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Volume 101, Issue 35

March 8, 2012 mcgilldaily.com

McGill THE

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News

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

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Outside McGill, student protester severely injured Seven arrested during two demonstrations as striking students occupy Loto-Québec Henry Gass

The McGill Daily

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CEGEP student was severely injured in the right eye by a sound grenade thrown by the Montreal riot police at a student demonstration yesterday afternoon. The demonstration took place across the street from McGill’s Strathcona Music Building. The student, identified by several sources as a CEGEP St. Jerôme student in his twenties, was participating in a blockade of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ) office in the Loto-Québec building. A separate march was held later that night in protest of the student’s injury. Frank Lévesque-Nicol, member of the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), the organization responsible for the blockade, said the student “has a very high risk of losing his eye.” “From the information I got, he was put in three different hospitals in a row,” he said. Lévesque-Nicol, who was at the afternoon blockade but did not witness the student being harmed, said the injury was likely the result

of a sound grenade detonating near the student’s face. “Usually [the police] shoot it high so it explodes in the air, or shoot it low on the ground so it explodes on the ground,” he said. “When it explodes close to someone, it may cause tremendous damage.” Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) spokesperson Anie Lemieux said in a recorded statement late Wednesday night that the police have no details on the circumstances surrounding the injury. “Police officers are trying to meet with him now and trying to get details on how it all happened. How was he injured? This is what we’re waiting to get questions answered,” said Lemieux. A member of the Surveillance des intervention policière, an independent team of students observing police intervention in protests across Quebec, said he was hit five times in the stomach by a riot police officer. “They used tear gas, pepper spray. They’ve hit a lot of protesters for no reason,” he said, asking to remain anonymous. The blockade comprised the culmination of a march which left late yesterday morning from Square Victoria. Several students also went inside the building as part of the action.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, CLASSE spokesperson, said he found the police response “totally unacceptable.” “I think it’s time that the government itself asks the police to just respect us, respect our protests, because the tension is going to go higher and higher, and that’s bad for everyone,” he said. SPVM spokesperson Daniel Lacoursière said in an interview with The Daily later that afternoon that “necessary force” was used to disperse the protest. “There was supposed to be a manifestation, but when some people entered the building, LotoQuébec called and we came in,” said Lacoursière. Gwen Bergman, a McGill U3 Music student, watched the action from inside the Strathcona building. She said she found the event “really disturbing.” “From what I saw, the students weren’t doing anything except standing in the streets and yelling… The police took it way out of control,” said Bergman. “And I don’t really see how they did their job, because nobody really got protected by their actions,” she added. Five students were arrested during the blockade, with police unable to provide a figure on the num-

Hera Chan | The McGill Daily

The five students arrested will be charged today. ber of injuries. Several ambulances stayed on the scene after the blockade had been dispersed, something Lacoursière said always happens “just to make sure that everything is safe.” Another two students were arrested at the march later Wednesday night in support of the injured CEGEP student. Lévesque-Nicol said the action was “a very spontaneous thing.” Beginning in Place ÉmilieGamelin, the march reached the SPVM headquarters on St. Urbain between Ste. Catherine and de Maisonneuve, where a small group of the protesters tried to smash the

door in with a metal guard railing to a chorus of boos from other protesters. Lemieux said the students were arrested for mischief, and said the SPVM is “trying to figure out how many mischiefs were actually made.” The actions are part of the general unlimited student strike – ongoing since February 24 and now almost 130,000 students strong – opposing a series of tuition hikes spread out over five years that will amount to $1,625, scheduled to begin this September. Nadeau-Dubois said CLASSE “won’t be discouraged or suppressed by this show of force.”

McGillLeaks publishes confidential internal documents Anonymous group launches online platform for leaks Erin Hudson

The McGill Daily

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ocuments from McGill’s Development and Alumni Relations (DAR), many of which are marked “confidential” or “highly confidential,” were posted online on March 3 by the anonymous group McGillLeaks. In a statement on its website – which had no content remaining at press time – McGillLeaks announced its intention to release hundreds of documents over the next three weeks, starting with the release of DAR documents pertaining to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and defence industries. The documents were available to download from three different hosting sites linked to on the McGillLeaks website until Tuesday, when the links stopped functioning. The statement from McGillLeaks was taken offline on Wednesday. The first release of documents contains donor and corporation profiles, correspondence pertain-

ing to corporate funding, histories of corporate donations and relations, and industrial partnerships – notably a Memorandum of Understanding between McGill and Canadian pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline Inc. On its website, DAR states that its “many programs and activities help the University establish and maintain strong relationships with alumni, donors, and potential donors.” DAR employees report to the VicePrincipal (Development and Alumni Relations) Marc Weinstein. In its statement, McGillLeaks verified the authenticity of the documents on its website and stated that the contents of the documents have not been altered. McGillLeaks outlined three goals for its public release of the documents: to provide an account of a “corporate university’s inner workings,” to supply accurate information regarding McGill’s relations with the private sector, and to create transparency. “While not exhaustive in any sense, the documents are primary source material on the University’s role with-

in the competitive market, and how it conceives of that role,” the statement read. “We are cognizant of the fact that the methods used by McGill are similar to those of many other ‘public research universities,’ and thus are relevant not only to those with an interest in McGill,” it continued. The University has a policy regarding safe disclosure in recognition of the “necessary and valuable service” of the “good faith reporting of improper activities (“whistle blowing”). The policy, approved in 2007, applies to all members of the McGill community, and such reports will not be considered cause for reprisal. Under the policy, an improper activity is “an act or omission committed by a [Member of the University Community] that constitutes ‘Academic Misconduct,’ ‘Research Misconduct,’ or ‘Financial Misconduct.’” The policy also states that, in all McGill activities, the University “seeks to promote a culture based on honest, transparent, and accountable behaviour.” It is unclear what the relation-

ship is between this policy and McGillLeaks’ actions. In its statement, McGillLeaks discussed the “leak” of documents. “We do not see the leak and the new level of transparency it produces as ends in themselves. These documents are only as important as your pursuant critical analysis and initiative,” the statement read. McGillLeaks stated that it will publish submissions of documents related to McGill that are “classified, confidential, and/or not yet public.” The group advised any contributions to be made anonymously and advised against contacting the group from McGill’s internet network. On Tuesday morning, Vice-Principal (External Relations) Olivier Marcil released a statement to The Daily. “This breach of confidentiality is an attempt to hurt the wellbeing of the University, and hurts individuals whose only intent is to support our students and professors. We deeply regret this invasion of their privacy,” the statement read. According to the statement, the University has initiated a forensic anal-

ysis “to determine the source of [the] violation of our confidential files, and we will take immediate legal action against those who are responsible.” “This information is gathered under the standard professional practices of philanthropy,” the statement continued. The same statement was sent by DAR to alumni and parents on Monday night, but was attributed to Weinstein. On Tuesday afternoon, in an email to all staff and students, Marcil added that McGill had called the police. The Daily received a letter from the University’s lawyers on Monday night. The letter stated, “We demand that you take immediate necessary measures to remove any link on the mcgilldaily.com website which redirects users to the [McGillLeaks] site.” The Daily removed the link pending consultation with its lawyer. Similar letters were received by other publications that previously linked to the McGillLeaks site, including the Canadian University Press and the Milton Avenue Revolutionary Press.


Daily Publications Society’s

JOURNALISM WEEK 2012

LA SEMAINE DU JOURNALISME ÉTUDIANT 2012

5 1 H C R A M Y A D S R U H T O T 2 1 H C R A M Y A D N O M Monday

Tuesday

ARTS&FASHION JOURNALISM PANEL: LOLITTA DABOY, JOURNALIST, BLOGGER, AND CONSULTANT FOR FASHIONISEVERYWHERE.COM AND CLINDOEIL.CA, AMONG OTHERS TODD PLUMMER, VOGUE INTERN SSMU BUILDING, LEV BUKHMAN ROOM 11:30 A.M. TO 12:30 P.M.

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES: THE STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY HONDURAN JOURNALIST FELIX MOLINA, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE OF MONTREAL TROTTIER BUILDING, ROOM 1090 3:00 P.M. TO 5:00 P.M.

Wednesday PANEL DISCUSSION: MIKE FINNERTY, CBC DAYBREAK ELLIE MARSHALL, TVM – STUDENT TELEVISION AT MCGILL GRETCHEN KING, CKUT DOMINIQUE JARRY-SHORE, RÉDACTRICE EN CHEF, MONTRÉAL – OPENFILE REFRESHMENTS WILL BE PROVIDED. LEACOCK BUILDING, ROOM 232 6:00 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M. TVM – STUDENT TELEVISION AT MCGILL WORKSHOP: EDITING SSMU BUILDING, TVM OFFICE, B-23 4:30 P.M.

TVM – STUDENT TELEVISION AT MCGILL WORKSHOP: CAMERAS SSMU BUILDING, TVM OFFICE, B-23 4:30 P.M.

Thursday KEYNOTE: LE JOURNALISME D’ENQUÊTE ALAIN GRAVEL, JOURNALISTE D’ENQUÊTE QUÉBÉCOIS ET ANIMATEUR DE L’ÉMISSION ENQUÊTE, DIFFUSÉ SUR RADIO-CANADA WHISPER TRANSLATION AVAILABLE ARTS BUILDING, ROOM W-120 6:00 P.M. TO 8:00 P.M. WINE AND CHEESE RECEPTION THOMPSON HOUSE BALLROOM 8:00 P.M. TO 10 P.M.

le délit


News

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

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Concordia undergraduates vote to strike Amendment moves start date up by a week Andra Cernavskis The McGill Daily

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t a special General Assembly (GA) called on Wednesday to propose a student strike to protest tuition hikes, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) voted with an overwhelming majority in favor of the strike. The GA rapidly reached quorum, with nearly 1,800 attendees. There were three additional locations other than the main one in room H-110 of the Hall Building, one of which was The Hive at the Loyola Campus. All locations were in contact with each other for votes, and CSU VP External Chad Walcott’s opening speech in favor of the strike, which took place in the main location, was broadcasted to the three satellites. Technical difficulties prevented the GA from running smoothly; Walcott had to repeat the first half of his speech after he was made aware that the live broadcast was not reaching the satellite locations. He asked the audience to bear with him, as it was the first time that the CSU had attempted to use these new methods to connect their satellite audiences. It was also the first time a CSU GA has had satellite locations to accommodate the large number of students attending. “The technical difficulties revolved

around having this broadcast live on four different locations,” explained Walcott afterwards. “We had internet cut out. We had mics cut out, anything you would have when technology is spread widely.” The original motion to strike faced two amendments, both of which passed. The first amendment was to have the strike begin on March 15. The motion originally stated that the strike would begin March 22, but the date was changed after a student proposed an amendment, stating, “I think there is a bit of an issue with the date that the strike is to begin. As was announced yesterday, the provincial budget is being released on [March] 20, which means that we are going to be going on strike two days after the budget is released as opposed to mobilizing before that, which would be more effective.” The second amendment added a clause that banned the blocking of teachers and students who wished to enter classrooms during a strike. According to Walcott, “It was never our intention to block buildings. As our resolution originally stated, studio times will be respected, lab times will be respected, internships won’t be blocked. So that was always our intent.” “We were never going to block buildings,” he continued. “In fact, it would logistically be a nightmare to block buildings at Concordia. I

Andra Cervanskis | The McGill Daily

The CSU General Assembly was conducted in four separate locations simultaneously. believe that each department and faculty association will just feel empowered now to move forward with their mandates, adopt their own mandates, as well as ensure mobilization for their students. This is something that should happen class by class, department by department, and faculty by faculty.” After 45 minutes of discussion following the proposed amendments,

the students voted on whether or not to pass the motion. The vote resulted in 1,152 students being for the strike and 557 against it. Nicolas Martel, a third year photography student who has been striking with the Fine Arts Student Alliance since Monday, said that, “[The result of the strike] is just a complete validation of what we are doing right now.”

The strike will begin on March 15 and last for five days, or one academic week, until March 22. After this period, the CSU will assemble again to vote on whether or not to continue with the strike, according to Walcott. March 22 is also the date set for a provincial day of action against tuition hikes, with a march in downtown Montreal planned for that afternoon.

SUS president pleased with year’s achievements Doris Zhu

The McGill Daily

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kshay Rajaram, Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) president, was pleased with the achievements of the SUS Executive this year. The SUS organized its first General Assembly (GA) last Friday, where a quorum of 125 students was reached within an hour. In addition, a motion on accessible education was passed at the GA. In an email to The Daily after the GA, Rajaram wrote that, “I do think that it was important in bringing together students who had an opinion on the issues being discussed [at the GA].” “I don’t think the GA brought any differences to the SUS per se,” he wrote, explaining whether the GA has brought any changes to the SUS. “Beyond publicizing the adop-

tion of our stance on accessible education, I don’t think, there is any further room for implementing the motion [on accessible education],” Rajaram continued. Beside the GA, the president – along with his team – has also been working on projects such as a new website that will be launched in a few weeks. Rajaram described that this new website would be “more dynamic, interactive, and informative.” “We know that this new portal will help us reach out to more students and help our departments publicize their events and services more effectively,” he added. Another project called the SUS “Anti-Calendar” will also be launched in a few weeks. The AntiCalendar is a database that will provide Science students summaries on undergraduate courses. Beyond getting students informed, the SUS also provided ways for them to get involved. The

Charity Semi-Formal and the White Panda concert were two events organized by the SUS to “increase science spirit and give students a fantastic social experience,” according to Rajaram. When asked about the greatest difficulties he has faced, Rajaram wrote, “I think one of the greatest challenges this past year was trying to find time to balance existing and new projects.” “We started the year with four objectives – to increase visibility, to increase Science spirit, to give back more to students, and to expand the services we offer,” Rajaram wrote. He added, “At the White Panda concert, seeing 800 students dancing away having an absolute blast – that was the goal, and I think [the executive] definitely delivered.” The year, however, has not come without its controversies. SUS executives were faced with considerable

Hera Chana | The McGill Daily

Early iPhones controversy eased by recent success with first ever General Assembly

SUS President Akshay Rajaram. media attention earlier this year, when it was made public that the SUS had spent $4,320 on iPhones for their executives. As for future plans, the SUS is holding GreenWeek, its annual

weeklong event dedicated to educating Science students about sustainability. Other activities include the SUS Graduation Formal and its annual SUS Appreciation Night.


6 News

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

McGill begins disciplinary action against BoG disruptors Student demonstrators receive “lighter” of two sanctions Erin Hudson

The McGill Daily

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ver the last two weeks, students who attended the January 31 Board of Governors (BoG) meeting dressed in pirate regalia, and who and sang a rendition of “Barrett’s Privateers” at the meeting, have had disciplinary action taken against them by McGill. On February 22, the students were made aware of the allegations against them in an email from Associate Dean (Student Affairs) and Disciplinary Officer (DO) for the Faculty of Arts, André Costopoulos. In the email, Costopoulos asked students to attend a private interview to “inquire into a possible violation of Article 5(a)” of the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures. Article 5(a) states: “No student shall, by action, threat, or otherwise, knowingly obstruct University activities. University activities include but are not limited to, teaching, research, studying, administration, public service.” Within the group of students who participated in the action,

six have confirmed with The Daily that they were brought up on disciplinary charges. So far, five of the students have received an admonishment from the University. The Code defines admonishment as the official note that a student’s alleged violation of the Code was “supported by clear, convincing, and reliable evidence.” Costopoulos described admonishment as the “lighter of the two sanctions” that he could have given out. The second sanction is a reprimand. “The main difference between admonishment and reprimand is the permanent discipline record,” he explained. An admonishment will not result in a disciplinary record; a reprimand would. According to Costopoulos, an admonishment does not set a precedent for future cases. However, if a student is already on conduct probation, the case is referred to the Committee on Student Discipline, a Senate standing committee empowered to, among other things, suspend or expel. According to students summoned to an interview with Costopoulos regarding the

January 31 meeting, three sources of evidence were shown to students – though evidence shown varied depending on the individual student. Evidence included a letter from Secretary-General Stephen Strople, three security reports filed by Security Services Operations agents, and a brief video of the action. Students were told they could consult the evidence basis of their respective allegations twice, until 24 hours before their interview with Costopoulos. Several students told The Daily their name was written on the security reports, or they were identified as being in the video. Students said all other names, aside from their own, were whited out on the security reports. It is unknown who filmed the video used as evidence in the disciplinary cases. Within the section on McGill’s website pertaining to attendance and security at BoG meetings, article 3 states that “no tape, video, or other means of recording sound or images are permitted whether prior to, during, or after a Board meeting.” Article 39 of the Code states that, in a hearing, “The rules of

evidence applicable in civil and criminal court proceedings shall not apply... So long as the evidence has been obtained in good faith and by reasonable means.” It is unclear whether Article 39 applies to an interview. Costopoulos said that an exclusion of evidence would depend on whether “the source and the manner of obtaining the evidence makes it fundamentally unreliable...but if the evidence is reliable, and it documents a serious breach of the Code, then I would use it.” “As long as it’s legal, ethical, and doesn’t breach any other provision of the Code, then the DO has some discretion,” he continued. The University declined to comment, citing the confidential nature of the disciplinary process. The disciplinary process at McGill is confidential at the discretion of the student. Costopoulos spoke to sources for evidence from which an allegation may result. “Security reports, which can, of course, contain mistakes like anything else, are one element of the evidence that I use, but mostly it’s eye witnesses,” he said. One student who received a summons to an interview with

Costopoulos, however, was not present at the January 31 BoG meeting. The student provided evidence of their absence from the meeting and received notice on Tuesday that McGill was dropping its allegations. Other students who participated in the action have received no disciplinary action. Costopoulos explained that “everything starts with an allegation, and if a student is identified in an allegation, and I find that there’s substance to the allegation, then I call the student in. If the student is not identified in the allegation, then I can’t call them in.” “I can’t investigate allegations that are not sent to me,” he continued. When asked whether the system allowed for potential bias as to which students were victim of allegations, Costopoulos responded, “Yes, of course, the reporting is imperfect.” However Costopoulos said he didn’t think the bias could be accounted for, “Unless you want to live on a Big Brother campus, in which we have face recognition software everywhere, and pictures are taken and name and ID is sent to my Blackberry live... and I wouldn’t want to live on that campus.”

Undergraduate Education Forum explores research options Esther Lee

The McGill Daily

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ast Tuesday, McGill’s second Undergraduate Education Forum took place, discussing the question of how undergraduate students fit in at a research-intensive university. With roughly 35 students and faculty members in attendance, the forum sought to generate ideas on “undergraduate research at McGill, practicality in undergraduate research, intelligent use of study space on campus, class dynamics, and career services” through round-table discussions with participants. The forum’s facilitator,

Associate Director of Teaching and Learning Services Laura Winer, explained that 20 per cent of undergraduate students are engaged in research programs that are not part of their course requirements. Although this number is higher than that of most post-secondary institutions across Canada and the United States, Winer explained that the majority of undergraduates are not exposed to the same opportunities and experiences of this privileged few. “Research that starts in the first years [of McGill can] frame the rest of the way in which students approach further [studies]... Without these experiences,

research is seen as this mythical thing that students become anxious about,” Winer said. Winer continued to explain that many students find opportunities for research and non-credit related studies through public events and publications, and the benefits of internships and placement programs. According to U4 student, current chair of the DPS Board, and former Daily Design and Production Editor Aaron Vansintjan – one of the students who participated in the forum – “there is some flexibility at McGill, you just have to find it.” Vansintjan said that while students are often unaware of opportunities to further their

education, research is possible through unique methods. Vansintjan is one of the student organizers of the Alternative University System at McGill, a collaborative student project that began earlier this semester, promoting flexible non-credit classes. While this system, according to Vansintjan, is ideal, he is still left with the questions of how to ensure that the classes last, and that students will keep coming back. By providing the necessary support through professors and abandoning the idea that “students are sponges,” Vansintjan stated that “[students] can become empowered.”

SSMU VP University Affairs Emily Clare commented on whether the forum was a success. Clare explained that, “We tried to replicate the format of consultation fairs because we thought it would be easier for students to interact for things. “I think we still have to figure out exactly the format of the discussions,” she added. According to Clare, one of the main issues of organizing the forum continues to be dealing with poor turnout. Once completed, ideas that come from the Undergraduate Education Forum will be made available to the public through compiled reports on the SSMU website.


Health&Education

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

7

The land of milk and heroin Tamkinat Mirza Photos by Jasmine Husseini Kaidbey Illustration by Erica Jewell

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s the world focuses on the Gaza strip in continued but futile attempts to end Israel’s now seven-year-long blockade on the region, the social issues brought up by the Israel-Palestine conflict remain largely absent from news coverage. Of these issues, the most pertinent seems to be the increasingly widespread occurance of heroin addiction in East Jerusalem and throughout Israel, as poverty and vulnerability appear to have made people turn to the opiate in attempts to find stress release. Drug abuse is often found burgeoning in regions facing political conflict, with rates of addiction rising during times of both physical and structural conflict – it is seen as being a defence strategy to cope with insecurity and violence. Although Palestine has no explicit historic connection to the drug trade, once heroin was introduced to the area, it became massively popular. Before 1967, the number of Palestinian drug users was reported as being in the mere dozens, and the Global Report on Drugs’ statistics showed no narcotics production or trafficking in the region. After the Six Day War and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip, a different scenario emerged. Life in occupied East Jerusalem is characterized by overcrowding, congestion, and unrelenting social tensions. Here, opiates can provide an escape from daily stresses while filling the void created by a lack of leisure activities. Al Quds University estimates that there are now 6,000 people addicted to heroin in East Jerusalem alone, compared to 300 in 1986. During the Six-Day war, this region

was recaptured by Israel, and the Palestine Authority was no longer allowed to intervene. Consequently, it severed ties with Arab social and legal infrastructure, resulting in a state of chaos. In Israel-controlled territories, Arab residents specifically face a lack of employment, poor education, high poverty levels, and persistent political instability, all of which have played a part in promoting opiate abuse. According to a report by Vice Magazine, East Jerusalem’s heroin addicts are concentrated in its Old City, a single square kilometer of land, home to about 35,000 people including Jews and Arabs. In this tight space, acrimonious relations between the two groups have the risk of intensifying quickly. Al Ram is a town that was locked out by Israel’s Separation Barrier in 2006, disconnecting it from the city and consequently impacting its local economy. One third of the town’s businesses were forced to shut down, 70 per cent of youths under 24 were left unemployed, and the 62, 000 residents were denied required IDs to enter Jerusalem. With restricted mobility, an estimated 5,000 Palestinian children remain unable to attend school. This imposed lack of productive endeavors creates a context ripe for heroin addiction. “These areas are suffering because we are not allowed to function, and Israel is neglecting them as a policy,” Palestinian Authority spokesperson Ghassan Khatib told Al Jazeera. As government officials are unable or unwilling to tackle the issue, NGOs like Al Maqdese have stepped in. They promote drug

awareness in schools, offer counselling services with trained psychiatrists, and distribute needles, straps, and condoms to addicts. Their harm-reduction policies aim to contain the spread of blood diseases, as a 2010 study by the World Health Organization found that 45 per cent of drug users in the region were infected with Hepatitis C. With thousands of residents living in close quarters in East Jerusalem, careful management of transmittable diseases is essential in preventing high mortality rates. In 2007, Nihad Rajabi, once a drug user himself, opened a rehab center in Al Ram, the only one of its kind in Palestinian territory. The center receives no funding from the Palestine Authority ministries and is privately funded, limiting its scope and overall impact. “This is one per cent of what I want to do, but there are no resources,” Rajabi told Al Jazeera. Israel seems to have absolved itself of responsibility for monitoring and regulating towns such as Al Ram. The country’s coordinator of government activities in the territories made a statement to Haaretz, claiming, “by dint of agreements there are no routine enforcement activities of the Israel Police...except in cases where Israeli citizens are involved in the crimes.” Many Palestinians accord with Palestine TV’s arguments that – beyond refusing to address opiate abuse – Israeli authorities are actually responsible for encouraging and facilitating heroin use among Arabs for political reasons. A prevalent Palestinian accusation of Israeli compliance with Palestinian drug abuse frames it as an attempt to depoliticize the group. If off their

opiate high, Palestinian youth may well mobilize to oppose Israeli occupation of the land, making it preferable to the Israeli’s for Palestinians to remain addicted. According to Ajman Afghani, a doctor involved with Al Maqdese, Israel’s hesitancy to prosecute drug dealers in Al Ram has created a safe haven for the trade. Anecdotal reports justify this: East Jerusalmites say that Israeli police only persecute those dealing to Israeli – rather than Arab – citizens. The Middle East Monitor has reported that even when police are aware of dealer and addicts’ drug nests, they do not make attempts to raid them. In addition, Israel has also been accused of framing those addicted to drugs as being “sick and unemployed” and thereby eligible for a monthly allowance, which plays a role in promoting and feeding their addiction. While most accusations remain mere speculation – little reliable evidence is available – this alleged culpability, if nothing else, speaks to the frayed relationship and attitude of distrust in the region. It is important to realize that Israel is fighting its own battle against heroin addiction. The Israeli drug-authority estimated that there are over 300,000 heroin users in the country, including 70,000 teenagers, in a market worth about US $2 billion a year, according to Al Jazeera.

As comprehensive statistics documenting narcotics abuse in Palestinian Territory are not available, it is difficult to monitor whether the trend is still on the rise, has stabilized, or is being mitigated with the help of NGO-run rehabilitation services. Regardless of precise numbers, the issue of drug use in the region alludes to the need for conflict-resolution between Israel and Palestine. Conflict-laden territories have a history of heightened drug use, and it seems that the only significant hope for rehabilitating these individuals remains rooted in finding productive alternatives and a less vulnerable social context. This objective can only be achieved alongside political resolution.


8 Features

WHAT YOU GAIN WHEN YOU LOSE IT WORDS BY CHRISTINA COLIZZA ILLUSTRATION BY AMINA BATYREVA

Me and Ms. de Beauvoir Simone de Beauvoir once said, “One is not born a woman, but becomes one.” Easy for her to say. She came into her own in the cafes of Paris, surrounded by young lovers and world historical geniuses, inciting revolutionaries as they tore up paving stones and manned (and womanned) the barricades. But what do her and her aphorism have to say to a 16 year-old Jersey girl – in other words, moi? What’s the mark of New Jersey womanhood anyway? Is it the slightly noticeable training bra of grade school, with its protrusion of Fruit of the Loom cotton underneath your shirt? Or is it the reddishbrown stain you found on your underwear one day during life sciences class? (Did I just crap my pants?) Unfortunately, it’s neither. It’s unseen, ineffable. It appears in the raised eyebrows of older high school boys, or the shyly whispered questions of younger girls in locker rooms. It is negotiated, like a contract, not earned outright like a trophy. And I signed the dotted line of womanhood in the backseat of a shitty Honda nicknamed Suzanne, where I lost my virginity on Saturday, February 16, 2008.

Secret Garden My friend Ali (the Jersey girl, not Arab man, version) had promised to host her 17th birthday party that night. A lonely grade 11 Valentine’s Day had just passed – if it was an emotional rollercoaster, it was

the kind where you drop straight down for four seconds, then stand up abruptly and vom. Two nights later, Ali was taking us for dinner at Banzai! (one of those Asian places where they cook the food in front of you and catch fiery onions in their hats), and the prospect of a free dinner was delectable. I was part emotionally tender sixteenyear old girl, part hungry. Hours before we were supposed to leave, however, Ali cancelled. Something along the lines of, “Hey ladies! Sorry about tonight but I have to volunteer at my church. Later this week, k? xo.” I was abandoned to the basement couch with nothing to do, having already finished the joint hidden in a hollowed-out copy of The Secret Garden the night before. I shouldn’t have, but I texted him. He was at my house within 45 minutes. A unique species, the basement couch make-out is forced to adapt to its surroundings – the sly pounce of a mother “bringing snacks,” or a brother’s vicious attack for the PS2. “You wanna get outta here?” he asked. Yes, I did. We walked upstairs. “Thanks for having me Mrs. Colizza,” he said. I glanced down the serene cul-de-sac of Hillside Court, nervous about whatever was to come. Still, my body was warm all over. His car wasn’t formally named Suzanne. Suzanne was the name of the Hula girl on his dashboard, whose hips swayed to the supple rhythm of interstate potholes. Suzanne the car smelled like faded car freshener and the former glory of a high

school football captain. At my feet lay a Yellowcard CD and a muddy essay on The Picture of Dorian Gray. A C+.

Lunar Landscape In New Jersey, decaying industrial sites are as cherished a part of the state’s landscape as main streets and cornfields. They sit empty and alone, the bastard children of New York City who never had their place in a Frank Sinatra song, but who Bruce Springsteen adopted and loved as his own. For children, smoke stacks are “cloud makers,” and for parents they signify a lower tax bracket. For teenagers, however, their parking lots are a place to get laid. Subsequently, no one was under any illusions when Suzanne pulled into the Johnson & Johnson parking lot off Route 10, a road whose main attraction was the Raceway gas station where they once filmed a scene in The Sopranos. The Johnson & Johnson had been out of use for quite some time. Its logo, once trimmed neatly into a series of green hedges, was now yellow and overgrown. Nature soon ran its course on us too. Skin and bone replaced his varsity jacket. There was no romance. As I tried to get comfortable, my toes dipped into a crusty cupholder. When he thrust his fingers inside me, I yelped more out of surprise than pleasure. It felt messy and wrong, as if my body was the ceiling of the Sistine chapel and he was a toddler with finger paints. Finally he spoke the phrase, not half as

elegant, but just as timeless, as Beauvoir’s epigram: “Do you want to just put it in?” No term could less aptly describe what we did next than “make love.” It was a fuck, in the purest, most onomatopoeic sense of the word. My heart was pounding, yes, but my head was also pounding into the roof of the car. Regret began to sink in my gut. I looked out the back window and saw a sign from God: the distant, brightly lit sign of a Barnes and Noble. The chain bookstore was a diamond in the “lunar landscape,” as Springsteen once called it, of this New Jersey road at night. It glinted in the distance, promising warmth, New York Times bestsellers, and dusty armchairs. It would become the place where I would cry in the poetry section on the phone with the boy who would later lose his virginity to me. It would be where I bought my first copy of The Second Sex. As I sought a reprieve between thrusts, and let my mind amble past the New Yorkers and Vanity Fairs of the front magazine rack, he came. “O-o-oh my god, get off!” he yelped, tossing my hips away like a losing hand in poker. He hadn’t worn a condom – there was cum stuck to my chest. Now we had a pregnancy scare on our hands in the parking lot of Johnson & Johnson: A FAMILY COMPANY. The humor was lost on me at the time.

And the checkered vans were off! I lay, dizzy, with my head near his lap. If


VOTE. ovs.ssmu.mcgill.ca


PRESIDENT SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

SHYAM PATEL

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hyam Patel has spent the last seven months in the SSMU office, but the year hasn’t scared him from running for a second term as SSMU exec – though this time, Patel hopes to move into the President’s chair. Patel’s platform focuses on the bureaucracy of SSMU, and a series of internal initiatives to make the office – and the executive team – run smoothly and transition easily. Human resources are also a major component of Patel’s platform, an unusual move for a candidate, but an important one for an executive who spends so much time working with staff. Empowerment of the SSMU office staff, student staff, and general student population are important to Patel, who also stressed the importance of

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osh Redel, in his fifth year at McGill, has been involved with an eclectic mix of projects and initiatives. In his third year, he organized Korean Culture Night (he’s read Korean since he was 14); he co-founded the group Queer Engineer; he’s a dedicated member of the fledgling Fight Band (he plays bass drum); and for the last two years has been on the executive of the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). SSMU President sits on McGill’s Board of Governors, the highest governing body at the University, as well as Senate. Redel said that over the course of this year, he has had many experiences working with administrators. “I’ve sat at meetings where it’s just me and eight or nine administrators – and that can be intimidating,” he said. But this year, Redel explained, he got over it. “I think what I’ve developed is respect with administrators, which is different than me being a yes man,” he said. Redel drew attention to his battle with administration regarding EUS’ use of the McGill name in their logo. Redel was adamant in his opposition to the University’s decision, and criticized the outgoing SSMU executive for signing the Shatner building’s lease in exchange for 132 clubs and services losing the McGill name from their names. Redel feels SSMU must engage more actively and publicly with students, pointing to the expansion of SSMU’s presence across campus as a priority.

institutional memory within SSMU. Rather than buying into the argument that SSMU participation is low because of student apathy, Patel thinks that a large portion of students are “misinformed” rather than apathetic. Advertisement for General Assemblies is key. “You need a President who is able to engage everyone,” explained Patel, who also thinks that his accessibility will help facilitate student feedback. Patel sees the role of President as an advisory role for the rest of the executive, which he says will be aided by his experience and knowledge of ongoing SSMU projects. “That’s what I think good leaders do: listen first, then provide feedback, then have a plan of action,” Patel said.

JOSH REDEL


EMIL BRIONES

said it has helped with scheduling club meetings and increased participation in student government. A VP University Affairs candidate in 2010, this year was Crawford’s first experience in SSMU, serving as a student senator, SSMU councillor, and member of SSMU’s Board of Directors. He said he believes the student Senate caucus was not always as efficient as it could be, and that SSMU needs to foster a better campus culture on equity issues. Crawford occupied administrator offices twice this year: Principal Heather Munroe-Blum’s office on November 10, and Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson’s office as part of #6party in February. “While I won’t necessarily be occupying in the future, I will be pushing for that kind of accountability in my position,” he said.

of equity, and continue lobbying against tuition hikes set to begin in September. “We are attending a University right now that is lobbying for tuition hikes,” he said. “We cannot stand for that as a student body.” Due to this year being so “difficult,” he doesn’t think student senators have addressed many academic issues, and it is something he would like to focus on next year. Ultimately, he points to his experience as his principal quality as a candidate. At MUSA, Briones said, “we work with what we have.” “I think I’ve been really good at being resourceful and making sure that I constantly consult with my faculty and my constituents,” he said.

MATTHEW CRAWFORD

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ayley Dinel only has one year of SSMU experience, but in one year she has served as a student senator, SSMU councilor, and member of the SSMU Board of Directors. She is especially proud of her work on Senate this year, including sitting on the Academic Policy Committee, advising on McGill’s Open Forum on Free Expression and Peaceful Assembly – a response to November 10 – and getting Senate to livestream discussion of the Jutras Report on November 10. Getting all Senate meetings livestreamed would be a long-term priority for her. “Not a lot of people even know that it exists,” she said. “To be able to bring that in and have that right on your computer screen is really something that I think would add a lot of understanding about what we do.” She is also advocating for reform to SSMU’s General Assembly, namely putting the final vote on motions online. “When it comes to the actual decision making,

it shouldn’t be left up to 100 people who don’t even show up” for the whole meeting, she said. She is also calling for more safe space in campus life. However, besides voicing a need for “more plugs,” she hasn’t described much of a platform with regard to McGill libraries. As a U2 Theology student, Dinel has also been active within the Religious Studies faculty, helping reinstate the formerly-defunct faculty association. Ultimately, she believes she would be able to reflect more diverse student opinions while being able to work productively with the administration, including ensuring that student senators are able to voice their own personal opinions more often than they have this year. Dinelasserted that she is “not afraid” of the administration. “They really listen to me. They’ve actually taken my advice and actually turned it into something concrete, which you don’t always get, in Senate especially,” she said.

SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

HALEY DINEL

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VP UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS

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he two pillars of Matt Crawford’s platform are accessible education and improving student services. The concrete proposals behind his platform include ensuring fair and adequate access to financial aid for students, in part through SSMU fundraising to increase its current contribution to McGill financial aid. With tuition increases slated to start this September, Crawford said he thinks that “we all want to make sure those who are not capable of paying for their University education have the opportunity to do so.” For libraries, Crawford said he wants to expand library study space, particularly group study space. Another proposal of his is extending the “universal break” – a one-hour break around noon for all students from Monday to Wednesday – to the whole school. The system is currently used in the Faculty of Law, and Crawford

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mil Briones, a U3 Music student in clarinet performance, has the most experience in student government of the VP University Affairs candidates. After three years in the Music Undergraduate Student’s Association (MUSA), Briones was a student senator this year, and with his platform focusing on lobbying students’ interests, academic advocacy, and outreach, he says he wants “to build on the momentum that the Senate caucus has built this year.” As VP University Affairs, Briones said he would want Senate to “be in the moment” more, and that the current number of undergraduate Senate representatives “is not a fair number.” He would also like to make McGill more accountable in terms


VP FINANCE AND OPERATIONS SSMU ELECTIONS 2012 4

ZHI ZHEN QIN

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member of the Orientation Working Group since 2010, JP Briggs thinks he has all the experience necessary for VP Finance and Operations. A U3 Finance and Operations Management student in the Faculty of Management, Briggs considers his experience vital for overseeing the unique elements of the portfolio he may face next year. Elements of Briggs’ platform include increasing the transparency of the portfolio, something he believes current VP Finance and Operations Shyam Patel has struggled with. He said Patel has “done a very good job at everything he’s done, but he’s been behind the scenes the entire time.” The central theme of his plat-

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hi Zhen Qin is a U2 science student and a Science councillor on the SSMU Legislative Council. Qin feels that she is experienced in SSMU bureaucracy due to her role in the Operations Committee and the student run cafe working group. Qin is also a sitting member of the Financial Ethics Review Committee, a role she feels has given her experience in understanding the inherent ethical considerations in the VP Finance and Operations position. “SSMU is not supposed to invest in unethical and socially irresponsible investments, like oil sands,” said Qin. She emphasized the need for investments in companies with a strong environmental and human rights track record.

JP BRIGGS

form is promoting student life, and most of his experience is derived from organizing events like Frosh and Carnival for the Management Undergraduate Society (MUS). He was MUS Frosh Chair the year many McGill students complained about its initial “Tribal Frosh” theme. Briggs said the theme “was a huge mistake on our part,” he said it was a “great learning experience.” Besides changing the Frosh theme and materials in a day, he added that the experience has “grounded me and taught me a lot of things about equity and how important it is to really consider everything that you might not firstly perceive as a problem.”

CLAIRE MICHELA

Outside of SSMU, Qin was a founding member of WikiNotes, a public note-sharing website. “I’m really proud of to be a part of WikiNotes… by providing free notes to students, we are helping them to succeed in their academic career, competing with profitable note sharing websites.” Her experience with WikiNotes has translated to her campaign platform: increasing financial support for smaller clubs and services by increasing SSMU assistance in completing their club audits; a measure of a given clubs financial solubility. In addition, Qin hopes to revamp the SSMU Marketplace system to make goods and services like apartments easier to find.

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ince January 2011, Claire Michela has served as VP Finance for the Gender, Sexual Diversity and Feminist Studies Student Association (GSDFSSA), where she managed the budget and reported to the AUS VP Finance. Apart from her finance experience with GSDFFSA, she is well-versed with SSMU policies and procedures as a result of her position as Recording Secretary of the SSMU Legislative Council and Executive Committee this year. Some policies in her campaign platform include making SSMU Mini Courses pay-as-you-go,

developing open communication between SSMU and various clubs, creating sustainable ethical purchasing and investment policies, and remaining committed to assisting student initiatives like the student run cafe, voted on in the last SSMU GA. Michela also pledges to uphold SSMU’s policies towards environmental sustainability and accessible education. Additionally, she has also promised to change the terms of reference regarding the Charity Fund so students running charity initiatives can apply for the Charity Fund.


SAHIL CHAINI

building, and increasing the sustainability of the building. Next year, she hopes to create more transparent, solid policies that dictate how funding is allocated to various clubs and services across McGill. President of the Indian Students’ Association, Chaini explained that she understands from personal experience the difficulties that can be experienced by clubs in accessing resources from SSMU. Chaini explained that the position of VP Clubs & Services is important, because “clubs and services are one of the most integral parts of student life on campus,” helpings students to feel empowered, learn leadership skills, and meet new people.

ALLISON COOPER

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ooper worked at front desk of SSMU throughout the year which, she said, has given her first-hand exposure to how clubs and services interact with SSMU on a daily basis. She hopes to re-invigorate the existing Clubs & Services Representatives to SSMU through the creation of Clubs Council, a new idea that Cooper has been consulting on. She hopes to implement her idea which would see SSMU’s clubs being divided into “caucuses” based on the type of club. Cooper views the caucuses as a way to facilitate collaborations between different clubs and assist the clubs in identifying similar needs. “I think it’s also really important from my work with green groups on campus, making sure that you’re not doing the same work that other groups are already doing and finding new ways to collaborate,” she said. As the VP External of Plate Club, Cooper spends a significant amount of time in the cafeteria facing the reality of food and waste in the Shatner building. She is U3 Arts student in honours anthropology with a minor in environment. Cooper has also been involved with the SSMU Environment Committee along with working extensively with Plate Club. She points to SSMU’s Five Year Plan for Sustainability, formulated in 2008, which was decided this year to be “out-of-date,” according to Cooper. However, despite a long-term revisioning, Cooper maintains there are many “real, tangible” changes that can be implemented, in consultation with green groups. “I’m excited because I have a knowledge of the different networks that exist within SSMU, campus, and even Montreal that we should really be bring together to work on these things,” she said.

VP CLUBS & SERVICES SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

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ahil Chaini is a U2 Environment student with a minor in Economics. This year, she served as the Clubs & Services Representative to Council, and explained that she has worked a lot with the portfolio of VP Clubs & Services. “I’ve seen what’s really good about it, and what needs to be improved,” she said. She has spent a lot of time this year getting feedback from different clubs, and explained “that made me really want to run, because I learned so much about what they want improved.” For Chaini, these improvements include making Clubs & Services more prominent, easing the application and allocation system for office space on the fourth floor of the Shatner

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SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

VP EXTERNAL 6

RAPHAEL URIBE ARANGO

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P External candidate Raphael Uribe Arango is a U1 History student from London, England. He is currently the Inter-Residence Council (IRC)’s VP External, as well as the Residence Representative on SSMU Council. Additionally, Uribe Arango sits on the Steering Committee as well as the External Affairs Committee. His campaign has three major points of focus, including greater communication between SSMU and students, building relationships with international universities, and fostering cooperation between McGill and its surrounding community. Uribe Arango’s main objective is to push for greater student consultation, and he hopes to create an environment in which “students can come and propose to the executive what initiatives SSMU should take up.” Other proposed initiatives include facilitating relation-

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hile the prototypical VP External candidate’s platform in recent years has focused on mobilizing against tuition increases and extending the olive branch to the Milton-Parc community, Robin Reid-Fraser wants to prioritize enhancing SSMU’s connections to communities across Montreal. Reid-Fraser, a U2 Environment and Development student from the Yukon, thinks “it’s very easy to get insulated in the McGill community.” Her proposed solutions include an “activities night” for Montreal community groups, where they could table in the SSMU building for the day to inform students about their activities and how they can get involved. That isn’t to say tuition mobilization is not one of her priorities. Reid-Fraser has been involved in the Quebec student movement for two years, and says she would work towards accessible education for out-of-province and international students in particular. “It is still a lot of the same people who are showing up” for demonstrations, she said, and she would like to reach out to the larger McGill student population. Reid-Fraser was one of the 23 students who occupied Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson’s office for six days in February, however she said she “would like [McGill] to be able to take a step back” from direct action next year. “We can go to as many meetings as we want, but you do get kind of tired of it when you feel like it’s not actually having an impact,” she said. “I don’t want to be at a university where students continuously feel like this kind of direct action is necessary to get the administration’s attention.”

ships between McGill and other universities, and encouraging exchanges by lobbying for more accessible student visas. Uribe Arango also wants to build a strong relationship with the Milton-Parc community by launching initiatives “such as tutoring or recycling, which is part of the McGill mandate.” Concerning tuition hikes and the resulting student movement, Uribe Arango has attended meetings with both TaCEQ and CLASSE with the External Affairs Committee. “I’ve seen to some extent how student unions function and how the debates are going on,” he says, and, though he is strongly against tuition hikes, Uribe Arango questions the feasibility and effectiveness of an unlimited student strike. “At the end of the day … if there are individuals who do not wish to strike, they should be able to attend class freely,” he said.

ROBIN REID-FRASER


ROBERT BELL

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s someone who doesn’t have formal SSMU experience, Robert Bell believes he can bring a desired change to the SSMU. Bell’s campus experience includes mobilizing students for the various General Assemblies, and his off-campus event planning experience includes planning nightlife events at locations like The Plant. He is also a big believer in accessible education. If elected, Bell would change SSMU Frosh to make events more diverse and engaging with the broader McGill community. In, addition, Bell hopes to use Frosh as a catalyst that would help first years become more oriented with Montreal as a whole. He has also pledged to use numerous multimedia resources to promote SSMU events and make more students involved with SSMU. Bell also plans to reach out to other universities in the Montreal area.

VP INTERNAL

KATIE LARSON

the campus community works, and to better communicate with the campus community.” A U2 Music student with a major in Classical Voice, Larson explained that being a part of a small faculty has been helpful in terms of communication and accomplishing more “ground level stuff.” She hopes to see more collaborative work and information sharing between similar sized faculties in the future. Larson’s priorities for next year include increasing communication between students and the administration, streamlining internal documentation within the SSMU, bringing back equity into the position, and being transparent about the limitations of the executive.

SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

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atie Larson, president of the Music Undergraduate Student Association (MUSA), has been involved in student representation for the past two years. Having been the VP External of MUSA last year, she has sat on SSMU Council, explaining that she “feels personally that I have a really good grasp of community and what goes on here.” According to Larson, VP Internal is a great position that has been lacking in breadth the last few years. She plans on focusing on the first mandate of the position, which is to create rapport with students. With all the turmoil that has occurred on campus this year, she explained that this is the “opportune time for the SSMU to investigate ways in which

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SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

SALAR NASEHI

VP INTERNAL

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alar Nasehi’s platform focuses on fixing the lack of coordination and communication between student groups on campus. Furthermore, as VP Internal, he hopes to create a greater continuity between this year’s current SSMU executive and the prospective year’s executive. Working closely with this year’s current VP External Joël Pedneault, Nasehi said that he was inspired to work for SSMU, and felt he would be a strong candidate for a job that requires mobilization and engagement with students. A U3 student, Nasehi has been active in student activism and

CHRISTINA SFEIR

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environmentally-oriented student groups and organizations. This year, Nasehi has been working with Organic Campus, and has been a loyal volunteer for Midnight Kitchen for all four of his years at McGill. Furthermore, he has worked with Greenpeace McGill, as well as Greenpeace’s larger branches in Montreal and Toronto. Although Nasehi shows clear dedication to student rights and democracy, his lack of formal organizational experience is worrisome. Nasehi acknowledges this lack, hoping that his job as VP Internal will allow him access to more formal means of creating coordination on campus.

ollowing a defeat in the VP Internal race last year, Sfeir says that she’s back with “way more experience” than last year, and with a “fresh mind and fresh start.” One of Sfeir’s top priorities is communication, specifically through the SSMU weekly listserv, which she wants to be “more informative” than what she saw this year. She also stressed the importance of diversifying SSMU events, and ensuring environmental sustainability of the Internal portfolio. Chairing Faculty Olympics for the second year in a row – she helped found the event under 2009-10 VP Internal Tom Fabian – along with her experience in SSMU and other McGill organizations,

Sfeir says she has the skills and knowledge of the Internal portfolio to pull off SSMU’s annual events. A unique offering Sfeir made was greater collaboration between the Internal and the External VPs, to raise awareness about events like campus protests against tuition hikes and campaigns against opt-outs, as well as supporting the groups under the Clubs & Services portfolio through promoting their events. Following a revamp of Frosh last year and proposals for further changes at the AUS and SSMU General Assemblies, Sfeir’s suggestion is to add events that cater to both the drinking and nondrinking student population.


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P Internal Candidate Samuel Sigere has served as VP External of the Biology Undergraduate Student Society, VP Finance for the Stem Cell Society, and Junior Editor for Le Délit. Sigere’s event planning experience includes being Director of the 2011 Inter-University Biochemistry games, which included a couple hundred bio-chemistry students from across the province playing competitive sports events at McGill. Sigere’s platform includes improved communication between students and the SSMU, properly informing students about events like the General Assembly, running non-alcohol centred events as well as 4Floors and Faculty Olympics, so that all students feel included in SSMU events, and strengthening ties between Faculty Societies and Departmental Associations. While Sigere is opposed to the upcoming tuition hikes, he aims to be politically neutral so that all students feel represented by him.

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Michael Szpejda

INNA Tarabukhina

SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

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nna Tarabukhina wants the VP Internal position to be about community. One of her top priorities is to create an integrated event calendar for the wider McGill community, so that groups are aware of each other’s activities and can collaborate on projects that serve a common purpose. Her current involvement in SSMU is as VP communications and event planner for the Sustainability Case Competition, a first step in the student-run cafe project. In this position she has helped to create the contest, and has reached out to business leaders for professional input. She admitted that the competition and the cafe project in general is a new step for SSMU, but that she is excited to see how “flexible” the Society can be. “Collaborative projects like the case competition help people from different backgrounds come together on common ground,” she explained. A U1 Science students in cognitive neuroscience and philosophy, Tarabukhina has two jobs, takes five courses, and has various leadership roles, including VP events for Journalists for Human Rights and VP sponsorship for Arts and Science’s Ampersand Conference. “I know what it’s like to be busy,” she said. Tarabukhina still wants to deliver traditional events like 4Floors and Faculty Olympics, but with slight “tweaking.” She wants Frosh to be an event that helps students feel “oriented” by facilitating a mentoring relationship between frosh leaders and first-year students throughout first semester. “We can do more than just party,” she said.

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VP INTERNAL

ichael Szpejda, a U3 student in Neuroscience, is running for VP Internal with the intent of renewing commitment to student life, making better use of allocated budget to fund events and speakers, and increasing communication between SSMU and the administration. Szpejda is new to SSMU, but has volunteered as a coordinator for Science Frosh and Carnival, a coordinator for Faculty Olympics, and has held the position of VP Internal for the Science Undergraduate Society this year. Next year, he hopes to increase the quality and visibility of events, using more of SSMU’s allocated budget to “give people more bang for their buck.” These resources could be used to support faculty associations, and in turn pay for more all-ages events during frosh. He also wants to see more interest and buzz surrounding homecoming, in order to help build school spirit. Szpejda explained that he wants to find out what kind of speakers students want brought in, and use the allocated budget to make it happen. He also hopes to expand the end-of-year concert, making it a one to two day event on lower field, bringing in Montreal and student talent rather than a big name. Szpejda said that he hopes to see more communication next year between faculty associations to “create a more bonded community,” as well as to increase transparency and interaction between SSMU executives and the administration.

SAMUEL SIGERE


ENDORSEMENTS SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

Shyam Patel

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fter his solid year as SSMU VP Finance and Operations, The Daily endorses Shyam Patel for SSMU President. With a varied experience of positions both within and outside of SSMU, Patel has a diversity of perspectives that translate into an empathetic and informed leadership much-needed when leading a team of executives. Graduating from Funding Coordinator in 2009-2010 to VP FOPS in 2010-2011, Patel’s successes included focusing on the Financial Ethics Review Committee and working on his initiative of a student-run café in the Shatner building, which included the founding of the Sustainability Case Competition. During both the MUNACA strike and student actions to protest tuition hikes, Patel has been a quiet but present figure on the scene, signaling that he’s well

PRESIDENT aware of the political climate on campus, even if he doesn’t take a proactive role in it. Patel’s platform has a broader structural vision, which is fitting for a portfolio that requires more oversight and administration than small initiatives. Representation on the Board of Governors was a focus of Patel, who thinks that a more pragmatic approach is needed for a governing body filled with professionals, and The Daily hopes that he will have a strong enough voice to stand as the lone undergraduate on the Board. Design and Production editor Alyssa Favreau and News editor Henry Gass were not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of presidential candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.

HALEY DINEL VP UA

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aley Dinel is The Daily’s choice for SSMU VP University Affairs primarily due to her existing track record of working effectively with the administration in the interests of students. With only one year of experience in SSMU, Dinel has managed to affect significant visible change at the academic level. Her efforts to get discussion of the Jutras Report livestreamed has already led to a second livestreamed Senate session, and Dinel has committed herself in her platform to making livestreaming a regular feature of Senate next year. This change would have the dynamic effect of making one of McGill’s most obscure representative bodies more accessible and approachable, both for downtown campus students and, more importantly, students who have difficulty physically attending Senate, like students living and studying at Mac

Campus. The Daily is encouraged by Dinel’s stated commitment to accessible education and her record of doggedly pursuing student mandates at the Senate level, and we trust she would be similarly accountable as VP University Affairs. Dinel’s platform is weaker in other areas of the portfolio, however, and we hope she considers some of the concrete proposals laid out in Matt Crawford’s campaign in particular. Crawford’s vision includes expanding group study space in libraries and applying a “universal break” – an hourlong period around noon, from Monday to Wednesday, where no students have class – to the entire school. Currently practiced in the Law Faculty, the break frees up student time for club meetings, participating in student government, and attending office hours.

ZHI ZHEN QIN VP FOPS

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he role of Vice President Finance and Operations requires planning far into the future. The platform of Zhi Zhen Qin, a Science councillor for SSMU Council, reflects this necessity by planning on furthering the goals of outgoing VP Finance and Operations Shyam Patel. The Daily feels that thisforesight, in addition to her unique knowledge of the SSMU bureaucracy, makes her the strongest candidate. One of Patel’s most ambitious plans was the creation of a student-run cafe in the Shatner building. Qin has expressed her interest in going forward with this plan next year, and, after working closely with Patel over the past semesters, seems to be equipped with the knowledge of the

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budget necessary to implement the plan. In addition, Qin is a co-founder of WikiNotes, a public note sharing system at McGill. The Daily (being ardent supporters of open information) feel that this important show of outreach to the McGill community well suits Qin to work well with SSMU clubs and their finances. Finally, Qin hopes to revamp the SSMU Marketplace, making it easier for students to find accommodation at McGill. In summary, Qin’s demonstrated knowledge of SSMU’s financial bureaucracy, coupled with her plans to follow up on Patel’s set goals make her the best candidate for this position, overshadowing any lack of experience she may have in terms of financial leadership roles.


VP C&S ALLISON COOPER T

he Daily endorses Allison Cooper for the position of SSMU VP Clubs & Services. We feel that, not only does Cooper has considerable and varied SSMU work experience, she is well-versed in the every day realities of the Shatner building, which she would be building manager of if elected. The Daily feels Cooper’s background in sustainable practices as VP External of Plate Club, and her work with SSMU’s Five Year Plan for Sustainability make her the strongest candidate. Also,

Cooper’s work with the Independent Student Inquiry this year demonstrates her capabilities to take action under a time constraints, a pressured environment, and shows her connection to issues relevant to the student population. Commentary editor Zach Lewsen was not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of VP Clubs & Services candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.

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thing we encourage Reid-Fraser to consider should she be elected. We are confident that Reid-Fraser’s experience on the SSMU Environment Committee, with NDP campaigns and McGil’s Organic Campus will be helpful should she be elected. So long as ReidFraser’s commitment to student’s priorities remains firm, The Daily stands beside her. Photo editor Victor Tangermann was not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of presidential candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.

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rom the seven VP Internal candidates, The Daily chose to endorse Inna Tarabukhina. Her relevant SSMU experience includes serving as VP Communications and event planner for the Sustainability Case Competition, which is the building block for a studentrun café. She’s further advanced her communication experience through her role as VP Events with Journalists for Human Rights and VP Sponsorship for the Ampersand Conference. The Daily was also pleased to see her platform mentioned altering Frosh to promote some of the non-alcohol centred events while keeping the traditional events. This plan will help include all first

years. She also aims to make Frosh holders uphold a mentoring relationship between first year students and their Frosh leaders throughout the whole of the latter’s first semester. She also has a concrete plan to improve event awareness by creating an integrated online calendar of all McGill events, not just SSMU ones. Tarabukhina has a strong record of engaging in constructive dialogue. Design and Production editor Rebecca Katzman and Health&Education editor Peter Shyba were not present or involved in the discussion and endorsement of VP Internal candidates due to close personal relationships with candidates.

SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

VP INTERNAL INNA TARABUKHINA

ENDORSEMENTS

VP EXTERNAL ROBIN REID-FRASER lthough The Daily endorses Robin Reid-Fraser for the position of VP External, we do so with reservations. Although her experience and knowledge of the student movement against tuition hikes is strong, she has remained fairly ambivalent with regards to the issue throughout debates and within her platform. Reid-Fraser has chosen instead to focus on getting McGill students out of the bubble, a priority which is of definite importance, but cannot stand alone. Movements within the student body should be of highest importance in the platform of the elected VP External, some-

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SSMU ELECTIONS 2012

Elections to be held from March 8 to 14 ' by Juan Camilo Velasquez

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andidates for the 2012-13 SSMU executive positions debated one another and answered questions from students on Tuesday. The debate had a larger than usual attendance, with students gathering in both the Lev Bukman and breakout rooms in the Shatner building.

VP External The debate began with the candidates for VP External, Robin ReidFraser and Raphael Uribe Arango, addressing tuition fees for nonQuebec students and the potential student strike at McGill. Students in the audience asked the candidates if they would support students’ right to go to class in the case of a general strike. Uribe Arango answered that he would respect the students in their decision, allowing students to attend classes in the event of a strike. Reid proposed using a General Assembly for students to talk about the strike and make a decision following these discussions.

VP Clubs and Services

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Sahil Chaini and Allison Cooper took the floor next and discussed issues pertaining to the Clubs and Services (C&S) portfolio, including sustainability in the SSMU building and club office allocation. Chaini, current C&S representative on SSMU Council, stated that her biggest concern is the current

system of office allocation to clubs in the SSMU building, which many students find to be unfair, and promised to “revamp” it. Cooper stated that she would prioritize working with sustainable initiatives and overhauling the winter activities night. “I really think [activities night] needs more publicity and having activities that people would come for,” she said. Both candidates expressed their support for QPIRG and CKUT following a question about the organizations from current VP C&S Carol Fraser.

VP University Affairs Emil Briones, Matt Crawford, and Haley Dinel, the candidates for VP University Affairs (UA), debated issues of equity and SSMU’s relationship with the administration. Briones expressed that McGill needs a “collective mandate to a commitment for equity,” adding that the University could work with SSMU’s equity policy. Following a question from current VP UA Emily Yee Clare Crawford said his biggest asset was being “one of the most vocal critics in senate and active members of council.” “I think that [students] can have really great ideas and all the knowledge to enact those ideas, but it really takes someone to stand up,” said Crawford. Dinel cited her “good working relations with the administration”

as a quality that would distinguish her from the other candidates.

VP Internal There are seven candidates for VP Internal, making it the most contested position. The candidates are Robert Bell, Katie Larson, Salar Nasehi, Christina Sfeir, Samuel Sigere, Michael Szpejda, and Inna Tarabukhina. Larson expressed that the VP Internal could have a more supportive and collaborative role when it comes to the other executive portfolios in SSMU. Frosh reform was recurring topic throughout the debate. Szpejda stated that he felt “SSMU frosh is irrelevant,” and that SSMU should give its Frosh resources to the different faculties to improve their quality. In terms of the SSMU listserv, Sfeir proposed making it more interactive and using it as an opportunity to help students become more informed about political issues on campus.

VP Finance and Operations The candidates running for VP Finance and Operations (FOPS) – JP Briggs, Zhi Zhen Qin, and Clare Michela – focused on Gerts, the project for a student-run cafe, and SSMU Mini Courses. Michela expressed interest in exploring the option of having “pay as you go” Mini Courses. Shyam Patel, current VP FOPS,

asked the candidates what they believed to be the most important thing under the portfolio. Briggs said that he believed everything was equally important, adding that there is “an overlying theme of what you can give back to students.” Qin stated that her biggest priority would moving forward with the student-run cafe plans, while Michela said that the VP FOPS needs to have “great working relations with the clubs and services at SSMU.”

President The event closed with the presidential candidates – Shyam Patel and Josh Redel – discussing their vision for the SSMU. Redel cited that one of his main priorities would be to improve student space outside of the Shatner building. Patel said that he was not running on a campaign of change, but that his campaign instead focuses on his accomplishments and in making students care about SSMU. “There are students on campus that find the SSMU completely irrelevant and some don’t even know what the SSMU is,” said Patel. When asked how relevant was their current experience to the SSMU President position, Redel referred to his work as EUS president. “One of the things a president does is working with a wide variety of people and I have that experience,” he said.

ALL ELECTIONS PHOTOS BY VICTOR TANGERMANN | THE MCGILL DAILY

THE DEBATE

Candidates for the SSMU Executive debate tuition in creases, Frosh, equity


The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

any sentimentality were to emerge from this night, this would be key moment. And then, with a crackle of the radio and an artful deployment of anaphora, Akon stole it away: Smack that all on the floor Smack that give me some more Smack that ‘til you get sore Smack that oh-oh! Upfront style ready to attack now Pull in the parking lot slow with the lac down Konvict’s got the whole thing packed now Step in the club now and wardrobe intact now! He turned off the radio and we slipped our clothes back on in silence. He tapped my butt, intending it as a joke, and I mustered a laugh from the deepest pit of my stomach. I really wanted to go home. First, though, we had to get a morningafter pill. We held hands as we walked through the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood. He said, “So I guess we’re boyfriend and girlfriend now?” I said, “I guess so.” The Planned Parenthood was closed, which felt like a grotesque social injustice at the time. We drove past the Johnson & Johnson again to a late-night pharmacy. The morning after pill was forty dollars, and I felt compelled to pay half. The pharmacist initially hesitated; my checkered Vans were hardly indicative of a mature, sexually active adult. My nose started to sting

with tears and the lab coat phony forked over the Plan B. Back in the car, I swallowed back the new hormones, as if my own weren’t enough to kill whatever little egg was sprouting its first cell membranes in my womb.

Smack that til you get sore Fast-forward to later that night, and the sweaty basement discomfort of some high school party. I wasn’t driving, but I didn’t drink for fear that I might be pregnant, which made me feel wholesome at the time. Everything smelled like his car. Even me. Even my hair. The Cosmo equation, “GREAT SEX = GREAT HAIR,” was a bullshit lie. Mine was still frizzy, no less shiny, and sticky at the edges (yes, with that). I clawed through it nervously, searching for the old Christina, hoping my new post-coital aura hadn’t yet reached my split ends. I spotted a friend: “We have to pee. Upstairs.” “He and I did it. Can you sleep over tonight?” I can’t remember if I even kissed him goodbye or how she and I got home. My friend was a year older, and was in a serious, wehavealotofsex, long-distance relationship with a college guy. She told me that they did it in the back of her boyfriend’s jeep wrangler without condoms all the time and she had been “totally fine.” I was ashamed of his Honda next to a Wrangler, like a girl who has to wear a hand-me-down dress to church on Easter Sunday. We made microwave pizza and stole some beers from the kitchen (Coronas, I

think), my maternal instincts on hold.

frogs before you find a prince.”

Konvict’s got the whole thing packed now

The Princess and the Plan B

My mom whispered “goodnight girls” from her bedroom. Her voice was calm and consistent, like cream spreading through coffee – my dark secret exposed in one quick stir. (Two weeks later my mom would find a pack of Marlboros in my underwear drawer, and leap into a “healthy decisions” monologue. She never mentioned him, but she didn’t need to. Marlboros were like men. They made you look cool. They were hardly worth it.) After The Truman Show ended, we chucked our empties over the backyard fence, cringing as the bottles clanked on the cold grass, afraid of being caught in this barely venal sin after a night full of the mortal kind. We tiptoed up to bed, deliberating for nearly ten minutes as to where to put the second pill of the Plan B Teenage Starter Kit. Under the bed, we decided: yep, she’ll never check there. It had all felt like a shitty episode of Degrassi, so poorly performed I felt detached enough to mock it. And surprisingly, I didn’t feel all that guilty. No dramatic self-analysis, no excitement, no meaning to be extracted. The act itself hadn’t even hurt. I felt cheated out of an experience I had never bothered to idealize. I couldn’t fall asleep. My friend’s voice in the dark room: “Don’t worry girl, you gotta kiss a lot of

9

For those who have never had the misfortune of swallowing it, Plan B isn’t as quick and easy as it sounds. There are, in fact, two pills, which no one ever talks about. Nor is it recommended to wait until “the morning after.” The first pill should be taken immediately, as if it’s starting the race miles behind the sperm, like the tortoise after the hare. I could feel the pill’s presence coiling up through my mattress springs. My bed felt too small, like my body had grown out of my Tommy Hilfiger butterfly sheets. I knew the prescribed twelve-hour mark would arrive soon, and I would swallow that little white circle and all would be right as rain. Everything would be fine, if only I could fall asleep. If only I could stop staring at the half-finished sun on my ceiling that I started painting one summer. If only he would stop texting me. If only I couldn’t feel that small pill digging between my shoulder blades. I wished the pill was a small pea instead, and I, a Danish folklore princess, gracefully sensitive to the simplest change, and deserving of the royal treatment. But there are no princesses in America, let alone New Jersey. Turning over, I glanced at the clock. It was 4:32 a.m. I had to get to sleep. I was taking the SATs the next morning and I really wanted to get into NYU. Tentative major: Women’s Studies.


Commentary

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

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One university degree, please How education is now a commodity Jacqueline Brandon The McGill Daily

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ome days, my education seems to pass by like a blur. Students waiting in line to get into a lecture like a horde of customers at a grocery store. Stacks of graded essays and scantron sheets pumped out like manufactured items on an assembly line. McGill is merely a factory, and you are merely a consumer. That is, if you let yourself be one. More than ever, the University appears as the corporation. Only the most apparent example of this includes McGill’s involvement with the private consulting firm McKinsey & Company, who are helping to “streamline” administrative processes. This means that the institution of tenure is being replaced by a system that relies on less-costly sessional professors and course lecturers. If professors are here for less time than their own students, how are meaningful relationships built, let alone maintained? McKinsey’s work at other universities, such as Texas A & M University, also a large public research university, has led to professors being paid based on the number of students enrolled in their course. This system does not take into account the individualized nature of each professor’s research. The system seeks to standardize the university process, to turn it into a factory that sells degrees. The system is creating striking changes in our daily lives. This cannot be ignored. I do not mean to paint the past

as glory days. Certainly structures of oppression, ones that have sought to secure profit over community, equality, and wellbeing have always been present – let’s not forget the series of knighted white male principals from McGill’s early days. What we are striving for is unprecedented. The history of universities points to a tense relationship with imposing structures, such as the church and the state, which sought to sway academia to their advantage. In our own neoliberal time, the private sector fills this role. With clear-cut interests and profits in mind, how is the pursuit of knowledge honest and unbiased? How can academic conclusions lead to new frontiers that serve the public interest when the outcomes are determined by the donations of corporations? Certain faculties at McGill have “industrially funded research” programs. These partnerships do not take social and environmental consequences into consideration. For example, the research done at McGill on asbestos’ health effects, which claimed that chrysotile asbestos is only harmful when one is exposed to large quantities, was linked to corporate funding. This was recently contested by medical groups unconnected to the industry. Another important example is McGill’s profitable relationship to the mining industry. Corporate sponsors of McGill’s Mining Engineering Department, such as Barrick Gold, aided and abetted the violent suppression of labour

groups, among other heinous and exploitative behaviors in mining operations in the global south. These are not the only consequences of commoditized learning. Education is supposed to push people out of their comfort zone, not produce a lucrative product. We cannot let our tuition and tax dollars go to subsidizing the corporate world. I have experienced the most meaningful learning when I have questioned norms, not when I have reinforced the status quo. I do not want to feel the same satisfaction from my education that a customer feels when purchasing a product. For now, we are not yet clients (at least ostensibly). Clinging to our role as students and members of a learning community means cultivating relationships with professors and staff. It means pushing the boundaries of our education. But more importantly, it means joining the 120,000 plus students from our neighbouring institutions that are currently on strike by participating in upcoming general assemblies. All of this context must frame what tuition increases really mean. The hikes are not just about students, they represent the continuity of misplaced priorities and of corporate insatiability. The often hostile dialogue surrounding the unlimited general strike among McGill students too often ignores a very important reality: this is an exciting chance to affect change. I am grateful for the student strike. There is no question in my mind that this is the most substantial way that we can even begin to amend our deeply flawed system. I

Jacqueline Brandon | The McGill Daily do not mean to put the Quebec student movement on a pedestal as our only shot. Daily actions in nearly every aspect of our lives are necessary. I do, however, see it as the most accessible and hopeful way to carry out changes together. Against both tuition hikes and the larger political problems the

hikes represent, we have a legacy of struggling to maintain.

Jacqueline Brandon is a U1 History student. She can be reached at jacqueline.v.brandon@ gmail.com

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Commentary

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

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Danji BuckMoore, a great floor fellow An open letter to Residence Director Michael Porritt Brendan Gaffney Hyde Park

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Midori Nishioka for The McGill Daily

Off the charts

Why Atheism cannot be placed on the political spectrum

One Less God Harmon Moon

onelessgod@mcgilldaily.com

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here tends to be a certain historical connection between atheism and liberalism, or, to be more accurate, between religion and conservatism. One needs only to look at Rick Perry’s particularly unpleasant “Strong” commercial mentioning Obama’s supposed war on religion to see the influence that religion has on the far right. The right wing has tended to travel hand-inhand with religion and the church, while communist theory leans on the abolition of religion as the infamous “opiate of the masses”. Yet such categorizations are hardly absolute. For example, many of Ayn Rand’s beliefs can be classified as on the far right of the political spectrum. In this case, her strong atheism was not a major fac-

tor in deciding these views. Conversely, Liberation Theology, a segment of Catholicism, became radically left wing in the late 1960s, as a response to poverty and authoritarian rule in Latin America. Some have gone so far as to accuse it of being Marxist. With that in mind, though, I’d be lying if I said that atheists didn’t tend to lean politically leftward, an interesting phenomenon in and of itself. As I said earlier, there’s a certain historical connection stemming roughly back to the Enlightenment, although some will disagree with me on the date. What I would argue, though, is not that the source for this tendency is part of some intrinsic part of atheist thinking, but comes from the age-old marriage between religion and the right wing. When boiled down to its core texts, religion is essentially a grouping of traditions that are intended to be repeated across the ages. Such an approach tends to be very palatable to social conservatism, with its return to the

“good old days.” Even more important were the organized churches of earlier times that tended to amass wealth and influence – with more to lose, and backed up by their orthodoxy, they would tend to turn towards the right. Atheism as a belief challenges the core precepts of religion, which are often used as justification for reactionary thinking. Since it often takes aim at such roots, atheists can easily find themselves pushing the envelope against a more conservative mode of thought, swinging gently to the left without a serious intent to do so. And, while Rick Perry may lead us to believe otherwise, there is no intrinsic connection between one’s faith and one’s politics. One Less God is a twice-monthly column on atheist communities and philosophy. Harmon Moon is a U2 History student and VP External of the McGill Freethought Association. He can be reached at onelessgod@mcgilldaily.com

write to you this evening frustrated and disappointed with the actions the administration taken against Danji Buck-Moore, until recently a floor fellow at Solin Hall. As a first-year living on the fourth floor of Solin during the 2010-2011 academic year, I had the pleasure of getting to know Danji as my floor fellow and then as a dear friend. Thanks to Danji, my transition into the fast paced life of McGill and Montreal was smooth and comfortable. Danji was knowledgeable and eager to help, like all floor fellows, but he went above and beyond his duties, encouraging his students to become active members in the McGill community. Whenever I needed help, advice, information, or support, Danji was always available. I vividly remember passing by the white board hanging from Danji’s door each day on my way to school. Everyday, Danji updated this board with campus events, sports games, plays, concerts, and activities we could participate in. To the left of the white board hung a brown cork board covered with various brochures and posters, providing us with information on the different services available to students at McGill. It’s worth noting that, apart from Danji’s boards, I have not come across any clear and concise lists of the services and events open to me at McGill posted by the administration. Even when Danji was not on duty, his door was open – inviting any passerby to come in for tea and home-made cookies. Danji loved his students, and was happy to hear anything we wanted to share with him. With his compassion, kindness, and generosity, Danji was like a father to us: he made us feel secure and cared for as we started a new chapter in our lives. I am shocked, therefore, to learn from an article in The McGill Daily that Danji has been dismissed from his floor fellow position because of

his participation in #6party. In addition to being an extremely cruel, misguided, and undeserved punishment for his actions, Danji’s dismissal is a great loss for the entire McGill community – especially for those in Solin Hall, who may feel cut off from campus. By firing Danji in the midst of the academic year, the administration irresponsibly disrupted the lives of first-year students who have already suffered through the extremely long MUNACA strike and the frightening presence of riot police on our campus. Although McGill strives to compete with other world-class universities, the administration’s treatment of its students is inferior to that of its peers. My parents, who both graduated from elite American universities, are horrified by the mediocre service and lack of support that students pay to receive at McGill. My mother graduated from Yale Divinty School in 2010, and I visited her many times during her studies. I witnessed the support that students receive in a world-class institution. The support that we receive, quite simply, is not world-class. Your decision to remove Danji from a position he has held for almost two years is symptomatic of the reckless, ill-informed, and, quite frankly, abusive position that the administration takes towards students who exercise their right to free speech: a threat unfathomable to students at the universities McGill tries to compete with. It is obvious that the students involved in #6party felt that drastic and direct action, such as #6party, was necessary to grab the attention of an administration largely unreceptive to student demands. Instead of dismissing protesters from their jobs, and depriving students of their floor fellows, I encourage the administration to engage in an honest dialogue with their student body. I also urge you to restore the title of floor fellow, with all the accompanying benefits, to Danji Buck-Moore. Brendan Gaffney is a U2 East Asian Studies Student. He can be reached at brendan.gaffney@mail. mcgill.ca


Culture

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

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Benito’s benediction Kaj Huddart

The McGill Daily

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t the corner of Henri-Julien and Dante in Little Italy stands the Church of Madonna della Difesa, one of the most sumptuous and inspiring churches on the island, and a physical testament to the prominence of Montreal’s Italian community. Like many churches in Italy, its ceiling is painted with a colourful fresco. Familiar figures populate the image – Jesus, church officials, angels. But on the right side of the enormous fresco, there appears an unfamiliar man in military dress, sitting straight-backed on a horse. This is Benito Mussolini, notorious Fascist leader, ally of Adolf Hitler, and enemy of Canada in the Second World War. The man who painted him is Guido Nincheri, a celebrated Italian-Canadian artist. But, despite its homage to Mussolini, the Church of Madonna della Difesa has been recognized by the Canadian government as a National Historic Site of Canada. The explanation for this curious sight in Little Italy is, as one might expect, intertwined with the story of the artist. However, it also has a great deal to do with 20th century Italian politics, and the history of the Italian immigrant community. The Daily contacted Filippo Salvatore, Italian-Canadian expert and professor at Concordia University, for more information. Professor Salvatore began by describing the difficult conditions Italians found when they first immigrated to Canada around the turn of the 20th century. Canadian immigration policy favoured Protestant northern Europeans, who were seen as racially and culturally preferable to the Slavs, Jews, and Southern Europeans who were attempting to immigrate to Canada in great numbers. As both southern Europeans and Catholics, Italians were doubly undesirable. Furthermore, many of the Italians who came to Montreal were illiterate manual labourers and factory workers, who had little defence against the Social Darwinist rhetoric of inferiority that relegated them to the lowest rung in the city’s social hierarchy. As a result of this isolation, Italian labourers found themselves cut off from nearly every higher authority except for the Catholic Church. Attempts were made by the city’s Anglophone elites to “improve” the Italian community by converting them to Protestantism – despite Montreal’s Catholic majority. Indeed, Protestant Italians were not only preferred by local authorities, but also served as the link between the entire community and the Italian government, who had poor relations with the Catholic Church since the appropriation of Papal lands by Giuseppe Garibaldi in the 19th Century. Salvatore noted that, in the early 1900s, the community suffered

Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily from poor self-regard due to the dual discrimination based on ethnicity and religion. However, the arrival of Benito Mussolini in Italian politics drastically changed the way that ItalianCanadians saw themselves. Following World War One and the October Revolution in Russia, revolutionary Communists in Italy threatened to become a powerful force. Mussolini’s virulent anti-Communism, his nationalist rhetoric, and his friendly attitude toward the Catholic Church earned him the title of “Savior of Italy.” He was seen by religious Catholics as a man sent by Providence to restore the nation’s Christian and moral heritage in the face of potential ruin. In his military coup, Mussolini not only removed the possibility of Socialist revolution, he also solved the long-running dispute between the Catholic Church and the Italian Republic by creating the Vatican, thus restoring to the Pope some of his temporal power. Repairing relations with the Church was seen as Mussolini’s great triumph. To Italian Canadians, he inspired admiration, religious gratitude, and, most importantly, pride in being Italian. But Mussolini was not only admired by the Italian diaspora. Canadian politicians, as well as their British and American counterparts, were glad to have a strong bulwark against the “Red Menace” in Europe, despite Mussolini’s tyrannical method

of rule. Indeed, between 1929 and 1936, Mussolini was often spoken of as the most admired leader in Europe. For the Italian-Canadian community, whose leaders were nearly all Fascist supporters, the spectacular rise of Mussolini heralded a merging of Fascism and Italian identity. The Madonna della Difesa Church was established in 1919 to celebrate the signing of the Lateran Accords that created the Vatican. The community’s most skilled fresco painter, Guido Nincheri, was hired to decorate the interior of the Church. Although Nincheri’s original design included no sign of current politics, the parish priest advised him to insert Mussolini into the image. As a craftsman, Nincheri did as he was told by his employer and priest. When Adolf Hitler came to power, he expressed his deep admiration for Mussolini and appropriated many Fascist symbols: an alliance between the countries seems to have been inevitable. As the 1930s wore on, Italy and Germany grew closer while the world grew more wary of the increasingly extreme rhetoric espoused by the Nazi Party. In 1938, Mussolini and Hitler signed the “Steel Pact” military alliance. In 1939, war was declared in Europe; and in 1940, Italy declared war on Canada. Overnight, most of Montreal’s Italian community became suspected enemy sympathizers. Male heads of households were

rounded up and placed in internment camps to prevent the formation of a fifth column within Canada. Often, Salvatore noted, fathers would be interned while their sons were called up for service in the Armed Forces, a policy that was doomed by its own absurdity. Realistically, there was little chance of Italians forming a fifth column, and the internment of Italian-Canadians was a dark mark in the country’s history. Besides, Salvatore added, the general population held little responsibility for supporting Fascism, as they were led to it by their secular and religious community leaders, some of whom, he suggested, “deserved to be interned”. Along with his fellow community members, Guido Nincheri went to an internment camp. Fortunately, he was able to secure his release by demonstrating his original sketch for the Madonna della Difesa Church, which didn’t incorporate Mussolini. He used this evidence to claim he never had Fascist sympathies. This may have been an exaggeration of the truth, but the internment authorities accepted his plea. Nincheri then went on to decorate churches throughout Quebec, Canada, and the French-Canadian diaspora areas in New England. His style drew heavily upon the Tuscan region where he was born, a legacy that extends from Giotto to Michelangelo. Nincheri used the same

technique as the great fresco painters of the Renaissance, and he saw himself as part of a long line of great artists and craftsmen. Nincheri also admired the British pre-Raphaelite movement of painters such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and was highly influenced by that style. In Montreal, his work is found throughout the early to mid20th century churches. Aside from the Madonna Della Difesa, Nincheri’s greatest works are the ceiling of the Church of St. Leon de Westmount, on Maisonneuve near Clark, and the lavish decorations of the Chateau Dufresne, on Sherbrooke and Pie-IX. The secularization of Quebec society in the early 1960s – combined with the “Refus Global”, Paul-Emile Borduas’ manifesto on the importance of non-figurative art – signaled an end to the era of construction of lavish religious structures in Montreal. Nincheri’s counterparts in the field retired or found other careers, but he continued to paint religious frescos until his death in 1973. His was the very last generation in a long history of religious painting that had its apogee in the Renaissance works of Michelangelo and others. Montreal is fortunate to have so many existing examples of Guido Nincheri’s art, which stand testament not only to the religious images they convey, but also to the currents of global politics, culture, and immigration that have shaped the history of this city.


Culture

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

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Does art matter? Ariella Starkman ventures to Concordia’s student art festival to find out

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that a collection of visual representation of memory and experience, with Talula’s piece in particular, relates to the broader Montreal arts scene because of how enticing the scene truly is. Talula wouldn’t mind if James Dean resurrected and visited the gallery. Her work can be found at http:// cargocollective.com/talulacwilde.

The McGill Daily (MD): Why does the show revolve around the idea of change? Christopher Spears (CS): The show revolves on the changing context of the mediums in which we present – painting, sculpture, and video. We are interested in how design thinking may be brought out of a design context and applied onto different mediums. MD: Your description of the show discusses how the works speak to the changing contexts explored in the exhibition. What context are you referring to? Is there a context you feel deserves or needs considerable investigation? CS: We are referring to what we feel is the changing of design. Both Eli [the exhibit’s co-curator] and I have been having a lot of frustrating conversations lately, with each other and with our peers. I feel like there are a lot of changes going on in the real world that have an affect on the nature of design. I feel like the term design and how it is perceived may need to be re-evaluated, that the term design may be subject to change. MD: What do you feel are some inevitable emotions or consequent reactions associated with the pieces in the exhibit? CS: The terms chaos and calm come to mind, although these are conflicting emotions. On the top floor the viewer is surrounded by chaos and perhaps the reason

Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily

rt does matter. However, the Art Matters festival that promotes emerging talent by creating connections to Montreal’s creative institutions goes beyond just alluding to art’s importance. At the risk of sounding like an after-schoolspecial, I was genuinely thrilled to read Art Matters’ mandate. Art Matters welcomes the artistic participation of any undergraduate Concordia University student. It aims to create an atmosphere of celebration in artistic expression, exploration, and collaboration, while remaining open to all art forms, disciplines, and mediums, in any language, all while providing emerging artists with practical skills and tools to promote their art. As a student in Montreal, I was ready to seek out two exhibits that I could relate to and that had characteristics and themes that could be directly connected to this vibrant, youthful, and artistic city. Enter Subject to Change, an exhibition that includes a diversity of mediums – painting, sculpture, design, performance, and video. I caught up with one of the curators, Christopher Spears, to discuss the idea of change, the re-evaluation of design, and the inevitable emotions you will feel if you come check out Subject to Change.

for this is to make our peers feel uneasy about what it is or why it is. However, design is what it is. I think it’s a great opportunity for people to envision the term design outside of their comfort zone.

ronment that he greatly appreciates. Furthermore, Julian would like Simon de Pury to visit the exhibit and Tom Hanks to keep him company on a deserted island. Visit the artist at his website www.islandofjulian.com.

I immediately connected with the conflicting emotions that seemed to resonate from the pieces in the exhibition. I often feel an inner contradiction of being, between my desire to live fast and be young, and the duty I feel to embody responsibility and be sensible. However, more often than not, students are reminded to carpe diem and not fear experiences that may take them out of their comfort zone. And this is why I will be returning to Subject to Change on Thursday, March 8 for the opening party. The notion of challenging our comfort zones directly recalls moving to Montreal in the first place, and although scary and chaotic at first, change is ultimately rewarding. Of particular interest was Julian Garcia’s piece, featured in Subject to Change is entitled “Final Draft (Still Life)” and consists of a rectangular foolscap on a black canvas. A selflabeled “post-internet” artist, Julian finds his inspiration from the internet, which acts as a material envi-

MD: The name “Final Draft (Still Life)” is very interesting; it presents a contrast to the theme of “change” in the exhibit. Tell me more about the origin of the name. Julian Garcia (JG): Well, the overall nature of the show as mentioned in the question deals with design and how it is eminently “subject to change” based on its usage. With that in mind, I named my piece “Final Draft (Still Life)” in order to highlight the fact that it captures a well-known piece of design amidst materialization. The image on the canvas is meant to give a still frame of what is happening inside the modes of production when a piece of ruled paper is about to be printed. At that point all one can see is a pristine set of lines that will provide a grid-like environment for the future user to appropriate. The title aims to highlight the stillness of this moment, to freeze an unattainable frame. MD: What do you hope people will take out of viewing “Final

Draft (Still Life)?” JG: I hope my piece delivers an interesting aesthetic experience, and makes people think about how easy it is grow accustomed to things that took a lot of time to design just right. I also hope that people think about how design has in many ways shaped our most basic conceptions towards simple actions such as reading and writing.

Already enlightened by Subject to Change, I was looking forward to My Pregnant Preteen Birthday Vacation with Dad. An exhibit that showcases works embodying a specific moment, memory, or relationship. Each work uncovers the feelings, images, and occurrences during pivotal episodes of upbringing. I was essentially running out the door when I discovered a contributing artist – and friend of mine – created a depiction of all the men she’s slept with during 2010 and 2011. Talula C.’s piece, “2010 & 2011” is a visual representation of each sexual encounter, inspired by the notion of “collections”. The theme of the piece and entire exhibit immediately recalled my own memories and experiences, from encounters with boys, to the first year of being in Montreal. It must be mentioned

MD: What was your inspiration for this piece? Talula C. (TC): The piece was inspired by the notion of “collections”. Obviously the men I’ve slept with aren’t a collection in the traditional sense, but a collection nonetheless. I was thinking about the phrase “Kill Count” and by just drawing the heads, it references mounted animal heads – I the artist become like a hunter mounting my prized sexual encounters on the wall. As morbid as that seems, the piece is also tender and sweet. The piece is made up of lipstick kisses (with some detail drawing using lipstick) and the act of applying lipstick and kissing the paper – its kind of tender. MD: What do you want people to take away from your piece? TC: I hate this question. Everyone is going to project his or her own experiences and thoughts on the piece. I understand that what everyone takes away from it will be different and I’m fine with that. Some people are going to judge me. Others will think I’m empowered. Some will feel uncomfortable and some will think it’s hilarious and fun. And whatever the viewer thinks, well it speaks a lot more about them as a person than it does about me. I like how the piece can be so many things. It’s feminist, but its fun, making it accessible for everyone to understand. It’s also kind of degrading. I’ve turned the male gaze onto itself, I’ve degraded these guys down to just heads. Some people are going to have an issue with the fact I’ve flattened the experience and that I’ve rated them – like something you would see in Cosmo’s hot guy section. I’m totally fine with all this though. MD: Sexual encounters are certainly experiences that contribute to a coming of age and transition. Where do you see yourself now, after “2010 & 2011”? TC: I love making pieces about guys. I’m a little boy crazy – aka obsessive – so maybe once I calm down they won’t be a subject I’m interested in anymore, [but] for now it works. Some of my best pieces have been made at the crucible of love and heartbreak.

Visit artmattersfestival.org for information on all the exhibitons and events that are a part of the Art Matters Festival


Compendium

The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

Lies, half-truths, and Rihanna!!

14

“Just imagine the possibilities” Rihanna runs for VP Internal The McGill Daily

T

his week, U6 hip-pop student, Rihanna Shpleir, announced her candidacy for SSMU VP Internal. The sustainable pop star announced her platform for the SSMU VP Internal position last night to a crowd of teenagers at Tokyo. “I have not come here to talk about the past. I was going to announce my candidacy at Bar des Pins (BDP), but you can’t find student support in that kind of hopeless place,” said Shpleir. At Tuesday’s debate, Shpleir promised that she would “run this town” better than all the rest by making the statue of James McGill stylin’ and by sending out an “SOS” e-mail whenever protesters gathered on campus. In her closing remarks, Shpleir swore to “shut up and drive” SSMU to a better place. “I’ll drink to that,” said U7 Bartending student Malvin Harris in response. Rihanna’s toughest competition is likely to be Herman Stain, a pizza mogul and longtime awkward smiler. Many students

Samosas

were very excited about Stain’s candidacy. In an interview with The Daily, Robbie Smells, a U12 Stonemason student, expressed his utmost joy at the prospects of Stain being VP Internal. “Since January, I’ve had the pleasure of being chief campaign model for Stain. If I wasn’t excited about Stain, I wouldn’t be here. I believe Stain can put the Gill back in McGill. We’re running a campaign no one has ever seen. No one has ever seen a candidate like Herman Stain. He is McGill,” said Smells as he smoked a cigarette. Shpleir responded to the excitement around Stain. “I ordered his pizza for my last concert. I think he should work on offering more toppings before he thinks of running for anything. I’ve had better pizza delivery on my $350 million yacht. Did I mention that Principal Leather Woodrow Boom has her yacht parked in the same Yacht Club? “Sometimes she comes over and we split a gruyere prosciutto pizza while sippin’ on Crystal champagne. She’s been more generous now that tuition is going up. Just live ya life, ay ay ay,” Shpleir commented.

I. Spott Fitzgerald | The McGill Daily

Jade Zee

Winner 3

Winner 1

The Milton Avenue Revolutionary Press

Trophy Thieves One Awful Hangover

FINAL

The weather’s getting better

SHOWDOWN Shyam Patel Josh Redell

Concordia undergraduates vote to strike on March 15!!! Paper writing stress sucks

Winner 2

Winner 4

Buns Smart Burger

Welcome to The Daily’s McGill-based pop culture and current-events March Madness bracket. The series will run all month! Email compendium@mcgilldaily.com or tweet at @mcgilldaily with your picks or if you think you have better match-up ideas. All contestants subject to our comedic whims.

The Leafs beat the habs last weekend Sarah Palin didn’t endorse Rick Santorum in Alaska

TOTAL

PLUS 16 PLUS 241 MINUS 31 Weird Awkward PLUS 226


The McGill Daily | Thursday, March 8, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com

volume 101 number 35

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The Daily is proud to be a founding member of the Canadian University Press. All contents © 2012 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

Dismissed on ambiguous charges Last Wednesday, Francis (Danji) Buck-Moore and Drew Childerhose were dismissed from their positions as floor fellows at Solin Hall as a consequence of their involvement in the sixth floor occupation of the James Administration building in February. The Daily believes that the political actions these students take outside of their roles as floor fellows should not be grounds for termination, as they have no bearing on their abilities to perform their jobs. A petition signed by 61 floor fellows, MORE fellows, and Dons, was submitted to Michael Porritt, the executive director of McGill Residences and Student Housing, opposing the two floor fellows’ termination. There was also a petition signed by over 300 professors and students (Full disclosure: members of the Daily’s editorial board signed this petition.) It is clear that neither the community they serve nor their colleagues believe that their participation in student protests warrants their dismissal. Porritt’s decision seems even more unreasonable considering Buck-Moore and Childerhose’s terminations will only harm the students on their floors – students in whose best interests Porritt is ostensibly supposed to act. Dismissing the floor fellows they have come to trust, in the stressful period leading up to exams, is not beneficial for these students’ welfare. The specific details of Buck-Moore and Childerhose’s dismissal have not been released. The floor fellows were told that they were fired due to their involvement in #6party. Buck-Moore and Childerhose’s contracts had no termination clause, though guidelines in the job description state that floor fellows, MORE fellows, and dons must be “positive role model[s].” However, absence of specific language defining positive behaviour means the administration’s interpretation of what constitutes a “good role model” is alarmingly discretionary. In the opinion of the McGill floor fellows who signed the petition, BuckMoore and Childerhose’s “participation in the non-violent occupation of the 6th floor…[is] a testament to their dedication to their university community and engagement in student life.” Given that the residence community expressed support for the dismissed fellows, it is clear that Porritt’s consultation was just an empty gesture. Dismissing Buck-Moore and Childerhose for neglecting their duties for the five days they were absent during the occupation, if that is the specific reason for their dismissal, is not a reasonable or proportional response – particularly in light of their overall performance and track record, which was attested to by at least 61 of their coworkers. If they are being fired for not being available to their students, it seems counter-intuitive to deprive the Solin students of their presence for the next two months. If the reason for Buck-Moore and Childerhose’s termination isn’t that they failed in their floor fellow responsibilities, the alternative explanation seems to be that they are being dismissed for participating in the political protest itself. The fact that student employees can be dismissed for arbitrary reasons at the discretion of the administration is worrying. Any employee, no matter how they may be remunerated, should be provided with clear and unambiguous grounds for firing. It appears to us that in this situation McGill may have taken advantage of ambiguous wording in the floor fellow contract and opaquely interpreted a “positive role model” to mean someone who toes the administration’s line. In an equitable work situation, one cannot be fired for political opinions or actions, yet it seems that is exactly what happened to Buck-Moore and Childerhose. McGill needs to lay out clear-cut and specific language when it comes to its dealings with students and staff. As it stands, McGill’s modus operandi is one where its vague guidelines and loose regard for student opinion allow the administration to act as both judge and juror. This situation is part of a larger trend where the administration regularly takes unilateral action with a complete disregard for public opinion – the ultimate result being an environment of fear on campus that stifles dissenting student voices.

15


It’s awards season at SSMU. SSMU Awards of Distinction. Do you want to receive a $2000 scholarship from SSMU? SSMU is currently accepting applications for the Awards of Distinction, which are designed to recognize students who have demonstrated a combination of strengths in both extra-curricular activities and academics at McGill University. To be eligible, a candidate must be a SSMU member who will have completed twelve (12) credits during the current academic year (as of May 2011) and be studying at McGill or another academic institution in an undergraduate program in the 2011-12 academic year. To find out more about the application process, visit http://ssmu.ca/ All applications are due by April 1st.

SSMU Awards. Each year the SSMU awards students and student groups who have shown themselves as outstanding in a variety of ways. It is time for your hard work and dedication to be recognized! For a complete list of awards you can submit nominations for, and guidelines on how to make a nomination, check out this week’s SSMU listserv. Completed applications should be submitted to the SSMU Office or emailed to internal@ssmu.mcgill.ca by Monday March 19th at noon. For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Todd Plummer, SSMU Vice-President Internal at internal@ssmu.mcgill.ca

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