Volume 102, Issue 16
October 29, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
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ISGAP | The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy
Antisemitism in Comparative Perspective ISGAP in Conjunction with McGill University
Senior Research Fellow, Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya
â€œAntisemitism in the Contemporary Middle East: Survey and Analysisâ€? Tuesday October 30 5:30PM Leacock Building, Rm. 738 McGill University
Seminars are open to the university community (undergraduate and graduate students and faculty) and the interested public. ISGAP 212-230-1840 www.isgap.org
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NEWS 03 NEWS
Monday, October 29, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Activists say landlord complaints prioritized over tenants’ Laurent Bastien Corbeil The McGill Daily
Campus Eye: Sperm Run
06 COMMENTARY We need radical feminism An introduction to Dailyspeak Sexual assault and defining our own boundaries Cheating culture at McGill
09 SCIENCE+TECH Exploring Montreal’s tech startup culture All of the lights (in the night sky)
11 SPORTS Sports commissioners overstep their bounds
12 CULTURE Movie theaters that think outside the box Opera de Montreal and the university student Review: We Are Legion
English student worries about new novel Judith and Slavoj coming to a screen near you
15 EDITORIAL On picking the office of the DPSLL
Housing rights tribunal bogged down by inefficiencies
Library construction delayed The Daily talks to Françoise David
The McGill Daily
espite promises of shorter waiting times and better service, the Régie du logement – the provincial tribunal charged with handling litigation between tenants and landlords – continues to suffer from considerable delays and a lack of resources, according to Projet Genèse, a Montreal-based community organization. The group staged a protest in front of the Régie du logement offices last Thursday. “There are simply not enough commissioners,” Projet Genèse spokesperson Sheetal Pathak told The Daily in French. “Less than ten years ago, it took less than three months to hear a case. It’s not impossible to go back to more reasonable delays.” According to a government study conducted this year, the average waiting time for a “priority” case is 14.5 months. The Régie groups cases into five categories: urgent, non-payment, fixation and redaction, priority, and general. Issues that affect the well-being of tenants – such as heating – are classified as urgent. With the exception of urgent cases, the Régie handles complaints chronologically. However, Pathak claimed that cases of “non-payment” – in which a tenant refuses or is incapable of paying rent – are always given priority over the other classifications. “No matter the extent of the harm that is done to the landlord, they are always given precedence
over cases that endanger the health [of the tenants],” Pathak said. In an interview with The Daily, Régie spokesperson Geneviève Trudel said that urgent and nonpayment cases were handled under “similar delays.” An inquiry compiled by the Quebec Ombudsman, the parliamentary body tasked with investigating injustices committed by government agencies, revealed that between 2010 and 2011, “non-payment” cases were dealt with following a 1.3 month delay. Complaints labelled as “urgent” were addressed in 1.4 months. “It’s an administrative and political decision,” Pathak said. “It’s a very big problem when someone lives in housing that isn’t heated for a long time. It has consequences on the well-being and on the security of people. We think it’s unthinkable that cases of non-payments are prioritized.” 42 commissioners sat at the Régie in 2007, but that number fell to 34 in 2010, according to La Presse. Last year, the Régie noted in its annual report that 20,110 cases were being reviewed by the organization, a 7 per cent increase from the previous year. According to Trudel, however, the Régie has the necessary resources to handle the current complaints, and “the problems [they] encountered last year were rectified.” The Association des propriétaires du Québec, a group that advocates on behalf of landlords, disagrees. “Every commissioner deals with around 1,300 cases per year,” a statement on its website read
Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
in French. “We consider the [14.5 months] delay to be too long and we believe that it causes harm to owners as well as to tenants.”
The Régie hired eight new commissioners this year. Whether delays will be shortened by this new measure remains to be seen.
fication strong, but a good start!” —Annie Shiel
cial election was called. Quebec Ombudsperson Raymonde Saint-Germain’s Director of Communications Carol-Ann Huot told The Daily in March, that “Bill 46 maintains the system of police investigating police that does not provide a sufficient guarantee of impartiality.” The Liberal government did not follow recommendations by the ombudsman to set up a special investigations unit. Regarding the latest proposal by the PQ government, Huot stated in an email, “The Quebec Ombudsman repeats his recommendations aimed at creating an independent civilian bureau to oversee investigations, supervised by a civil director and including civil investigators.” “We will examine the bill with interest when it will be deposited by the government,” she added. —Juan Camilo Velásquez
News Briefs GA motions pass online ratification
The Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) Fall General Assembly (GA) motions re: Renaming the SSMU Breakout Room and re: Installation of a Bouldering Wall – both of which passed with quorum in the GA before moving to online ratification – were ratified online and are thus officially adopted. Elections SSMU released the results in an email to SSMU members last Thursday. The motion regarding renaming the SSMU breakout room to the Madeleine Parent Room passed its online ratification with 2,002 “yes” votes and 459 “no” votes. The motion regarding the installation of a bouldering wall in the sub-basement of the Shatner Building passed with 2,024 “yes” votes and 530 “no” votes. A total of 2,931 students par-
ticipated in online ratification, according to Elections SSMU’s online results report. This was the first GA to include online ratification since fall 2008. “I think online ratification went well,” SSMU President Josh Redel wrote to The Daily in an email. “Considering that a lot of people thought nothing would pass if it went to online ratification, I’m glad to see that we were able to get them passed.” The online voting page also featured embedded YouTube videos from the GA to aid online voters in their decisions. “I am also glad to see the decent amount of views on the embedded YouTube videos of debate surrounding the motions,” wrote Redel. “Certainly just the start to how we make online rati-
Quebec to create police oversight civilian group
PQ Public Security Minister Stéphane Bergeron announced last week the continuation of plans to create a civilian group that would oversee cases of deaths or severe injury involving police forces. “We are committed to setting up an independent mechanism of inquiry that will probe into incidents involving the police,” Bergeron told the Globe and Mail. Under current Quebec law, an investigation is held if such incidents happen, but they are conducted by an outside police force. Earlier this year, the former Liberal government proposed similar legislation – Bill 46 – which died on the order paper when the provin-
The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Two-month delay expected for Redpath renovations
SACOMSS Sexual Assault Center of the McGill Students’Society
Free. Confidential. Non-Judgmental.
Project manager cites “unforeseen site conditions,” promises that construction will halt during finals
We’re here to listen.
Photo Laurent Bastien Corbeil | The McGill Daily Michael Lee-Murphy The McGill Daily
Be the paparazzi.
he construction outside the Redpath library will continue at least into early December and possibly longer, according to the architect in charge of the plan. Students can also expect more construction throughout next fall for the third and final phase of the renovation. According to Robert Stanley, the director of Project Management for Facilities Operations and Development, “unforeseen site conditions” will delay the completion of the project past its projected finish date of October. Delays in sourcing materials for the general contracting firm St. Denis Thompson, as well as additional masonry work, have slowed the project, Stanley said. “Inevitably when we work on these old buildings, we find lots of surprises. Things aren’t quite what you think they’re going to be,” he told The Daily. The $1.4-million contract has at least a dozen sub-contractors. Stanley said that if the project is not completed by early December, it will shut down for the Fall exam period, which begins December 6. Last fall, the first phase of the Redpath project – the renovation of the walkway connecting the McLennan doors to McTavish Street – was delayed well past its projected completion date of October 2011.
Internal emails obtained by The Daily indicate that phase one of last fall’s renovations was delayed into December partly as a result of a payment dispute between KingstonByers, the general contractor, and a masonry subcontractor. According to emails from within University Services dated November 9, 2011 – the authors and recipients of which are redacted – a delay in the subcontractor’s paycheck resulted in a construction manager “sending a small crew, or no crew at all” in protest. The final phase of the construction is scheduled to begin just after convocation this spring, and Stanley said he expected it to continue through the Fall 2013 term. “We understand that this is an inconvenience to the student population, to the employees of the university, but we have no choice. We have a four-month window of downtime,” he said. He added that construction for phase three could begin as early as May, but that the University has opted not to start until after the convocation ceremony. Kingston-Byers is one of the many construction firms to have appeared in the Charbonneau Commission, the provincial inquiry into corruption in the Quebec construction industry. The contractor worked on a Laval water-processing contract that went 60 per cent over budget. “Kingston-Byers have been doing work for us for a long time,” Stanley said, calling them “one of the best contractors in Quebec.”
Asked if the Charbonneau Commission has had any indirect effect on construction projects at McGill, Stanley said that there is an “insidious attitude of painting people as being guilty just by virtue of ‘you’re in the industry.’” “There’s a lot of cynicism out there, and it undermines the credibility of my team as project managers and as construction professionals,” he said. “Internally, within the McGill community most especially, people don’t understand the complexities of the construction industry. And when that misunderstanding becomes disbelief, disbelief then becomes méfiance, lack of confidence, and mistrust,” he said. Stanley said that he has notified higher administration officials that there is roughly $600 million worth of work to be done on campus during the next six years. “The University is crumbling around us, we have so much deferred maintenance work to address.” Although the project’s information page on the McGill website states that the renovations will include smoothing out the terrace between McLennan and Redpath, the addition of a green terrace and a railing around the perimetre, Stanley emphasized that this was “not a beautification project.” The project was initiated to address “chronic leaks [in the drainage system] that were damaging not only the contents of the spaces below but also adversely affecting the reinforced concrete.
The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
“University funding should be reassessed” Lola Duffort The McGill Daily
he Daily spoke to newlyelected MNA Françoise David of Québec solidaire (QS) on Friday about her party’s vision for higher education in the province, the problems facing universities, and what QS would insist upon at the summit planned by the Parti Québécois (PQ) government for later this spring to address the funding, role, and future of higher education in Quebec. Two camps have formed in the university funding debate. On one side sits the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universities du Québec (CREPUQ) – the federation which represents the administrations of Quebec’s 18 universities – which argues that universities in the province are severely underfunded. A CREPUQ study released in 2010 cites $620 million as the amount necessary to bring the province’s universities up to snuff. On the other sit the student federations, who say that the problem is one of misallocation and mismanagement, and who argue that the figure cited by CREPUQ only points to the disparity between the funds available to Quebec universities as opposed to the Canadian average rather than to a quantified need. But for QS, according to David, the issue is not quite so black and white. “I’m not an expert on university finances, but it’s certainly possible that there’s an underfunding,” David told The Daily in French. “It hasn’t been conclusively determined either way for me… But I also think that a lot of cleaning up needs to happen. Senior administrative salaries have definitely gotten ridiculous, especially with principals and rectors. McGill’s principal is
WHAT’S THE HAPS
The Daily speaks to Quebec solidaire MNA Françoise David
Discussion: Who Needs Feminism? Tuesday, October 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. Shatner Ballroom
Who Needs Fem-inism? Week, a photo campaign aimed at starting conversations about feminism and its continuing relevance today, will culminate in a McGill Community Discussion. All genders are welcome.
McGill Panel on Syria Friday, November 2 6:30 p.m. New Chancellor Day Hall, room 100
Photo Shane Murphy | The McGill Daily
the best example of this.” Her party, however, does believe that the provincial funding model needs to be reassessed. With most universities’ dominant grants coming from head count, universities are pushing their enrolment numbers past capacity, according to David. For its part, McGill has seen total enrolment rise by over 13 per cent since 2006, representing over 4,500 new students. Furthermore, private sector funding has prioritized subsidized research over teaching, and led to the “development of certain disciplines for entirely financial reasons,” David said. David also pointed to what she believes is a recurring preoccupation with prestige. “For me, it’s an ideological question. I don’t know why we have to compete with the best universities in the world […] I think we have to
be realistic.” Research and innovation are critical and should be encouraged, she said, but the role of universities should also be to foster “critical thought” in the public. At Senate on October 22, McGill Principal Heather Munroe-Blum pointed to a drop in the University’s rankings – from 28 to 34 in the world, according to the Times Higher Education – as a cause for concern, and as a direct result of underfunding. Since its inception in 2006, QS has advocated for the abolition of tuition in Quebec. David said that with the support of student federation Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE) and, most recently, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) – Quebec’s second-largest trade union federation – QS hopes to put free tuition on the table dur-
ing the summit. “Because we’ve kept tuition frozen for so long, pretty soon given the way that the cost of living is going up, tuition will be – comparatively speaking – basically free,” said David. “But we think we need to go further, we need to get to a point where student debt is zero.” QS believes the solution is simple: reinstate part of a tax abolished in 2007. The tax in question was levied on the permanent capital of all businesses in the province, and QS suggests reinstating the part which deals with financial institutions, “which don’t produce anything in the first place, but essentially make money off of money,” David explained. According to QS and CLASSE’s calculations, this would generate at least $737 million, a number they consider more than adequate to finance free tuition.
CAMPUS EYE Sperm run Hera Chan
The annual sperm run involves dressing up as sperm and racing toward a giant vagina - the Shag Shop. When participants reached the Shop, however, they found their paths blocked by a gargantuan “condom.” —Annie Shiel
Organized by McGill Law School, this forum on Syria will feature speakers Rex Brynen, political science professor specializing in the Middle East; Abdullah Almalki, who will give a firsthand account of the torture and brutality perpetrated by the Assad regime; and Houchang Hassan-Yari, who will speak about the military dimensions of the Syrian crisis and the effects of the Syrian civil war on regional stability. The panel discussion will be followed by a question and answer session. Admission is free.
Freaky Fridays Public Outreach Lectures Fridays at 5 p.m. Redpath Museum Auditorium
Freaky Friday public outreach lectures allow McGill scientists to examine the myths and realities surrounding genetic engineering, super explosive eruptions, and endangered species. Past lectures are available on iTunes U and McGill podcasts. Seating is limited. No reservations necessary. Admission is free unless indicated otherwise.
12th Annual CASCO McGill Dance & Fashion Show and Silent Auction Friday, November 16 Doors at 7:30 p.m., Pre-Show at 8:30 p.m., Main Event at 9 p.m. L’Astral Theatre The McGill chapter of the Commerce and Administration Student Charity Organization (CASCO) – a student-driven initiative that raises money to support the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation – presents a dance and fashion show involving student performers from across the McGill campus. CASCO’s goal is to raise $12,000 for the Foundation. $15 seats, $600 corporate tables (tax deductible).
The McGill Daily Monday, October 29, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
We don’t need this feminism We’re pissed, what’s new? Isabella Mancini and Joan Moses Commentary Writers
his past week, feminism took a short trip to McGill. A campaign to raise awareness about feminism has taken the shape of individuals holding signs that read “I need feminism because…” in a photo for Tumblr (www.wnfmcgill. tumblr.com). While this campaign was well-intentioned in its efforts to increase visibility of an entirely worthy and important cause, it has resulted, largely, in a manipulation of feminist thought. Rather than sparking insightful discourse on the ways in which sexism plays into larger structures of power, it has simply shown us that anyone can be a feminist if they just write twenty words down on a sheet of paper about how they love their mom.
We take issue with the individualization of feminism that is implied by this campaign, most notably in the “I” statements on most of the signs. Structuring a campaign around individual needs allows people to redefine feminism in a way that is convenient for them rather than locating themselves within the broader feminist movement. This is not to devalue individual experience, because experience is crucial to locating oneself and also ensures that feminism remains diverse, dynamic, and inclusive. However, making feminism about “you” rather than about challenging patriarchy and other forms of societal oppression allows people to define themselves as feminists without thinking critically about what that means. Feminism needs to be accessible, but it should not be easy; feminist practice involves a continuous reconsideration of one’s values and behav-
iours. By making feminism whatever you want it be, you absolve yourself of this responsibility. For example, cis-gendered (someone whose gender identity corresponds to their societally-recognized sex) men writing posters about how feminism will help them combat gender discrimination that they face (when taking on traditionally ‘feminine’ roles like that of a stay-at-home parent or nurse) trivializes the goals of feminism and puts men at the centre of feminism rather than forcing them to be accountable for the ways in which they are complicit in the maintenance of patriarchy. This idea of individuality also feeds into the problematic rhetoric of equality that has been an integral part of this campaign. By this we are referring to the conception that ‘equality’ is the ability of an individual woman to achieve equal status with men, in terms of pay equity, political repre-
“... I work equally to destroy capitalism and colonialism, three deeply interconnected systems which all serve to reinforce existing oppressive structures and exploit and smother marginalized people everywhere. I don’t want 100 cents for every man’s dollar. I want sustained and sustainable revolution and the overthrow of dominant white supremacist, misogynist, neo-colonialist, capitalist powers. I want to tear down the borders and build up communities based on respect, support, and love, not competition and exclusion. I (WE) MUST create, teach, spread, construct, and live feminisms that reflect our commitment to one another and to decolonization, anti-racism, anti-capitalism, and the destruction of the heteropatriarchy.”
Because OUR SOCIETY is stuck in a gender binary that harms us all!!! Because a rape crisis counsellor told me I was promiscuous (I was disclosing for the first time since the assault). SMASH DA PATRIARCHY
My feelings toward the “I need feminism because...” campaign are summed up by Kim Gordon in the Sonic Youth song “Kool Thing.” She says, “Hey kool thing... there’s something I gotta ask you. I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me? I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls from male, white, corporate oppression? ... I just want you to know that we can still be friends.” Feminism is not ‘safe’ or neutral, because it stems from a system of intense marginalization and oppression that continues today. When feminists do get angry, they’re told to calm down. How many times do we hear the compound noun “feminist bitch,” or see people asking if feminists could just calm down, be reasonable, shut up? To me, this is equivalent to someone telling me that “I’m afraid of your anger because it’s challenging an established system that privileges me, and it’s much easier to continue oppressing you if you calm down and regurgitate the speaking points that we’ve already told you are okay.” It’s like protesting in a preestablished protest zone. It just doesn’t make sense. In my opinion, because anger does scare people, it’s far more effective at making change than passive dialogue.
sentation, and the like. This assumes (mostly white, mostly straight) maleness as the standard toward which women must work. It fails to recognize the oppression that is inherent to the social structures that are in place. For example, asserting that becoming a woman CEO is fulfilling feminist goals ignores the exploitative nature of the corporate world. Allowing certain privileged women to access positions within these hierarchies does not change the fact that these systems are predicated upon the continued oppression of marginalized groups. As feminist scholar bell hooks asserts in her text Feminist Theory from Margin to Center, “as long as... any group defines liberation as gaining social equality with ruling-class white men, they have a vested interest in the continued exploitation and oppression of others.” Feminism needs to dismantle structures of
power, not simply place more women within them. We are frustrated because we believe that this campaign neutralizes the potential power of feminism and distorts it into a benign and safe belief. When feminism is watered down, the systemic critique of patriarchy and interlocking oppressions that it offers are sacrificed. We need a feminism that can challenge us and call us out on our bullshit, not one that can fit on an 8 ½ by 11 inch sheet of paper. Isabella Mancini is a U3 Women’s Studies and Sociology student. Joan Moses is a U3 Honours Political Science student and is a former Daily Design & Production and Coordinating editor. They enjoy facial piercings, feminist theory, and shitting on liberalism. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Dailyspeak: an introduction What we really mean when we talk about privilege and oppression Mona Luxion Through the Looking Glass
common theme in The Daily’s Commentary section is that we are writing in “Dailyspeak.” This obscure language is characterized by phrases like “oppressed,” or “privileged elite,” and is found not just in The Daily, but in many activist spaces. Like most jargon, its keywords have lost their ordinary meanings and are now shorthand for concepts that aren’t always obvious. Also, like most jargon, it grows on you until you forget that once upon a time you, too, had no idea what it meant. But we continue using it, because these terms end up being necessary to describe a reality we have a hard time expressing any other way. So here’s an attempt to introduce some of the language you’ll find among these pages, and the concepts from which it springs. It can be hard to wrap your head around some of the language, since it deals in probabilities that aren’t how most of us are used to thinking about ourselves, but it can ultimately be really useful for understanding the world. We start from the fact that there is inequality in our society, not just in outcomes, but in opportunities. A look around you – or better, a Google Scholar search, or a study of census data – will show that people of colour, women, and other historically marginalized groups continue to
be much less likely to be successful than white men. Since most of us realize that someone’s race or gender doesn’t actually affect how smart, talented, or hardworking they are, there must be something else going on. That “something else,” which we call systemic oppression, happens in three ways. First, there are outright discriminatory actions: a law explicitly gives different rights to Native versus non-Native people; a landlord suddenly decides their apartment isn’t available after they learn the single bedroom will be shared by two men. Because we’re looking at population-level distributions of opportunity, we’re interested in those actions which reinforce the existing inequalities. Actions that correct, rather than exacerbate, unequal life chances may be prejudiced but they aren’t oppressive. Secondly, policies applied “equally” across the board work to reinforce this discrimination. For example, a law school basing admission on LSAT scores unjustly privileges people who have time and money to take test prep classes, even though nothing in the admissions handbook explicitly discriminates based on wealth. This becomes a self-perpetuating cycle when those people get wellpaid jobs that help their kids get similar opportunities. Because of these sorts of cycles, even though most forms of legal discrimination have been abolished in this country vast inequalities remain. This doesn’t mean that no one beats the odds – far from it. But looking at it systemically, your
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
race, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical ability, and class background, to name just a few, have a huge impact on how likely you are to have opportunities and how likely you are to succeed at them. Third, institutions in our society constantly define “normal” people. Children’s authors are told that girls will identify with male characters but not the reverse, meaning that most of the representations we see of people doing cool stuff from an early age feature males. Government benefits depend on certain definitions of family, sex, or citizen-
ship. Advertising teaches us that “successful” people are white, French-/English-speaking, cisgender, able-bodied, and straight. The relativity we’re sold of what society looks like means that people who fit the norm are likely to be treated as threedimensional people while those who don’t are singled out by their Otherness and treated as stereotypes. It also means that those of us who don’t fit the norm are more likely to face mental illness and self-esteem issues. In Dailyspeak, benefiting from the systems above is privilege. Like oppression, it is an imperfect
term, but it’s what we’ve got. We often experience both: I face sexism, for example, but benefit from white privilege. Noticing where we have privilege and working to overturn those systems brings us to a more equal, democratic distribution of power. But that’s another lesson, and I’m out of space for today. Class dismissed! In Through the Looking Glass, Mona Luxion reflects on activism, current events, and looking beyond identity politics. Email Mona at lookingglass@ mcgilldaily.com.
Sexual assault happens Every person has the right to define their own boundaries Natalie Geffen and Lily Simon Commentary Writers
e all know sexual assault happens. Lately, there have been a lot of conversations in The Daily about sexual assault, rape culture, Frosh, and rape statistics – some conversations more controversial than others. These are important things to discuss, as not everyone agrees about the social role of rape and how it is involved in McGill culture; some students may have never thought about it. However, these conversations cannot overshadow the fact that rape and sexual assault happen, including here at McGill, much more often than is reported or
admitted. Regardless of your views on rape culture or Frosh, sexual assault is a reality. The Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) believes that the most important thing to do is to believe survivors and do our best to support them. Each and every person has their own boundaries, sexual or otherwise; something that might be comfortable or fun for you might not be for the person sitting next to you, or your best friend. Some of us might not even be sure what we are, or where our boundaries lie. We all also have unique ways of communicating our boundaries. While one person might be totally comfortable loudly asserting their discomfort in front of a crowd, another might, very legitimately,
prefer to whisper their discomfort to a friend under their breath. Someone else might choose another approach entirely. Just as everyone’s unique boundaries are worthy of respect, all methods of communicating those boundaries are also equally valid. SACOMSS defines sexual assault as any unwanted act of a sexual nature. We use this definition because under it survivors of sexual assault have the ability to define their own experiences. Each person is able to define for themselves when and how their boundaries have been crossed, or when they have felt uncomfortable. As a community, we need to respect each other’s unique boundaries, and believe people when they express feeling that those bound-
aries have been violated. Everyone has a right to feel uncomfortable or vulnerable for whatever reason, and no one else has the right to define that experience for someone else. Support and respect depend on believing people in their own experiences, no matter your thoughts on Frosh or rape culture. Claudia Alexander (“Healing Holistically,” Features, September 19, pages 8-9) powerfully discussed her experience healing holistically from her own sexual assault. Holistic healing is personal, dependant on each individual’s needs. This exemplifies the mandate of SACOMSS. We are a non-judgemental, nondirectional organization, who provides support services for survivors, as they see fit. We believe
that every person has the right to define their own experiences, to be believed and supported. We also believe that in order for university to be a fun, healthy environment for all of us, it is important for us to respect each other’s needs and abilities to set our own boundaries. We do not need to dismiss people when they express feelings of discomfort or vulnerability about something we don’t think is a big deal; instead, we can believe and support them with the respect they deserve. You can find out more information about SACOMSS, our services, and our hours at www.sacomss.org, or by emailing email@example.com. The phone number for the support line is 514-398-8500.
The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Cheaters, cheaters, A+ seekers On cheating at McGill It bears repeating though that using drugs to enhance academic performance is equally wrong, even if it is widely normalized in our school. Like professional athletes using steroids, students using Adderall without a medical need are cheating. Even worse, these drugs have negative networks effects: the first few who use them achieve extremely high scores, but as the number rises coursework will need to get harder to keep grades at a constant. They are a bad deal for students, and put undue pressure on students to regularly purchase and use expensive illegal drugs just to keep up. The reality of academic dishonesty cannot be isolated from the privileges students have. Access to test answers comes from informal social networks, which in my program seem to largely exclude women and queer people, while only students who can afford to buy and use drugs have access to this route to success. As in the real world, it seems that the powerful have the means to cheat and the privilege to shrug off the risk of getting caught.
Peter Jones* Commentary Writer
ost people in my program cheat. Three years into my Honours program – where the first-year Honours classes have 140 students but only fifty remain by third year – I just found out last week that more than half of the students in my class have answers to homework and problem sets, old midterms and finals not released by McGill or by the professor, and the answers to those tests. And they have had them for all three years. Of course, even before this I knew that students at McGill cheat often. Adderall is a common way to get ahead, but no one seems to have a problem with its widespread use. But this level of cheating irks me. While my friends in my classes (the ones who are still here: four of them have dropped out of my program) and I have been working hard for years just to get that B or B+ that we need to stay, others have used old tests – questions are often reused – to get As. That is just fundamentally unfair.
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*Peter Jones is a pseudonym. If you have any comments about this article email commentary@ mcgilldaily.com
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new information I have. It is not my place to ruin other students’ lives by naming names – we are all to some extent victims of the same systemic forces – but many hard-working, talented students dropped out of my program while others skated by on academic dishonesty. I think the best option is to write an anonymous letter to the department informing them of this widespread problem without naming names. Hopefully they will use the information to make the program more fair. But ultimately, cheating will persist until we students make it stop. I have had enough with cheating at McGill. I know many other people who have never taken pills or used answer sheets during their careers here, and they, like me, are unfairly punished by widespread academic dishonesty. As we students work to build a more just economic system, let us also work for academic justice at McGill.
Major work along Avenue des Pins and Avenue du Docteur-Penfield
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at the top of official and unofficial transcripts saying something like, “McGill University has aggressively pursued a dual policy of zero grade inflation and rigorous academic standards. The average McGill student works significantly harder and performs at a much higher level than other students while receiving a lower grade.” Departments should also explain the difficulty of their programs, and instead of just providing an average grade for each class, they should provide the mean, median, and 25th and 75th percentile grades to provide more information. Departments could also experiment with more communal or group coursework, or consider changing grading systems. But there is only so much McGill can do. As students across the world try to hold the powerful accountable for their actions – states for their violence, carbon emitters for global climate change, universities for their ties to war and industry – we must also hold ourselves to a higher standard. Cheating is not acceptable. And so I am left with the question of what to do with this
We are rehabilitating the water system
Temporary passageway between P2 and P3
P4 entrance Open
Of course I cannot blame people for feeling the need to cheat. As the pressure of global capitalism presses down on us, as parents and friends remind us that the labour market awaits, the need to perform well in university can be overwhelming. Geographer Danny Dorling has proposed that part of what is driving this need for success is the extraordinary income inequality in countries across the world. As differences between the wealthiest and the poorest rise, he argues, people recognize that they need to push harder to get ahead, to take out mortgages on homes they can’t afford so they can get out of poor neighbourhoods, to take jobs for oil companies and big banks even though they go against our most deeply held morals because personal poverty is not an option and the middle class barely exists anymore. While some of the problems are systemic, there are actions McGill can take to reduce the need to cheat. Course work at McGill is so much more difficult than at most other universities in North America; McGill should include a statement
Complete closure between Docteur-Penfield and McTavish. Two-way traffic on Docteur-Penfield and McTavish. Some bus routes will be changed. STM-INFO: 514 786-4636
Optional route Av. du Parc to the east, rue Sherbrooke to the south, Ch. de la Côte-des-Neiges to the west Info-travaux: 514 872-3777 ville.montreal.qc.ca/chantiers /Mtl_Circulation
Getting schooled For years, universities in Quebec have depicted themselves in a situation of permanent crisis. University funding, they argue, is grossly inadequate compared to the needs of the student population. From its election in 2003, the former Liberal government of Jean Charest stood shoulder-to-shoulder with university administrations and argued for a rise in tuition to make up for their fiscal difficulties. Its last effort, however – a hike of $325 a year – set off an unprecedented series of demonstrations from students across the province. The impact of the student movement – called the “Maple Spring” – was used as a tool by eager politicians leading up to the election on September 4. That the student movement is now being understood by many as a ‘victory’ must be questioned: how much will the accessibility and quality of education actually change with the new government? The PQ government’s opportunistic use of the student movement should not be taken as a genuine desire by the government to overhaul education. In September, newly-elected minister of higher education Pierre Duchesne called on certain actors in the education sector to attend a summit on university funding. The student federations – FEUQ and FECQ – have vowed to advocate for the continuation of the
tuition freeze and a revamp in university management. University administrators from across the province will lobby for additional money from the provincial government, either in the form of higher tuition or increased funding. Whatever policies are decided at this summit, however, will likely be merely cosmetic in nature. The goal of free education cannot be achieved within the current framework. Co-opting summits do not strive for accessibility, nor do they address the deep-seated issues within the public university. The hazards of privatization run deeper than a freeze on tuition. On top of this, the more demanding student association Association pour une solidarité étudiante (ASSÉ) may not even attend this summit. In this special issue on education, we seek to illuminate these deeper problems. By breaking down administrative expenses and surveying the increasing presence of corporations on campus, we hope to ultimately hold the University to a higher standard. We also place Quebec’s education system in context by taking a brief look at education systems around the world. If the higher education system is truly in crisis as those at the top have insisted, then its process of fundamental change will begin with a better understanding of both its finances and its flaws.
Watch for the Link’s special education issue on November 6th!
In this special issue... Cover design Illustration: Amina Batyreva
Education around the world
Research: Brittany Curry-Sharples, Ife Kolade, Nicole Leonard, Juan Camilo Velasquez, and Anqi Zhang Infographics: Edna Chan
06 History of underfunding Research: Laurent Bastien Corbeil Illustration: Hera Chan
HMB expenditure reports
Research: Hera Chan + Laurent Bastien Corbeil Infographics: Amina Batyreva + Rebecca Katzman
Research: Hera Chan + Laurent Bastien Corbeil Infographics: Rebecca Katzman
10 Corporate campus Research: Juan Camilo Velásquez Infographics: Amina Batyreva + Jacqueline Brandon
07 BoG Investments
11 How can we fix it?
Research: Lola Duffort + Ali Ertekin Infographics: Amina Batyreva + Rebecca Katzman
Research: Laurent Bastien Corbeil + Anqi Zhang Illustration: Hera Chan
The Education Issue | The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012
How do we learn around the world? A brief introduction to international education systems North America United States The U.S. has an elaborate network of for profit and not-for-profit private universities, as well as public universities, so accessibility and costs vary widely. Each state is responsible for using taxes to fund public universities while student fees make up the difference, and rates charged to out-of-state students at these universities is often comparable to private school rates. There is an extensive need-based financial aid system supported by the federal government based on information provided by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Private loans and meritbased scholarships are also available to cover tuition, living expenses, and study materials; in 2009-10, first-year students received an average of $8,400 in aid for four-year institutions, and 85 per cent
of all students received some form of aid. However, funding for these sorts of programs have been stretched thin as tuition costs have risen, which helps explain the $1-trillion debt owed to the state for education loans. According to 2008-2009 data, average tuition prices â€“ not including living expenses, which are often significant since many students live on-campus â€“ were $12,100. Public tuition fees were less, at around $6,400 on average, whereas private schools cost more: $15,300 at private for-profit institutions and $24,900 at private not-for-profit institutions. There is also a network of less expensive community colleges and twoyear institutions. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2006, 19.5 per cent of the population had attended some form of postsecondary school.
Mexico Higher education governance and regulation take place at the federal and state levels. Public federal and some state universities enjoy autonomy and self-government according to their respective laws. An example of this is the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, founded in 1910) in Mexico City, which has freedom to define its curriculum and independence to manage its budget without government intervention. There is a second group of public institutions: nonautonomous state universities; technological, polytechnic, and intercultural universities are examples.
4.7 per cent of total public expenditure in Mexico was spent in higher education. The share of financial aid to students in public tertiary expenditure (5.1 per cent) was the 4th lowest among the 27 OECD ountries for which data are available, and considerably below the figures for Brazil and Chile, 11.9 and 31 per cent, respectively. In 2002, 29 per cent of expenditure on tertiary education institutions came from private household expenditure, amongst the highest share for the OECD countries. This reflects enrolment levels at private institutions and the high proportion of private expenditure.
Central and South America Cuba
Chile The Chilean higher education system is made up of three different kinds of institutions: universities, vocational institutes, and technical schooling centres. These universities and the entire education system have been highly privatized since 1980 following an educational reform introduced by Pinochet that eliminated free public education. Since then, Chilean education is managed through a combined system, in
which the government has a conducting or regulator role instead of a provider role. An example of this is the fact that no new public universities have been built since the end of the Pinochet era. In 2012 a Chilean student movement was born demanding a new educational system in the country calling for more state intervention and less influence from for-profit organizations.
Brazil According to the Ministry of Education there are more than 2,600 universities in Brazil. The Brazilian system of higher education is composed of publicly and privately funded universities. Public universities are fully financed by the government, either federal or
state, and they are known for offering education of higher quality which makes the admission process very selective. Public spending on education in Brazil has increased from 10.5 per cent of total public expenditure in 2010 to 16.8 per cent in 2009.
Higher education in Cuba is free, regardless of income, as the entire education system is operated by the government, following the nationalization of higher education institutions during the 1959 revolution. In lower levels of education, the state also provides free
school meals. The Cuban education system is composed of 47 universities and total enrolment is around 112,000 citizens. Cuba spends 10 per cent of its central budget on education, compared to 2 per cent in the U.S., according to UNESCO.
Colombia The Colombian higher education system is made up of 305 universities, technological, and technical training institutions. These are both public and private, however both types of institutions are heavily dependent on private funding â€“ from corporations and private households. Currently, the government allocates only 4 per cent of GDP to education, of which 16.5 per cent flows to tertiary education. In the late months of 2011, students protested a reform planned by
the government that would further privatize the education sector. There is a large difference in terms of tuition costs for private universities. The most expensive university charges around $10,929.58 compared to the least expensive at around $327.887. Government-funded scholarships are administered on a decentralized basis, which means that student aid funding represents less than 1 per cent of total government funding for higher education and only assists marginally poor students.
*all monetary values have been converted to CAD
Ghana Aiming to promote socioeconomic growth through education, the Ghanaian Ministry of Education’s mission is to improve the quality of education and quantity of enrolment. The Ministry’s action plan consists of expanding access to education, ensuring quality teaching, focusing on trades, and making tertiary education financially accessible. There are over 100,000 students enrolled in Ghana’s tertiary institutions, and admission to university is highly competitive. In the 12th year, stu-
dents are required to take the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in all of their subjects, where only 3 per cent of grades achieved are A’s. Many Ghanaians study at competitive universities in the U.S. In 2008, newly enrolling Ghanaian students in the U.S. were awarded $8 million in financial assistance. The Ministry of Education aims to improve infrastructure of the tertiary system to increase the amount of students studying in Ghana.
Nigeria The Federal Republic of Nigeria is an Englishspeaking nation of over 120 million people in 36 states. The government considers education to be a tool for effecting national development, and for that reason, controls the education system. Nigerian universities are grouped into three categories: First, Second, and Third Generation Universities. First Generation Universities were established between 1948 and 1965, through the ruling British Colonial Government, in order to set basic standards for university education in Nigeria. Twelve additional universities called Second Generation Universities were set up between 1970 and 1985 to meet the demand created by an increasing population of qualified students. Third Generation Universities were estab-
lished between 1985 and 1999 to address areas of demand in technological and agricultural universities. Due to increase in demand, state universities were established by state governments and in 1993, the Federal Government established a law allowing private organizations to establish universities. These private universities follow guidelines set forth by the government. Tuition across universities in the country can range anywhere from approximately $166 to $3,333 with government-run universities being the cheapest and private universities being the most expensive. One of the biggest problems that remains is the lack of funding to make universities more accessible to those who may not be able to afford even the government run universities.
Egypt has the most extensive university education network of all countries in North Africa and the Middle East, with two education systems: the secular and the religious, or Al-Azhar system. The higher education network is made up of 18 public and 15 private universities with over 2.4 million students. Al-Azhar University, which enrolls about one-fifth of university students in the country, is governmentfunded and the world’s oldest continuously functioning university. University education in Egypt is considered free, but since 1995, only 85 per cent of the funding required by public
Endeavouring to improve the standard of living among its citizens, the South African government has taken major steps in improving access to postsecondary education. The Bill of Rights in the South African 1996 Constitution states that every citizen has the right to a basic education, including postsecondary, which must be progressively made accessible. South Africa is expected to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of universal access to primary education, yet access to tertiary education remains limited. South Africa’s tertiary education system is composed of three levels: General Education and Training, Further Education and Training, and Higher Education.
universities is provided by the government. Universities are left to generate the remaining 15 per cent, meaning that high tuition is often charged for alternative academic programs such as foreign languages. Governmental loan programs have failed due to an inability to sustain the influx of students due to the affordability of university education. The challenges facing Egypt’s university education system are the quality of education and limited fiscal sustainability. Enrolment rates increase yearly and the government cannot maintain funding at the levels required to provide quality education.
The higher education system includes 23 public and 88 private universities, enrolling over one million undergraduate students per year, with poverty continuing to be the largest obstacle. In response, the South African government has launched initiatives including, introducing free undergraduate education and converting loans into bursaries for those lacking sufficient financial means. Additionally, spending on education will increase from $23.5 billion in 2012-13 to $26.7 billion in 2014-15. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) also provides bursaries and interest-free loans until 12 months after the student’s graduation.
Asia India Postsecondary education in India has developed at a steady rate over the past sixty years, with the University Grants Commission (UGC) as the main governing body. The number of universities and university-level institutions has increased 18-fold between 1950 and 2009. Other postsecondary institutions include over 30,000 colleges and women’s colleges. Corruption is prominent in India’s postsecondary education system; in 2009, a Frontline cover story questions the system by which dubious or
China mediocre de novo institutions become recognized. Desire for reform of the education sector has led to around 15 bills being presented to Parliament in 2011; these bills attempted to deal with the issue of fake degrees and allowing foreign universities to operate in India, among other issues. University education is highly subsidized by the government, with average tuition at Delhi University between $150 and $500 per year; however admissions, especially to the topranked universities, is highly competitive.
Funding for a developing educational system in China comes from an increasing allocation of the federal budget to education, as well as from organizations like UNESCO and the World Bank. Of over 2,000 universities and colleges in China, ten have been targeted by the government to become “world-class,” accomplished through increased funding. Such universities include Peking and Tsinghua University – those that appear regularly on
global Top University lists. As of the end of the 20th century, China’s educational system has become increasingly decentralized and diversified, and now involves local governments and private sectors; though this has begun to open up the static system, it also leads to further inequality in educational opportunity. Tuition in China costs about $2,000 to 4,000 a year, varying between schools and majors. Accessibility remains an issue, particularly for rural residents.
Russia Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia now has 25 “high-capacity universities,” all linked to the Ministry of Higher Education. The Ministry of Higher Education also supports specialized research centres, and grants licenses for private universities and colleges. In 2005, King Abdullah started a scholarship program to send young Saudi Arabians to universities abroad; the ultimate aim of the King Abdullah Scholarship Programme aims to help 50,000 Saudis gradu-
ate from the world’s top 500 universities by 2020. Progress is also being made in the educational system within Saudi Arabia. In 2009, the government announced a research initiative called ‘Aafaq’ or Horizons, which aims to improve higher education opportunities for women while boosting educational research. There is a hope that this initiative will help to solve the problem of a lack of scientists in necessary jobs.
The Russian Federation separates postsecondary education into two types: non-university level postsecondary professional education, and university level education. Admission to either system is largely based on completion of 11 years of general education and the results of the state unified exam. Within university-level education, there are both state- and municipalrun higher education establishments; there are also non-state establishments run by private, public, and religious organizations. Current years have seen modernization of the Russian
postsecondary education system; in 2011, the rigid five-year program was adapted into a more flexible four-year bachelor’s degree. This change is expected to help adapt the Russian curriculum to Western curricula. Educational reforms have also targeted corruption in the education system. Costs of Russian universities are competitive with many Western universities, but prestigious colleges can cost up to $10,000 or more. There has also been a steep rise in cost of MBAs in recent years, from $7,000 to $12,000 within three or four years.
Oceania New Zealand A combination of government subsidies and student fees fund universities in New Zealand, with students paying about 30 per cent of the total cost of their courses, depending on an assessment of the anticipated benefits of their degree to the country. Education spending was at 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2002, one of the highest of all the OCED countries. Annual tuition is, on average, about $4,700 for an undergraduate degree. There are no pri-
Australia vately owned universities, and each is autonomously managed by its own council. There are also state loans and allowances provided to deal with associated living costs and student fees, as well as merit-based bursaries based on performance on state-run exams at the end of high school. Enrolment by Mäori and Pacific peoples has increased substantially in recent years thanks to the government’s current Tertiary Education Policy.
Papua New Guinea
PNG has six accredited universities, as well as a network of vocational schools. The four public universities use government funds to pay for salaries, entitlements, and some infrastructure, while the two private universities receive government scholarships. Australia recently signed an agreement to help develop the education system in PNG. Papua New Guinea’s economy is rapidly growing; however, a majority of the population is illiterate, and
underfunding, out-of-date facilities, administrative shortcomings, barriers for women, and other problems makes access to education difficult. Since the 1980s, government support for tertiary education has declined, so it is increasingly up to development partners and the private sector to improve the system. Tuition is inexpensive, but getting to the tertiary level is difficult, as the average citizen only goes through five total years of schooling.
The states and territories are responsible for the organization of universities in Australia, and the federal government provides the majority of funding for public universities. 37 out of 39 universities are public, and 93.2 per cent of the university population in 2011 goes to public universities. Financial assistance is available through the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) of the federal government, along with a variety of other loan, grant, and scholarship options, including the Commonwealth scholarships that assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from low socioeconom-
ic backgrounds. Their reliance on Tertiary Entrance Requirement exams (TERs) create inherent socioeconomic and other biases within the system, which are currently under reform. As of 2006, the proportion of the population aged 25 to 64 with undergraduate qualifications was 24 per cent, the same as Canada. Despite these options, OECD reports that Australia ranks 23rd among OECD countries in terms of students’ ability to finance their education costs, meaning that financing is not substantial compared to costs. Average tuition costs are about $7,200, depending on the area of study.
The Education Issue | The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012
How do we learn around the world?
Europe The EU allows all citizens of member countries to go to university in any EU country without paying higher fees than national citizens. They can’t be refused on the basis of nationality, and they are entitled to the same grants as national citizens, although language tests might apply.
France Education is funded by the state through taxes, so tuition is around $250 to $350 a year for undergraduate education, comprised of enrolment and other fees, at any of the 87 public universities in the country. However, professors at these institutions are not paid much and the quality of the education is lacking compared to private alternatives. A system of competitive private schools (les grandes écoles) is available, but these can cost up to $17,000
a year. There are many zero-interest bursaries available to those who are accepted into these competitive institutions to help pay these fees. France, as well as a number of other European countries, has signed onto the 1999 Bologna accords, which attempts to standardize qualification requirements and credit-transfer systems for higher education across the continent. As of 2011, 16 per cent of the population aged 25 to 64 had a university education.
Bulgaria Continuing a higher education reform that stems from socialist organization that emerged after World War II, Bulgaria created specialized and isolated schools intended to aid the central planning of Bulgarian society. These efforts continue to emphasize university autonomy and reformed curricula, as expressed in the 1995 Higher Education Act, as well as international openness, namely through EU integration in the 1999 Bologna Process, which standardizes qualification and credit requirements across the continent. As of 2007, there were 51 schools
of higher education, both public and private, and organization of these schools is at the state and institutional levels. The 1995 Act abolished the previously paid education, as the financial strain on the system that came with increased enrolment was unsustainable. Now, all students pay depending on the area and schedule of their studies; the fee range is capped between $130 to $660. As the state is an EU member, Bulgarian students have access to available EU scholarships and loans. In 2005, 17 per cent of the population aged 25 to 64 attended university.
Denmark Like other Nordic countries, the government pays tuition for all EU and European Economic Area (EEA) students at public and most private postsecondary educational institutions in Denmark. As of 2006, other international students must pay, unless they are participating in an exchange. The State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme also pro-
vides stipends for living costs according to programs of study and a sliding need-based scale. More than 300,000 Danes benefit annually from these types of support, and the annual budget amounts to about 0.8 per cent of the country’s GDP. This accessible model has resulted in 25 per cent of the population aged 25 to 64 obtaining a university education, as of 2011.
England In the United Kingdom (not an EU member), education has recently been devolved – the process began in the late nineties – and thus is the responsibility of each country. In England, home to four of the world’s top ten universities according to the 2010 QS World Rankings, public universities used to be generously
funded. Whereas the 1998 introduction of tuition fees in the UK was capped at $1,600 pounds, in England it subsequently rose to $4,800 in 2004 and $14,500 in October 2012, amid charged student protests. Despite increasing inaccessibility, 23 per cent of the English population aged 25 to 64 had postsecondary education as of 2011.
Turkey Postsecondary education in Turkey lasts either two or four years, and can be undertaken at more than 211 institutions. Higher education was unified in 1982 in Turkey, and there are three types of higher educational institutions, including state universities, foundation universities, and two year foundation vocational schools. The last two are privately funded. Higher education in Turkey also consists of the
three main cycles and the short cycle of the well-known Bologna Process that forms the basis of many Western postsecondary educational systems. The budget system upon which state-funded universities depend has changed three times in the last 35 years; there is speculation that funding will present challenges as Turkey’s postsecondary education system continues to grow as it has in recent years.
The history of underfunding in Quebec The origins Depending on who you ask, the debate surrounding university underfunding in Quebec is hardly a decade old. The Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ), an organization that regroups the administrations of twenty different universities in Quebec, was the first to mention underfunding in a 2002 study. At that time, the group situated underfunding to be “in the vicinity of $375 million a year.” CREPUQ claims that today’s figure is around $620 million. According to the group, this amount is what the Quebec universities need to obtain in order to be on par with institutions elsewhere in Canada. Robert Lacroix, a professor at the Université de Montréal and a former university principal, wrote in an article in Le Devoir that underfunding dates back to the early nineties. According to him, the problem began when the federal government scaled down the size of equalization payments to the provinces in order to reduce an imposing debt. Quebec was thus forced to reduce university spending by 25 per cent, according to Lacroix.
Tuition goes up In other provinces, tuition increased to make up for the loss of revenues from the federal government. Universities across English Canada are now financed by as much as 31 per cent by students themselves. But in Quebec, that figure stayed at 16 per cent due to a tuition freeze imposed by the Quebec government in 1993. Before the freeze took place, tuition had gone up from $645 to $1526 between 1989 and 1993 after the arrival of Robert Bourassa’s Liberal government. This was a far cry from the original Quebec $567 tuition that lasted from 1968 until 1989. Jean Charest became Premier in 2003 and sought to increase tuition again but was unable to after student pressure forced him to back down. It was not until 2007 that the freeze ended, and at that point the government allowed a hike of $50 per session to take place. The newly elected Parti Québécois government, however, abolished Charest’s last effort to increase tuition by an additional $325 per year.
The other side This viewpoint that universities live in a permanent state of crisis is not a consensus. Several organizations including the three main student federations and the Institut de recherché et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS), a progressive think tank based in Montreal, all claim that underfunding is a myth. According to these groups, the issue doesn’t revolve around underfunding, but fiscal management. Universities, they say, pay administrators exorbitant salaries and spend a disproportionate amount of money on advertising campaigns, expensive buildings, and capital funds. IRIS claims that CREPUQ’s $620-million figure is misleading. The number, they say, only reveals how much money Quebec universities would obtain if they raised tuition to the Ontario level. Therefore, it cannot be used to assess university needs. Quebec already spends more money on students per capita than the rest of Canada; the money is there, but it isn’t being properly managed. Moreover, IRIS claims that additional funding is often allocated to commercial research rather than more fundamental research.
The Education Issue | The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012 BA, BCL., LLB, McGill Partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Our Board of Governors
$8,650 to the PLQ between 2000 and 2012
Members-at-Large and Alumni Association Reps
Director, HSBC North America Holdings Inc. and HSBC Finance Corporation; Director, Reitmans (Canada) Ltd.; Director, Quebecor Media Inc.; Director, Richmont Mines Inc.; Director, Jewish General Hospital; Director, Dylex Ltd.; Director, Vivendi Universal; Director, USA Networks Inc.; Director, iNovia Capital
BEng McGill, MA Oxford
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B.Com McGill, CFA designation
BCom Carleton, MBA University of Western Ontario Co-founder, Redbourne Properties Inc.
Senior Associate Director, McKinsey & Company
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$1,000 to the PLQ in 2004 Chair, Montreal General Hospital Foundation B.Eng & MBA UdM Hydro-Québec President and CEO Chairman, Société d’énergie de la Baie James; Chairman, Hydro-Québec International; Chair, Collège Notre-Dame; Conference Board of Canada; HEC Montréal Dip. Ed. McGil, BA Concordia PhD & MA McGill Founder and President, Maracon & Associates International; Faculty member, McGill International Executive Institute in Montreal; Training Affiliate at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Columbia U, in NY
Thierry Vandal Member-at-large
Morna FloodConsedine Alumni Association Representative
Cynthia Price Alumni Association Representative
BCom McGill President of the Alumni Association
BA University of Western Ontario, MBA McGill
The Board of Governors is McGill’s highest governing body – according to University statutes, it “possesses general jurisdiction and final authority over the conduct of the affairs of the University,” and it “makes all contracts and all appointments on behalf of the University.” It is composed of 25 voting members and two nonvoting observers. Of those 25 that can vote, 12 are culled are members-atlarge, 3 come from the alumni association, and the remaining ten are either McGill faculty, staff or students. We profile here the fifteen that come from outside the University – the alumni association and members at large. Where they went to school, who they work for, and who they tend to give money too – it’s all here.
Founder and Managing Director, CenCEO Consulting
Lili de Grandpré Member-at-large & Vice-chair
BA McGill Chair, McGill News Editorial Advisory Board; Executive Committee, McGill’s History in the Making Campaign; Montreal Co-Chair, International Alma Mater Fund Council
President of BIMCOR Inc.
Michael Boychuk Member-at-large
Peter Coughlin Member-at-large
$12,400 to the PLQ between 2000 and 2012 and $1,500 to the ADQ between 2002 and 2008 McCord Street Sites; Citibank Canada (director); John Dobson Foundation (director)
Advisory Board, Centennial Ventures; Director, GFI Business Solutions; Director and Senior Vice-President, Bell Canada; Director, Yellow Media Inc.; Director, Optasite Inc.
BCom Carleton, MBA University of Western Ontario Co-founder, Redbourne Properties Inc. $1,000 to the PLQ in 2004 Chair, Montreal General Hospital Foundation
Alumni Association Representative
BA & MA McGill President and CEO of the World Wild-Life Fund Canada
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Director, Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs
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H. Arnold Steinberg, Chancellor
BA, BCL McGill Managing partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP
Board of Trustees of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada; Vice-president Administrative Council of the Foundation of the National Circus School
BCom, DPA, McGill
Co-chair, International Alma Mater Fund Council; Educational Initiative on Interprofessional Collaboration; MUHC Patient Advisory Council; President, Matthew Ralph Kane Foundation; Vice-chair, Canadiana Fund; Director and Chair emerita, Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation
Investment Counsellor & Vice-President, RBC Global Asset Management Inc. (formerly Phillips, Hager & North) Councillor, University Club of Montreal
BCom McGill, MBA Har vard Senior officer at the Cleman Ludmer Steinberg Inc. investment firm Provigo Inc., Canada Health Infoway Inc., Trustee of the Inter-Service Clubs Council Foundation, founding chairman of the Canadians for Health Research, member of the Canada Council, and officer of the Federation CJA of Montreal. Chair of the McGill – Montreal Children’s Hospital Research Institute, founding chair of the MUHC. Current member of the boards of the MUHC Research Institute, and the MUHC Foundation.
BA and BSW McMaster, MSW Wilfrid Laurier, Ph.D University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill McGill Principal RBC; Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation; Yellow Media Inc.; Association of American Universities; Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; CREPUQ; Science, Technology and Innovation Council of Canada; Board of Advisors, UC-Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi; Jewish General Hospital; Honorary Member, Brain Canada; Canadian Credit Management Foundation
Expenditures of Principal Munroe-Blum's Office 2011-2012* = $100
Housekeeping & Maintenance
*wine data is from 2010-2011
The Education Issue | The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012
Administrative Spending Administrative Salaries 2008-2009
Michael Di Grappa VP Administration and Finance
Lynne B Gervais VP Human Resources
Anthony Masi Provost
Morton Mendelson Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)
Heather Munroe-Blum Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Michael Richards VP Administration and Finances Franรงois R. Roy VP Administration and Finances
Administrative Bonuses 2008-2009
Michael Di Grappa
Lynne B. Gervais
Michael Richards Franรงois R. Roy
Administrative Expenses 2010-2011 Nathalie M. Cooke, Associate Provoste Nichael Di Grappa, Vice Principal
Rose Goldstein, Vice Principal (Research and International Relations)
Jan J. Jorgensen, Director (Strategy and Organization Research Centre)
Chandra Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental. Sciences, Associate Vice-Principal (Macdonald Campus) $37,011 Anthony Masi, Provost
Morton Mendelson, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal, Development and Alumni Relations Peter Allan Todd, Dean, Faculty of Management
Corporate Campus The corporatization of our campus space is not confined to its most obvious manifestations. Making McGill private has deeper roots than the greenwashed Aramark food corp logos and RBC ATM machines. It is an ideology – one that starts and ends with the pursue of profit. Corporate presence on campus, be it through research or by targeting students as consumers, is disconnected to the primary purpose of the university. When public institutions reorient themselves to fit the needs of corporations and private donors, the quality and integrity of education and research are affected.
In many universities across North America, professors are offered positions partially funded by private donors. Usually, universities are able to divert spending from their operating funds by receiving donations to pay for these professorships. Debate around these positions centres about the academic freedom given to these professors and the ability to conduct autonomous research given the corporate ties. At McGill some of these donations for endowed chairs are given by pharmaceutical, telecommunications, and other types of corporations. Some examples include Novartis Chair in Medicine (Royal Victoria Hospital), the Pfizer Canada Professorship in Dementia, and the GlaxoSmithKline Chair in Pharmacology.
McGill Centre for Poultry Research is a collaborative research project between the public and the private sector. The $7.5-million project came to existence through the contribution of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Quebec government contributed $4.22 million. $3 million came from the private sector, including companies like Rotisseries St. Hubert, Cara Foods, and the Chicken Farmers of Canada.
At McGill, several food services have been corporatized; most of the cafeterias on campus are run by Aramark or other food corporations. Two years ago, students mobilized to fight against the closure of the Architecture Cafe and continue to press for the creation of more student-run non-for-profit food vendors. Some examples of these include, Midnight Kitchen in the Shatner Building, SNAX in Leacock, and Frostbite in Macdonald Engineering.
Schulich Library of Science and Engineering
The Bronfman Building, which houses the Faculty of Management, is named after Samuel Bronfman a Canadian businessman known for building his fortune through bootlegging to U.S. cities during the Prohibition era.
Located in the Frank Dawson Adams Building, the Schulich Library of Science and Engineering is named after Canadian investor Seymour Schulich. Schulich is known for his early investments in tar sands through the purchase of Canadian Oil Sands Trust and for his involvement with the gold mining company Newton Mining. Newton has been denounced by NGOs like Oxfam for its labour practices in northern Peru and Ghana. Due to his controversial investing, Schulich’s donations did not come through during Bernard Shapiro’s presidency, but were finalized once HMB came to office.
The offices of COSMO - Stochastic Mine Planning Laboratory are found in Frank Adams Building. COSMO is described as a “collaborative laboratory funded by global mining companies and the Canadian government.” Amongst these corporate partners is AngloGold Ashanti, a mining company that has garnered a controversy following accusations of workers’ rights violations. In 2007 the company was accused in Colombia for “murders of trade union and community leaders who opposed the company’s activities in the region.” Currently the company has made the news for entanglement in a labour conflict with workers in South Africa. Other companies include Barrick Gold, DeBeers, Vale, and Newmont Mining.
Burnside Building Currently McGill Security contracts its agents from Securitas, a Montreal-based private security agency. According to the Jutras Report, under regular circumstances at McGill’s downtown campus, there are up to 12 agents on duty.
The Education Issue | The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012
Solutions from the major players
CLASSE CLASSE, the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, is a staunch supporter of free education. Acknowledging that the educational system requires funding is as far as they go in agreeing with the government; their website states clearly that “free education means that the full cost is contributed by the state.” CLASSE views postsecondary education as a public good, and a basic right – and in that capacity, it should be paid for by the government in the same way that healthcare and primary education are. Citing a decrease in state contribution, from 87 per cent in 1988 to 71 per cent in 2002, CLASSE calls for a “reinvestment in education,” which they view as the responsibility of the government rather than that of individual students. By their calculations, it would take $700 million to ensure free education at all levels in Quebec; they suggest that this money should come from an end to tax cuts for the wealthy. Other researchers have estimated lower numbers. CLASSE also criticizes the way existing funds are allocated in universities, particularly the funding of research in private sector partnerships. Many of the proposed solutions to the underfunding of universities in Quebec are, according to CLASSE, false alternatives. CLASSE believes that neither the postgraduate tax nor the income-contingent repayment plan (both of which would increase a university graduate’s tax rate after their entry into the workforce) is an acceptable alternative to increasing tuition. The reasoning for this is clear – the accessibility of education is not a matter of practicality for CLASSE, but rather, a point of principle, a statement on the place of education in our society.
Before the adoption of a new budget last year, the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), sent a list of recommendations to the Liberal government for alternative ways of financing the university system. The federation proposed the introduction of a fourth tax rate for revenues exceeding $127,000 and for a creation of a tax on luxury goods, similar to the one currently existing in France. It also called for a minimum tax of 1.5 per cent on business revenues and encouraged the provincial government to increase their effort in obtaining money from the federal government to finance university education. Besides the tax increase, the plan called for better management of university finances and for a more accessible education through more generous bursaries and loans.
CREPUQ In 2010, Daniel Zizian, president and director of CREPUQ (Conference des recteurs et des principaux des université du Québec) wrote that Quebec universities require urgent action to restore their rankings in Canada in both education and research. CREPUQ studies, conducted jointly with the Ministry of Education, indicated that Quebec universities had $375 million less at their disposal than Ontario universities in 2002-03; CREPUQ reported an increase in the gap to $620 million by 2007. Zizian called upon “society, students, and the private sector ... to join forces” in order to bridge this gap. CREPUQ believes that the government should decide how the fiscal responsibility is divided, based on criteria such as direct benefits and preexisting contributions. To this end, they encourage policies that seek to return tuition fees to “the equivalent of their real 1968-69 value.” They also suggest the allocation of a portion of this tuition to financial aid, with the hope of maintaining accessibility. In 2012, CREPUQ released a statement highlighting the $1 billion available in student aid to Quebec university students.
The McGill Daily Monday, October 29, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
Innovation station A look into Montreal’s tech startup community Yasha Ahmed Science+Technology Writer
tartups, heard of them? Chef on Call, OOHLALA Mobile, Wavo. me – heard of them? I really do hope so. If not, don’t fret; you are living at the intersection of web-tech innovation and possibility here in Montreal, where a seven-minute walk is all it takes to arrive at the doorstep of Notman House – Montreal’s very own home of the web. Situated at 51 Sherbrooke West, the Notman House is home to startups, students, investors, developers, and freelancers within its 19th century walls, fostering a vibrant and thriving ecosystem of technology entrepreneurs. Unlike other budgeted initiatives such as MaRS Discovery District of Toronto, and Communitech of Waterloo, the Notman House is a non-for-profit community initiative undertaken by Montreal’s startup community, as I was reminded by Gabriel Sundaram, a Notman House volunteer managing day-to-day operations. It was the collective gathering of these enthusiasts that culminated into the present hub of technology. Despite the brief dismissal of anything web-related by the general public following the burst of the dot-com bubble in 2000, technology start-ups quickly grew in the years following. Sundaram reflected that growth in the social networking industry and presence of seed accelerators, which provide small funding grants to new endeavours, such as Y Combinator and FounderFuel (a Montreal-based accelerator), are
to be credited for a “renewed sense of possibility [in] starting from nothing, getting a little bit of funding, and starting to get somewhere.” With the onset of startup fever, Sundaram noted rapid growth in Montreal’s web-tech community, especially since 2007. Compared to a mere monthly event, as was the norm pre-2007, a quick look at Notman’s events calendar affirms the upward trajectory associated with Montreal’s tech scene. Daily events ranging from user group meet-ups to networking and demo events are readily at the public’s disposal, free of charge. Startup culture is increasingly progressing toward seed funding. Instead of requiring numerous funds to start a business, seed accelerators such as Real Ventures and FounderFuel provide small grants, also known as seed money, to promising startups, allowing them to establish a business within $50,000. As mentioned by Sundaram, efficiency in startup culture seems to be a common trend on many levels; developers are now able to build upon pre-existing libraries of code, instead of starting from scratch. Conor Clarke, co-founder of Wavo.me, a social network for music, sat down with me at Notman House to discuss his journey from starting two successful businesses at McGill – Saintwoods and Chef On Call – to launching Wavo.me through FounderFuel’s 12-week accelerator program, which provides mentorship and seed funding. Saintwoods, a media company now in its seventh year, arose from Clarke’s ability to intersect his interests in music and event plan-
ning. In 2010, as an undergraduate student at McGill, Clarke addressed the lack of palatable late-night food available to students by founding Chef On Call. However, it was Clarke’s experience working with the music blog, Ear Milk, as well as his expertise as an event planner and artist, that led to the creation of Wavo.me. His success within a one-year span with Wavo.me would not have been possible without support from Notman House, FounderFuel, and Real Ventures: three Montrealcentric initiatives that have given him the technical and financial resources, along with mentorship to evolve Wavo.me into the music equivalent of Pinterest. However, Clarke told me that his involvement with Montreal’s startup ecosystem – a buzzword often used in the tech industry to describe the community – did not begin on campus at McGill. Clarke referred to McGill as a “legacy school,” which focuses on academia, with little motivating students to be innovative. The lack of an outlet for innovation led him to pursue his interests “completely outside of the boundaries of school.” In an effort to become more aware of the Montreal startup community, I attended Startup Drinks, a networking event for startup enthusiasts. Within the first five minutes, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of being misplaced; surrounded by entrepreneurs in their early thirties and upwards, I glanced around the room, seeking to find someone closer to my age, and with my level of experience.
Mentally unarmed to deal with the intimidation factor, I left shortly after. While the people at the event were receptive and welcoming to young startup enthusiasts, the gap between the student demographic and the Montreal startup community left me discouraged. This sentiment was echoed by Sean Kim, a U2 McGill Economics student, who hopes to bridge the gap through Young Entrepreneurs Socializing (YESocializing). His vision is to connect young startup enthusiasts, particularly college students and recent graduates, with local startups and experienced guests and advisors. Kim remarked that the idea is to “put them all in one room so they can feed off of each other in an informal setting.” YESocializing stems from Kim’s personal experiences as he struggled to find the right resources for his first startup, Totum Pass. Despite the home of the web being a minute away from the corner of St. Laurent and Sherbrooke, the outreach of Montreal’s startup community to university students seems minimal. Kim commented, “if I had just been to one event that [connected me] with the top guys, [it] would’ve been of great help [to me].” The Notman House aims to tackle this exact issue, starting in 2013. They are currently raising funds in an effort to transform the House and the attached building into distinct groups for startups, freelancers, and early stage investors which, according to Sundaram, will “give people a gateway to everything happening in Montreal regarding startups
and web entrepreneurship.” Both Clarke and Kim affirmed that the Notman House is the one invaluable tool for anyone interested in startups and that starting early and informing yourself is the first step to delve into the Montreal webtech scene. Another issue is the shortage of technical talent felt in the Montreal tech community. Sundaram suggests that although the issue is not specific to Montreal, “not a lot of students know that startups are a viable channel and that the ... jobs exist.” Developers, engineers, and product and community managers are among those wanted. Sundaram demystified the common misconception that an increasing number of Montreal companies are locating to the Silicon Valley due to lack of venture capital in Montreal. He said, “Montreal has one of the best ecosystems in terms of access to capital. [Although] there is not as much available as the Valley...a good density of venture capitalists, angel investors, FounderFuel-like programs, and early investor programs [exist in Montreal] that give entrepreneurs a chance to raise money.” Startups are the present and future outlet for innovation. With the hub of technology so close to our doorstep, there’s no reason not to take the next step and venture into the promising ecosystem of web-tech startups. For more information on Notman House, visit notman.org/en. For more information on YESocializing, visit yesocializing.com.
The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Star light, star bright Public Astro Nights reach out
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10 WAYS TO LAUNCH YOUR CAREER FIND YOUR NICHE WITH A POSTGRAD IN BUSINESS
tudents may not think of the downtown campus as the perfect stargazing spot, but the telescope on top of the roof of the Rutherford Physics building does not go unused: the departmentâ€™s astronomy and astrophysics outreach organization, Astro McGill, has been putting it to use by hosting monthly observation evenings every third Thursday of the month. The evenings start with a public lecture on a topic in astronomy or astrophysics given by a department member or a visiting scientist, followed by a lab tour and, weather permitting, observing the skies with the telescope. Octoberâ€™s talk, â€œAll the Colours the Eye Canâ€™t See: Studying the Universe with Different Kinds of Light,â€? was given by assistant professor Tracy Webb on October 18. The lectures are aimed at the general public, and Dr. Webbâ€™s talk clearly laid out the variety of light in the universe. She discussed how we can gather and process information from different kinds of light to paint a richer, more complete picture of the structure and composition of the universe. Visible light comprises only a sliver of the spectrum of light, and light with shorter and longer wavelengths can reveal different types of material and objects. By looking at a galaxy using different sections of the light spectrum, astronomers can probe different components of the galaxy. Combining all of these types of images gives a more complete and accurate picture of the galaxy than any one image does, and allows astronomers and astrophysicists to more accurately understand the formation of the galaxy and how it fits into larger galactic structures.
The dome on the roof of the Rutherford building houses a 14-inch optical telescope. While the light pollution associated with urban areas washes out most opportunities for observational astronomy, the telescope is strong enough to view most objects in the solar system, including the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter, as well as bright extra-solar system objects like the Orion nebula and clusters of stars. Unfortunately, the lab scheduled to be toured last Thursday was busy shipping equipment to Antarctica and unavailable, and just before the talk started, clouds rolled in and the telescope couldnâ€™t be used for observing. Instead, two members of Astro McGill gave an informal talk about the method used to discover the planet that was recently found orbiting Alpha Centauri B. Even with the array of technology available to help communicate science, sometimes styrofoam balls on sticks are the most effective (and humourous, when they inevitably fly apart or fall off the table) teaching tools around. The talk was attended by around sixty people, a number the organizers said is typical for these events. Most of the people who attend are in some way associated with McGill, and though the audience had a mix of ages and backgrounds, the enthusiasm for astronomy was palpable. While the turnout for these events is consistent, and the events themselves are advertised through McGill emails, thereâ€™s still a large potentially interested audience that is unaware of the talks. This is a chronic problem with outreach programs: how does a group reach the widest possible audience, often on limited resources? Astro McGill is an entirely volunteer-staffed public outreach organization organized by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Ryan Lynch and PhD
student Sebastien Guillot, both working in astrophysics in McGillâ€™s Department of Physics. It consists mostly of graduate students and post docs. Webb, Lynch, and Guillot all stressed the importance of outreach for the department, the astronomy and astrophysics groups especially. â€œAstronomy is accessible to the public, and itâ€™s easy to grab peopleâ€™s attention. Itâ€™s a great way to get young people interested and involved in science,â€? said Lynch. There are benefits not just to the public, but also to the organizers and faculty involved. â€œItâ€™s a great gateway to teaching the scientific process,â€? Webb added. â€œ[Doing outreach] keeps me excited about the material. Itâ€™s a great reminder of how awesome it is!â€? Astronomy and astrophysics are by nature esoteric fields, without a lot of tangible, everyday end products or results. But they capture the curiosity of scientists and nonscientists alike, and Astro McGill hopes to open the door to the publicâ€™s imagination. Traditional science communication is not always so engaging. â€œThereâ€™s a gap between the magic of science and what ends up in a press release,â€? according to Guillot. Astro McGill is working to fill in that gap and give the McGill community a window not only to the wonders of the universe, but also the work being done in the Physics department. In addition to monthly talks, Astro McGill hosts a podcast on iTunes and works with other science outreach groups on and off campus. The next public talk is scheduled for November 15 and features Stephen Ng talking about â€œCosmic Fireworks: Supernova Explosions and Their Aftermaths.â€? The talks start at 7 p.m. in room 103 of the Rutherford Physics building.
The McGill Daily Monday, October 29, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
Commissioners gone wild
League leaders overstep their bounds to protect their interests Evan Dent The McGill Daily
hen most people think of their favourite sports league, they don’t usually think of the commissioner. They think of their favourite players or their hometown team. But the face of the business side of most leagues is the commissioner, and as the business side of sports grows, these individuals become more and more prominent. Unfortunately, the commissioners of the biggest leagues are often greedy and hypocritical, abusing the vague definition of their duties as commissioner in order to exert their will over the league. Without a set of rules to reign them in, three commissioners in particular have become tyrants in their own rights: David Stern, Gary Bettman, and, perhaps most egregiously, Roger Goodell. Stern has been the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) since 1984. His tenure as commissioner has coincided with the massive rise in popularity of professional basketball throughout the world, and Stern has done whatever it takes to protect the NBA brand. In 2005, Stern instituted a dress code in the NBA, banning players from wearing t-shirts, hats or other ‘urban’ (read: styles common among black Americans) clothing during NBArelated events. Most pegged this decision as an attempt to expand potential advertising and fan revenue. In 2011, he and the NBA owners enacted an acrimonious lockout. Negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) were testy, with Stern telling the players that he “knew where the bodies
[were] buried” in the NBA, because he himself had buried them. This year, Stern has set his sights on eliminating flopping (simulating fouls to get free throws) under a completely arbitrary set of standards, and speeding up games by enforcing a strict time limit on pregame handshakes between players. God forbid that the league speed up games by eliminating the absurd amount of commercial breaks in an NBA game – no, better to target pregame handshakes, a rare moment of personality in Stern’s thoroughly corporatized NBA. Gary Bettman, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) current commissioner, is a Stern disciple who gained control of the NHL in 1993. There may be no more reviled commissioner than Bettman; I think I’ve seen the word “fuck” before his name more often than not. Under Bettman’s reign, the NHL has gone through three work stoppages. Bettman has never been afraid to eliminate games from the schedule to get what he and the owners want from the players – more money. This year, Bettman has been particularly heinous. He has now entered a sort of bizarre doublespeak as talks with the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) have broken down. Bettman has said that he is disappointed that the NHLPA won’t negotiate with the owners, even though the NHLPA offered three separate CBA proposals, which Bettman and the owners quickly rejected. Basically, he has told players that there will be no negotiations based off of anything but the NHL’s latest proposal, all while publicly criticizing the players for not negotiating. Neither Stern nor Bettman, though, holds a candle to the reign of
Roger Goodell, the National Football League’s (NFL) commissioner since 2006. Since his term as commissioner began, Goodell has exposed himself as a power-hungry, greedy, hypocritical tyrant interested in good PR and money above all else. In fact, the NFL’s short lockout in 2011 is the least of Goodell’s list of injustices. Goodell, like Bettman in the NHL, has initiated a seemingly wellintentioned campaign against dangerous hits, all under the banner of improving “player safety.” There’s nothing wrong with policies meant to prevent players from suffering debilitating head and body injuries. Goodell’s implementation in the NFL, though, has been full of baldfaced hypocrisy. The crusade to protect the players came after a number of former players committed suicide and studies linking concussions inflicted in football to long-term brain damage were released. These reports brought increased scrutiny to the NFL and damaged the long-term viability of the league. While campaigning for “player safety,” however, the NFL also increased the number of Thursday night games during the season, giving players less recovery time between games. These Thursday night games are cash cows for the league, as they get huge primetime ratings. Similarly, Goodell has campaigned for an 18-game regular season, instead of the 16-game season currently in place. Never mind that the players barely make it through the regular season without suffering a litany of injuries; the opportunity for two more games, two more opportunities to reap profit, is too appealing to Goodell. In addition, Goodell went into the 2012 season refusing to budge on a labour dispute between the NFL’s
referees in the league, instead hiring scab referees. These scabs had no control over the game, and further endangered the players. Only after yet another onslaught of negative press did the NFL act swiftly to bring back the professional referees. Then there is Goodell’s spotty record of disciplinary actions in regard to both owners and players. In 2010, the league decided to play a season without a CBA, and, therefore, without a salary cap. Certain teams recognized the advantage of the uncapped year and decided to sign players to frontloaded contracts. In 2012, Goodell and the NFL decided to punish two of these teams, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, for ‘circumventing’ salary cap rules, even though, technically, the two teams had done nothing wrong. When pressed for a reason why these two teams were being punished, the NFL claimed that there was a tacit agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association to keep player salary down during the uncapped year. If you’re scrambling for your dictionary right now, let me help you: that’s what most people would call collusion. And, finally, there’s what the media have come to refer to as “bounty-gate.” In 2012, it was revealed that the New Orleans Saints had participated in a “bounty” program, in which defensive players were paid out of pocket by other players or coaches if they were able to injure certain players on the other team. A bounty program in and of itself is reprehensible but, the NFL’s implementation of discipline was once again spotty. The NFL severely punished the Saints, and the Saints only, despite the evidence that many
other teams had bounty programs in place. In addition, several defensive players were suspended for a majority of the season. When these players appealed the suspensions, the NFL was found to have severely limited actual evidence that the players had participated in a bounty program. The suspensions were thrown out by an impartial judge, but Goodell later reaffirmed the suspensions for the players, criticizing them for not standing up to the coaches enacting the bounty program. In a sport where disobedience to coaches can often get a player kicked out of the league, this criticism is absurd. “Bounty-gate” and the NFL’s crusade to appear conscious of “player safety” has been exposed as a farce. Perhaps no one has said it better than Scott Fujita, a player who was suspended for his supposed actions within the Saints bounty program. In a October 10th statement to the media, Fujita said: “For me, the issue of player health and safety is personal. For the league and the Commissioner, it’s about perception and liability.” So this is what sports fans have to deal with: the most powerful people in their league have set an agenda to protect the long-term marketability and viability of the leagues, no matter how far they overstep their bounds, no matter how transparent the PR effort is. A commissioner, by definition, is the representative of the league and the owners of the franchises. In this respect, the commissioners may have done well representing the business side, but in the court of public opinion, to the fans, they can be seen as nothing more than tyrants flexing their muscles to influence the direction of the sport.
The McGill Daily Monday, October 29, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
Exploring Montreal’s independent cinemas Nathalie O'Neill The McGill Daily
s commercial cinemas narrow the diversity of their programming and boost ticket prices, cinephiles might find themselves seeking new venues to explore independent film. Luckily, Montreal has a vibrant, albeit relatively unexplored, independent cinema scene. Mainstays Cinema Beaubien, Cinema Excentris, and Cinema du Parc, each with different but overlapping programming, provide ample offerings for the film-hungry. Montreal’s independent cinemas have common features setting them apart from commercial theatres. First and foremost, their mandate is to present works produced outside the major film studios, often including international selections. Projections generally avoid the inclusion of advertisements, and the lobbies are free of arcade games. Traditionally, Montreal’s independent cinemas have shunned concession sales, in an effort to maintain focus on the films. Yet independent cinemas have recently struggled to remain self-sufficient, and the need for extra revenue has forced them to install concession counters. After recent hard times, things are looking up for Montreal’s independent cinemas. While the Excentris relies partly on subsidies, both Beaubien and the Cinema du Parc manage to remain self-sufficient through ticket and concession sales. Cinema Beaubien’s mandate is to present films in French, both from Quebec and France. Alongside its independent programming, Beaubien also includes commercial films from Quebec. Unfortunately, the Beaubien does not screen films with English subtitles, limiting their clientele to those who speak fluent French. Cinema Beaubien first opened in 1937 at its current location. In 2001, budget cuts that threatened to close the theatre led to protests by local residents. The Corporation du cinéma Beaubien was created the same year in a collective effort to keep the cinema in business. Beaubien director Mario Fortin describes the theatre as the only “neighbourhood cinema” in the city, stressing the importance of its interaction with the immediate community sur-
rounding it. Indeed, a quarter of the Beaubien’s clientele comes from the Rosemont-Petite Patrie area. The Beaubien’s mission statement emphasizes the good it does for local business, attracting nearby residents as well as other Montrealers to the area. The Cinema Beaubien hosts many community activities, including Festival Vues d’Afrique and the Festival des films d’enfants. Cinema Beaubien’s community focus also extends to their labour relations. Its employee policies meet high standards; Cinema Beaubien workers are syndicated, and award scholarships to its student employees. The concession stand features reasonably sized and priced popcorn as well as free trade chocolate and coffee, in line with their “quality before marketing” philosophy. Such a policy has yielded good results for the Beaubien, allowing the cinema to become self-sufficient in recent years. Cinema Excentris is centred on its love of innovation in film. Groundbreaking and creatively daring works, both local and international, are favoured in the selection process. Excentris prioritizes films that are “inaccessible through the commercial offerings of other cinemas,” according to their website, apparently making this theatre “the only alternative to Montreal’s network of commercial distribution.” Its diverse offerings allow Excentris to bridge the gap between the Beaubien’s French language focus and the Cinema du Parc’s international outlook. Excentris presents all films in their original format, with subtitles always in French. Cinema Excentris, like Cinema Beaubien, prides itself on its position within the community, regularly welcoming festivals and community events. The cinema frequently hosts the Ciné-club in association with the City of Montreal and the Ministry of Culture, presenting free Quebecois films to senior citizens in an effort to offer an exploration of topics that relate to their lives. Often inviting the film’s director to take part in the occasion, Excentris considers the Ciné-club an important part of its overall mission to bring people closer to the creative processes involved in making movies. Cinema du Parc’s mandate sweeps wider that both the Beaubien and Excentris. Its aim consists mostly of presenting
Making a scene
October 26 to November 1 Cinema Excentris 3536 St. Laurent Various times $8.50 for students Director Rob Fricke’s Samsara is the third film in a trilogy that began in the late 1980’s with Koyaanisqatsi, on which Fricke worked as a cinematographer. Philip Glass composed the score, and the movie became one of the most successful art films of all time. Filmed in 25 countries over five years, Samsara promises a visually intense nonnarrative experience.
Land of Kush, Sam Shalabi, and PierreGuy Blanchard October 29 La Sala Rossa 4848 St. Laurent 8:30 p.m. $11
Sam Shalabi is one of Montreal’s most accomplished experimental artists. He will be playing with his orchestral ensemble, Land of Kush, a psychedelic improv group with a slight Middle Eastern influence. As far as ensemble improv goes, Land of Kush is one of the most well-synced there is. Illustration Alice Shen | The McGill Daily
films considered artistically significant. Du Parc probably offers the most varied selection, ranging from big names such as Wes Anderson and Christopher Nolan to international independent films. Their selection process is quite hands-on, as they investigate international offerings independently instead of relying on distributors. Owner Roland Smith travels the world, attending film festivals in an effort to select what he considers the most important works. The cinema also releases films on its own, such as current We Are Legion: The Rise of the Hacktivists. Along with new releases, the Parc also has a retrospective each month, often focusing either on a specific period, topic, or filmmaker, such as ongoing “The Complete Woody Allen.” Sadly, many of the retrospectives’ films are presented in digital format rather than the original 35 mm. Struggling against limited availability, Cinema du Parc tries to always present the original film versions. This means projecting films in their original language with subtitles when needed. A good proportion of their clientele consists of students and seniors, both anglophone and francophone. Many patrons are devoted cinephiles, either studying or working in cinema. Du Parc’s extensive presentation of films on cultural topics as well
as established classics tends to attract a wide clientele interested in the arts in general. Previously, the CineRobotheque offered one of the only chances to watch original 35 mm films. The CineRobotheque closed this September due to federal budget cuts, but titles remain available for viewing by the public. These free viewings are set up by appointment at the Montreal National Film Board headquarters on Côte-de-Liesse. Some titles are available via nfb.ca or for purchase in digital format or on DVD. Their website is definitely worth a visit as it is replete with a wide selection of footage available for online viewing. The shutdown of the CineRobotheque as well as the recently precarious position of other independent cinemas is a disquieting indication of mainstream cinemas’ market takeover. Yet the past few years have seen a swell in Montreal independent cinemas’ success, indicating a renewed interest in the more diverse and reasonably priced selections these community-oriented theatres have to offer. Cinema Excentris and Cinema du Parc offer student prices, with tickets coming in at $8.50 and $8, respectively. Theatregoers will have to pay the full $11.75 at Cinema Beaubien.
A Cult Halloween
October 31 Royal Phoenix Bar 5788 St. Laurent 9:00 p.m. $5, $7 without a costume If you long for the days when Halloween was actually celebrated on the 31st, and not the weekend before, then fear not – Cult MTL launches its November issue with a Cult Halloween on Wednesday. Reminisce about your days as a young and innocent trickor-treater while listening to live acts such as Goose Hut, Taylor Swifter (hells yeah), and Fixyourbitrate.
Photojournalism: Then & Now
November 1 to 2 McCord Museum 690 Sherbrooke West 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Free Media@McGill, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, and the McCord Museum are hosting a twoday symposium on photojournalism. The theme of the first day is “Histories of Photojournalism” and the theme of the second day is “Conflict[ed] Reporting: War and Photojournalism in the Digital Age.” Aspiring journalists and photographers can’t go wrong with this free event.
The McGill Daily | Monday, October 29, 2012 | mcgilldaily.com
Electric aria Examining the age divide in opera Lindsey Kendrick-Koch Culture Writer
mong young people today, there is popular consensus that the opera is a staid tradition compared with more current forms of entertainment, such as dubstep concerts and drunken hookups. However, the Committee of Young Associates of Opéra de Montréal (YAC) is challenging this view with their new, yet somewhat incomplete agenda to reach out to a more diverse audience. Formed in 2009, their mission is to both maintain and widen opera audiences, and in particular to enhance the appeal of opera to the younger generation. However, it seems that their definition of “young people” is narrower than one might think. The YAC is looking to engage mostly “young professionals,” with the accent on professional, like lawyers, accountants, bankers, entrepreneurs, and doctors in Montreal. The YAC’s main activities include frequent “Opera Cocktails” and an annual ball, seeking to raise much-needed funds for the opera. Aside from these cocktail nights, according to Jean-François Séguin, founder and president of the YAC, the committee hopes to promote the enticing nature of opera through other events such as their
annual ball, to be held March 15 at Place des Arts. The theme for March is based on the movie Dead Man Walking, and includes an even bigger party with DJs and typical house music interrupted by bursts of opera singing. Séguin emphasizes that this is an attempt to “take young people by surprise” and convince them that opera is a truly fascinating, “eclectic” art. The combination of opera and house struck me as somewhat over the top, like a desperate attempt to attract the attention of young people by sneaking opera through the back door. While he stressed how essential it is for “young people” to get involved with this art, the emphasis of the effort is directed mostly at accomplished professionals, rather than students, or the rest of the young population. This is because, unlike London, Paris, and New York, Montreal does not have a strong tradition of upper-middle-class support for the opera. Opéra de Montréal has relied on donations from wealthy individuals and corporations, like the Bronfman Foundation and Fasken Martineau (where Séguin is an associate lawyer), but they are looking to engage ‘Generation Y’ as patrons in order to preserve the institution in the city. In spite of this, while they may have succeeded in making
the opera aesthetically pleasing to the younger generation, these “opera cocktails” and the YAC’s other promotional events do not reach out to all of Generation Y, largely due to their cost ($80 for the “Opera Cocktails” and up to $125 for the ball). Thus, the YAC is continuing to reach out primarily to the more affluent and prosperous “young people” of Montreal, perpetuating opera’s image as an elitist artistic tradition. Nevertheless, starting this year, Séguin describes how the Young Associates have initiated a membership program for only $25 per year, inexpensive compared to some opera patron programs like a similar program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Unfortunately, the Committee does not offer a direct discount on tickets for young people. In fact, the only institutions actually looking to reduce opera ticket fees for young people are the corporate sponsors, such as TD Bank, which supports a special program for 18- to 30-year-olds that reduces the price of a single ticket to $30 from $50 or more, if they subscribe to a minimum of two operas per season. To be fair, the Young Associates Committee has fulfilled their goal of increasing attendance among young people. Since their found-
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
ing in 2009, the YAC has made substantial progress, with 20 to 30 per cent of people returning to the opera every time, and a significant increase in youth subscriptions. In this short time the associates have raised over $100,000. While it is essential that we recognize that performing arts like the opera greatly rely on
donations from affluent patrons, in order to further their agenda, the Young Associates must also look to capture the interest and engage the younger generation as a whole, instead of narrowing their focus to professionals alone. This is crucial if they hope to preserve enthusiasm for the Opéra de Montréal in the future.
Signed, Anonymous We Are Legion: The story of the hacktivists Kate McGillivray The McGill Daily
We Are Anonymous. We Are Legion. We Do Not Forgive. We Do Not Forget. Expect Us.
o goes the credo of Anonymous, the online community of hacker-activists profiled in Brian Knappenburger’s new documentary, We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists. In the movie, Knappenburger reverently charts the online collective’s rise from humble origins in the comment threads of 4chan.com to the position it holds today, as an often-feared, thousands-strong group of hackers capable of large scale interventions on the global political stage. Anonymous has run a neo-
Nazi broadcaster into the ground, waged war on Scientology’s culture of censorship, staged countless virtual sit-ins by overwhelming servers and taking down websites, and even helped remotely facilitate last year’s Arab Spring. Several of its members are facing charges of cyber-terrorism. Several have already served time. And to think – it all started on an image posting site better known for its vicious sense of humour and penchant for anime pornography than its moral compass. To the average internet browser, the pages of 4chan.com look like a window into the mind of a teenage boy – the threads of comments and images are choked with insults, video game references, porn, and anime. In this dark corner of the internet, only two things really matter: lulz (a corruption of lol) and loyalty to other 4channers. And it is here that Knappenburger begins his
story, focussing in on the explosive section of 4chan known as /b/, the “random” forum, as the true birthplace of Anonymous. Jokes and pranks at the expense of others had always been a mainstay of /b/ culture, but everything began to change when they decided to go after Habbo Hotel, an online social avatar game. Creating identical afro-sporting avatars and entering the game, hundreds of anonymous 4chan users, called “Anons” for short, lined up in the shape of a swastika as other avatars looked on. The outrage of the other young players and their parents only sweetened the deal for the Anon pranksters. Lulz were obtained, and for the first time, the strength in /b/’s numbers was tapped and many anonymous users became one Anonymous. Knappenburger then devotes himself to frenetically tracing the development of Anonymous from
nihilistic jokers bent on pissing off the world to an ethical and engaged group bent on improving it. We hear from the men and women who were major players on the 4chan stage, some of whom wear masks and disguise their voices with electronic equipment, and all of whom point to one moment as the moral awakening of Anonymous: the online war against Scientology, known as Project Chanology. Taking on the church for its practice of vicious legal action against any naysayers, Anonymous dished out toxic amounts of prank calls, server-busting internet traffic, and, most notably, organized inperson protests at Scientology headquarters around the world. As the barrage progressed, a sense of righteousness took hold, and a moral code began to develop. As the Anons repeat over and over throughout the film, “information wants to be free.”
That sense of righteousness has galvanized and intensified as the years have gone on, resulting in a variety of online actions and making “hacktivism,” a conflation of hacking and activism, a household word. From defending WikiLeaks to ensuring that revolutionaries in the Middle East were able to communicate online during the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, Anonymous has come a long way since their days as message board dwellers in reckless pursuit of cheap laughs. Knappenburger’s portrait, though overly reverential at times (Anonymous is described, variously, as a “kaleidoscope,” a “flock of birds,” and a “phoenix”) is informative and inspiring. Like a modern brood of Robin Hoods, Anonymous does what it wants. Luckily, what it wants for the most part is to combat censorship and keep the powers that be from getting too comfortable.
The McGill Daily Monday, October 29, 2012 mcgilldaily.com
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English major “really excited” about her novel Critics battle over interpretation Huckleberry Cleveland The Twice-a-Weekly
iting “a ton of free time” since finishing her midterms, U1 English student Miriam Von Trapp continued to work on her novel. Von Trapp began the novel last year during “a particularly sombre time during my stay in Molson.” Von Trapp also described to The Twice-A-Weekly how, in the middle of the night, she was “struck with a vision” to begin her novel. “I just clearly saw what I wanted to write this book about. My body was roused. I couldn’t not write this book. These are issues that just have to be examined.” Von Trapp, while trying not to give away any “spoilers” for what she hopes will be her “sparkling debut,” gave a brief overview of what she planned for her novel to be about.
“Well, it sort of centres on this young woman in Toronto, making her way through university life, her troubles with her emotionally distant boyfriend, who she just can’t seem to shake, and, you know, the whole gamut of human emotions as she goes through her life. It just felt like it had to be said, you know?” Since the release of portions of her novel on the personal blogging site Tumblr, there has been intense critical debate in the literary field. English critic Michiko Kakutani has blasted others in his field for “reviewing and dismissing an unfinished novel,” while Thomas Pynchon, a famous recluse, gave a surprise statement to the media addressing the controversy over Von Trapp’s work. Like most of Pynchon’s work, it was incredibly verbose and tangentially addressed the fact that a secret syndicate called “McGill Date” was
controlling society. He comments on The Twice-A-Weekly’s website under the name “Marc LaRue,” and revealed his vision that Von Trapp’s novel will usher in a new literary movement and kill postmodernism as a concept. Some critics, though, have, seized upon the unfinished document (Von Trapp has stated that “work and writer’s block” had stopped her around page 62 of the document) and roundly criticized it as “self-indulgent, aimless, and seemingly without purpose.” Intense research into Von Trapp’s Tumblr account, “Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl,” by critic Janet Maslin, has revealed that Von Trapp originally grew up in Oakville, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. Maslin also found that Von Trapp had posted “approximately seventy prose pieces, poems, quotes from songs, movies, or literature that dealt with feelings of
“Self-indulgent, aimless, and seemingly wihout purpose.” J. Updike Critic and memory expert unrequited love,” many of which “seem to have been directly cut and pasted into the novel while she discusses her lover.” The novel’s use of the first person singular has been another indicator that the novel is more of a memoir than Von Trapp would care to admit. Von Trapp has claimed that her “stylistic choices were only meant to make the novel more intimate. It’s not about me, though...I swear. That would be so, like, horribly self-indulgent.” While debate rages on, the liter-
ary world waits with bated breath to see how Von Trapp will finish her novel. Von Trapp has declined to give a timetable, but did mention that she has “a really big paper due for ENGL 364 [Introduction to South American Poetry] due next week,” and hopes to begin writing soon after that is finished. Huckleberry Cleveland has been writing for The Twice-a-Weekly since the afternoon of the night before last week’s hockey game. Which didn’t happen because hockey is nonexistent.
volume 102 number 16
Demanding student voices at the top
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With the term of Morton Mendelson as Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning) set to end on August 31, 2013, the University has created a committee to choose his replacement. Despite being tasked with choosing a student-centred position, the committee only has two student representatives, compared to three representatives from the Board of Governors and four Senate representatives. As such, students have 2 out of 9 votes in selecting a person that will work directly with and for them. Reduced student influence lends itself to ineffective representation; one undergraduate student representative is responsible for speaking for 25,938 students with diverse opinions and desires. The advisory committee also fails to represent the needs and concerns of students in programs like those on Macdonald campus or in Continuing Education, who face different difficulties than downtown campus undergraduates. But ultimately, the advisory committee is just that: advisory. The final decision on who will be in charge of the most important student-related issues will be in the hands of the Board of Governors, a body composed of people out of touch with current student needs. Whether the Board of Governors follows the recommendation given by the advisory committee will not be known because details of what the committee discusses are bound by confidentiality. The process of choosing a new deputy provost is thus marked by a lack of accountability and student representation The Deputy Provost (Student Life & Learning) position was created in 2006, meaning that Mendelson has been the only person in the position. In the years since, McGill students have seen the loss of autonomous space in the Arch Café, a lack of support for crucial student services like SACOMSS, and ever-increasing separation between the institution of McGill and its constituents through the removal of the McGill name from student groups. The absence of consultation and communication between Mendelson’s position and the student body is clear, and was made clearer by the occupation of his office in February protesting the nullification of CKUT and QPIRG’s referenda. This disconnect is only exacerbated by the physical detachment of Mendelson’s office. A position that supposedly dictates central elements of student life on campus is six floors above us in the James Administration building, amongst administrators who spend their time perfecting policy and traveling internationally to promote a reputation, rather than being accessible to students. One of the demands of the #6party occupation was to relocate the office to Service Point; this way, student interests take precedence over administrative constraints, and the population most affected is not dissuaded from addressing their concerns. Before merely delegating the task of choosing Mendelson 2.0 to a committee, we should have the opportunity to look at the position itself and see if it is one that we want to continue to fill. Candidates should be coming from a background focused on student needs, not a detached academic position or a bureaucratic thought process. Anyone who steps in needs to be familiar with and sensitive to the context of McGill’s campus and student body in order to avoid repeating the devastating mistakes of their predecessor.
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