November 19, 2012 Volume 39, Issue 10 www.mediumutm.ca
Five-minute financials UTMSU spends little time discussing its audited financial statements during their AGM
Larissa Ho News Editor There was not much discussion of the UTMSU’s audited financial statements at their Annual General Meeting last Wednesday in Council Chambers, with 132 people in attendance, most of whom were union volunteers. Members of the union have the option to sign off their votes and delegate their voting power to other students. The designated proxies then represent the students through the attendees who vote in their absence. The total attendance at the AGM by proxy was 522, meaning that 80 per cent of votes cast came from students that were not in attendance to receive the financial statements. The quorum for the UTMSU Annual General Meeting is 40 for attendance in person or 75 for attendance by proxy. Each member is allowed to hold a maximum of 11 votes, including his or her own.
Jasmeen Virk/THe Medium
More people came out in person and fewer voted by proxy than at last year’s AGM. An AGM is meant to provide a forum for discussion and transparency of the UTMSU’s financial statements, which they are required to present at each year’s
AGM. UTMSU spent under 10 minutes presenting their 16-page financial statement during the one-and-ahalf-hour AGM. The VP internal,
Raymond Noronha, presented the 2012 financial statement. In response to a question from one of the attendees, Noronha talked about the contingency
fund, an emergency fund, from which UTSMU withdrew when they launched the summer U-Pass two years ago. When negotiations went sour with Mississauga Transit, UTMSU subsidized the summer program with $140,000 from the emergency reserve. At the commission meeting where the subsidy was approved, UTMSU proposed that the subsidy would be paid back by cutbacks in executives’ salaries and cuts to ministry budgets; it was revealed at this AGM that the cutbacks were made in the ministries and not in executive salaries. The Blind Duck’s losses were reduced by approximately $15,000 due to more club bookings, said Noronha. “The pub is doing really well. I’m proud to say that […] losses are actually being reduced,” said Noronha. “This could be the first time ever that the pub breaks even—or you can see, actually, a surplus.” AGM continued on page 2
Sikhs seek to dispel misconceptions The Sikh Students Association raises awareness of Sikh tradition and customs Jai Sangha ASsociate News Editor The Sikh Students Association at UTM held Sikh Awareness Week on campus last week to inform students about Sikh history, customs, and traditions, and to dispel common misconceptions about turbans. The Sikh Students Association is a student club at UTM that promotes the Sikh faith through weekly prayer sessions and discussions. The SSA showed movies about the importance of keeping long hair for Sikhs; the importance of language and music in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy text; and the daily operations of the prominent Sikh temple known as the Golden Temple in India. The SSA also offered langar, a free kitchen lunch. “While eating langar, we cover
1.0 Drop Credit on its way UTMSU continues to lobby for the 1.0 Drop Credit at UTM. They say it’s closer to being implemented. Medium News, page 3
By-election for the Board There are three candidates for our Board of Directors. Vote! Medium Opinion, page 5
Coffeehouses suit UTM Students sing, play, and dance at ART’s first coffeehouse of the year. Medium A&E, page 7
Is it your quarterlife crisis? It’s as common as a midlife crisis. You could be having one right now. Medium Features, page 9 Jasmeen Virk/The Medium
The SSA organized a performance of gatka, a weapon-based Indian martial art, in the RAWC. our heads as a sign of respect and we take off shoes and sit on the floor to create a concept of equal-
ity. It doesn’t matter what caste you are, what religion, what colour or what beliefs you have,” said Dar-
shan Kaur, the marketing director of the SSA. Sikh continued on page 3
Bragging rights go to Blue UTM’s two Div 1 men’s basketball teams are pitted against each other. Medium Sports, page 11
«NEWS THE MEDIUM
Randy Taylor speaks at Business Banquet UCS and the SMA invited Randy Taylor to their annual Business Banquet, along with other industry representatives ELIZABETH SMURLICK The Undergraduate Commerce Society and the Student Management Association held their fourth annual Business Banquet at Roma’s Hospitality Centre in Mississauga last Thursday. Ann Sandhu of SMA and Avalon D’Souza of UCS organized the event. The main purpose of the Business Banquet, according to D’Souza, was “for students to network with industry professionals in a very comfortable environment, and to build longlasting relationships with them”. The event was attended by over 40 industry representatives and over 200 students, primarily in commerce and management. Some faculty were also present. Although the event began with a crowded foyer, the rest of the evening progressed smoothly and professionally. The seating was arranged before the event to ensure everyone got the chance to mingle with both industry professionals and classmates. The fourth Business Banquet underwent some major changes from previous years. This is the first time the event has been run as a joint venture between UCS and the SMA. Lenville D’Sa, the president of SMA, said that he “initially didn’t anticipate the demand”, but was excited to see the list
Ayman Khan/The Medium
Randy Taylor, a leadership speaker and coach, made a speech at the annual Business Banquet. of both management representatives and management students grow as the Business Banquet drew closer. This year’s theme was “The Winner Within”, and the speaker was Randy Taylor, a leadership speaker and coach. After having experienced poverty, the alcoholism of a parent, and life on the streets, Taylor went on to become a top Canadian broadcaster at CFRB 1010.
Taylor spoke of the importance of believing in oneself, connecting purpose with passion, and living one’s life for oneself rather than for others. He stressed that everyone has “identical potential”, despite any past negative experiences. “Where you are now has nothing to do with where you can go” were the words of his high-school guidance counsellor, which have stuck
with him to this day. The key, Taylor said, is belief; if we don’t think we can do it, if we stop progressing towards our goals, then our goals can never be achieved. Jorden Wantuchowicz, a fourthyear management student and previous Business Banquet attendee, remarked that this year’s banquet had “some fantastic CMA reps”. He
enjoyed the event last year, but he was also impressed with this year’s changes. He said he enjoyed this year’s speaker, adding that Taylor did not try to sell his ideas or foundations, but rather strove to offer good advice. Stanley Chui, another fourth-year management student, enjoyed speaking with the alumni. He said they provided good insight into the transition between school and work. Throughout the dinner, all the tables were engrossed in lively discussions. At his table, Taylor talked about the future of holograms, the impact of negative news stories, and his children. Although the effects of such networking events are often not apparent until later, the Business Banquet was immediately beneficial for Alice Han. She found a potential sponsor for the annual Global China Connection Conference. Han explained that the GCC conference features professionals from all sectors of business. She feels that she’s now “more informed of the industry that [she aims] to break into”. Other students left the banquet hall feeling like they had made personal connections as well. This year’s sponsors were the Alumni Association, CGA, CIBC, CMA Ontario, Edward Jones, Hamel Wealth Management, and TJX Canada.
UTMSU promotes involvement at AGM AGM continued from Cover
Master of Management & Professional Accounting
• Designed primarily for non-business undergraduates • For careers in Management, Finance and Accounting • Extremely high co-op and permanent placement To learn more about the MMPA Program, attend our information sessions: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Room DV3130, Davis Building, University of Toronto Mississauga Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Room DV3130, Davis Building, University of Toronto Mississauga Thursday, January 17, 2013 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Room KN 132, Kaneff Centre, University of Toronto Mississauga
There was no further explanation or discussion of the statements during the question period following Noronha’s presentation of the financial statements. In his opening remarks, president Christopher Thompson congratulated his executive team on projects such as Orientation Week, the cellphone charger project, the World University Service of Canada student refugee project, and Clubs Week. He also touched on projects that are currently underway, such as the co-curricular record, the 1.0 Drop Credit, the Student Centre expansion, multifaith space renovations, and the Work-Study campaign. He also announced that UTMSU has come to a “tentative agreement” with MiWay and the City of Mississauga to ensure that all students—both full-time and part-time—will receive the U-Pass next year. During the question period, students had the opportunity to bring up topics germane to UTMSU. Students took the opportunity to promote events such as the U of T Students’ Union AGM, which takes place on November 22, and to congratulate and thank UTMSU on their work this past year. Two students separately addressed the issue of the health and dental plan, saying that certain benefits do not come with the plan and that it does not cover certain needs. “I found a lot of the [plan’s] coverage was, I guess, not pertinent,”
commented Jennifer Ward, a UTM student. Noronha stressed that it is possible to opt out of the health and dental plan. Students also had concerns about whether the Student Centre would shut down during the renovations to the building. This is not likely, according to Thompson, as it will be more of an expansion of the current building.
I got to say that it was a whole lot of self-congratulations and stuff. I think it really dug into the time. It wasn’t until the end when people brought up really important issues like the insurance plan. —Thomas Kristan Thompson ended the AGM by recognizing UTMSU’s sister unions, St. George’s UTSU and Scarborough’s SCSU, whose executives were in attendance at the AGM. “I think this was a positive and impressive meeting, to be honest,” said Thompson in his closing remarks. “I think we can bring that to St. George as well and show them what UTM is all about.” “I got to say that it was a whole lot of self-congratulations and stuff,” said Thomas Kristan, a fifth-year
political science student. “I think it really dug into the time. It wasn’t until the end when people brought up really important issues like the insurance plan. I think it deserved more attention than everyone saying congratulations to the students’ union for another amazing year. We kind of got it after the first 10 students.” Kristan did not proxy for anyone. “I don’t believe in the proxy system, because generally what you end up having is the people who hold the most proxies are always board members or execs, and the thing is, I’ve seen them go out to ask students for the proxies. Students don’t really know what they’re giving this consent for,” said Kristan. “So the executives and board members will get their proxies, basically bolstering their vote. Meanwhile, the students who gave them their proxies have no idea what’s going on. I just think it’s undemocratic.” Areej Ashraf, a first-year student, said the AGM was “very effective”. “Just to be exposed to all the movements that they’re trying to inform the school, and the fact that it’s just a nice way to bring everyone together,” Ashraf added. She was proxying for 10 people and had volunteered with UTMSU’s outreach to announce the AGM the week before. Ashraf said that people asked her what she was using their vote for and she informed them what it was going to be used towards. However, she said, they had not seen the financial documents beforehand.
11.19.2012 THE MEDIUM NEWS
1.0 Drop Credit closer UTMSU says they’ve gotten further in getting it approved Larissa Ho News Editor The 1.0 Drop Credit policy is closer to being approved and implemented, according to Andrew Ursel, the UTM Students’ Union’s VP university affairs and academics. The policy would allow UTM students to delete a mark of their choosing from their academic record—so that it’s as if the mark never was. “We are now aware of what parts of the policy that work for our institution, and which sections don’t,” said Ursel. “This will allow us to put forward a more streamlined version of the 1.0 Drop Credit that can be implemented with a limited number of changes to existing policies on grading and transcript notations.” UTMSU first lobbied for this policy in 2011. The project was spearheaded by Dan DiCenzo, then UTMSU’s VP university affairs and academics, and Gilbert Cassar, then president. Ursel said UTMSU has a responsibility to raise awareness of the needs of its student members, and added that the process of lobbying is “always ongoing”. “Through the consultation process, we were able to identify the needs of various UTM stakeholders, and recommended changes to academic policy at UTM that met the needs of
our members while preserving the integrity of the institution,” he said. Calling the implementation of the policy “a long-term and ambitious goal”, Ursel said that UTMSU has discovered a need at the other U of T campuses for the 1.0 Drop Credit as well, and has been working with the U of T Students’ Union for the benefit the whole U of T community.
Calling the implementation of the policy “a long-term and ambitious goal”, Ursel said that UTMSU has discovered a need at the other U of T campuses for the 1.0 Drop Credit as well. The goal, said Ursel, is for students to be able to retake a course they did poorly in and add the new mark to their transcript, either replacing the previous mark or simply being included in their GPA. This is already an option at many other institutions across Canada and the United States, but U of T currently does not allow
students to retake courses they have already passed. Ursel said grade inflation (the tendency of the average grades to rise over time for work of the same quality) is one of the main reasons why the 1.0 Drop Credit is so important for students. He said U of T students are being left behind by schools like Harvard, which also suffers from grade inflation. U of T students may be at a disadvantage when applying to postgraduate or professional programs, and also for future employment, said Ursel, unless a solution can be found that can “unilaterally slow, reduce, or reverse the trend of grade inflation across Ontario and internationally”. Ursel believes the 1.0 Drop Credit is the solution. “[It] gives students a positive incentive to retake courses they feel they have done poorly in,” he said. In order for the 1.0 Drop Credit to be implemented, it must be approved by the Academic Affairs Committee. The AAC consists of several students and administrative members of the Erindale College Council, a representative from each department, the chairs of each of the academic subcommittees serving under the AAC, the chief librarian, the registrar, and the dean, vice-deans, principal, and vice-principal of UTM.
Bid for Liberal leadership
Glen Murray has declared his bid to run for the Liberals
»WILL YOU use the credit/ no credit option?
Andrew Ursel VP U&A, UTMSU
Sneha Kukreja 3rd-year, commerce
I’m already using it and it’s pretty helpful. It reduces the burden on students.
Mackenzie Veldboom 4th-year, art and art history
Kristina Jankovic 4th-year, art and art history
No, I found out about it too late—and in most classes I’m getting good grades.
I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it yet.
Students get involved for Sikh awareness
Glen Murray, the former Minister of Training Colleges and Universities and currently one of six Liberal party candidates, has already declared his decision. Murray has stated that if he wins the Liberal leadership convention in January, he will reconvene the House on February 19. When Dalton McGuinty stepped down as the premier of Ontario in mid-October, he left the decision of when to recall legislature to the future leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. “Every one of us who gets elected—no matter what party—comes to Queen’s Park to make a difference. MPPs’ voices should be heard in the legislature as soon as our new premier is chosen,” Murray commented. “Ontarians want renewal. Action, not
Murray is the first candidate to announce his intention of running for leader of the Liberal party, and he began directing his campaign on November 4. This week, he heads for northern Ontario, where he believes a strong representation is needed. He will be stopping in Thunder Bay, Marathon, Timmins, Sudbury, and
North Bay. His platform features five main points for renewal. Among these points, he has promised tax cuts for the middle class and “no money down” tuition for postsecondary education, allowing students to borrow up to $4,000 for college and $7,000 for university undergraduate programs in each year of study with no payments necessary until they have a stable job after graduating. Glen Murray faces competition from the other Liberal party candidates: Sandra Pupatello, Gerard Kennedy, Kathleen Wynne, Eric Hoskins, and Charles Sousa. Each brings with them a platform for Ontario citizens; Peter Tabuns, the NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth, believes they each also bring the “Liberal government’s scandals”.
Dolphins shot, slashed, stabbed in northern Mexico
Energy drinks thought to be behind the deaths of three Canadians
Amanda Todd memorial honours life of bullied teen
Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade brings big smiles
U.S. and U.K. warn against ground war in Gaza
Authorities are investigating several attacks on dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico after some were found with gunshot wounds, cuts, and missing jaws. They say such incidents have been on the rise in recent months. Other dolphins have been found without their jaws. Attacks on dolphins carry fines and jail sentences.
Popular energy drinks are now suspected to have caused the deaths of three male teenage Canadians since 2003, as well as inflict serious side effects on such as irregular heartbeat and amnesia in 35 other Canadians. They died after drinking Red Bull. In one of the cases, Monster Energy was also consumed. Health Canada and the energy drink companies said the side effect reports show only a suspected connection.
A “celebration of life” for Amanda Todd was held at the Red Robinson Theatre in Coquitlam, B.C. The 15-year-old girl from B.C. committed suicide in October after suffering two years of cyberstalking, harassment, and bullying. Weeks before her death, she posted a YouTube video of herself about her bullying plight. The video gained worldwide attention, and has garnered six million hits.
Hundreds of thousands of people crowded downtown Toronto to enjoy the annual Santa Claus Parade. More than two dozen floats and 20 marching bands made their way from Christie Pits to the St. Lawrence Market throughout the afternoon. Giant Lego men, a doughnut house, a dinosaur, and a group of shiny swans were among the many sights to see on the floats.
The U.S. and Britain have warned against the risks of Israel expanding its operations on the Gaza Strip from an air assault into a ground war. They also defended the Jewish state’s right to protect itself against rocket attacks. “Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory,” President Obama said at a news conference in Bangkok that begin his three-nation tour of Asia.
Source: The Sun Herald
Source: The Toronto Star
Source: CBC News
Source: CBC News
Source: The National Post
Among these points, he has promised tax cuts for the middle class and “no money down” tuition for postsecondary education
Sikhs continued from Cover Kaur explained the historical origin of langar, which was instituted by the first Sikh guru in the 15th century. It was intended to invite everyone—kings and beggars—to come together to sit on the same level and share the same food made by volunteers. The SSA also organized a performance of gatka, a weaponbased Indian martial art, in the RAWC. The performance demonstrated how Sikhs used to fight in the past, said Kaur. The performers simulated duels in various fighting styles, wielding swords, sticks, small axes, and shields. An exhibition in the Presentation Room in the Student Centre portrayed Sihk heritage, the
lives of the first Sikhs in Canada, and stories of important societal contributions by Sikhs. During the exhibition, Pardeep Nagra, a UTM alumnus and former Ontario light flyweight boxing champion, urged students to look beyond their own life and get involved with community activities and charities. “You only grow as an individual when you go out and do things, and you challenge yourself and get outside your comfort zone,” said Nagra. “A kite rises against the wind rather than with it. This is where you develop resilience, this is where you develop strength, this is where develop courage. And those are the fundamental qualities that are actually going to help you.”
Editor-in-Chief » Stefanie Marotta
You don’t have a clue about student fees You’re left in the dark regarding nearly a million dollars of your student cash Everyone complains about high tuition, but no one asks questions about the $745,000 dollars of student money—it came directly from your tuition!—the UTM Students’ Union received this year alone. With three quarters of a million dollars at stake, why aren’t more people asking questions about what the student union is doing with the money? Nearly two years ago, $141,000 was taken from UTMSU’s contingency fund—that is, the emergency reserve—to fund the summer U-Pass program after negotiations went sour between Mississauga Transit and UTMSU. The student union didn’t want to lose the program, so they offered to pay Mississauga Transit more money. Since students (through a referendum) had only agreed to pay $85 for the summer U-Pass, UTMSU agreed to subsidize the remaining $55 per student with student money. For the whole summer program, that amounted to $141,000. That’s a lot of dough to
subsidize a program that benefitted a small portion of the student population for four months. I was at the commission meeting when former president Vickita Bhatt told students that the whopping amount drawn from the contingency fund would be paid back through decreases in student union executive salary cutbacks and cuts in ministry funding. Students passed the program in good faith. For over a year, I’ve been asking about how this money is being replaced. Union representatives have vaguely responded that there is a “long-term” plan in place. For more than a hundred grand, that’s not an acceptable explanation. At the very least, VP internal Raymon Noronha was able to give me a better answer this year. With so much money missing from the contingency fund, you’d think the student union would have presented at their Annual General Meeting the
small line on page 9 of their financial statement that addresses the matter. If I hadn’t brought it up, that $141,000 would probably have slipped through the cracks without discussion. According to U of T’s handbook for student societies, the purpose of an AGM is a formal gathering of stakeholders “at which the society’s audited financial statements are received by the members and at which the consent of members is sought on an annual basis for other important proposals”. There weren’t any important proposals and there certainly wasn’t much discussion of the financial statements. Of the hour-and-a-half meeting, the 16-page financial statement was presented for less than 10 minutes. What were the other 80 minutes used for? Promotions. I was waiting for a cheerleading squad to burst out from behind the projector screen. UTMSU did not hold an AGM. They held a pep rally. The majority of us are not commerce students. It is not
possible for many of us to understand a 16-page financial statement in less than 10 minutes. They mentioned how great the pub is doing. That’s fantastic, but there was a lot more going on in that financial statement than the pub’s revenues. My questions for UTMSU: Why didn’t you think it was important to present to your stakeholders in attendance that you’re still trying to pay back the $141,000 you spent? Why don’t you think it’s important to explain why you’re paying it back from cuts in ministries, but not cuts in your salary, like you proposed? After the AGM, we interviewed some attendees for a video for our website. One student explained that UTMSU volunteers campaigned over the course of the week to tell students about how to get involved with the union. I asked if they were shown the financial statements. They weren’t. The purpose of the AGM was completely neglected in place of promoting the
union’s events. UTMSU president Chris Thompson ended the AGM by praising the “positive” and “impressive” manner of the meeting. How is it positive when representatives from the student newspaper were the only people directly asking about the financial statements? How is it impressive that most of the attendees were UTMSU volunteers and employees? This isn’t to take away from UTMSU’s accomplishments. I saw many new faces at the AGM and I’m thrilled to see that students are getting involved. But if that’s what you want to showcase, then call it a pep rally. Don’t mask your financial statement at a supposed AGM by deeming that your announcements about your new phone app merit more time for discussion than a three quarters of a million dollars of student money. Yours, Stefanie Marotta
My life picking coffee beans for Starbucks: a parody Dear Editor, Last week, I read a piece in the editorial about a trip to Starbucks marred by the travesty that is a tedious, timeconsuming lineup. This piece struck a chord in me, as I too felt the scourge of this ruthless empire that we call a coffee shop. Fellow reader, I feel the most heartfelt sympathy for your plight at Starbucks. Allow me to express my fellowship with your dilemma with a story of my own struggle. I walk into the cold, dark pit that we call “our campus Starbucks”, and right away I feel myself die a little on the inside. People herded in like sheep, baristas barking orders… to think that humankind was capable of such inhumanity. I wait in line, nameless and alone, gloomily awaiting my fate at the hands of this institutionalized ma-
chine of North American greed, which on a daily basis feeds on the caffeine addictions and cultural snobbery of millions. A relentless jazz soundtrack drones from unseen speakers, breaking my spirits and killing my morale. I look around at the sea of blank, dead faces; I am surrounded by shells of human beings. None are spared, not even me. The poor soul ahead of me has ordered his latte. I somberly step forward, gazing helplessly at the dizzying array of options above me, deliberately encrypted in an alien tongue in order to render me powerless. I look across the counter, and am met with the icy glare of a cruel, soulless cashier. He seems hardly human, his apron strings tied so tight and his jaw so fixed. I stammer, “I—I think I’ll just have a medium… ?”
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“A WHAT!?” he roars back. A clatter is heard—the sound of dishes breaking and a collective gasp as the entire place goes silent. I hear a shuffle behind me and turn around, only to be met with the blunt end of a blender to the forehead at the hands of another employee. The world goes black. I wake up in darkness, burlap obscuring my vision. My blindfold is violently yanked off and I see that I am being held in a small cell by masked, aproned baristas. The arms and clothing of my captors are caked with coffee (or is that blood?), and the repugnant stench of stale half-and-half fills the air. One of them steps forward. “I am the Starbucks Queen,” she declares, “and for your crimes against our great establishment, we are holding you for ransom. We demand that in exchange for your life, your friends and loved
ones hand over one million dollars for the equivalent amount of coffee.” “Wait,” I protest, “you’re asking for one million in exchange for my life and a ludicrous amount of caffeine? Why go to all that trouble to make a sale? Couldn’t you just hold off on the coffee and demand compensation for my life?” “You clearly don’t understand how capitalism works,” the Queen replies, her voice dripping with pretentious condescension. “Look,” I plead, “all I wanted was a medium coff—” “GRANDE!” she screams, and the butt of a Swiffer mop hits me in the eye. “Isn’t that just French for large?” “GRANDE!” I am knocked to the ground and a barrage of boots begins kicking me in
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the side. I lose consciousness again. I am vaguely aware of the Queen demanding that her underlings take me away to be waterboarded with alternating doses of hot chocolate and iced cappuccino. Soon afterwards I am sold into slavery, doomed to a life of picking coffee beans in the fields 12 hours a day. The work is hard, but I know that with each bean I am serving the greater good—namely, the good of the Starbucks Empire—and the life of caffeine, the greatest good of all. I don’t complain, because given that I am an English major, I know it is unwise to rail against one of my few opportunities for employment. I just wish I could have gotten to class on time… Sincerely, Corey Belford
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11.19.2011 THE MEDIUM OPINION
This is the wrong approach Anti-bullying campaigns fail to recognize that bullying is an unavoidable part of our society Dear Editor, With all the talk about teenage bullying, Amanda Todd, Facebook Canada creating campaign pages to abolish it, and the various other ways we as a society are hoping to remove bullying, this little brain of mine can’t help but feel a little bit dumbfounded by all these recent efforts. First of all, I have to preface this letter by saying that bullying is terrible, horrible, and despicable. Feel free to use any other negative adjectives you wish to describe bullying and it’s likely you’ll be agreed with—by me especially. Yet with this mind, I do have to say this opinion, be it controversial or not. And that is bullying—whether it’s teen-related or not—is unavoidable and it’s unrealistic for us to think we as a society can remove it. Think of a time when you were younger; if you can, when you were bullied. Whether it was elementary school, middle school, high school or maybe in the college or university institution you attended, what was that bullying experience like? If it was in public school, it was probably vicious. It could’ve been physical abuse, it could’ve been emotional, but it’s likely it was straightforward in its cruelty or malice. The bully didn’t beat around the bush to hurt you; they said the words, or they landed that punch in the most direct way to hurt you, and you felt that pain;
you felt you were the target of that bully’s action. Now, think of yourself as an adult. Think of yourself in your workplace, or your classes, with your group of friends now. Or find an adult that has an established career, has been working at their job for a while now, or even someone—it can be you—who socializes and interacts with people on a daily basis in many formats. Ask them when their last conflict with their coworkers, friends, or even employer or employees was, and it’s likely that they can tell you an incident that happened in the past couple weeks or the past month, if not more recently than that. The story could be they felt they were the butt of a cruel joke by someone they work with, or they were disrespected in a way that bordered on humour but they couldn’t help but feel that another meaning was implied. They might tell you they had a “disagreement” with someone about a way to approach a project at work or school, their boss was unsatisfied with their work yet they did everything their boss asked, or they’re just having a good old clash of personalities with the person in the cubicle beside them. In the most basic way, they’ll tell you they feel like they’re being targeted or victimized. Bullied. Mind you, these situations are different, yet you can’t help but admit a similarity in these situa-
tions—that being that the “victim” is feeling exactly that: victimized.
There are also sometimes just people who never grow up from being the recess bully and this state of mind follows them all the way to adulthood. Sometimes this attitude helps them attain their current careers, goals and dreams; but it also means that this attitude will result in their co-workers, friends and family even sometimes feeling like their hiding in the bathroom stall all over again. While the method of cruelty changes when we get older—the “bully” might choose to hurt you with something that is subtle, yet stings just as much as being pushed down on the playground— we can’t help but see there isn’t that much of a difference and bullying still continues when we get older. We might even find ourselves as
adults using the same lines our mothers or parents gave us when we were younger to defend against these bullies: “They’re just jealous of me”, “They’re just overcompensating for something they don’t have”, “They’re just having a bad day”, “They clearly have mental issues that I’m unfortunately being the target of ”… Which leads me to say something that sounds extreme, but actually really isn’t: that being people can be inherently mean—even the sweetest of people—when they want to be. There are also sometimes just people who never grow up from being the recess bully, and this state of mind follows them all the way to adulthood. Sometimes this attitude helps them attain their current careers, goals, and dreams, but it also means that this attitude will result in their coworkers, friends, and family even sometimes feeling like their hiding in the bathroom stall all over again. And this is when I’ll ask something pessimistic yet true: How can we stop teen bullying when we can’t even stop regular bullying? How can we stop bullying when we fail to recognize how cemented bullying is in our society? I think when we look at the issue, we’re unfortunately looking at it as a one-dimensional issue, when really, we should see bullying in all its forms if we really want to get rid of it. Bullying happens. And while
news outlets and media will focus on bullying through its most extreme forms, no one seems to talk about that it happens in less extreme forms as well. It’s these less extreme forms that, again, I feel show how difficult it would be to abolish something like bullying. When the British Colombia premier Christy Clark said that bullying can no longer be dismissed as part of growing up, she’s right—but it’s hard to dismiss that bullying or being bullied is part of being human. I feel this opinion seems extreme or maybe dreadfully pessimistic; maybe it’s not impossible to end bullying. But I can no longer go around thinking campaigns, conferences, or news stories about anti-bullying will help when we as a society have mean behaviour engrained in us. I hope I am wrong about this, and this opinion remains an opinion. However, if people disagree with my realistic view on bullying, I wonder how they’ll react. Will I be targetted, bullied, and victimized for having such little faith in our society to change? Will I be bullied for being against anti-bullying campaigns? That might be something I wouldn’t mind seeing—if not to be right, then at least to enjoy the irony. Sincerely, Aristotle Eliopoulos
Meet your Board of Directors candidates Vote online on November 26 and 27 at voting.utoronto.ca
Sukhpal Sangha Gwera Kiwana
Hello, my name is Sukhpal Sangha. I am running for a position because as an avid reader of The Medium, I wish to be involved behind the process of creating an issue every week. Specifically, how the handling of our student incidental fees is managed (in which this academic year each student paid $7.26), as well as the legal affairs regarding The Medium. Please elect me to be on this year’s Board of Directors!
I would like to run for a position on The Medium’s Board of Directors. I plan to bring my experience in financial and legal affairs to the Board. As both a reader and contributor, I will effectively represent other stakeholders of The Medium. My background in professional writing, coupled with my governance experience, makes me a valuable and relevant addition to a board that oversees the transactions and affairs of a university publication.
I enjoy a glass of Shiraz after a long day of gallivanting... I jest, but if elected, my background in political and social activities would greatly contribute to the new vision of the Medium. I have extensive knowledge in various fields (involvement, policy, public issues) that allow me to make informed decisions on a broad range of topics. My academic and extracurricular activities distinguish me from my peers and allow me to provide a fresh and innovative outlook for the team.
One can experience the joys of Machiavellian capitalism, along with the modern degradation of education. And I would never have known about these amazing phenomena without university to teach me. As for society, it isn’t much of a flower. Society is more like a sadist who mortgages illusions for a living; once you run out of credit,
it rips you out of your illusion, dumps you into a more depressing one, and tells you how it was all really your fault over a cup of tea. Idiocy and clinical misdiagnosis are just small stains on society’s shirt. It’s all good.
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GLOBAL There’s no one to blame but yourself BUSINESS Response to “Why I’m dropping out of school” MANAGEMENT I write this as a response to a previous letter to the editor by Phillip Niedzielski. If this article was written as some sort of tomfoolery, I heartily approve. Still, though I can appreciate the angst of a fellow student, I’d have to say that university is a most enlightening experience.
Sincerely, Momina Dar
Editor » Colleen Munro
Third-year drama students make explosive debut Theatre Erindale offers bold, female-centric War of 1812 production, In the Midst of Alarms KATE CATTELL-DANIELS In the Midst of Alarms: Women and the War of 1812 is not a play in the traditional sense of the word. It is a sort of sensory experiment, using lights, sound, dance, movement, song, and scenery to tell a story surrounding a theme. The third-year class of the theatre and drama studies program have put together an aptly named collective about a war without taking sides, and they give a voice to everyone—even those who have been left out of the history books. Plays about wars can be problematic. Either the wars happened so long ago that no one alive now was alive then, or they’re so recent that they’re touchy, controversial, and hardly ever make for family-friendly theatre. The large speaking parts tend to go to men, which (ask anyone in the theatre business) is simply not suited to the number of women striving for a good part in a show. To solve the problem of gender equality, In the Midst of Alarms looks at the war of 1812 from the other side: that of the women who nursed, lost, found, and slandered their men. But the first problem remains: how do you make a 200-year-old war speak to a modern audience? One option is that you don’t, insisting heatedly that people will watch period theatre and they had better like it. The better choice, though, is to bring the history to the people.
Third-year drama students muster up their courage for Theatre Erindale’s In the Midst of Alarms. Written by the performers, the text of In the Midst of Alarms retains a certain degree of classical idiom, but only enough to locate the audience in the time period. The rest is very contemporary, both in writing and delivery. None of the performers get caught up in the airs often associated with period work, which makes it more truthful and easy to relate to. Using an off-white stage and light-coloured costumes, the production takes advantage of
projections and lighting experiments. The projections are highly sophisticated, consisting mostly of portraits and landscapes that help tie the actors to the past remind us that the people who sat for those portraits had lives and stories to tell, and that story will be told and shared even 200 years after the fact. The lighting is far from easy and conventional washes and spots. Instead, the lights are coloured and textured and are always moving and changing depending on the scene, often ac-
companied by music. Lights are placed at angles that don’t necessarily give visibility, but rather dramatic effect. Here, the lights and sound tell the story as much as the dialogue does. The overall aesthetic, pale and fairly uniform, is made even more so by two huge lengths of offwhite fabric that are put to any number of uses. They are the sails of a ship, the aisle of a church, water, and, in one scene, the only thing keeping a group of women from storming a shop. Since the
show is mainly made up of vignettes, the cloth helps establish continuity between the scenes. Similarly, wooden dowels serve as various props throughout the show and fit into pockets in the fabric so that it can be manipulated with greater control. The set is minimal, consisting of a few benches and a table, repurposed as stools, beds, and lookouts. There is very little in the way of a set, but the actors use their bodies to make one. They become the forest that Laura Secord runs through, made all the more terrifying by their constant movement. I’ve never seen trees that writhed, but if it were me running through the woods in a war zone, I don’t doubt that they would probably appear to move and get in my way on purpose. The actors also become a surprisingly intricate mail wagon, complete with a driver, turning wheels, and horses. In the Midst of Alarms is more of a sensory experience than a show, especially given the variety of forms of expression used to create it. At once touching and funny, witty and honest, this performance is a credit to the thirdyear class. It marks a noble debut in their Theatre Erindale careers—a debut that will no doubt be matched by their later performances. In the Midst of Alarms: Women and the War of 1812 runs until Sunday, November 25.
Sultry provocateur or legitimate artist? Lana Del Rey continues to court controversy on her new EP, Paradise NIVEEN FULCHER The term “damsel in distress” pinpoints exactly who Lana Del Rey is. In the music world it is easy to find an artist who speaks about the typical distresses—love, drugs, and sex. Del Rey sings about all of these typical topics, as well as the most controversial ones, while portraying a couldn’tcare-less attitude. She is a soulful beauty queen with a touch of materialism and a passion for who she is and where she comes from. Her sex appeal can be devastating, in a good way, even to the entirely heterosexual woman. The release of her second album, Paradise, was on Tuesday. Paradise has only eight tracks, yet Del Rey is able to convey the sensational wreck of a woman she is in these few songs. One of my favourite songs on the album is the first song, “Ride”, an expressive and depressing song that
makes you feel the misfortune Del Rey must have gone through and tells you how she copes: she “just rides”. The lyrics Del Rey is able to come up with are so profound and passionate that it puts most other female artists of today to downright shame. Not only does Del Rey write all her own music, but also is the lead (if not the only) director and producer of all her music videos. In fact, before she blew up in the music industry, she independently created and posted her own videos; the video for “Video Games”, a song on her debut album, Born to Die, is an example of her artistic talent. All of this creativity shows the passion she has for her life and art. A line from the song “Ride” quite accurately describes who she is as an artist: “I’ve been tryin’ hard not to get into trouble, but I’ve got a war in my mind.” She frequently describes herself
as crazy—a quality that, luckily for us, makes her music all the more soulful and scenic. Another standout from Paradise is the song “Cola”. Many conservatives would consider it absolutely inappropriate and explicit. The line “I know your wife, and she wouldn’t mind” illustrates this. But this is precisely the reason why Del Rey is unbelievably and undeniably disarming. She is able to speak about the most controversial topics with such confidence and charisma that it almost makes it okay. Among female musicians, it seems as though only in R&B or rap do they ever speak about sex and drugs (and then get labelled “trashy”). But Del Rey takes sex appeal and hopelessness to another level—a powerfully engaging level, far from trash. Paradise will likely tickle your fancy and can only leave you wanting more. MMMMM
Lana Del Rey’s re-release of Born to Die, including the EP Paradise
11.19.2012 THE MEDIUM A&E
Music, coffee, and a chance to relax Student performers show off their various skills at ART’s first coffeehouse of the year
AYMAN KHAN/THE MEDIUM
Alice Li’s contemporary dance piece was one of the coffehouse’s many highlights. GWERA KIWANA Students filed into the MiST Theatre on Wednesday for UTM’s first coffeehouse of the year. The coffeehouse provided an opportunity for UTM students to showcase their talent in a relaxed setting. The event was put together by the cleverly named Artistic Resource Team, a group dedicated to the UTM arts scene. The coffeehouse also raised money for United Way. Chris Lengyell, ART’s resident staff member, described the ambience as casual, informal, and acoustic. Jess McGee, a coffeehouse regular, said it was “a night where all the hipsters
come out to play”. ART encouraged performers from many fields, including music, dance, and spoken word, to perform. With 13 acts scheduled for the night, the crowd was in for a series of great performances. In the crowd was Stephanie Kolodij, a science student who came to the show to take a break. “In the midst of a taxing semester, it’s nice to chill out at such an event,” she said. “As a sciences student, it’s a good change of pace for me.” The two whimsical and compatible hosts, Matthew Butler and Sierra Callaghan, introduced the acts. Throughout the show, they charmed
the crowd with their witty banter. Vinh Nguyen Huu kicked it off with the first performance. He stepped onto the stage with a graceful confidence that was echoed in his piano solo. Alice Li also stood out with a beautiful contemporary dance piece, the only movement performance, during the show. Spencer Bennett wowed the audience with an unaccompanied bass guitar solo. His fingers were moving so fast that he had to shake them at various intervals during his performance. As a TDS student, his theatrical background showed in his entertaining facial expressions throughout his performance.
Tiffany Lee, accompanied by her band, performed a soft, mellow cover of the popular electronic song “Titanium”. The applause affirmed that they were a crowd favourite. The UTM Music Club’s Andrew Wilson, who was scheduled at the last minute, sang and played an original composition, “Another Rainy Night”, on guitar. Sean Kinsella, a UTM residence staff member, performed two songs. His second involved some audience participation. Turning the audience into his backup choir, Sean covered Mumford & Sons’ “White Blank Page”. Alex Tkachuk, the winner of last
year’s spoken word section at Artsfest, delivered a series of crisp, witty, and captivating pieces with tonguetwisting eloquence. The show ended with Stephanie Traina’s phenomenal a capella cover of Sarah McLaughlin’s “In the Arms of an Angel”. Kyle Weber described the performers as having the “Susan Boyle effect”, and added, “They’re all unassuming, but once they’re up on the stage, they rock it!” Chev Burbidge, a member of ART, commented, “It was a great team effort. Seeing everyone come out and have a great night is what ART is all about.”
A night of slapstick and fun UC Follies offers a spirited take on a classic musical ARISTOTLE ELIOPOULOS ASSOCIATE A&E EDITOR “I’ve loved Little Shop ever since I saw it for the first time in high school,” writes Liz Laywine in the playbill of her directorial debut, Little Shop of Horrors. “I never once questioned the supposedly ridiculous nature of a singing, talking plant—it seemed totally natural to me.” It’s this passion and willingness to tackle the absurd that Laywine and the UC Follies Theatre Company brought to the stage in the horror/comedy musical Little Shop of Horrors at the Randolph Theatre. Based on the original musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of Seymour Krelborn, a timid young man who works in Mr. Mushnik’s flower shop on the wrong side of town, known as Skid Row. His life changes when he discovers a strange plant, which he brings into the store and names “Audrey Two”—after his crush Audrey, the girl he’s infatuated with and who works with him in the flower shop. The plant’s strange origin and large size bring popularity to him and the store, but it’s only after Seymour learns the plant craves the taste of human blood that he realizes the price of the fame he’s been given. The effort and engagement of the actors brought the production together. In the roles of Seymour
and Audrey, Mark Ferrari and Madeline Foley had great coworker chemistry, especially during their performances of “Call Back in the Morning” and “Closed for Renovations”. Foley also shone on her own with her delicate rendition of “Somewhere that’s Green”. In his short time on stage as Orin Scrivello, Audrey’s abusive dentist boyfriend, James King stole each scene, presenting his over-the-top character with enough slapstick energy to make the audience appreciate his commitment. Special consideration should also go to Jaymie Sampa, who played Audrey Two. Wrapped in vines and floral ornaments throughout her time on stage, Sampa channelled the plant’s character with her raspy singing voice. Sampa sang her lines with the aggression and dedication needed to successfully present Audrey Two’s control over meek little Seymour. Sampa was also capable of swiftly shifting to a honeyed voice when she needs to present herself as sweet and innocent. She did all of this while evoking the right amount of melodrama for the show. The performers worked hard to realize Little Shop, but the set design failed to bring the audience into the world of 1960s Skid Row. I noted the effort to create a kitschy, even adorably garish stage design, but it was ultimately distracting, falling apart at moments in the play and lacking
attention to detail in a few places. Whether it was the cardboard piece that fell from the doorframe of Mr. Mushnik’s Florists, or the open/ closed sign that looked like it was created minutes before the curtains opened, the set design felt rushed. Even in the opening prologue by the three singing street urchins, Crystal, Chiffon, and Ronnette, the safety of the three girls was questionable as they cooed and danced on a platform that looked ready to topple forward before Act I could even start. It may have been the intention for the set to evoke the dilapidated nature of a run-down urban area like Skid Row, or it may have just been poor production, but in either case, a set needs to function and work with the actors to move the story along. In this case, the set distracted more than helped; I would even say it hindered the excellent performances on stage. Overall, the apparent fun the cast was having distracted from the minor flaws, and the production succeeded in the raw energy and commitment to the absurdity of each character. The UC Follies will put on several sketch comedies, two musicals, and a Shakespeare play this season. They are preparing Girl in the Goldfish Bowl for early December. For more information about future productions and tickets, visit uofttix.com.
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Fighting the critics and inner demons Abraham Lincoln’s struggle gets the blockbuster treatment in Steven Spielberg’s latest flick COLLEEN MUNRO A&E EDITOR The box office returns for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter earlier this year showed that general audiences aren’t particularly interested in gleeful historical inaccuracy and narrative punchlines that fail to go beyond the title of the film. Now, Steven Spielberg has offered up a considerably more serious and reverent alternative to the story of Honest Abe with his newest film, simply titled Lincoln. But will his decidedly by-the-books approach appeal to viewers any more than the purposely schlocky, high-octane action version? Lincoln wisely does not fall into the typical biopic trap of covering the subject’s entire life. We meet Abraham Lincoln (played here by Daniel Day-Lewis) when he is already president, and the film largely focusses on the time he spent trying to get the 13th amendment passed, which would effectively abolish slavery. The film also shows us elements from his home life, including his son Robert’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) determination to leave for a life of honour in the military, and the mental strain it put on Abe Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field). In Lincoln’s professional life, there is a huge, revolving cast of characters. Watching the film is like playing an “I Spy” game of familiar faces whose names you may not know. Since these roles are played by such established actors (everyone from
Daniel Day-Lewis leads the charge in Spielberg’s Lincoln. Jackie Earle Haley to John Hawkes to Hal Holbrook shows up for a few minutes) the performances have a gravitas that bit parts in many other films lack. However, we don’t spend enough time with these characters for them to really make the impact they could. Aside from Lincoln him-
self, none of the characters here is given much screen time. While we understand who they are in relation to Lincoln’s struggle and we can distinguish some of their qualities from the actors’ deft portrayals, we get very little insight into who they are, and that makes it difficult to become
invested in any of them. The film as a whole tends to keep the viewer at an emotional remove. The narrative is largely composed of men sitting around and talking in rooms. That can be very effective; movies such as 12 Angry Men and The Social Network used a similar
structure with emotionally complex results. However, Lincoln’s heavy focus on historical fact can make it feel as though the viewer is just being carried through the various steps of the amendment being passed. While it is an interesting historical event, the dramatic development was perhaps not strong enough to support a 150-minute movie about this. For history junkies, that meticulous attention to fact may be interesting enough to propel the film along, but it might be a tough slog for those looking for more dramatic tension and character development. The major element in this film that saves it from being too dull is Daniel Day-Lewis’ stirring performance as Lincoln. He exudes the calm and quiet determination that we expect to see in such a figure. He’s warm and occasionally quite funny, and makes for a completely compelling screen presence. And while Day-Lewis dials down the theatrics audiences have seen in films such as There Will Be Blood, he still very much has a largerthan-life aura about him here. That’s key to any portrayal of Lincoln, and Day-Lewis strikes the perfect balance in his performance. Lincoln tells an important story. And Spielberg is more than capable of constructing a good film. All of the parts are here, and the film moves along from point A to point B smoothly enough. This is not by any means a sub-par film, but aside from Day-Lewis’ masterful performance, viewers may find little to hold on to by the end. MMM
Artistic expression Students buy and submit original art at the DVSSS art sale
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Colourful artwork and affordable prices drew students to DVSSS’s art sale. JAIME POKHOY Students flocked to the art sale held by UTM’s Department of Visual Studies Student Society. Art of many different media, including painting, prints, photography, and sculptures created by students in the art and art history program, was for sale. The beautiful compositions ranged in price from $2 to $20, keeping the budgets of fellow students in mind. The purpose of last Monday’s art sale was to raise money, not only for DVSSS but also to help
pay for a trip for a fourth-year art class to New York to visit the prestigious Bernini exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The enthusiasm and passion of the organizers previewed their excitement for the trip, on which they hope to find inspiration for their future work. Fellow students were encouraged to bring their own art to sell or donate. Many were eager just to find out if other people would enjoy their art enough to purchase it. Overall, the art sale was effective, raising over $300 towards the
society and the field trip. The four hours in the Meeting Place in Davis Building saw a steady stream of interest from customers. Some of the patrons showed off their newly acquired art to their friends in the Meeting Place and the Temporary Food Court, which quickly spread the interest around campus and greatly benefitted the sale. DVSSS holds events throughout the school year, including workshops, networking events, study sessions, academic advising, and socials.
Editor » Carine Abouseif
Are you having a quarterlife crisis? It turns out the quarterlife crisis is just as common as the midlife crisis
The 2009 movie (500) Days of Summer delves into the concept of the quarterlife crisis. Lost in Translation and The Graduate also explore it. SARAH ELBORNO As a student, odds are you’re already in your twenties, or almost there. Odds are your twenties are going to suck. At least, blogger Emma Koenig says they will. Koenig is the author of a Tumblr titled “Fuck! I’m in my twenties”. The blog is a compilation of graphics and lists that deal with the many aspects of being in your twenties today—some serious, some not so serious. The blog and the book based on it are meant to convey the sense of surprise we feel when we suddenly realize we’re adults, and the weight that comes with that. Weight like being overeducated, unemployed, probably single, and sometimes just plain lonely. Why is this blog so widely read? It was even featured in The New York Times. Is the reason so many of us identify with these feelings that
we’re going through a “quarterlife crisis”? Quarterlifecrisis.com says the term was coined by author Abby Wilner in 1997, when she moved home after college and couldn’t decide what to do with her life. She went on to author two books on the topic: Quarterlife Crisis and The Quarterlifer’s Companion. It looks like not much has changed since the late ’90s. In fact, studies indicate that the quarterlife crisis is just as common as the midlife crisis. The quarterlife crisis can strike anywhere between the late teens and early thirties. It’s the time when a young person begins to feel the stresses of becoming an adult. A common symptom is asking yourself questions like “What am I supposed to be doing with my life? What does my future look like? How long am I going to be in debt? Am I going to have a job after university? Should
I go to graduate school? Do I want a romantic relationship? Do I need to expand my social circle? Why do I feel like everyone is doing better than me?” (Sound familiar?) Of course, it also takes longer to become an adult today. Specifically, it takes longer to become financially independent and to start a family. For one thing, the Canadian Federation of Students estimates that the average debt for university graduates is almost $27,000 by the age of 32. Debt delays other traditional “adult” milestones, like marriage. Pursuing higher education also delays marriage, since some prefer to complete their education before committing. Delaying marriage also means having your first child later. And so on. Maybe we have to stop looking at these milestones. You expect to graduate from high school, go to university or college, graduate with
some credentials, get a job, find a partner, get a mortgage, and have kids. But now the path to adulthood is vaguer, and perhaps that’s related to the increasing frequency of the quarterlife crisis. Not to mention that we don’t like justifying to others why we haven’t accomplished those traditional milestones; we often talk about how we’re still figuring out what we want. Some blogs on the subject advise students to simply live for themselves rather than justifying themselves to their families. Meanwhile, more and more people are pursuing higher education. Statistics Canada reports that 95% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 19 believe that higher education is important—and that means they’re going to at least suggest that their children follow that path. But to be accepted to university, high school students are forced
to make early choices. They have to pick the right courses to prepare for university. They have to plan ahead as early as grade ten. They feel compelled to make more important decisions sooner, without as much time for planning and consideration. It’s also worth pointing out that we live in a world very different from the one our parents lived in during their twenties. For example, while many of our parents probably changed jobs once or twice or in their twenties, statistics show that twenty-somethings today can switch up to five times in the same period. But there’s good news. Experts like Oliver Robinson, a psychology researcher at Greenwich University, say that those who suffer a quarterlife crisis are less likely to suffer a midlife crisis later on. “The lifestyle that [you have] post-crisis is intrinsically healthier than what you had before,” he says.
10 THE MEDIUM
Keep the cat videos coming
Studies say surfing the Internet while working may boost productivity MARIA CRUZ “Well, obviously you’re not studying,” your friend says as she leans across the barrier between two library cubicles. She points at your laptop screen. “You’re on Facebook.” Your friend was probably thinking that since you’re scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, you couldn’t possibly be concentrating on your work. In fact, one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll hear for avoiding procrastination is to turn off your WiFi. Obviously, that’s more difficult when you’re researching an essay or taking an online quiz—so we just close our social media tabs. Because, let’s face it, your Twitter feed is what’s holding you back, right? Actually, maybe not. Several studies throughout the past few years have found that surfing social media sites increases productivity. In fact, a study published in 2010 says that when employees visit social networking sites, they get a much-needed break from the stress of working a nine-hour shift. In the long run, this increased their ability to concentrate and boosted their productivity by 9%. Thus, advocates of Internet surfing during the workday say that browsing the Internet for a reasonable amount of time is a mental refresher. That “reasonable amount of time” is about 20% of the shift. That’s a
JUNAID IMRAN/THE MEDIUM
Watching cat videos for 20% of your shift may make you more productive. little over an hour and a half of a nine-to-five job. A more recent report from this year says that not only can social media boost workplace output, it also brings employees closer to one another. Many coworkers who share the same social networking sites discuss office-related issues, rather than straying far from their work. But that isn’t to say that browsing social media sites has no negative effect. After having noticed a lack of attention, an estimated 54% of offices have blocked all social
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social media: students. Does access to social media during study time influence students the same way it influences office employees? Many students believe that surfing the Internet will only distract them. This view is especially apparent during the busy midterm season, when some students outright deactivate their Facebook accounts. But since it’s proven that social media can boost workplace efficiency, could surfing help students be productive for the same reasons? Orlean Cabanilla, a third-year student, admitted to using all the
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networking sites during work. In 2009, The Tech Journal reported that access to Facebook decreased productivity by 1.5% in workplaces. “Some employees spent more than two hours a day on social networking sites,” the article says, “even though 87% of them admitted they had no work-related reason for doing so.” It seems safe to say that social media has both negative and positive consequences, depending mostly on how it’s used. But the debate often ignores a demographic that’s particularly important for
typical social networking sites. But she says she uses Facebook as a study tool. “People post questions in groups on Facebook,” she explains, “and if I ever have any questions on the materials we’re learning in class, I can ask other students in my program.” Cabanilla also keeps her account active to stay in touch with relatives outside the country. The idea of using Facebook as a study tool for group discussions recalls how office employees form closer bonds by chatting about work-related topics. And asking study questions probably has a better effect on productivity. Besides, even when access to social media is removed—voluntarily or not—people find other ways to avoid working. Second-year student John Daly Voyska said he usually procrastinates by playing video games. He said that even though he spends more time away from work than he initially expects to, playing video games provides a good refresher. When he eventually gets back to work, he feels much more motivated. The same is probably true of social media—as long as we do eventually get back to work. And for those of us who use it as our form of procrastination, if we shut it off we’ll probably find other ways to spend that time instead of working, whether we’re at the office or the library. So keep those cat videos coming.
Hello there! And congratulations on using your procrastination time to read instead of watching videos of cats! Speaking of YouTube, I’m currently doing research by having six tabs simultaneously open of the looping video “Double Flanders: Legendary Edition” (which, incidentally, is an effective way to lose your sanity). I’m catching up on what we all remember about The Simpsons’ Ned Flanders: his nonsense words, most memorably “diddly”. He does someone a favour and says, “You’re wel-diddly-elcome.” At a Flanders family reunion, a Mexican relative of Ned’s greets Homer, “Buenos ding-dongdiddly días, señor.” And so on. Silly, I admit. But linguistically interesting. It exemplifies a relatively rare phenomenon in English: what I call “open word surgery”, or opening up a word to operate or implant something. You do find it as a normal feature across the world’s languages, but we can count the uses in English on one hand. In fact, the only example I know of in so-called “formal” English is kind of complicated and doesn’t satisfy everyone that it’s really inside a single word. But when you look at colloquial English, you get some more interesting stuff. Everyone knows “a whole nother story”, even if no one could tell you what exactly a “nother” is. It’s really the second half of “another”. In hip-hop slang,
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an artist might be the shiznit, in which case fans will cheer when they’re in the hizouse. We all spoke Pig Latin as children to outwit the grownups, but there’s also Pig Greek (also known as Ubbi Dubbi), ubin whibuch yubou ubinsubert “ub” inside syllables. But my friend Amir just reminded me of the one that’s both my favourite and the closest to explaining Ned Flanders’ behaviour. It’s a form of swearing, one that you now see, shall we say, absof***in’-lutely everywhere. Yep, that’s it right there. Linguists have been looking at this phenomenon in English for a while, because it’s probably the most widespread case of open word surgery. And the trend seems to be growing. Someone who watches How I Met Your Mother might already be thinking this is “legen-wait for it-dary”. Of course, there’s only one example of that one—for now. Fascinatingly, none of this is random. Hip-hop slang, Pig Greek, swearing infixes (compare “prefixes” and “suffixes”), and even Barney Stinson are all following very clear rules. When people play language games or creatively insert swears, they tap into a subconscious knowledge of how their language works. Native English speakers don’t say “unbelieva-freaking-ble”—even the ones who would say “unbe-freaking-lievable”. Amir, who mentioned the example of “Mani-freaking-toba”, also remarked on these constraints. A second-language English speaker he knew would sometimes misplace the expletive, not real-
izing how odd “absolute-freaking-ly” sounds. Funny, he said, they never teach you how to swear right in second-language courses. There’s been serious linguistic work studying data collected on all of the above and positing rules for their use (and, since they’re all optional where and when people choose to use them at all). But there probably weren’t any linguists among the creators of The Simpsons when they wrote this very unique trait into Ned’s speech. They also probably didn’t think hard about the other phenomenon we see in Ned’s speech: reduplication” Ned repeats parts of words—again, strategically but subconsciously selected—when he uses “diddly”. Look at “wel-diddly-elcome” again; it sounds better than “wel-diddlycome”, doesn’t it? Or when he gets a paper cut and cries, “Son of a gun-diddly-un!”, it makes the one-syllable “gun” a candidate for “diddly”. Similarly, we can’t say “Canfreaking-ada”, nor “Can-diddly-ada”, but the stress suddenly feels like it’s falling on the right place if Ned were to say “Candiddly-anada”. It’s a brilliant but subtle way to make it sound more natural. That’s probably the most detailed analysis worth doing here, but I hope it makes you think about such popular uses of language. Some readers are probably feeling that it’s no fun taking apart what should just be laughed at and enjoyed. But for me—and, I think, for anyone else who’s interested in knowing how things work, including language—it’s the shiznit.
Editor » Isaac Owusu
Playing for bragging rights on the hardwood UTM’s two Division 1 basketball teams, Blue and White, scrapping for homecourt superiority at the RAWC EBI AGBEYEGBE ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR UTMAC created great anticipation for this game, pitting UTM Division One Blue against UTM Division One White. Fans knew that the game was going to be a big one from the energy and the conclusions of their games last week. There was some hostility between the teams; they both badly wanted to win this game. The crowd filed onto the bleachers at the RAWC; it was by far the best attendance of any home game for any UTM team this year. Students, friends, and family members came to cheer their teams to victory. Both teams huddled up before the opening tip-off for the coaches to give their final instructions to their players. UTM Blue won the tip-off when Faiz Ahmed outjumped Jeff Thorpe. Both teams were a bit nervous at first; they both missed their opening shots. After this, Blue took over the game. Jonathan Harvey knocked down a pull-up three-pointer and hit three more right after that, which made both the crowd and their bench ecstatic. Blue turned up the intensity of their defence and didn’t allow White to score any easy baskets, leading White’s coach, Juan Nunez, to call an early timeout with the score at 18–6. After the timeout, not much had changed for White’s offence. Similarly, they have been struggling to run plays and put up points for most of the season. Both teams had a sound defence; neither team allowed the other any easy baskets, and they kept close to their opponents on defence. But the Blue Eagles were simply outhustling the White Eagles on almost every play. This showed after a missed shot
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Team Blue needed Terrell Subban’s tough work in the paint for their win over White. by Blue’s Terrell Subban: not only was Jordan Nazarene first to the rebound, he then got it back up into the hoop for an and-one. Nunez went to his bench for solutions. His team showed some life when team leader Zakariya Khan drove hard to the rim while fouled, and got the layup to fall for a threepoint play to make it 32–22 for Blue. This got the crowd cheering and seemed to put some energy into their legs, since after this they went on a six-point streak fuelled by good defence and by point guard Juan Ariado pushing the ball up the court for easy baskets. With less than two minutes left in the first half, the score was 32–28.
The Blue bench took over and limited White to only two more points before the end of the quarter. Blue guards Joseph Adamu and Terrell Subban turned up the offence, and the latter hit a fadeaway to end the half. Blue went into half-time with all the momentum and a lead of 40–30. During the half-time show by the UTM dance team, Nunez took his team into the locker room. The second half started the same way the first half ended, with both teams playing a tough defence and driving hard to the rim. Blue forward Jordan Nazarene picked up a defensive rebound, drove down the middle of the court and straight to the rim, and finished with a smooth layup.
Meanwhile, White was not getting much production from their starters. They played very well on defence, but couldn’t get going on offence. Their shots weren’t falling, and Blue’s defence only seemed to be getting better. Nunez decided to take out four of his starters at once and brought on four bench players with 7:56 left in the second half in an attempt to spark his team into action. Zakariyah Khan—the top scorer of the game with 29 points—was White’s only bright spot the whole game. The jumpers from the other White Eagles were ice-cold. Joseph Adamu made a play with 3:55 left on the clock that effectively ended the game. He jumped up to
get a rebound and put it back in, getting fouled at the same time. This got the crowd roaring and put the score at 67–53. Blue’s defence was slacking as the game came to a close, but now White’s jumpers started falling. With under a minute left in the game as Blue ran down the clock, Nazarene found himself under the rim alone and finished with a two-handed dunk that put an exclamation mark on the whole game. After the game, both teams shook hands and all the Blue Eagles huddled up in the middle of the court to celebrate their victory. The final score was 73–60. The White Eagles didn’t stay long after the game. “We came out with a lot of energy and a lot of poise. Jonathan was hot and he got us rolling early,” said Blue’s coach, Anish Bhalla. “Everyone on the team stepped up, and there was good team play overall.” Joseph Adamu, a Blue bench player who finished with 10 points, said, “It was a bit nerve-racking at first. Once the whole team got in, the energy level rose. The team chemistry was excellent, and there was great play from both the bench players and the starters.” “All week we’ve been motivated for this game. There was a lot of competitiveness before the game,” said Harvey, whose score of 15 points was the highest on his team. “I started out the game well, knocking down my first four three-pointers. The winner of this game gets to represent UTM at the tournament on Friday, so I wasn’t trying to lose this game.” Team White played one of their best defensive games this season, but once again, their offence didn’t hold up. They were simply outhustled and outclassed.
Faiz Ahmed: on to bigger and better things ORVILLE MACIEL Now in his fifth and final year representing the UTM Eagles in Division 1 men’s basketball, small forward Faiz Ahmed is looking ahead to a promising and well-deserved athletic and academic year. Faiz has always spread his talents around, and his passion for sports is reflected in his array of accomplishments in basketball and football. He began his basketball career at 10, when he started playing for a local team in the Markham Union Minor Basketball Association, at the same time playing for his team at Central Park Public School. He went on to play in high school at Upper Canada College and later at Markville Secondary School, where he was the captain of both the junior and senior basketball teams. His summers consisted of training at the Syracuse Orangemen
camp, which was held at Syracuse University. “It was the best experience I had playing basketball,” says Faiz. But the highest level of basketball he has played was a developmental league. He played for the Elite Basketball Academy under the coaching of the legendary Martin Keane. “He had us playing against amazing competition, including overseas pros and NBA prospects, most notably Andrew Wiggins and Jehvon Sheppard,” he says. (Keep an eye out for these two; they’re definitely on their way to the NBA.) During his time at Upper Canada College, Faiz also played for the school’s football team. His love for the sport continued outside of school; he played for and was captain of the Markham Raiders for his bantam, in which they won multiple AAA provincial championships. “I feel that football is the ultimate
team sport, because for any given play to work it requires all the parts to work together in unison,” says Faiz. “I loved it for the fact that it allowed me to know that when I suited up with my teammates, we were preparing to battle and everyone had each other’s back. Games under the lights with my teammates are something I will never forget.” In his senior years, Faiz played for and was captain of the Metro Toronto Wildcats. He later represented UTM in the intramural league for flag football last year, but they lost in the finals. After he graduated from high school, Faiz’s credentials in football and basketball made him a frontrunner for a chance on a university team. It was in 2008, his first year at UTM, that Faiz was selected for the Division 2 men’s basketball team. That’s not to say it was all smooth sailing. “Playing a year at Division 2 definitely helped
ease my nerves. I was initially upset about this, but it allowed me the opportunity to get a lot of playing time and be a big contributor to the program right away,” he says. Playing Division 2 was certainly a learning experience for Faiz, and it allowed for an easier transition from playing at a high school level to playing at UTM. Nevertheless, the following year, Faiz was selected for the Division 1 team, proving to himself and to his peers that, as he says, “I was ready for the challenge and knew I belonged.” Playing at the Division 1 level, Faiz has truly displayed his own skills and strengths. He has a decent build and has demonstrated his skills on all areas of the court, both offensive and defensive. But he does have a favourite position. “My primary skill is that I’m a shooter. I love to shoot. Give me the ball anywhere on the court and I’m confident I’ll get it into the hoop,” he
says. “I also have pretty good size and strength that I use to my advantage. If there is a ball up for grabs, I will bully and hustle everyone to make sure it’s mine. As well, I’m a pretty good defender; on defence, I like to dictate the play. It’s something my coaches have instilled in me, and I enjoy making it difficult for the opposition. “I also am real talkative and loud. I think that this helps motivate us on the court,” adds Faiz. It is through this confidence and determination that Faiz is able to drain buckets and pose a serious threat to the opposing team in a game.” Nonetheless, Faiz doesn’t claim full responsibility for his and his team’s success. He owes a great deal of gratitude towards his fellow Eagles teammates and the amazing coaching staff here at UTM. Ahmed continued on page 12
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Getting to know Faiz Ahmed Ahmed continued from page 11 “Our coaches, Ammer and Anish, are two guys I really respect,” says Ahmed. “They treat us like men and they teach us the game like men. That, along with support from my teammates, has helped me become more confident when I play.” The Eagles have lost a few key players from last year’s roster, but Faiz and his teammates are confident that all the hard work they’ve put in this summer will put them in a position to win the league come March. Faiz himself has put in endless hours of training this summer in preparation for his last season with the Eagles. “I’ve worked really hard this offseason to improve my fitness,” he says. “Early mornings in the gym for conditioning or strength training, followed by on-court workouts, will get me prepared. I got a personal trainer at UTM [Darren Turner] and even went to Florida to train with Alan Stein [Kevin Durant’s trainer]. The knowledge I got from these two guys has put my fitness at a new level and I can’t wait to show what I’ve accomplished in that regard. “This is going to be my last year at UTM, and I want to go out with a championship,” he continues. “We are going to win the championship; too much hard work has gone into this not to.” His passion for sports is undeniable, but his love for psychology may be his most unexpected and intriguing quality. Faiz is currently in his
fifth year as a psychology major with minors in biology and sociology. He is extremely enthusiastic when it comes to talking about psychology. “I could go on forever about how psych has helped me as a basketball player,” he says. Nevertheless, he adds, “Sports psychology doesn’t create talent, it helps release it.” Faiz credits psychology with driving him to become the best athlete he can be, and an even better teammate. “With psychology, I understand my teammates better and how to approach each of them individually, whether it’s to push them or talk about a play. Personally, psychology helped me realize that you can never be better than your selfimage. So, using sports psychology techniques, I have worked to expand my self-image of me as a basketball player and my skills.” Faiz Ahmed is an amazing athlete, an outstanding student, and a down-to-earth guy. It is these attributes that will help him achieve his future goals: he wants to pursue a career in both psychology and basketball. He aspires to coach the game, which he has already begun to do at his former high school and for the Mississauga Wolverines. As for psychology, Faiz plans on doing graduate studies in sports psychology, but is waiting for the right time to apply. Faiz has been an integral part of the basketball and flag football team, and UTM has been privileged to have him as a student and as a member of the university.
Anthony Krmek, leader of Div 1 White JASON COELHO ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR It takes heart, competitiveness, and dedication to be a successful leader. As the world has taken heed of the recent U.S. presidential election, it has never been clearer that leadership is of utmost importance. Leaders of nations, cities, companies, and even sports teams have to put in the time and effort, and deserve respect. Anthony Krmek, a UTM Division 1 basketball player, earned his role as leader of the squad thanks to his experience. He’s a fourth-year student at UTM specializing in sociology and minoring in psychology and philosophy, as well as a personal trainer, referee, and control desk attendant at the RAWC. “I’m a sports fanatic and have been around basketball for as long as I can remember,” he says. Krmek began his sporting career on the soccer field at a young age; he attributes his switch to the world of basketball to his exposure to watching the NBA and superstars like Drazen Petrovic, a New Jersey Nets shooting guard from Krmek’s home country of Croatia. “He put my country on the map in terms of basketball,” says Krmek, who religiously followed his favourite player, particularly admiring his work ethic. “He was the first guy in the gym and the last one to leave.” This consistency inspired Krmek not only in basketball but also in life. “Petrovic’s attitude really spoke to me on many levels,” he says. Another NBA superstar who inspired the young Krmek was basketball legend Michael Jordan. Krmek’s passion for basketball grew
as he climbed the ranks from a house league to the representative level to his high school team, all the way up to varsity basketball. His family also played an important role in upping his game. “My cousin Joseph played a big part in cultivating my love for the game,” says Krmek. “Whether it was shooting hoops with me or putting me through a new training regimen, he was always there to support my growth as a player and person.” As Krmek assumes the role of leader, he is well aware of his responsibilities to his team. “Being one of the older and more experienced players on the team, I try and be as vocal as I can to promote a team mentality. Having coached before myself, I’ve come to understand and value the importance of playing as a team with all five guys on the court, as well as the bench, working towards one common goal,” he says. “At the same time, we have a great head coach in Juan Nunez and a knowledgeable assistant coaching staff that are always pushing a ‘team first’ mentality.” Other experienced players, such as Zak Khan and Juan Ariado, have taken on leadership roles on the UTM Division 1 White team. The group seems to be effective in cultivating younger players. Krmek is aware of all the UTM basketball program has taught him. “Whether it’s learning something new at practice or just getting your repetitions in as you work on your shot, you become a better player by being in the gym, around the game, on such a consistent basis,” he says. “Lastly, just playing with the guys day in and day out has really helped us create a close bond in which I’d say we’re something
like a family. We joke around, we coach each other, and at the core, knowing that the guy beside you trusts in your ability to perform as you all work towards a common goal does wonders for your confidence as a player.” He offers his advice to UTM students who plan to try out for the basketball team in the coming years. “If you’re not in the gym working on your game, taking skill tutorials online, or constantly trying to figure out the strategies and plays of a given team, you won’t improve,” he says. “Surround yourself with the game of basketball and you’ll be the game of basketball. Like anything in life, basketball requires you to be both a student and teacher of the game. It’s a real pedagogical approach.” Krmek is certain his future and his passion lie in coaching. “I hope to take all of my knowledge, experience, and philosophies as both a player and person and translate that into a winning and meaningful model as a coach,” he says. He has already coached and won at different levels—the house league, the representative level, and a year ago with UTM Division One women’s basketball—and he now wants cultivate his coaching ability. “I am slowly becoming a coach who knows the game and can really get the best out of his players,” he says. “And the reward I get as a coach when a player improves both on and off the court is something I live for.” Krmek looks ahead to the season as a challenge he believes his team is prepared for. He is certain that the team motto, “ICE”—head coach Nunez’s acronym for “intensity, communication, and execution”—will guide them as they come closer to a championship.
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UTM’s improved playmaking and shooting carried them to victory. INGRID MELDRUM UTMAC’s night of basketball started off at the pub on Wednesday with pregame festivities, including drinks, music, dancing, and giveaways. UTM’s mascot, the Eagle, was busting a move on the dance floor. At 7:15, the pregame partiers left the pub and headed to the RAWC gym for the women’s tri-campus basketball game against UTSC. The tip-off was at 7:30 p.m., and within the first few minutes UTM made it clear that they were hungry for the win. The last time UTM faced UTSC, the Eagles scraped for a 51– 46 win in Scarborough. This time, the team showed a lot of improvement and was able to complete the plays they had practised the night before.
Essence Penaloza was on fire, scoring a three-pointer, four of four foul shots, and a basket for UTM. Her teammate Navi Sohal also scored nine points. By the end of the first half, the score was 29–14 in UTM’s favour. The second half of the game was a little more difficult for the Eagles. UTSC came out strong, determined not go down without a fight. UTM answered with a tight defence, only letting in six baskets in the entire half. Meanwhile, they put a zone press on UTSC, shutting them down and making numerous steals. The Eagles were strong off the boards on both offence and defence, getting a majority of the rebounds. The girls on the UTM bench were energetic, jumping and cheering for their teammates and shouting en-
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couragements from the sideline. Sohal continued her scoring streak, netting seven more points for UTM, and was top scorer of the game with 16 points. UTM proved to have more skill from the foul line than their opponents, shooting 10 for 15, compared to UTSC’s 1 for 8. When the buzzer went at the end of the game, the score was 44–26 for UTM. Coach Stephanie Kishimoto was proud of her team. “It was a good team win tonight,” she said after the game. “Every player contributed positively to the win.” “We knew that the fans would be here and that we had to play well. I think the girls played great!” said coach Jack Krist. The team plays again on Sunday, November 25 at 10 a.m. against St. George Blue at the St. George gym.