cyrus—inspiration or abomination? Despite her hit song’s title, Miley should stop Fan or not, you’ve heard of Miley Cyrus. The former Disney darling has, for the past few years, gone to greater and greater lengths to shed her Hannah Montana past. Now that the staggering transformation of her image is complete, the question becomes, how far will she go? The fact that the media was up in arms over a 2008 Vanity Fair photo shoot, which featured Cyrus wearing nothing but a bed sheet, seems almost laughable now, considering her latest performance at the VMAs and new video for the single “Wrecking Ball,” which features her wearing nothing but a pair of boots. Recently, Sinead O’Connor wrote a series of open letters to Cyrus, the first of which expressed concern “in the spirit of motherliness,” and the rest of which reacted harshly to Cyrus’s insensitive and dismissive tweets in response, mocking O’Connor for her history of mental illness. Perhaps it’s charitable of O’Connor to assume Cyrus is simply naïve and being controlled by her management, but unfortunately, the pop star’s intentions don’t count for much. She may be dancing on stage in a flesh-coloured bikini trying to convey that she doesn’t care what people think of her and that girls should be sexually empowered; but it becomes irrelevant if what people actually see is a former child star trying desperately to keep her look fresh and shocking enough to stay relevant, while promoting misogynist and borderline racist practices in the process. Cyrus’ cultural appropriation of ‘ratchet’ culture is nothing new, certainly. White artists have been doing this for years, but that in no way excuses her doing it now. Cyrus has admitted that she wants her new album to have a “black sound,” and
appears to use her back-up dancers almost as props to help her achieve this ‘ratchet’ vibe. I agree that it’s unfair for anyone to diminish the talent of these dancers by saying they were hired for merely having the ‘right look,’ but their roles in Cyrus’ performances scream objectification. Cyrus has also been the target of criticism for her skimpy wardrobe, as well as her provocative performance with Robin Thicke at this year’s VMAs. It’s problematic that the so-called ‘music’ industry is set up for young women to be valued for sex appeal over musical talent in terms of business strategy in the first place, but it also sends a veritable tidal wave of dangerous messages to today’s youth. Cyrus being so successful and constantly talked about makes it abundantly clear that this strategy may well work—that a woman’s body is more important than her talent or what she has to say—but at what cost? Cyrus seems to teach other young women that they should value themselves primarily upon their looks, or how many men they can attract, and to teach young men that women are to be seen first and foremost as sexual beings if we’re being generous—or as objects if we’re not. Regardless of Cyrus’ current awareness of these issues, they simply cannot continue to be ignored. She is seriously in need of a reality check or an education, and though Sinead O’Connor couldn’t get the job done, she needs to get one or the other sometime soon. —Jacqueline Gailbraith
Don’t hate—Miley is twerking all the way to the bank “I’m Miley Cyrus/I’m Miley Cyrus,” raps viral hip-hop artist Lil B, on “Miley Cyrus.” Released in the singer’s “Party in the U.S.A.” days, the absurd song references an unbelievable career arc: a former “Hannah Montana” making a sextuple platinum single, all while finishing up her contract with Disney. Now it’s 2013, and Miley Cyrus is still famous. She can sing, decently, but that’s not the reason she’s on the cover of Rolling Stone. It’s a different feature of the pop starlet that attracts magazine editors, rappers such as Pharrell and Kanye West, and hitmakers like Mike WiLL Made It, to work with her. “I think whether a reader relates to a cover star is not always the point,” says Harper’s Bazaar executive director Laura Brown. “They just need to find her interesting. And Miley, at this point in her life, certainly is.” “Whether you’re a Miley fan or not, she is the girl of the moment,” said Cori Murray, entertainment director at Essence magazine, in an interview with the Associated Press. “Business is business. [Rappers are] in the music business; she’s the girl of the moment, so why not get on record with the girl of the moment? That’s as basic as it’s going to get.” In fact, without Cyrus’ marketing strategy, she wouldn’t even be mentioned in The McGill Tribune. But after a controversial performance at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), and increasingly risqué publicity stunts, Miley
is filling a gap. On her latest album, Bangerz, the only other female singer featured is pop icon Britney Spears. The fact that Miley sees the Princess of Pop as an inspiration is telling. Both have an overall brilliant market strategy; Miley’s package consists of an MTV documentary, an album release, and ‘talked-about’ performances—performances that not only attract television viewership, but also reach a YouTube audience. Current single “We Can’t Stop” garnered a record-breaking 10.7 million views within 24 hours of its release, and now approaches a total of 225 million. Allegations of ‘cultural appropriation’ have some truth to them, but are misguided overall. At the VMAs, Cyrus performed with R&B singers Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke, but all three are appropriators. In fact, Thicke is now preemptively suing legendary black singer Marvin Gaye’s family after they rejected a six-figure settlement offer, and hopes for a ruling that summer hit “Blurred Lines” does not infringe on Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” But criticism of “Blurred Lines” is focused on accusations of misogyny, not exploiting black culture. The tone of this backlash is even more surprising considering many of the critics accusing Thicke of misogyny are the ones calling Cyrus promiscuous. You could accuse the late Elvis Presley of exploiting a genre that came before him, but in the end, “Money ain’t nothin’ but money when you get to the money, ain’t nothing but money,” as Cyrus claims on “Love Money Party.” To have such a comeback, Miley has to be doing something right.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 |
arts & entertainment
| Curiosity delivers.
ALBUM REVIEWS Sleigh Bells Bitter Rivals
RJD2 More Is Than Isn’t
Tony Dekker Prayer of the Woods
Mom + Pop Music
RJ’s Electrical Connections
If Sleigh Bells was like a Tootsie Pop, they’d be the hard candy exterior, hugging a gooey bubblegum interior— hiding a razor blade. Or rather, on Bitter Rivals, the Brooklyn duo’s third studio album, they’re the interplay of metal guitar, headstrong hip-hop beats, and sugary pop vocals. Those unfamiliar with the ‘noisepop’ group may be familiar with the whining guitars and fistful of noise that is “Crown on the Ground,” the Sleigh Bells track featured in the advertising campaign for Sofia Coppola’s summer film The Bling Ring. Band members Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss garnered a lot of positive attention with their freshman album Treats (2010), but somewhat less with follow-up release Reign of Terror (2012). Despite the sense of fun and energy they lost in their sophomore slump, they’ve redoubled their efforts in Bitter Rivals. Call it the sonic equivalent of downing a Jägerbomb. There’s been a steady magnetism between pop and metal as of late—one hinted at by Rihanna’s latest haircuts, and backed up sonically by Kanye West on Yeezus. With Sleigh Bells, this connection is strengthened by the fact that Bitter Rivals was mixed by Andrew Dawson, who himself was credited for his work on Yeezus. And like Yeezus, Bitter Rivals proves that when metal and pop get together, the result is pure, unadulterated fun. Sleigh Bells work their magic best when they intersect their slow, meandering melodies with more chaotic sounds. They did it on Treats standout “Rill Rill,” and they’ve done it again on Bitter Rivals’ standout “To Hell With You.” This track shares its spot at the top of the album with the totally belligerent “Sing Like a Wire,” which twists the opening three beats of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” into a stadium-filling banger. There’s very little music out there that I wouldn’t feel comfortable listening to in the car with my parents—but this is one of those albums. Your parents won’t like this album, and neither will your roommate. But trust me on this one when I say you will.
RJD2 has earned his reputation as one of instrumental hip-hop’s best composers and producers—and one of the genre’s most consistent, with triennial releases since 2004. After listening to his highly anticipated album More Is Than Isn’t, it’s fair to say he’s lived up to his name. Blending musical styles that rarely go together is one of RJD2’s fortes. More Is Than Isn’t offers an array of styles that will satisfy any mood: “Behold, Numbers!” is a calm but funky tune; “Milk Tooth” is all over the place, switching constantly from dark sections to happier ones; and the end of “Suite 3” changes so much it’s hard to tell what’s going on. Nevertheless, RJD2 sticks to his hip-hop roots and collaborates with rappers like P. Blackk, STS, Khari Mateen, Phonte Coleman, and Blueprint. In particular, the mix of laid-back rap with funky beats, in the background of “See You Leave (feat. STS And Khari Mateen),” makes it my personal favourite on the album. The trilogy of the “Suite” songs is also an album highlight. RJD2’s jazzoriented, melodic, and slow-tempo beats in “Suite 1” and “Suite 2,” juxtaposed with the inconsistency of “Suite 3,” imply a build-up of atmosphere. While this album may not receive the same hype that much-lauded debut Deadringer did, RJD2 has delivered an album that surpasses expectations.
Tony Dekker, lead singer and songwriter of Great Lake Swimmers, is set to release his first solo album, Prayer of the Woods, this week. For someone who has been so integral to the production of such a popular and successful Canadian indie-band, his solo act—although decent—is a bit of a let down in comparison to what the band has done as a cohesive group. There isn’t anything inherently unappealing about the album. Its overall sound is certainly enjoyable: calm, introspective, and meditating. It’s meant to evoke images of nature and to celebrate a human retreat into simplicity. But its wispy feel at times begs for a little more substance. The indie world has seen a lot of soft, alternative rock as of late: Bon Iver, William Fitzsimmons, Sufjan Stevens—the list goes on and on. It takes a certain nuance to stand out among the overcrowded population of confessional warblers, and it’s safe to say that this album is lacking whatever that special something might be. Nevertheless, there is some serious musicality infused into the tracks. Most notable among Dekker’s work is standout piece “Talking in Your Sleep,” a dreamlike, faster-paced tune. It contrasts from others with bright, waltzing rhythms, and well-crafted harmonies. The beautiful harmonica solo has a nostalgic feel, reminiscent of American folk band Beirut. For all fans of Great Lake Swimmers, this album is definitely worth a look. Prayer of the Woods is successful in transporting listeners to a more peaceful place and natural state of mind. Just don’t expect anything too unique.
— Jeremy Schipper
— Haaris Aziz
Danny Brown OLD Fool’s Gold
Dubbed OLD, due to fans continually asking for that “old Danny Brown,” this album takes the themes explored in Brown’s first album, XXX, and pushes them to their extremes. Drug use, abuse, grime, and introspection all come together in equal parts, and what we’re left with is an insane, bipolar, and unexpectedly dark tour-de-force which presents itself as Brown’s most ambitious project to date—not to mention my favourite. OLD, acting as a concept album of sorts, is divided into two halves. Side A is filled with narrative, sometimes frighteningly introspective tracks detailing Brown’s experiences with newfound fame, drug abuse, depression, and his childhood growing up impoverished in Detroit. Side B is the polar opposite, with every track devoted to getting whacked out on drugs and partying as hard as humanly possible. Bangers like “Dubstep,” featuring Scrufizzer, and “Kush Coma,” featuring A$AP Rocky and Zelooperz, are at home anywhere where the windows are open and the volume’s at max. In a nutshell, the tracks on Side B are heavily influenced by both Trap and EDM, and are about as in-your-face as it gets, painting a harrowing, behind-the-scenes picture of a Danny Brown slowly becoming the very addict which haunts his childhood memories. The album concludes with “Float On ft. Charli XCX”, a track on which Brown’s message is clearer than ever, though not one which provides a particularly apt conclusion to the album. The intended closer, “ODB,” was cut (it can be found on YouTube) due to an uncleared sample, but it more fittingly ties together all the wildly unique — Evie Kaczmarek loose ends that OLD offers. All in all, OLD is everything Danny Brown endeavoured to do with XXX, but on steroids (and MDMA, among others). It’s entertaining, it’s powerful, it’s complex, and it’s one of the best albums to come out in recent memory. — James Chapman
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Redmen rookie Di Ioia anything but green Mayaz Alam Sports Editor Redmen soccer star Massimo Di Ioia was introduced to the beautiful game at an early age and has lived for the sport ever since. The 26-year-old hails from Saint Leonard, Quebec, and has travelled the world with the Canadian Junior National Team, and also had the opportunity to wear the maple leaf on his chest during U-20 World Cup. In addition to this Di Ioia has lived the life of a professional footballer during stints with the Montreal Impact and Trois-Rivieres Attak before joining the Redmen this year. “I was probably five, six years old when I started and from there just grew up loving the game,” said Di Ioia. “I’m a boy from Montreal, [so] playing for the Impact was an ambition of mine and I eventually fulfilled that dream.” Di Ioia’s transition back to school was prompted by the lack of certainty and security in the world of professional athletics. As a member of the Impact he was just another cog in the machine and was at the behest of upper management. Playing as a professional, there was always the possibility of being called into the office one day and told that he was being sold from the team.
Di Ioia leads the RSEQ with seven goals scored on the season (Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune) Even worse, he could have been let go without a job. “[I just needed] something concrete to fall back on,” Di Ioia explained. Before playing for McGill, Di Ioia was subject to the CIS’ 365-day rule, in which student athletes must wait one full year from their last game as a professional before they can play for their varsity team. Athletes have certain peaks and primes during their playing career, and a year long absence from athletic competition can prove to be detri-
THIRD MAN IN Baseball recently saw the greatest closer to ever play put a cap on his storied career. Mariano Rivera sealed his legacy as baseball’s top relief pitcher with one and a third perfect innings over the Tampa Bay Rays during the New York Yankees’ last home game of the 2013 season. Long-time teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte made the walk out to the mound to pull Rivera from the game, who despite his best efforts, couldn’t help but show emotion. His heartwarming smile quickly turned to tears as he was embraced by teammates and overcome by the ovation from the crowd. After tipping his cap and acknowledging the fans who had cheered for him since his debut in 1995, he took his place on the bench and looked on as the Yankees finished their final home game of 2013. Rivera’s story could have been a fairy tale. Born in 1969 in Panama City, Panama, he grew up in a poor fishing village. Following a brief stint in Panama as a starting pitcher Rivera signed with the New York Yankees in
mental, despite the understandable reasoning behind the rule. “I think it’s logical that a player has to wait one full year to be eligible for the program,” said Di Ioia. “[Yet] in a certain way I still have a question mark to it because at the end of the day you’re preventing a player from representing his [university], and I don’t know if it’s positive or negative for the player.” The first year physical education student is returning to his studies following an extended absence from the classroom. Like many
other freshmen, he faces difficulty as he tackles the rigors of a university course load. In addition to academics, a varsity athlete takes on a burden that makes an already tough adjustment even tougher. “I think I’m learning the hard way,” said Di Ioia. “It’s a very difficult transition and you have to be very organized [….] Trainings are very demanding [and] school is very demanding here at McGill. If you’re not on top of your studies, you’ll fall behind very quickly.” His arrival to the Redmen has been integral to the team’s growth and success this season as he has provided not only tremendous talent but a veteran presence to a squad with 17 rookies. “I’m always open to helping the guys [.…] If they need help I’m always there for them […] on and off the field where I can guide them and lead them seeing as I have been exposed to a certain level [of…] experience professionally,” said Di Ioia. In addition to this, he has been involved with coaching locally in the Montreal area with youth programs. The effect it has had on his game has been profound. The most impactful benefit he has noticed deals with his interactions with his fellow teammates and his coaching staff. “I think it has made me under-
stand players much better,” he said. “When I was just playing and coaches would make decisions, I wouldn’t understand why [I was not playing], or what [I was] doing wrong,” said Di Ioia. Looking to the future he believes that soccer—and athletics as a whole—will continue to be a part of his life. “I’d love to stay in soccer [as a coach],” Di Ioia said. “I think this degree can help [.…] If that doesn’t pan out I think I’d be able to be a good [physical education] teacher one day.” The Redmen have had an upand-down season in which they have played strongly but have suffered from inconsistency and sudden lapses. Nonetheless, Di Ioia is currently the RSEQ’s leading goal scorer and is optimistic about his squad’s prospects for the rest of the season. “Right now we’re in fourth position. I think we’re a solid team that has competed with everyone in the league. We’re not far away from any team and we shouldn’t have doubts about ourselves [.…] Once we reach the playoffs it’s a brand new season.” Interview conducted by Remi Lu. Visit www.mcgilltribune.com/ sportspodcast to listen to the entire interview.
Sandman closes the curtain
Mariano bids farewell to baseball. (The Huffington Post) 1990. Over the next five years, Rivera dominated the minor leagues despite surgery to his pitching arm. However, once called up to the majors, Rivera struggled to settle into a role as a starting pitcher. He found his true calling in 1996 as a set-up man before ascending to the closer’s role the following season. Since then, he has redefined what it means to be a dominant closer. As a major league closer, Mariano Rivera has an incomparable resume. When Rivera began his reign, Lee Smith was the career leader in saves, with 473; Rivera’s 652 saves have since made Smith’s numbers look almost pedestrian. He has thrown
the final strike in four World Series, twice as many as any other pitcher. His 42 post-season saves and 11 World Series saves far surpass the next best marks of 18 and 6, respectively. His 2.21 career ERA (earned run average) is good for thirteenth of all-time, and his 1.00 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) ranks third all-time. He’s pitched to a 0.70 post-season earned run average and set the bar for clutch post-season performances, having earned World Series MVP honours in 1999 and ALCS MVP honours in 2003. Rivera undoubtedly changed the game of baseball. Never before had the sport seen a pitcher so absolutely dominant and un-
forgiving with just one pitch—his cutter tormented the American League’s best hitters for nearly two decades. However, what was more impressive than his signature pitch was his ability to instill fear in opposing lineups. Rivera’s entrance music, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, was all it took to signal to everyone in the stadium that the game was over. Despite the ease with which Rivera mowed down his opposition, he never showed a hint of the ego, nor the braggadocio, associated with the fiery closers of this generation; Rivera would simply walk over to his catcher and thank the backstop. It was the same automatic routine 652 times. His great achievements and reserved personality on the mound have earned him respect from players, coaches, and sportswriters alike. In addition to this, the Sandman’s presence in baseball changed the salary structure for relief pitchers. Rivera was awarded a $7.25 million salary following arbitration in 2000, the highest figure given to a player irrespective of position at the time.
It is because of his landmark deal that relief pitchers now have the clout within an organization to be able to demand salaries that are comparable to those of starting pitchers. Rivera is universally recognized as simply the best there has ever been. That recognition was evident as the Yankees played their final games in opposing teams’ stadiums for the 2013 season. Those visits saw Rivera receive gifts from opposing teams ranging from donations to his charity to prized game memorabilia. The most memorable was the Minnesota Twins’ rocking chair built from broken bats that his pitches had shattered in hitters’ hands. The splintered bats serve as a timeless reminder of the futility faced by opposing hitters, managers, and fans alike as Rivera was called upon to carry the Yankees to victory. After 19 years, five World Series, and one legendary career, Mariano Rivera has given more to baseball than could possibly be given to him in return. —Natan Weinberger
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 |
| Curiosity delivers.
Despite starting the season with considerable media hype, the Toronto Blue Jays failed spectacularly in meeting the lofty expectations set upon them after a series of blockbuster moves over the off-season. Two contributors weigh in on whether or not the Jays should start from scratch.
Measured steps lead to success
Jays must hit the reset button
over across the board and in the clubhouse. To do this, the Blue Jays need to model this off-season after that of the 2012 Boston Red Sox. Boston was supposed to be a playoff team under new manager Bobby Valentine but the team underachieved, similar to the 2013 Blue Jays. However, the Red Sox identified their strengths and weaknesses, and addressed them through bold trades, free-agent signings, and brought in a new manager (former Blue Jays manager John Farrell) at the end of the season. The Jays need to do the same thing. Offensive and defensive wins above replaced (WAR), a statistic that shows the number of wins a player brings to his team, reveals that Edwin Encarnación and Colby Rasmus are the Jays’ most valuable players. Essentially, Toronto needs to rebuild around these two rising stars. The Jays also have to get rid of veterans Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, J.P. Arencibia, and R.A. Dickey in order to sign free agent catcher Brian McCann and Canadian first-baseman Justin Morneau. These moves will also open up playing opportunities for the surplus of outfield prospects the team has waiting in the wings. Fortunately, there is hope for the 2014 Jays. The Red Sox were able to fire on all cylinders as they went from the bottom in the division (69-93) in 2012 to the top of the league (97-65) in 2013. The Jays just need to hit the reset button and build a team that can contend for the 2014 World Series. — Aaron Rose
The Toronto Blue Jays’ 2013 season was abysmal. For a team that had World Series aspirations, finishing the season 14 games under .500 is simply embarrassing. What’s even more concerning than going from pre-season favourites to 17.5 games out of the nearest playoff spot is the fact that it appears nothing is going to change heading into the 2014 season. None of the 111 errors (the fifth most in the league) committed last season or the numerous coaching mistakes are as unforgivable as not hitting the reset button on this team. Simply put, John Gibbons must be fired. It’s unfathomable how this coach has been able to hold onto his job for this long. He steered the Titanic right into the iceberg, and for some reason, the Jays are going to let him captain the ship for another year. It’s evident through Toronto’s league-leading 12 ejections that he did not have control over the team. Unfortunately, this was foreseeable, as Gibbons ended his last coaching stint in Toronto without the respect of key veterans. Rather than starting another season with John Gibbons at the helm, the Jays should hire Dominican-born and former Cleveland Indians’ manager Manny Acta to lead the team into 2014. Toronto currently has 11 Latino players on their roster, including nine from the Dominican Republic. The hiring of Acta, who has big-league experience and has coached Dominican teams along with numerous Latino players, would be in the Jays’ best interest. The team’s issues do not end with Gibbons, however; they need an extreme make-
Following the Toronto Blue Jays’ busy off-season in 2012, World Series aspirations were on fans’ minds. Expectations were extremely high for the new-look Jays, and why not? Many experts picked them to win the World Series. Vegas had them as the favourites. But instead of returning to the playoffs after a twenty-year absence, they finished last in their division (74-88). When a team runs into this scenario, it seems inevitable that the manager, the general manager, or both will be on the chopping block. This was the case with the Boston Red Sox after their disappointing 2012 season. The team vastly underperformed and ended up trading core players. In the off-season, the team fired manager Bobby Valentine and brought in then-Jays’ manager John Farrell to replace him. This season the Red Sox won the AL East, leading some to think that the Jays should go down the same path. Many have been quick to attribute the Red Sox’s turnaround to a new manager and a new attitude, but have tended to ignore other factors. A number of the team’s stars who spent much or all of 2012 injured came back and had career years. Those players that struggled in 2012 also returned to normal form. To credit all this to a manager switch and a salary dump is short-sighted and foolish. Just as John Farrell did not make the Red Sox great on his own, John Gibbons should not field all the blame for the disastrous season. It is sometimes said that a manager should be judged on his abil-
ity to manage personalities and the bullpen. Gibbons is also widely known to be a players’ manager. Furthermore, the Jays’ bullpen was fourth in the AL in ERA and had two all-stars among its stable of arms, while also pitching the third-most innings out of any bullpen in the league. Gibbons is not the problem and firing him is not a solution. If you want to find a problem with the Jays in 2013, look no further than the doctor’s office as injuries decimated the squad. Key players Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, and Colby Rasmus, along with pitcher Brandon Morrow, all missed significant time this season, which naturally contributed to the squad’s misfortune. Although it’s clear the team needs pitching help, the calls to get rid of Bautista or starting pitcher R.A. Dickey are unnecessary. Bautista is one of the 20 or 30 best hitters in the MLB and Dickey’s value has never been lower. The Jays’ ownership is by no means looking to cut salary, and trading away players who don’t have value in the trade market does not make sense. The Jays don’t need to make a splash this off-season. Instead, they should look to smaller additions to fill in holes in the rotation and infield. Instead of moving away from the long-ball, the Jays must find table-setters to be on base for when those home runs are hit. This can be a good team. Hitting the panic button now won’t solve the Jays’ problems. In fact, it may just make them worse. — Wyatt Fine-Gagné
Editors’ pick: Stay the course The Blue Jays’ season was indeed disastrous, but an overhaul of the clubhouse would be a rash decision that may have long-lasting repurcussions. Toronto’s fanbase and the media should reserve judgement until the squad has played a full season together.
can’t Beat Us?
Come to our meetings Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in Shatner 110. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Ravens turn the tables, sweep Redmen in semi-final Quiet bats spell an end to McGill’s playoff hopes Wyatt Fine-Gagné Contributor The McGill Redmen baseball team was swept on Saturday in their best-of-three semifinal playoff match-up against Carleton. The team was eliminated after losing both games of a double header this past Saturday. This was a repeat of last year’s semifinal match-up, which saw the Redmen go on to win the Northern Conference Championship. This year, riding a four-game winning streak, the second seeded Redmen
were again considered favourites over the visiting Ravens, but McGill’s struggles at the plate set its fate. Adriano Petrangelo, who posted a 0-1 record and a 3.50 ERA this season, started the first game. After giving up a first-inning home run, McGill responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning sparked by back-to-back hits from shortstop Tyler Welence and right fielder Channing Arndt. Carleton chipped away at the lead over the next few innings before breaking through with a big
double in the fifth inning to take the lead 5-4. McGill’s Justin Hii entered the game in relief of Petrangelo and gave up a seventh-inning home run to make it 6-4, the final score of the game. Southpaw James Vardy got the call in game two and was stellar, pitching a complete game and giving up just one run. However, McGill couldn’t put anything on the board, losing 1-0. “Our goal was to chase their starter out early and test their bullpen, but we couldn’t string anything together, and our morale really suf-
fered,” said third-year Redmen pitcher Landen Moore. “Carleton stayed up the whole game and I think we froze up a bit when we realized our season was on the line.” After putting up four runs in the first inning of game one, they were held scoreless for 13 straight innings. Inconsistent bats have been a frequent problem this season for the Redmen. Wins have come from a single big inning, but against Carleton that elusive inning didn’t come. As the Redmen packed up for the last time this year, starting pitch-
er Elliott Ariganello reflected upon the team’s efforts this season. “Of course it was a disappointing day for all of us,” he said. “I mean, we really believed in the talent and potential of this team. We have no choice but to shake it off, work hard in the off-season, and come back next year with a chip on our shoulder. There’s resilience in this team, and you can bet it will be on display next September.”
Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Mcgill 29, Bishop’s 30
Redmen drop the ball in stunning finish
McGill falls to .500 in playoff chase; Collin accounts for 370 yards in return to starting role Mayaz Alam Sports Editor In the last minute of regulation with the score even at 29-29, the McGill Redmen (3-3) punted to the No. 8 ranked Bishop’s Gaiters (4-2) in the hopes of playing out the clock and taking the game to overtime. What was supposed to be another routine kick turned into the most exciting play of the game. Defensive back Simon Lamontagne forced a fumble and the ball was kicked on the ground towards the endzone by the Gaiters’ defensive back O’Shane Daley. The ensuing goal line scramble was ended by McGill linebacker Chris O’Kill, but not before another point was tacked onto the scoreboard thanks to a rouge in an odd turn of events. The Gaiters came out on top by the narrowest of margins in a tightly contested affair. “I’ve seen scenarios like that, but I’ve never seen it basically end the game,” explained Redmen Head Coach Clint Uttley. “There were about five scenarios within that play
McGill offence threatens to score. (Jack Neal / McGill Tribune) that had to fall Bishop’s way [for them to win] and all five of them fell Bishop’s way.” Statistically, the two teams were nearly inseparable. Bishop’s had 32 first downs to McGill’s 31 while gaining 515 yards to the hosts’ 508. However, McGill was playing catch-up for most of the game as they fell behind 22-5 in the first half. The offensive output for the visitors came primarily from the arm of quarterback Jordan Heather. He carved up the Redmen defense to the tune of 438 yards and was able
10 the MLB
to connect with receiver Adekolu for two touchdowns in the first half. McGill’s offensive engine was once again led by a balanced backfield combination. However, this time it was senior quarterback Jonathan Collin underneath center, not last week’s CIS Fooball player of the week Pierre-Luc Dussault, who was sidelined with an injury. Collin gained 320 yards through the air while rushing for 50 yards and scoring three touchdowns total. Sophomore running back Luis GuimontMota posted his fifth 100-yard rush-
ing game of the season with 168. Another McGill sophomore, JeanPhilippe Paquette, had 167 yards receiving. The start of the fourth quarter saw the game halt for nearly 30 minutes after Gaiters defensive back Jonathan Fortin tackled Collin during a goal line stand. Fortin lay motionless as both squads joined together on the 50 yard line. He was taken away by an ambulance and was hospitalized before play resumed. All of McGill’s touchdowns came in the second half as they were finally able to find consistency. Uttley attributed it to a renewed commitment to the rushing attack “It was more a case of us deciding to run the ball [....] because the quarterback for Bishop’s, he’s having a great season,” explained Uttley. “We figured the more we ran the ball, the more time we used up, the more he would sit on the bench.” The Redmen are currently sit-
ting in the fourth and final playoff spot in the RSEQ with two games remaining. One of those will be a rematch against the Gaiters that will take place in Lennoxville. Sherbrooke (2-4) currently sits in fifth place with two games remaining; one against No. 2 ranked powerhouse Laval (6-0), and the other against bottom-feeder Concordia (0-6). The RSEQ enjoys a bye week during which the Redmen hope to make several adjustments ahead of their next match. “We have to score more points in the first half. [Also], we have to get rid of all our pre and post-snap penalties [...and] learn to defend a lead at the end of a game,” explained Uttley. “We just have to get a little more healthy, because a lot of [our] kids [...] are really banged up, so hopefully the bye helps that as well.” McGill’s next game is against the No. 7 ranked Montreal Carabins in the annual Homecoming game on Oct. 19 in Molson Stadium.
things you’ll love about:
The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates made the playoffs—or even had a winning season—was 1992. This was the year the Blue Jays won the World Series for the first time. This was also the year when the Rugrats first crawled their way onto the screen.
Droughts are ending all over the place, with Marlon Byrd of the Pirates and David DeJesus of the Tampa Bay Rays finally getting a shot at October baseball. Both have been around the major leagues for over a decade, and both were traded to their respective teams around a month before the end of the regular season.
Meanwhile, Beantown hero David Ortiz and St. Louis Cardinal, Adam Wainwright will each be going to the post-season for his eighth try at a World Series ring. Both have won the World Series twice: Wainwright in 2006 and 2011 and Ortiz in 2007 and 2010.
While Big Papi is a legendary post-season hitter, he doesn’t even come close to Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran’s level. He is the all-time playoff leader in slugging (.782), and his home run in game one of the NLDS was his 15th post-season home run, moving him into third place (tied with Babe Ruth) for the all-time lead. As if this weren’t impressive enough, he’s done it all in only 34 post-season games.
Speaking of not wasting time: after a horrendous start to the regular season, the Dodgers punched their ticket to the postseason with a historic 42-8 tear from late-June to mid-August. The NL West champions, last place in their division by a wide margin back in June, were the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff berth.
by: Elie Waitzer If you think that’s timely, take a look at what the St. Louis Cardinals have done this year with men on base. Through the regular season, the Cards hit an incredible .330 with runners in scoring position (RISP)—far and away the highest mark recorded since the stat was established in 1974. First-baseman Allen Craig leads the pack at a blistering clip of .454. But not even Craig has been as clutch as…
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… The Tampa Bay Rays, who have now played an astounding three win-or-go-home games since 2011—and have won every time. With their season on the line, the Rays have survived against the Yankees, the Rangers and the Indians. These are teams with payrolls that double and triple that of Tampa Bay, who have the third lowest payroll in the league this year after spending three million less than…
…. The Oakland Athletics—the fourth thriftiest team in baseball this season. If we compare the ‘Moneyball’ era teams from 2000-2001 with the A’s two most recent seasons, we get a remarkably similar picture. The winning percentages are 0.597 to 0.583; both are the second best marks in the game. Again, they’re doing it without breaking the bank. Once inflation is incorporated, the 2012-2013 A’s account for 1.9 per cent of the total league payroll—a paltry 0.1 increase from the ‘Moneyball’ A’s 1.8 per cent share. Billy Beane hasn’t lost his touch, and, if class and restraint wins you ball games… … The Atlanta Braves should be taking notes. The NL East Champs have not made any friends with their escapades down the home stretch of the regular season. The Braves have cleared the benches over a 20-year-old pitcher lingering at home plate after hitting his first career home run, and by physically stopping an opposing team’s player from crossing home plate because he was “disrespecting the game.” If a team wants to take things over the top, they need a better reason… … Like playing in its first postseason game in twenty-one years. On a night where baseball fans across the world were cheering for Pittsburgh, the atmosphere inside PNC Park was electric. In front of a record attendance crowd of 40,487, 36-year-old journeyman Marlon Byrd—in his first playoff at-bat of his life—sent Johnny Cueto’s fastball into the stands. That is baseball magic. It is for moments like these that you should watch the MLB Playoffs this October.
Photos from Salvador and Itaparica Island By Sacha Pereira Da Silva