The McGill Daily: Vol. 112, Issue 17

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Volume 112, Issue 17 | Monday, February 6, 2022 | If no food then no thoughts since 1911 Published by The Daily Publications Society, a tudent society of McGill University. The McGill Daily is located on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory.
2 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily table of Contents 3. Editorial Food for Thought 4. From the Archives Food Accessibility through the years 5. News Student Meeting on Affordable Food and Food Security on Campus 6. News “It Takes All of Us” Revamped 7. Culture Mictrotrends & Overconsumption 8. Features Interview with AIDS Community Care MTL 10. Commentary McGill Alum Detained in Iran 11. Commentary Taylor Swift & Ticketmaster 12. Compendium Heroes of Queer Liberation Crossword Comic!

editorial board

3480 McTavish St, Room 107

Montreal, QC, H3A 0E7

phone 514.398.6790

fax 514.398.8318

The McGill Daily is located on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory

coordinating editor

Anna Zavelsky

managing editor

Olivia Shan

news editors

Saylor Catlin

Emma Bainbridge

Zoe Lister

Robert Muroni

commentary + compendium! editors

Meena Thakur

culture editor

Eliana Freelund

features editor

Zach Cheung

science + technology editor


sports editor Vacant

video editor


photos editor

Genevieve Quinn

illustrations editor


copy editor

Catey Fifield

design + production editor

Hyeyoon Cho

social media editor

Frida Morales Mora

radio editor


cover design

Genevieve Quinn


Nikki Bozinoff, Saylor Catlin, Zach Cheung, Auriane Fournier, Elliana Freelund, Daniel Hoops, Jamie Lundine, E. Magda Price, Meena Thakur

le délit Leonard Smith

Food for Thought

On February 1, students gathered at the University Centre to discuss the prevalence of food insecurity and the lack of affordable food options on campus. Attendees to the meeting, the second in a series, included representatives from SSMU, the Student Nutrition Accessibility Club (SNAC), Divest McGill, the Daily, and students interested in increasing food access at McGill.

Representatives from Midnight Kitchen (MK) – a nonprofit food collective that provides free lunches and catering services, hosts educational events, and operates a seasonal garden at McGill – had attended the previous food security meeting. The issue on the table is that campus food is largely inaccessible due to a lack of affordable food services and the corporatization of student cafeterias.

At the food insecurity meeting, students discussed what they call the “cafeteria crisis.” In 2000, McGill began centralizing food services, starting with appropriating the Redpath Cafeteria from SSMU and the Bronfman undergraduate cafeteria from the Management Undergraduate Society. The following year, cafeterias run by student associations – namely the Arts, Music, and Engineering undergraduate societies – were sold to the university. Since then, several other on-campus cafes managed by students have been closed. In 2007, for instance, the entirely student-run Architecture Café, located in the basement of the Macdonald-Harrington building and known to provide cheap lunches, lost financial oversight to McGill Food and Dining Services. Three years later, the McGill administration permanently closed the cafe. According to the Deputy Provost at the time, the cafe had to be closed because it was not turning a profit. This claim was disputed by the president of the Architecture Students’ Association and the EUS VP-Internal, who said the cafe was making a small profit. But profit was not the point of the cafe; providing good food at a cheap price was. The Provost had said, “The university cannot afford to subsidize anyone’s lunch.” Yet the university can afford to invest over $15 million in corporations implicated in the genocide of Uyghur people in China and over $60 million in the oil and gas industry, and it could afford to pay former president Suzanne Fortier a whopping baseline salary of $470,000. Too bad the McGill administration can’t find the funds in their $1.5 billion – $1,572,467,937.19, to be precise – endowment to ensure students on their campus are happy and healthy.

a delicious hot lunch.” Since their return in 2022, the organization has been forced to reduce capacity to just 50 meals every other week. Clearly, there is demand for free – or at least affordable – healthy meals on campus, and our university’s inattention to this demand is a sad reflection of its failure to care for the wellbeing of its students.

Universities are much more than providers of education, as many students rely on these institutions for housing, employment, nutrition, and access to health care, among other things. It is necessary for food to be subsidized to some degree by the university to ensure wide-scale food access. This demand is not unique to McGill, and students across Canada have had to look beyond their administrations to tackle problems related to a lack of affordable food. The Guelph Student FoodBank provides students access to emergency food, anti-poverty resources, and referrals to other financial assistance groups. Meal Exchange at the University of Toronto has been conducting food security initiatives and research since 1993. Sprouts, a student-run organization at the University of British Columbia, works to make healthy, affordable, and sustainably-produced food accessible to students on their campus. Students at Concordia, meanwhile, have founded the Food Coalition, an organization made up of student-run food services committed to “being affordable always” and to critically approaching issues of food security and food sovereignty.

In a 2015 survey of over 1,300 McGill students, almost 80 per cent of respondents reported feeling that food options on campus are unaffordable. Given that rising dining hall prices and reduced operation of services such as MK has led to a decrease in access to affordable food services on campus, it is likely that this statistic remains unchanged. As students, food insecurity not only reduces academic performance but has severe negative effects on mental and physical health. On-campus food security is imperative to the well-being and success of students, and we can’t afford to ignore it any longer. For students at Macdonald Campus, finding affordable food may also be a problem, especially considering the recent closure of the only grocery store in St-Anne-de-Bellevue. As the growing concern suggests, the university is failing to provide students with basic nutritional needs.

3480 McTavish St, Room 107

Montreal, QC H3A 0E7

phone 514.398.690

fax 514.398.8318

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In response to the closure of Arch Café, one student told the Daily, “We don’t wanna eat corporatized shittyass food.” This sentiment rings true today. However, there is limited support from the university for initiatives that provide accessible and sustainable alternatives to profitdriven food systems. MK provides free vegan lunches every other Thursday, but there are never enough meals to feed all who show up for them. In 2018, due to renovations to the SSMU building, MK was forced to scale back their operations from serving around 1,000 meals a week to 300. In a 2019 Daily article, a representative of MK wrote, “Around 12 p.m. a lineup of roughly 200 people would accrue in front of the serving tables, snaking out of the serving room, around the third floor hallway, and down the stairs. Tupperware in hand, students anticipated

Asa Kohn (Chair), Saylor Catlin, Louis Favreau, Marc Cataford, Natacha Papieau, Boris Shedov, Philippe Shi, Laura Tobon, Anna Zavelsky Coordinating

If you are passionate about contributing to the cause of food accessibility, consider volunteering with Midnight Kitchen’s meal service or in their seasonal garden, which operates from May through October, when they begin looking for volunteers. Midnight Kitchen is currently accepting volunteers to join their Food Security Committee. People’s Potato at Concordia has compiled several lists for those looking for food assistance around Montreal, including a food resource sheet by neighbourhood. Every Friday at 12:30, The Yellow Door’s Rabbit Hole Café – by Prince-Arthur and Aylmer –serves a delicious, healthy, and affordable vegan lunch. If you can, donate to community pantries in Montreal to increase food access across the island, such as to the NDG Community Pantry, the Atwater Community Pantry, and the food bank and distribution program in Milton Parc.

Volume 112 Issue 17
All contents © 2018 Daily Publications Society. All rights reserved. The content of this newspaper is the responsibility of The McGill Daily and does not necessarily represent the views of McGill University. Products or companies advertised in this newspaper are not necessarily endorsed by Daily staff. Printed by Imprimerie Transcontinental Transmag. Anjou, Quebec. ISSN 1192-4608. EDITORIAL February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily
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Published by the Daily Publications Society, a student society of McGill University. The views and opinions expressed in the Daily are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of McGill University.The McGill Daily is not affiliated with McGill University.

Food Fights at McGill

Exploring student activism for food affordability and accessibility on campus throughout the years

This week’s archival collections are intended to showcase the historic and continued student activism on campus regarding food accessibility and sovereignty.

Letter to the Editor: Food Problem At Mountain Hall Anonymous. November 15, 1962

Dear Sir:

I am an unfortunate inmate in this hallowed institution’s brand new, beautiful residences. I have visited twentyseven countries, and have been able to digest twentyseven different varieties of food, but I can assure you that never before have I tasted that strange substances being served at Bishop Mountain Hall, in the name of food. Not only is there a complaint about food, but within the last week, in the name of efficiency, they have changed the queue system for obtaining the “food”. Previously it took 15 minutes to get to the “food” counters, but now it takes half an hour. This situation applies only to Poison and Gardener Halls.

Please “Mr. Sandman” do something QUICK. P.S. Please don’t print my name, or they’ll give me a second helping.

To Sign or Not to Sign? Pro and Anti-CBA forces face-off on the issue of the cola exclusivity deal Jaime Kirzner-Roberts. March 6, 2000

To sign or not to sign? That was the question last Thursday for students on both sides of the CBA debate as they squared off in Leacock 232.

The Cold Beverage Agreement is an 11-year exclusivity deal between McGill and Coke worth an estimated $10 million. At the request of the company, the details of the contract have been kept secret, raising the ire of students, who organized a referendum on the issue. Those in favour of the deal emphasize the necessity of the money given the context of funding cutbacks and a crumbling student services building.

SSMU President Andrew Tischler and former President Duncan Reid defended the virtues of the pro-CBA position, while Engineering SSMU Rep Phil Gohier and former Daily editor Zach Dubinsky argued the con side of signing the deal

The opposition’s leading arguments concerned the secrecy of the deal. Gohier argued that the confidential nature of the agreement was undemocratic and violated the principle of freedom of information.

“[Pro-CBA advocates] are already giving in to this notion that Coke’s demand for confidentiality surpasses and exceeds our right to information,” he said. “The conflict of confidentiality compromises both the SSMU and McGill administration.”

But Tischlcr was quick to defend the confidentiality of the contract. “Coke doesn’t want other universities to know how good our deal is,” he explained. “All students will be able to see the contract once it is signed,” he added. At a recent Presidents’ Council meeting however, the McGill’s Director of Ancillary Services Alan Charade said that even once the deal is signed, selected terms will likely not be disclosed.

Dubinsky explained that bottled water went up in price by 76 per cent after York University and the University of Manitoba signed their own exclusivity deals.

“The problem is that we don’t know that this isn’t going to happen at McGill because we haven’t seen the contract,” he said. They tell us that we will be able to see the contract once it is signed, but I ask you, have you ever signed a contract you haven’t seen?”

Dubinsky also added that Coke has a questionable international human rights record, he referred to Coke’s involvement with the military government in Nigeria, its links to the assassination of union leaders in Guatemala, and the class action suit currently underway in the US, put forward by Black workers who say they are paid 59 per cent less than their white counterparts.

“The question is, do we want to associate our entire university with this company?” he asked. Reid did not deny

any allegations about Coke’s human rights record brought forth by Dubinsky. “I really dislike the company, but seeing the advantages of the deal has really changed my perspective,” he said. “I don’t think anyone wants Coke on campus.I don’t think anyone wants to be associated with Coke. I certainly don’t.”

But Reid argued that this agreement was nonetheless necessarily in the current context of government underfunding of McGill. “1 think that people will notice that we’ve signed this deal after serious consideration of this issue, and that we only made this decision out of desperation,” he said.

“It is blatantly obvious that there is no intention on the part of the provincial government to reinvest in education,” Tischler argued.

Under the circumstances, he argued, “we have two choices. Either we sign exclusivity agreements, or we raise students fees.” But when questioned, Tischlcr couldn’t guarantee that student fees wouldn’t go up even if the deal was signed.

“Those aren’t the only two options,” contested Gohier. “There is also the option of pressuring the government to make a solid and durable commitment to quality education. I think that is the most viable option out of all of them,” he said.

“By signing this deal, we would be sending the message to government that they don’t need to increase our funding. Public funding is the only true option which won’t compromise academic freedoms and the integrity of the Student’s Society.”

One student asked pro-CBA representatives why the secrecy of the deal was necessary since the contract would lie made public as soon as it was signed anyway. Tischler responded indirectly by saying that, “student’s will be able to see the contract once it is signed.”

Another student asked Dubinsky and Gohier how they thought the Student’s Society could get money to make the student building more accessible to people in wheelchairs if not through the CBA.

Gohier answered that it is, in fact, the responsibility of the administration, and not the Student Society, to make McGill an accessible environment. “I think that the lack of accessibility represents a lack of commitment on the part of administration to provide access for students,” he said.

A student suggested that the pro-CBA position was hypocritical because, on the one hand, Tischler argued that lobbying for government funding is futile and that it is thus necessary to sign the CBA, while, on the other hand, he organized a protest held Friday in demand of more government funding. Neither Tischlcr nor Reid directly addressed this question.

In his concluding statement, Tischler asked students to vote in favour of the CBA because the money was much needed by students. “(The CBA) is a Band-Aid solution,” admitted Tischler. “But I’d prefer a Band-Aid solution, than to watch McGill bleed to death.”

In Gohier’s closing remarks, he argued that students should not vote for the CBA. “The answer to the funding problem is not to sign the CBA. A Band-Aid solution will cover a paper cut, but what we’re dealing with here is a hemorrhage,” he said. “This deal does nothing at all to reduce the financial burden put on this university, it does nothing to get us a successful quality education. Let’s look at real solutions, let’s look at quality education being funded by the government, not by Coke.”

Hyde Park: Boycott Corporate Cafeterias

Daily Editorial Board. March 27, 2008

Today and tomorrow, students will boycott McGill’s corporate-run cafeterias. It’s widely known that food services at McGill are inadequate. In The Globe and Mail’s 2007 survey of undergrads, students gave McGill a C-in overall quality of food services. Clearly, McGill’s predominantly corporate food services have failed to meet the dietary needs of its diverse community. And yet, as students are struggling to satiate themselves in a healthy, ethical, and sustainable manner, McGill has responded by tightening its grip on food services.

In an interview with the Daily, Principal Heather MunroeBlum stated that the issue of food services is “up for discussion.”

While Munroe-Blum’s point sounds forward-thinking, it is moot because the McGill administration is structured in order to rob students of any negotiation bargaining power. Town Halls are currently the only accessible forum for discussion, but these are places for empty rhetoric, not student-administration compromise.

For students to get what they need, their best option is to start up food services themselves. For example, Midnight Kitchen – which is entirely student-run – serves affordable vegan meals every day, and the Architecture Café (once autonomous, but now under the umbrella of McGill Ancillary Services) provides a creative atmosphere and relatively affordable local food options. Yet despite their ability, students and their operations are continually under threat by a power-hungry administration that views food services as an opportunity for profit, rather than as an essential service.

So, where do we go from here? Food services at McGill need to change, and for that to happen, students must take collective action. In 2004, the Coalition for Action on Food Services (CAFS) orchestrated a successful three-day, campus-wide boycott against possible on-campus cafeteria monopolization. Thanks in part to the boycott, student-run food services on campus are still “allowed” to operate and no company holds a monopoly on campus cafeterias.

While boycotting our campus’s corporate food services on a day-to-day basis is effective in the short term, it doesn’t change the system: the structure in place is designed to to shove the values and norms of capitalism down our throats. If we want to see meaningful change, we must rally together and make concrete demands. The Corporate Food Boycott, which starts today and runs through tomorrow, is more than just a demonstration, it’s also a meeting ground where students can voice their demands, and stir up support for an alternative student-run model.

The Food Services Committee of the Grassroots Association for Student Power (GRASPé) and Midnight Kitchen advocates student-autonomy, environmental sustainability and workers’ rights. We believe that students, faculty and workers have the right to determine how their food services are designed, managed and consumed; to sustainably-produced, nutritious foods; and to a fair and equitable work place. History shows that corporations and big businesses are unable to foster these rights. Corporate-run food services are not the only option. Take action and join our pickets outside Chartwells cafeterias on campus at 1 p.m. today and 12:30 p.m. tomorrow. Free food will be available. Bring your friends and your appetite; we’ll provide lunch until justice is served.

For more information, visit

from the archives 4 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily

Food Insecurity on Campus

On February 1, a group of students met in the university center for the second official meeting concerning food security on campus. Representatives from SSMU, Divest McGill, Student Nutrition Accessibility Club (SNAC), ECOLE, and interested individuals gathered around provided vegetarian thalis and pakoras to discuss what actions must be done to address the lack of affordable food options on and around campus.

Their last meeting, which took place on January 25, focused on the importance of institutional memory in considering campus food prices and accessibility prior to the pandemic, addressing the increase in cafeteria food prices, and the need to spread awareness of the ‘food crisis’ at McGill.

Wednesday’s meeting discussed the various food related groups at McGill and the importance of joining forces to increase their impact. Organizations like SNAC, Midnight Kitchen (MK), McGill MealCare, and Le Petit Marché Étudiant all work towards similar goals: providing affordable, sustainable produce to students, increasing food accessibility on campus, diverting food waste, and closing the gap between food producers and consumers.

In 2013, the Concordia Food Coalition was formed, which unites disconnected groups advocating for food accessibility within Concordia University. The coalition oversees the Concordia Farmers Market, and incubates student-led initiatives including the Hive Cafe Co-op. They also oversee research on topics related to campus food sustainability and sovereignty as well as extensive needs assessments, surveys and interviews of Concordia food groups. The meeting members noted the importance of looking to Concordia for inspiration regarding their fight for food justice in Montreal.

Members at the meeting specifically called attention to the need for more research and surveys to get a better sense of the student bodies’ perception on food accessibility. The most recent survey done regarding food and dining services was conducted in Winter 2018, of which the Daily was shared a copy

of the results. The purpose of the survey was “to better understand the needs/expectations of the McGill community and identify opportunities for improvement in order to enhance services offered.” Notably, the results show that value for money followed by quality of food and beverages and general cleanliness ranked as the most important aspects of food services on campus, at a rate of 93 per cent, 90 per cent, and 90 per cent, respectively. Specialty beverages and fair trade products ranked as the least important aspects as 46 and 35 per cent of participants respectfully labelled them as ‘not very or not at all important.’ Furthermore, when asked about the performance of certain aspects of food services on campus, 76 per cent of respondents listed ‘value for money’ as ‘fair or poor’, while 6 per cent ranked ‘value for money’ as ‘excellent or very good’. Conversely, customer service and general cleanliness were ranked most frequently as the ‘excellent or very good’ aspects of campus food services at rates of 42 per cent and 40 per

cent respectfully. Those present at the meeting called attention to the need for a more recent survey to be done, given the recent rapid inflation affecting food prices and the increased meal plan cost. Attention was also called to the UBC 2022 Academic Experience Survey that indicated that approximately 40 per cent of undergraduate students and 50 per cent of graduate students feel food insecure. The group at the meeting called attention to the need for a similar study at McGill to assess the status of food security of its students. While representatives of Midnight Kitchen were present at the last meeting, none were present at this one. However, the importance of Midnight Kitchen was highlighted. Midnight Kitchen reopened in September after its closure due to COVID.

In 2018 Midnight Kitchen had been forced to reduce its operations since March 2018 due to renovations occurring in the University Centre where their base was held at the time. During the pandemic, MK moved its services to focus as an emergency food bank. Prior to COVID, in

2019, Midnight Kitchen was able to serve about 300 meals weekly for pickup, and before 2019, they were serving up to 1,000 meals weekly. Now, that number has reduced to 50 meals per week due to budgetary issues, according to members at Wednesday’s meeting. Beyond its biweekly free vegan lunch offerings, MK provides free catering services for events that align with its political mandate, operates a garden seasonally, and hosts workshops and lectures relating to food preparation and security. Similarly, Concordia’s People’s Potato, a collectivelyrun soup kitchen offering vegan meals to students and community members, was noted.

The last issue on the agenda for the meeting concerned the high cafeteria prices. Members at the meeting placed part of the blame for high prices on the privatization of dining services on campus. Most recently, in 2014, the private company Compass became a provider for food services at McGill. While Concordia’s food services are provided by Aramark, which served McGill until 2014, the university maintains multiple student-run food cooperatives including the Hive and Reggies. The next food security meeting will take place in person and online on Wednesday, February 8, the location will be determined. Follow @ssmu_ea on instagram for updates.

news 5 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily
Student groups meet to discuss crisis of affordability and accessibility of food at McGill
Members at the meeting placed part of the blame for high prices on the privatization of dining services on campus. Most recently, in 2014, the private company Compass became a provider for food services at McGill.
Meena Thakur | Commentary Editor

“It Takes All of Us” Revamped

McGill introduces new version of mandatory sexual violence prevention training in wake of OSVRSE’s closure

content warning: mentions of sexual violence

On January 30, McGill implemented a new version of “It Takes All of Us” (ITAOU), the university’s sexual violence prevention training program. All current students, staff, and faculty are required to complete the new online modules by April 28, 2023 – regardless of completion status of the previous version. The new program was designed by the Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support, and Education (OSVRSE) and Teaching and Learning Services (TLS), and utilizes a “learning approach with trauma-informed pedagogy, resulting in an improved, more survivor-centric learning experience,” according to a message from Co-Acting Provosts and Vice Principals Fabrice Labeau and Angela Campbell sent to the McGill community on January 30.

History of It Takes All of Us

ITAOU was originally designed and implemented in 2019, prior to which McGill had no sexual violence prevention training. ITAOU was McGill’s first mandatory, online, and university-wide sexual violence education program, according to OSVRSE’s website.

Much of the sexual violence prevention infrastructure on McGill’s campus today – including the OSVRSE – arose from the adoption of the “Policy Against Sexual Violence” in 2016. Prior to the adoption of the policy, there was no explicit policy against sexual violence, and cases were only handled in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct of the time. Jean Murray, a member of the working group for drafting the policy, told the Daily in 2016 of the policy’s two central aims: “One, make it so that folks who’ve experienced sexual assault don’t have to go to the police, and that doesn’t have to be their only recourse, and two, that there will be institutionalized safety measures in place so that folks can feel safe and comfortable in their community.” The policy was officially passed in November 2016. OSVRSE was founded in 2016 as well, under the Office of the Dean of Students, to help implement the policy.

Then, in 2017, Quebec adopted Bill 151 – “An Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions.” The bill

stated that higher education institutions in the province “must, before 1 September 2019, adopt a policy to prevent and fight sexual violence,” and further stipulates that “mandatory training” be an element of the policy; McGill failed to meet this deadline. While the university had the “Policy Against Sexual Violence” in place, it had failed to comply with the updated standards of Bill 151 – specifically that of mandatory training and mandatory consultation with students in creation of the policy. Thus, in January 2019, the working group reconvened, and later in the year to address these groups, the policy was revised and re-approved.

The original ITAOU was made available in September 2019 for students, and in January 2020 for staff and administrators – months past the deadlines set by Bill 151.

The program was modeled off of Concordia’s similar program, “It Takes All of Us – Creating a Campus Community Free of Sexual Violence,” launched in the same month as McGill’s.

The training, however, received backlash from students at Concordia. “I have always been very concerned with the idea that the training they’re offering is online,” a recent graduate of Concordia told the Link in 2019, “[studies have] showed empirically that in-person consent and sexual violence training was more effective than online training for this specific topic.”

Another then-current student on the standing committee added: “[With] online trainings, you can’t really monitor who’s not paying attention or just clicking random boxes, or rolling their eyes and joking with their friends while they’re doing this [...] People have begged [the university] to have in-person training and they just don’t particularly want to put the resources into it.”

The introduction of ITAOU at McGill in 2019 was met with similar concerns and criticism. An editorial from the Daily on the new program in 2019 pointed out that all of the sections were skippable, allowing students to complete the program in mere minutes. “In order to be truly effective, McGill must follow up with tangible support it is not currently providing,” the editorial board wrote, “A 45-minute online program cannot, and will not, solve McGill’s sexual violence problem.” They ultimately concluded that “a revamped ‘It Takes All of Us’ could potentially serve as an introduction to the topic, but in-person follow-up sessions are necessary.”

A revamped version of “It Takes All of Us”

Three years later, McGill has indeed introduced an updated version of ITAOU – the modules, however, are still online. According the McGill Reporter , ITAOU was intended to be updated at least every three years, as “sexual violence education is an ongoing,

iterative process.”

Over the last year, representatives from TLS, OSVRSE, and the Office for Mediation and Reporting worked together on a “thorough overhaul” of the original content, considering both formal user feedback and “thoughts expressed on social media and other platforms,” per the media relations office. “The ITAOU refresh [...] puts sharper focus on the intersectionality of sexual violence and gender, race and different abilities,” they explained in a written statement to the Daily , redesigned to be more survivor-centric.

Whereas the previous version of ITAOU contained four modules that used “character-driven scenarios,” the new program is longer, featuring five modules on the subjects of 1) sexual violence, 2) sexual consent,

3) McGill’s Policy Against Sexual Violence, 4) bystander intervention, and 5) supporting survivors. The program also includes the “Take a Break” icon, which you can click on if you feel overwhelmed or distressed by the content of the program, and the program will subsequently guide you through a calming breathing exercise. Students, faculty, and staff will now all take the same modules –unlike in the previous version.

All current members of the McGill community must complete the new program by April 28, 2023.

Students who do not complete the program by this date will have a hold placed on their account, per the media relations office. As for staff and faculty, the Office did not

specify a system of accountability for completion of the updated program, just that those hired after January 30 are required to complete the training within three months or before the end of their probation period. “The goal is for everyone who studies or works at McGill to have a shared understanding of what sexual violence is, the populations that it affects most, notions of consent and what resources and policies are available on campus that relate to these issues,” the office writes.

Closure of OSVRSE

The new ITAOU has been introduced at a time when the university’s sexual violence prevention infrastructure has recently come under fire. OSVRSE temporarily closed early in the Fall 2022 semester. Documents obtained by the Daily indicate that a staff departure in July 2022 left the office staffed by one employee. This information was not disclosed to the greater McGill community until December 4.

Yara Coussa, collective member of the Union for Gender Empowerment (UGE), founder of McGill Neurodivergent SelfAdvocacy Collective, and Queer McGill coordinator, wrote to the Daily that she “found out the service was not functional by directing a student who needed support to it, which is devastating and unacceptable.”

As of January 3, OSVRSE has reopened, but at limited capacity.

If you are a survivor of sexual violence, you can access support services apart from the OSVRSE through the Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Student’s Society or through SSMU’s Anti-Violence Coordinators, who can be reached at Other community resources include the Montreal Sexual Assault Support Centre, which is open 24/7.

NEWS 6 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily
“A 45-minute online program cannot, and will not, solve McGill’s sexual violence problem [...] in-person followup sessions are necessary,”
- the Daily, 2019
Clement Veysset | Illustrations Contributor

Microtrends Have a Macro Impact

Overconsumption of fashion in 2023 doesn’t eat

Anew year, a new season for fashion. The beginning of 2023 marks a liminal period for clothing design where everything is up in the air. What will the new trends be? What is in and what is out (See the Daily’s horoscope page to find out!)? Whether or not you are someone who follows what’s next in fashion, it is undeniable that trends play a large role in shaping the cultural zeitgeist of the time. According to Harper’s Bazaar, clothing has been a direct reflection of sociocultural values for centuries: “The idea first came to the fore in the 14th century when rotating fashion trends were used by the echelons of society as a way of displaying their wealth, success and status.”

What do we picture when we think of the 1960s? Most likely mini skirts, gogo boots, and beehives. The 1970s? Probably bell-bottom jeans, wavy hair, and fur-lined statement coats. Every decade of the 20th century can be defined by its distinctive clothing movements. Just think of how often decade-themed events are held at schools, clubs, parties, and more. Do you see someone wearing a leotard and neon eyeshadow? One could reasonably guess they’re emulating the 1980s. Low-rise jeans and a bedazzled T-shirt? Definitely the 2000s. This pattern in fashion history raises the question, how will the fashion of our current decade be remembered in those to come?

With more access to inspiration than ever before, it seems that the fashion of the 2020s is open to endless possibilities – whether to its benefit or to its detriment. Up through the early 2010s, most people engaged with the fashion of the day via magazines and by emulating the cultural icons of the time. Issues of Vogue or Cosmopolitan would grace our shelves only a few times a year, typically in line with the four seasons. People would view actors, musicians, and political figures in movies, music videos, or televised events that could often only be experienced in the moment. Today, however, we can

revisit almost anything at the click of a button. Interested in the latest awards show attire? It was uploaded online only seconds after the cameras started rolling. What was that singer wearing in that one music video again? A simple YouTube search allows you to replay that memory forever. We no longer have to go out of our way to seek artistic inspiration; it floods our senses at every moment.

This change is both helpful and harmful. On the one hand, the movement from magazines to the internet is helping to even the playing field for fashion by smoothing out the barriers between classes. As the Atlantic article “Fashion’s Racism and Classism are Finally out of Style” explains, “the tight control of fashion’s most powerful and influential brands makes it difficult for people outside the well-pedigreed white elite to enter the industry at all, let alone influence how it conceives of luxury.” The fashion industry has too long championed the exclusivity of the wealthy, the white, and the thin. The equalizing nature of the internet pushes against these imposed boundaries. Anyone

with access to an internet browser can view almost any fashion website they wish. Whether they want to make a purchase or simply to draw inspiration, the opportunity to view designs from high-end retailers and fast-fashion knocks is available to everyone.

On the other hand, the unlimited nature of the internet can also invoke overwhelming feelings. With so much inspiration bombarding our screens at every moment, it can become difficult to find or maintain any sense of individuality. We can see this effect reflected in the fashion trends of the early 2020s. The lowrise jeans of the 2000s, groovy prints of the ’60s, and statement coats of the ’70s have all had a comeback. Even pieces from previous centuries, such as corsets and ballet skirts, have been incorporated into mainstream fashion. In 2023, most clothing inspiration seems to veer into an amorphous amalgamation of all the previous fashion trends ever conceived. This endless realm of possibility can result in incredibly creative artistic expression. We have the opportunity to push against and deconstruct the man-made boundaries of fashion. However, this sublime influx of inspiration can also wreak havoc on both mental health and the environment.

Short-form content such as TikTok only adds to the already overwhelming amount of inspiration the internet can provide us. TikTok’s format allows for unique pieces to rapidly blow up, spurring fast-fashion companies to mass produce their take

on the trend. Yet just as fast as one item comes into fashion, another phases out. According to an article from Screenshot,“there are five stages to a trend cycle: the introduction, the rise, the peak, the decline, and eventually, the obsolescence.” Using this model, it is clear that trend cycles are shorter than ever before. It took skinny jeans about ten years to fall out of fashion. Windbreakers survived for nearly 20 years through the ’80s and ’90s. That viral House of Sunny green dress seen everywhere on TikTok? It only lasted a few months. This groovy green dress perfectly exemplifies the microtrend phenomenon; in an interview with NPR, fashion researcher Mandy Lee defines microtrends as “singular pieces of clothing rather than genres or aesthetics that reach peak and obsolescence very, very quickly.” These days, the average lifespan of a microtrend is a meagre three to five months.

The ramifications of microtrends go beyond an overwhelming “for you page.” Tom Crisp, who teaches a sustainable fashion course at the University of Falmouth, claims that rapid trend cycles affect our mental well-being and lead to excess consumerism. “The trends prey on our insecurities about the way we look and feel,” he says, “encouraging us to consume more in order to stay on trend.” The combination of bottomless clothing inspiration and short form content seems to create an insatiable need to always display the newest fashion trend. Needless to say, this rise in consumer culture is extremely detrimental not only to our

digital but our physical environment. To meet the impossibly quick demand for microtrends, many fastfashion companies cut corners when producing their clothing. Instead of durable fabrics, cheaper materials derived from fossil-fuels are often used as substitutes. The poor-quality dyes used to create the trendy, vivid colours of TikTok pollute the water sources surrounding the factories where they’re used. All this for the item to inevitably go out of fashion in a few months and likely end up in a landfill.

How do we combat these effects?

Cassandra Ditmer, a sustainable stylist based in Los Angeles, argues that we should attempt to practice mindful consumerism: “If you find an item and can immediately think of at least three ways to wear it with existing items you own, then that’s a good sign. If you are feeling the urge to buy additional items just to make the one new one work, that’s not as good of a sign.” In other words, we don’t have to completely eliminate the potential joys of fashion trends from our lives. Instead, we need to develop a deeper awareness of ourselves as consumers so as to not participate in excess consumption. Don’t base your spending habits solely on what’s trending online; purchase what makes you truly happy. If you’re interested in shopping more sustainably in and around Montreal, check out the Daily’s article “A Second Chance.”

culture 7 February 6, 2023 | The McGill Daily
With more access to inspiration than ever before, it seems that the fashion of the 2020s is open to endless possibilities – whether to its benefit or to its detriment.

Montreal’s Only English-Service AIDS Community Care Centre Turns 35

An interview with ACCM’s Co-President and Executive Director

AIDS Community Care

Montreal (ACCM) is Quebec’s only HIV and sexual health community organization that provides education for prevention, treatment information, and support services to English-speaking communities. This February, ACCM celebrates its 35th anniversary. On January 30, I sat down with Co-President Thomas Dobronyi and Executive Director Emilie Renahy to have a conversation about ACCM’s history, its mission, its future, and the Canadian response to destigmatizing HIV.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Zach Cheung for The McGill Daily (MD): So for starters, I was curious as to how you guys got involved with ACCM. How long have you been working here for?

Emilie Renahy (ER): I was actually working in the public health research field. But I decided that research was too far away from social issues. When

I joined ACCM as an Executive Director I really felt like I was part of an organization that was giving a lot to people. And that’s really what I was looking for.

Thomas Dobronyi (TD): Initially I started my first interactions with ACCM as a service accessor and was kind of like: “this place is really cool. I like what it does.” Then shortly after that, I started helping with cooking dinners for the Dinner and Discussion, which is an event that we do every Monday. After COVID, there was a lot of turnover on the board of directors. So I joined the board as an honorary member, which was a way that I could build experience gradually without having the responsibilities of a full member. And then it sort of continued on after that because I can’t say no!

MD: So you guys know the community members that come here often?

TD: Absolutely. And I think it’s something that sets us apart from

some of the other boards that do similar things to what we do, but there is really the emphasis on “it’s a community where people know each other.” It’s a little bit less of: “You come here, we give you a service, you leave” type of thing.

MD: Did ACCM always have the closeness with the community that you now have?

TD: It started off as a very community-led response because in the ‘80s there was minimal to no institutional government response on the AIDS crisis; they seemed content to sort of let it spiral out of control. So really, around the world at the community level, people had to take matters into their own hands. This certainly was the case in Toronto, very famously the case in New York and Paris and no different in Montreal, really.

ACCM became ACCM out of realizing that there was an unmet need for services provided to

English speaking people in the early days when they started getting government funding. They found that that was going exclusively to, for example, French-language prevention services or awareness campaigns that were pretty much exclusively in French. So ACCM sort of split off to fill that need.

ER: Yes. And that’s how it started, really — grassroots. People living with HIV had to come together and do something. So they created ACCM. And indeed it was because there were no services out there.

TD: That’s where our mission comes from: the community itself. For example, we can’t make changes to our mission statement without passing it by members.

Every year at our annual General Meeting, it’s the members who have final say over pretty much everything.

MD: What was the biggest change that came from a response from the community?

TD: We have a program for migrants, refugees and protected persons that has developed gradually over the past several years. The way that that program is structured had to change a lot because of the direct needs of people who were coming in. We had to shift from group activities to more individual and direct

Features 8 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily
Zach Cheung Features Editor AIDS Community Care Centre | Illustrations Contributor
“And that’s how it started, really — grassroots. People living with HIV had to come together and do something. So they created ACCM.”
-Emilie Renahy

casework simply due to the nature of the workload.

ER : Absolutely. The amount of individualized support needed to get access to healthcare was a huge change. When trying to help newcomers, whether they come from another province or from another country, it’s hard to get personal access to RAMQ (Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec) or to a physician and medication. That’s why we also needed to have a holistic approach. Our staff are trained to be able to help with things like emotional support, but also admin support, material support, going through the immigration process and helping them fill out documents — because our members may need one or many of those things.

MD: What services does ACCM offer to queer and trans people?

TD: Two of our programs are explicitly geared towards queer and trans people. Kontak, which is directed towards men who have sex with men. And then we also have ImpakT, which is directed towards people who party and play (PNP), which is basically the combination of drug use and sex.

ER: We focus on both support and prevention. For our queer or trans members who are living with HIV, if they have any questions about transitioning,medication or whatever it is — the QTO (queer and trans outreach) coordinator will support them and help with whatever they need. There’s also the prevention aspect. We have prevention messages about HIV that are directed to queer and trans people because they have different needs. There are also workshops. Our prevention team hosts workshops on not only HIV prevention, but also on sexual health, and other Sexually Transmitted and Blood Borne Infections (STBBIs).

MD: ACCM places a large emphasis on an empathetic approach to your support services. Why is it important for ACCM to provide a holistic service for both the physical and mental traumas that can come with HIV?

ER: And as Thomas was saying, they only provide the money for the tests and to some extent some money for staffing as well. But the funds are only directed to pre-test and posttest counselling. There is a lot of work that comes after that and they don’t provide support for.

And so this funding announcement was made on the second to last day of the conference. And then he showed up to give a speech at the end of the conference, which was not how that should have gone.

MD: What do you think the government of Canada can do to fight back against HIV stigma?

strategic plans have been a little bit DIY. But a lot of our plans just incorporate the demands that we’re seeing. We hear from our support services team that a lot of people are really looking more for material support in things like accessing health care, housing, food, and mental health services.

TD: Part of why we need to have such a holistic approach, which includes mental health care, is because the niche we serve is language based. A lot of other organizations have their own little niche, so they kind of complement each other. But since our niche is language based, we have to do it all. We have to be able to do everything because that’s where the gaps are.

MD: What do your interactions with the government look like when it comes to funding?

ER: We get federal money from the Canadian public health agency, but that’s not even enough to cover support services. We also have funding from the provincial level, but again, these are almost like pockets of money: some will cover the programs entirely, most of them do not. So on top of all that, we also have to apply to grants or find sponsorships through pharmaceuticals or do fundraising activities.

TD: What they tend to do is focus the money on testing, especially lately. So for starters, at the federal level, funding for the HIV response had been frozen for 15 years. This past summer at the international AIDS conference, the federal government announced 18 million for at-home testing, which is great — it’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s money. But personally, my critique is that it’s really them just trying to do the easy techno-solution: “There’s this new technology that lets people test themselves at home. Let’s push that so that we can reach our goals at the federal level.” What that doesn’t do is connect anyone to care after they’ve received a diagnosis. It basically stops people from finding out if the test was positive. At-home tests are great in a lot of situations, especially, in campaigns involving getting them out to rural areas and to Indigenous communities where access to health care is such a challenge in general — so it’s great stuff that’s happening in that context. But in terms of what we do, that’s not what we need.

The second huge drawback is that the funding might stop. We still don’t know whether we’re going to receive more funds to continue. We start a program that addresses a need — it works, but then we don’t have the money to continue it because the government’s funding has stopped. So what do we do then? We either have to close the program —which is a real problem for the community — or we try to find other sources of funding and we try to do more fundraising. It’s a lot of work for us, but they’re the ones who started it. It’s kind of like one shot and no follow up.

MD: What does ACCM think about the International AIDS Conference that was hosted in Montreal this summer?

TD: I think it was embarrassing for Canada. We’re not performing like we could. And there was huge controversy over the number of people who were accepted to attend the conference by the conference itself, but couldn’t get visas from Canada to actually attend. So many presentations that I watched started with people, especially from Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, saying: “my colleagues should be here today, but they didn’t get visas from your racist country.” So that was very embarrassing for Canada.

The health minister was also supposed to speak at the opening ceremony and just didn’t show up.

TD: Stop the criminalization of people living with HIV. The government is, I think, in the second or third round of public consultation about amending the criminal code to address the fact that basically, if a person living with HIV doesn’t disclose that they have HIV before sexual contact with someone, it’s usually treated as aggravated assault. Even if, like in many cases, that person has an undetectable viral load, which means they cannot transmit HIV, they may in some cases still be charged with aggravated assault. And that comes with jail time, which is wildly stigmatizing.

Also, the decriminalization of drugs is a big one because that is something that makes people reluctant to access services. It makes people reluctant to be open about their status or about their drug use or about sort of “at risk behaviour.” And decriminalization of sex work, which also puts people who are at a higher rate in unsafe situations and makes it harder for them to access care.

MD: What do you see in the future of ACCM?

TD: We’re in the middleish of developing a five-year strategic plan. So that has been an interesting process. Lots of little focus groups, interviews. We have a consultant from an outside source who’s doing that for us because some past

MD: What is the best way for McGill students or anyone reading to get involved and support ACCM?

ER: There are so many ways, but volunteering is the main one. You can volunteer for any one of our services. You can volunteer in the prevention department and or in the support department. With fundraising, you can help with fundraising events.

TD: Help me cook dinner!

ER: If you have any skills that would help, we could definitely use that. And if you are wealthy or have connections, we accept cheques, haha!

When Thomas refers to “dinner,” they are referencing ACCM’s weekly “Dinner & Discussion” nights hosted every monday from 6-9pm. The heart of activity at ACCM, Dinner & Discussion sees the community gather for wholesome group conversation paired with a home-cooked meal made by volunteer chefs.

ACCM offers volunteer opportunities across all of its departments, from SextEd Social Media and Digital Marketing to Support Buddies. Orientation sessions are hosted throughout the year, ensuring that volunteers can be informed about ACCM’s mission and values at any time. If you do not have time to give, you can always make a donation!

Features 9 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily
“Stop the criminalization of people living with HIV [...] if a person living with HIV doesn’t disclose that they have HIV before sexual contact with someone, it’s usually treated as aggravated assault [...] And that comes with jail time, which is wildly stigmatizing.”
-Thomas Dobronyi
AIDS Community Care Montreal| Photos Contributor
“ What [the federal government] tend[s] to do is focus the money on testing, especially lately [...] What that doesn’t do is connect anyone to care after they’ve received a diagnosis.”
-Thomas Dobronyi

Five Years Later, McGill Alum Niloufar Bayani Remains Detained in Iran Calling for the release of Bayani

content warning: mentions of torutre and sexual assault

January 24 marked the fifth anniversary of the detainment of eight Iranian scientists, among them our dear friend and McGill alumnus, Niloufar Bayani. Though the details are murky, we understand that the scientists were arrested on January 24 and 25, 2018 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. They were accused of espionage while performing conservation work approved by Iran’s Department of Environment. Nilou – as she is known to family and friends – and her colleagues worked for the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, a nongovernmental organization working towards conservation of Iran’s rare wildlife and ecosystems, including the endangered Asiatic cheetah. We are Canadian academics who met Nilou, and each other, on a semester abroad in 2008 while studying for our undergraduate degrees at McGill University. We got to know one another during long bus rides and early morning bird walks — chatting as we searched the trees, pointing out new species. For us, Nilou stands out for her pure joy for life and scientific curiosity. Her bright smile and bounce are infectious. She is open-minded, kind-hearted, and staunchly proud of her Persian heritage. We miss her desperately and fear for her health and life.

Details about Nilou’s current circumstances come from a number of contacts and sources.

We learned from a book written by a former cellmate, Kylie MooreGilbert, that watching birds from the prison courtyard is a favourite pastime of Nilou’s. We anxiously read any piece of news about Nilou and grasp at accounts like these, which confirm that our dear friend continues to shine brightly, despite the horrendous circumstances of her detention.

Nilou is serving a ten year sentence for the charge of “contacts with the US enemy state” based on her conservation work and a forced confession, obtained under mental and physical torture, which she vehemently retracts. Five years in,

Nilou and her colleagues continue to endure Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where so many political prisoners are students and academics that it has earned the moniker ‘Evin University.’ Letters boldly leaked by Nilou mirror former detainees’ accounts of the prison’s abusive conditions –she details extreme mistreatment including an eight-month stay in solitary confinement, 1,200 hours of interrogation, and threats of physical torture, execution and sexual assault.

To understand why Nilou remains in prison, it is vital to consider what she and her conservation colleagues were doing to help save the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah. Found solely in Iran, there are fewer than 100 known individuals of this subspecies remaining. Their survival is threatened by poaching, loss of habitat and prey, and humanwildlife conflict. Understanding the cheetahs’ numbers, habits and movements is an essential step to coordinating conservation efforts.

With the approval of Iran’s Department of Environment, Nilou and her fellow biologists set wildlife camera ‘traps’ to track the cheetahs’ movements. Cameratrapping has become an essential

tool in conservation biology, allowing experts to view and study the behaviour of rare and elusive animals. Cameras are placed along trails in suitable habitats, taking a picture only when motion is sensed. On January 24 and 25, 2018, Nilou and her seven colleagues were detained and accused of using camera traps for the purpose of espionage. But the cameras were all in remote areas, virtually devoid of any sensitive infrastructure, settlement or other possible targets.

Imprisonment of the cheetah scientists has been widely criticized by conservation and human rights groups across the globe. Of the eight who were originally detained, seven remain in prison; sadly, Iranian-Canadian Professor Kavous Seyed-Emami died under suspicious circumstances, while in the custody of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. We are terrified that the same fate might befall Nilou and her colleagues as the Islamic Republic of Iran intensifies execution of political prisoners. When Nilou was first convicted, we had hoped that some kind of prisoner exchange might be possible, but, as an Iranian

citizen detained in her own country, she lacks an international passport as leverage.

Five years of unlawful detainment is a long time, almost unfathomable for us as we write comfortably from our homes. The injustice of Nilou’s imprisonment weighs heavy – in those five years, some of us have had children, undertaken and defended graduate work, and started careers. Who would have imagined Nilou’s past five years marked instead by her efforts to resist and expose the Iranian regime? She has leaked information about the torture and unlawful interrogation techniques used by her captors. She stood up during her sham court sentencing to denounce the testimony used against her as having been coerced. For her continued outspoken truth telling, Nilou has been named one of BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2022.

Unfortunately, the story of our friend Nilou is not unique. She is one of many women and men unlawfully imprisoned in Iran, and their numbers are increasing rapidly. We write in solidarity with all Iranians who are unjustly imprisoned and those who continue to speak out about violence and oppression by the state of Iran. We condemn the escalation of violence against the people of Iran, who are calling for governmental reform in favour of freedom of thought and expression. Finally, on this fifth anniversary of Niloufar Bayani’s imprisonment, we join Canadian Members of Parliament to call for her immediate release, along with her Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation colleagues and all others unjustly detained. We urge you to follow the unfolding womenled revolution and take action in support of freedom for Nilou and freedom for the people of Iran.

Commentary 10 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily
Daniel Hoops, Jamie Lundine, E. Magda Price, PhD Commentary Contributors E. Magda Price, PhD | Commentary Contributor
For her continued outspoken truth telling, Nilou has been named one of BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influencial women of 2022.

It’s Not You, It’s Capitalism

Does Ticketmaster intend to change how they operate?

tours from musicians like Santigold and Little Simz. There is no mention, either, of the literal blood Live Nation has on its hands due to inadequate crowd planning for Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival, which led to the death of ten people from compression asphyxia. Silence, also, when it comes to discussing their inability to protect an artist from harm; in 2021, Drakeo the Ruler and his entourage were attacked backstage at the Once Upon a Time in LA festival by “around 40, 60 men” in masks, which led to the rapper’s death. His family sued Live Nation, which put on the event, citing negligence from the venue and inadequate security measures.

On January 24, the US Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the need for consolidation in the ticketing industry in reaction to Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour ticket sale fiasco. As part of the formal proceeding, senators questioned Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment executives about their company’s monopoly status, while competitors advocated for their rival’s dissolution. It seemed everyone was out for Ticketmaster’s throat – Republicans and Democrats alike grilled the enterprise – but what if the problem lies more within capitalism at large than with Ticketmaster?

Let’s flashback to November 2022.

Following the release of her tenth studio album, Midnights, Taylor Swift announced she was going on an allstadium concert tour that would take her across the United States. Swift

explained the tour’s concept as a “journey through all of [her] musical eras,” a proposition that was sure to bring immense excitement – and demand – from her fans. When the ticket sale kicked off on November 18, 14 million people formed a virtual line on Ticketmaster’s website. Three million of them had registered for the Verified Fan program that gave them access to a special pre-sale.

Yet fans waited for hours on Ticketmaster’s website. Some saw the tickets they had selected disappear from their carts, while others lost their places in line when the website glitched. Within an hour, the website crashed, stranding users in frozen queues. Those fortunate enough to secure tickets had to pay high service fees while resellers began listing them online for thousands of dollars. Ticketmaster eventually cancelled the general on-sale due to “insufficient” inventory.

Inability to handle such high demand is understandable, but Ticketmaster has been enabled to treat fans poorly without being held accountable as a result of market monopoly.

It goes without saying that when there is a fundamental supply and demand imbalance –roughly 15 million people want to see Taylor Swift in concert, but only two million tickets are available – a lot of people are going to be disappointed no matter what system is used to distribute the goods. Given that imbalance, the price of tickets is bound to rise and someone will step in to fill that gap, whether that be scalpers on StubHub or Ticketmaster via dynamic pricing. Even an artist as significant as Swift cannot overcome these hurdles, for there are no independent venues or ticket-selling businesses big

The main issue here is that Live Nation has contracts with nearly every major stadium and arena in North America that restrict each venue to the exclusive use of Ticketmaster when selling tickets. In other words, venues are Ticketmaster’s primary customers, not artists and fans. Ticketmaster serves the venues by giving them a significant cut of their fees, and as a result, both parties have little incentive to improve the way they treat concertgoers.

enough to feasibly accommodate her and her fans.

During last week’s hearing, a great deal of attention was paid to Swift’s fans and how disappointed they were about not being able to get tour tickets because of high demand. The problem with the judicial hearing is that US senators assumed that the root of the problem lay in the lack of access to tickets. In reality, the issue with Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s merger is so much more profound.

The main issue here is that Live Nation has contracts with nearly every major stadium and arena in North America that restrict each venue to the exclusive use of Ticketmaster when selling tickets. In other words, venues are Ticketmaster’s primary customers, not artists and fans. Ticketmaster serves the venues by giving them a significant cut of their fees, and as a result, both parties have little incentive to improve the way they treat concertgoers.

To make matters worse, the hearing turned into a bit of a circus when senators started showing off their knowledge of Taylor Swift lyrics by incorporating them into their statements. While amusing at first, these bits undermined the very real problems facing Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Meanwhile, hardly any media have acknowledged how artists are being strong-armed out of profits for their own shows and merchandise, an issue that has led to numerous cancellations of

But Ticketmaster and Live Nation have no real competition, so why would they change? Capturing revenue from whoever is willing to pay is what capitalism is all about, and as long as there are no competitors to drive convenience fees down, block bots, or instigate greater security measures, Ticketmaster will continue operating the way it does. If someone is willing to pay $20,000 to stand in a constricted crowd, why would Ticketmaster stop them?

In order to see a change in the way the ticketing industry operates, Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s merger needs to be broken up. The enterprise may operate in a natural economic system, but its situation needs oversight and regulation for the benefit and safety of the general public. If Congress wants to dismantle this merger, it has the power to do so, but it is important to note that the Senate hearing was prompted by the noise created by unhappy fans. Their advocacy for change cannot be overstated, as it is unlikely many of these senators would have taken the steps needed to break this monopoly up on their own.

commentary 11 February 06, 2023 | The McGill Daily
Genevieve Quinn | Photos Editor
There is no mention, either, of the literal blood Live Nation has on its hands due to inadequate crowd planning for Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival, which led to the death of ten people from compression asphyxia.
Ariane Fournier Commentary Contributor


Note for readers: The McGill Daily’s team graciously allowed me to write this week’s crossword, which is themed around trans male and nonbinary activists. Since many of these activists are underrecognized, I’ve structured the clues more like a search engine scavenger hunt than a general knowledge crossword. Hopefully this game will bring a little more attention to some deserving heroes of queer liberation.


2. Indian intersex lifeline

7. Biographer of 3 DOWN

8. Founder of a ‘whittle’ FTM Network

12. Everyone’s best Quaker buddy

13. Modern-day body alchemist

17. Fresh Meat Choreographer

18. Gay in death, laughed in pleasure in life

20. Argentinian GATE-keeper, in a good way

21. A visible man

22. Ice raptor for trans rights

23. ENDA’d up in front of the Senate

24. Bodyminder to the Marrow

25. The right tool for the prison abolition job


1. Caused a stir in the Ugandan morning breeze

3. Funded queer organizing, psychic dolphins, and lots of drugs

4. Tucson’s finest alcohol

5. In The Aul’ Days, we fought the law and won

6. Expanded ID card access in the Yukon

9. Wrote and transcended the Self

10. One fine gender theorist

11. World’s first intersex mayor

14. X-ray deer

15. Glad he ticked all the boxes

16. From habit to Emergence

19. Saruman, film festival founder

22. famous American essayist, alumni contributor

compendium! 12 February 6, 2023 | The McGill Daily
Mohamed | Staff Comicist