Vol 39 issue 21

Page 1

Munib Sajjad wins UTSU presidency Unofficial results show that UTM student and candidates of Team Renew win executive positions in UTSU Michael J. Watson associate news editor The unofficial 2013 spring election results show that Munib Sajjad and the rest of the candidates from Team Renew were elected to executive positions in the U of T Students’ Union. Though UTM students have their own student union, UTMSU, Sajjad stressed the importance of UTSU to Mississauga students and elaborated on related elements of his campaign’s platform. UTM students are paying members of both the U of T Students’ Union (based on the St. George campus) and the UTM Students’ Union. UTSU provides UTM students with health and dental plans. At the Scarborough campus, students pay only to their local union. The Scarborough Campus Student Union also provides its members with a health and dental plan. “We at UTSU have been present at the UTM campus, not only working at the campus and other associations, but we’ve all taken time to make a presence,” he said when asked about the perceived distance, both in scope and geography, between UTSU and Mississauga students. “We have a

Ayman Khan/THe Medium

Munib Sajjad campaigns at UTM. good relationship with UTMSU and we want to establish stronger connections. […] What we’re doing together this year is collaborating more with our campus partners and delivering services to students where they are in popular hubs on campus.” He explained how UTSU’s proximity to Simcoe Hall at the St. George campus “makes interactions quite regularly, so that’s how we’re effective for UTM students”. According to Sajjad, this proximity

allows UTSU to better relay concerns and ideas from other campuses and also allows the different unions to form a unified voice. UTSU has more meetings with the provost and viceprovost than other student unions, and its partnerships with other campus unions allow it to bring up those unions’ concerns at meetings. When asked about Sana Ali’s resignation, Sajjad declined to comment until the team could make a group response. Ali was Team Renew’s vice-

president external candidate until she resigned last week in an open letter on Facebook. In her letter, Ali wrote that she felt she was placed on the slate to “fill a space and fulfill a preset mandate”. She criticized the slate for “groupthink” and a “desire to suppress any kind of communication I may have with the ‘opposition’ ”. A prominent element of Team Renew’s platform was the intent to lobby for international students to get access to OHIP. International students

were cut from OHIP in the ’90s because of funding issues, and the province has scaled back health services even for citizens of Ontario. Despite this, Sajjad is adamant that getting international students into the program will benefit everyone. “It’s not that there isn’t enough money, it’s that the priorities are different. Across the board, I’m seeing international students not getting access to the public healthcare from the ’90s. But in Manitoba they are offering international students healthcare,” he said. “Why? Because international students were empowered and able to speak about how they were affected by the healthcare access.” In Ontario, international students are prevented by law from serving on governing councils, “a sign that the provincial government doesn’t have interest in helping international students and is just using them as cash cows,” said Sajjad. According to Sajjad, international students tend to stay in Ontario—whether for work or for graduate studies—and they also invest about $2 billion a year into the province. Sajjad continued on page 2

Discussing racism and stereotypes The Students for Pan-Arab Dialogue talked about prejudice against immigrants Jai Sangha Associate News Editor The Students for Pan-Arab Dialogue hosted a discussion on campus last Tuesday about racism towards and among immigrant communities. The discussion, titled “Discussing Racism in the Diaspora: A Conversation on Constructed Stereotypes”, was led by Rima Berns-McGown, an adjunct professor of diaspora studies in U of T’s Department of Historical Studies, and Shelina Kassam, a sessional instructor in the department’s women and gender studies division. In his introduction, Ahmen Khan, the vice-president of SPAD, said that people lose parts of their identity— things as small as the tea in their homeland—when they immigrate. “Does the nostalgia for such things [get] in the way of becoming a mosaic and mixing in the Canadian culture?” he asked.

EPUS to disband again Part-timers will vote on whether to become members of UTMSU. Medium News, page 2

“I am left with no choice.” UTSU candidate forfeits from Team Renew in an open letter. Medium Opinion, page 4

Mariam Ahmed/The Medium

Historical studies professors talk about experiencing racism as immigrants. The speakers made opening remarks for 10 minutes each before taking questions from the audience. Berns-McGown talked about the racism she witnessed during apartheid in her native Africa, and which she also experienced when she came to Canada. She also discussed her recent study, for which she interviewed

young Somali immigrants from different social backgrounds, many of whom had experienced racism and Islamophobia in Canada. “But astonishingly, each one of them [said that] being Canadian means respecting someone who is different from you even if you don’t agree with them. So being Canadian is an attitude,” said Berns-McGown.

She compared her results to those of a similar study by a colleague in Britain, where the majority of young Somalis answered that to be British meant to be a white man who drinks beer. “We’re doing something right, but there is a long way to go,” she said. Racism continued on page 3

Hiding out with DVSSS The locker art of “Caché: things we keep” is hard to find, but worth it. Medium A&E, page 6

Ride of the muffin tops We’re gonna need some guidance to navigate all our muffin options. Medium Features, page 8

Eliminated by technicality Forgot to swipe a T-Card? Your team has to forfeit the championship. Medium Sports, page 10




Part-time students to vote on joining the UTM Students’ Union UTMSU and EPUS will hold a referendum to decide whether part-time students should hold UTMSU membership Larissa Ho news editor The UTM Students’ Union and the Association of Erindale Part-Time Undergraduate Students intend to hold a campus-wide referendum for parttime UTM students to vote on whether they want to become fee-paying part-time undergraduate members of UTMSU. “Over time, members of EPUS and the EPUS Class Assembly have come to feel that the financial and representative structure of EPUS was not capable of meeting the needs of parttime students at UTM,” said Chris Thompson, the president of UTMSU, in an emailed response to questions. Thompson said that UTMSU has advocated informally on behalf of parttime students and that members felt it was time to formalize this representation so that part-time students could have access to the services UTMSU provides to full-time students. “The greater benefit to all students is that UTMSU is in a stronger position to advocate on behalf of all students at UTM, which benefits part-time students in a manner not previously possible with EPUS,” said Thompson. Throughout all three semesters, all U of T undergraduate part-time students are also represented by the Associate of Part-Time Undergraduate

Students. APUS agreed that EPUS is not adequately fulfilling its members’ expectations under the current structure. “Our members at the UTM campus have indicated that the current structure of representation through EPUS is not meeting their needs,” said Susan Froom, the vice-president internal of APUS. “In response, APUS is pleased to have worked with EPUS and UTMSU to develop a representative model which we feel will better serve parttime students at UTM. Working together, UTMSU and APUS will ensure that part-time students receive all of the services and resources to support their undergraduate experience.” From March 26 to 28, part-time students will be able to vote on whether to dissolve EPUS, to take effect on August 31, and become members of UTMSU, to take effect on September 1. “The implementation of the proposed structure will eradicate the potential redundancy [of] running two organizations with the same objective simultaneously,” said Abhinab Chakraborty, the president of EPUS. Currently, part-time undergraduate UTM students pay fees to both EPUS and APUS. EPUS members pay $76.35 per semester in fall and winter. For the summer, they pay $93.95. This fee will cease to be administered should the

referendum pass, and instead they will be charged a UTMSU membership fee of $90.49 per semester in fall and winter and $107.84 per summer session, beginning this fall. The EPUS membership fee for summer 2013 would be administered by UTMSU, because this summer would be a “transition period” for this change in representation, according to Thompson. During this transition, EPUS would collect membership fees but they would be jointly administered by EPUS and UTMSU. The proposed fee to UTMSU is higher than the fee paid to EPUS. When asked about the increase, Thompson said, “UTMSU as a whole offers a wide range of resources to students, including services like clubs funding, funding of academic societies, the Blind Duck, the food bank, [and] the on-campus first aid response team. As members of UTMSU, parttime students will also be asked to contribute to the funding of these services in order to ensure they are available to all students, which accounts for the difference in membership fee[s].” Thompson acknowledged that part-time students have been accessing the benefits of UTMSU membership without being formal members. Thompson said that by contributing to these services, part-time students will help ensure that UTMSU will be able

VP external candidate forfeits

to continue to provide the services it provides to its members. EPUS previously disbanded when the Student Administrative Council (located at both St. George and UTM) and the Erindale College Student Union (located at UTM) merged to become UTMSU in February 2008. At the same time, the two organizations attempted to merge with EPUS to represent and collect a levy from parttime students. This was done through a campus-wide referendum. Following the amalgamation, APUS took UTMSU to court because, as cited in APUS’s policies, UTMSU was not within its authority to hold such a referendum. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in favour of APUS, saying that UTMSU had acted against the authority of APUS. EPUS reformed in the summer of 2011 after part-time students were promised a summer U-Pass, but at the last minute were ruled ineligible because APUS—which has jurisdiction over EPUS—decided the U-Pass would not be useful to a large enough portion of part-time students. “This referendum is distinct from the previous [ones] in that it does not seek to change representation of part-time students at UTM by APUS centrally. Collectively, EPUS, UTMSU, and APUS recognize the value of having all part-time undergradu-

Sajjad speaks about platform Sajjad continued from cover

Junaid Imran/THe Medium

Sana Ali, formerly the VP external candidate with Team Renew, at the all-candidates debate. Michael J. Watson ASsociate NEws Editor Sana Ali, the vice-president external candidate on Team Renew for the U of T Students’ Union elections, resigned last week with just one day left in the campaign period. Ali was running unopposed. An open letter on her Facebook page states that the decision was brought about by a loss of faith in the team and its alleged failure to accept new ideas. “I feel like visual diversity was the main reason I was originally approached,” Ali said in an interview, referring to when she first joined Team Renew. “During meetings it never felt like I was able to contribute.” Part of this feeling stemmed from a perceived lack of direction by the team. Her letter describes the team as working on a “laundry list of points that have changed almost imperceptibly from year to year”. “Yes, it’s good for a team to all be on the same page, but it’s problematic if the plan hasn’t been arrived at by the team’s own efforts […],” she explained. “A lot of the mandate was suggested by the incumbents. We had such a large list of points and there

was no effort made to look through it and narrow it down. The process was too vague and scattered.” This approach is why Ali doesn’t believe the team will lose much by no longer having a VP external. “I foresee absolutely no problem whatsoever with the Renew team going forward,” she said. “There were no individual roles in the team, just a team plan.” Another prevalent concern in Ali’s open letter regarded UTSU’s reaction to “the opposition”. “The ‘opposition’ always consisted of anyone who was critical of UTSU. I wanted to keep communication with these critics open, because by labelling them as ‘opposition’ we were labelling them as unworthy of attention or listening to,” she said. In her letter, Ali noted that those who have worked closely with UTSU are among its most vocal critics, and saw both this and the lack of anyone runing against Team Renew as calls for reform. This sentiment was not shared by her teammates, she said. “During campaigning we were told to basically not to waste time with these people and not listen to these people since they won’t listen to you. When we label [critics] as opposition,

we’re shutting down communication,” she said. “We were just assuming we were right about everything. There was no opening for compromise, reconciliation, or discussion.” Nevertheless, Ali stressed that she felt no hostility towards the team. “I’m not saying or doing all of this with the intention of maligning the team,” she said. “They’re really great individuals; it’s just that they’ve failed to recognize that what they’re doing is wrong, and that is why I couldn’t be a part of it.” Referring to why she waited until the campaign to resign, Ali admitted, “When you’re running for UTSU you’ve put in a lot of work. To have to recognize that you’re going deeper and deeper into something you don’t agree with, you have to have it really strike you before you can act on it. It wasn’t until the second day of elections [that] I could come out and admit to myself that I needed to cut loose.” UTSU’s president Munib Sajjad originally declined to comment until the team could respond as a group. Since then, the slate has posted a YouTube video of their personal replies to Sana’s letter. The video can be viewed on Sajjad’s Facebook page, and Ali’s letter can be viewed on hers.

ate students being represented by the central students’ union,” said Froom. “APUS advocates on behalf of parttime students to the central administration and at bodies like the Council on Student Services and Governing Council. By having strong advocacy on the campus level through UTMSU, and strong central representation across the three campuses by APUS, the voices of part-time students will be effectively represented at various levels of decision-making inside and outside of the university.” During the fall/winter session, any student taking fewer than three credits is considered part-time. Over the summer session, the threshold below which a student is part-time is 1.5 credits. A student who is full-time in the fall/winter session does not automatically carry full-time status into the summer session. “In a nutshell, this referendum is put in place with the vision to restructure the representation model wherein UTMSU [would] be locally representing UTM part-time undergraduates and APUS would be centrally representing part-time students,” said Chakraborty. Thompson said he too believes the change “will better serve the needs of part-time students”. All current part-time UTM students will be eligible to vote.

Despite this, international students pay the highest tuition and receive the fewest benefits. “I definitely see a sense of xenophobia in this lack of support. […] Our university is extending its outreach to countries abroad, but they are not extending support to international students when they arrive,” said Sajjad. “Grants aren’t even given to international students.” As president, Sajjad aims to make the times and dates of discussion meetings—open meetings in which students can participate—more visible outside of the UTSU website so international students can come and talk about this and other issues that concern them. Team Renew’s hope is that by concentrating on making the provincial government aware of the views and benefits of international students, they will encourage the government to restore

OHIP access to them to encourage more to come to the province. Another part of the platform was establishing a drop credit policy for students to foster academic fairness. According to the policy as proposed by the slate, a student who does poorly in a first- or second-year course would be able to retake it. UTSU has posted a discussion paper about it on their website; students are free to read it and submit feedback and suggestions through the site. By assessing the situation and needs of each campus, a solid and coherent design for a drop credit policy can be drafted and proposed so that “students have the ability to show they’ve made progress [on fixing] mistakes in their studying”, according to UTSU. Sajjad encourages any student looking to get involved with either of these projects, or with anything else at U of T, to visit utsu.ca.

The ethics of drones Saleha Faruque A crowd of students attended a debate on drone warfare presented by the Pakistan Development Fund’s UTM chapter and UTM’s Political Science and Pre-Law Association. The debate, which took place in the Instructional Centre last Monday, followed an Oxford-style motion and began with an audience vote on the panel question. The topic was the legality and morality of drone warfare. Drones are unmanned aerial ve-

hicles controlled by ground pilots or on-board computers, and can generally stay aloft longer than conventional aircraft. Drones fall into two categories: those used for surveillance purposes, and those armed with missiles or bombs. The use of drones to target alleged threats in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan is highly controversial in the public opinion, partially because of concerns about autonomy and accuracy. Drones continued on page 3

03.18.2013 THE MEDIUM NEWS

Raising awareness for the homeless Andrew Dmytrasz Sleeping outside on the ground in the cold when you don’t have to may seem like an odd idea, but that’s exactly what some students did last week to raise awareness and money. Five Days for the Homeless is a student initiative carried out all across Canada. It started at the University of Alberta and has spread to other universities across the country. Last year, the campaign raised over $240,000 with 24 schools participating. Students spend five days sleeping outside and eating only what is given to them to raise money and awareness for the homeless. This is the first year that UTM has participated in the campaign, which ran from last Sunday to Friday and was a collaboration between Habitat@UTM and Residence Council. Their goal for the event was to raise $5,000. Kathleen Glofcheskie, a fourthyear specialist in finance, organized the event. “When I came to UTM I started a Habitat for Humanity club,” said Glofcheskie. “This year I wanted to do a something special, and the Five Days for the Homeless Campaign came to mind, so I proposed the idea to the club members and we decided to give it a try.” A total of 25 volunteers participated, including five full-time sleepers and 18 part-time sleepers for the five nights. They had placed dona-

tion boxes throughout the school and collected canned foods for the UTM Food Bank. Gina Cellucci, a third-year student majoring in women and gender studies, was the event’s social media coordinator. “I like to give back to my community and help those in need,” said Cellucci. “When I heard that our club was taking part in Five Days for the Homeless, I was very excited. This is the first time anything like this has happened at UTM, and I think it’s a great way to raise awareness for homelessness. “I think that many disregard homelessness,” she added. “It’s something that goes unnoticed every day. We forget that many individuals out there don’t have the privilege of living the life we live. […] I believe that this campaign is very unique because it allows the volunteers to promote agency and create change. The best way to understand homelessness is to put yourself in their state of being, live the way they live, experience what they experience.” All the proceeds raised from this event will go to Habitat for Humanity, a global organization that addresses issues of poverty housing. The organization’s Canadian chapter regularly recruits volunteers to build affordable homes for families in the GTA. “I think it’s great that people are fighting for a cause, but I think they

might not be doing it in the right way,” commented Nicole Wieser, a fourth-year CCIT and linguistics major, in an interview. “I’m not sure how many university students are actually going to donate or even know about the reason they are doing it for. There needs to be more awareness. But all in all, I think it’s good what they are trying to do.” Throughout the week, students and clubs donated cold and hot food and supplies, including a heat lamp and electric grill. One of the volunteers reported that Whole Foods had also promised to support them. In addition to sleeping outside during the week, students held other events, including a grilled cheese sale, a magician performing card tricks, a movie night, a bake sale, and a 50/50 raffle. Rogers TV stopped by to interview some of the sleepers. MP Brad Butt also came by to visit, and MP Dipika Damerla slept outside the Student Centre along with the volunteers on Thursday night. “I know that we raised funds to help a family in need and that I gained valuable insight, which will allow me to be more empathetic to those in need,” wrote HernandezOberding, a second-year math and logic major who volunteered to sleep outside, in an email. “I hope that the [campus] will be a little more empathetic to those in need, and that we made people question whether such a disparity in wealth is acceptable.”

Drone warfare debated



»What are you doing with your tax return?

Hassan Abdulle 4th year, history

Eugene Kang 4th year, political science

You pay your tuition. You pave your way. It goes back into the school.

I deposit and save.

Joseph Akleh 4th year, political science

Isabel Kania Associate at Subway

I’m going to spend it on a vacation to Mexico.

Pay my mother back. I owe her for car insurance, my prom dress...

Discussing diasporas

The second round of arguments included closing statements by Bumgardner and Khan. Bumgardner discussed points of contention regarding drones and collateral damage. In his address, Khan touched on the im-

morality of drone use, alleging that in the drones’ targeting systems, little distinction is made between combatants and non-combatants. Khan also argued that “drones violate the territorial integrity of sovereign states and prevent people from living normal lives”. The closing remarks were cut short in order to reserve a few minutes for input from the visibly eager audience. After the contributions from the panelists and students, it was clear that the debaters were still divided. “Drones are not always legal nor always moral, but they are new frontiers that have a lesser impact,” said Jurgensen in summary. In closing, opponents Bumgardner and Duncan agreed that drones are considered suitable for quicker action, whereas “soft diplomacy” is effective only over time.

Kassam argued that Canadians are tolerant of immigrants as long as the differences are “palatable”. She also argued that the term “moderate Muslim” is problematic, since it implies that Muslims are not inherently moderate, and contended that the difference in power between a host nation and its immigrants destroys the notion of equity from the outset, since the power of the host nation to be tolerant is also the power to be intolerant. “I walk into a room and people look at the way I dress, look at the way I speak, and I can put on a darn good Canadian accent. And people look at that [and] say, ‘That’s a good immigrant; she fits,” said Kassam. She argued that this attitude detracts from an immigrant’s individuality. “Try to put a woman in a niqab

in that [Molson’s “I Am Canadian”] ad. Let’s see how that plays out,” said Kassam. “It would not sit well with our national psyche.” Afterwards, students and faculty asked questions and discussed their experiences with the fear some people have of being too inclusive towards immigrants, the similarities between the Canadian and European attitudes towards immigrants, and racism between immigrant communities and towards sects within a community. “We are learning to be literate in the language of understanding one another, and learning to be literate about one another. It’s a bumpy road and it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Berns-McGown. “But it’s astonishing how far we’ve come and how quickly we’ve come. And we have to remind ourselves of that when we are despairing.”

UTM students create Facebook page about the closing of FLC

Virtue and Moir finish second at figure skating worlds

Pope Francis surprises Romans with warm hugs after Sunday mass

Wanted: people willing to die on Mars, says Mars One cofounder

Six men arrested in Indian gang rape of Swiss tourist

UTM students received word that the university planned to close the Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre located in the library due to “complex budgetary constraints”. They then heard from Professor Ulli Krull, who said, “There is no intention to close the FLC, which makes sense given that we all know of the plans to relocate and improve the FLC as it moves to the Kaneff Building.”

Canadians and defending Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir settled for a silver medal at the world figure skating championships in London, Ontario on Saturday. Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White won first. Virtue and Moir brought the crowd to its feet with their provocative “Carmen” program. The two couples, who share the same coach, have been rivals since they were children.

Pope Francis surprised Romans on Sunday by sauntering out of the Vatican City walls for a short walkabout. Since his election Wednesday, Pope Francis, 76, has begun what observers are calling a transformation of the papal office, stripping it of its monarchical status. He has paid his own hotel bill, shunned the papal limousine, and said he wants “a poor church that is for the poor”.

The man behind the private space project Mars One is looking for people to travel to Mars, but he’s not offering a return ticket. Bas Lansdorp said he’s looking for people who are utterly dependable, good in groups, and “at their best when things are at their worst”. The explorers will require eight years of training, and the search starts this year. The flight is scheduled to leave in September 2022.

Indian police said they arrested six men on Sunday in connection with the gang rape of a Swiss woman who was on a cycling vacation in central India. Police say the woman and her husband had camped out in a forest in Datia, a district of Madhya Pradesh, when they were attacked by a group of men Friday night. They say that the couple were robbed and beaten, and that the woman was gang-raped.

Source: Facebook

Source: CBC News

Source: The Toronto Star

Source: CBC News

Source: The Globe and Mail

Drone continued from page 2 The audience largely opposed the use of drones at the start of the debate, setting the stage for the panelists’ dialogue. Beginning with arguments in favour of the motion were UTM political science professors Arnd Jurgensen and Justin Bumgardner. Jurgensen discussed the common misconceptions associated with drone technology, and said that drone warfare is effective when used wisely and correctly by authorities. “Drones are only accurate in terms of the accuracy of the intelligence that employs them,” said Jurgensen. Professors John Duncan of U of T and Tariq Amin-Khan of Ryerson followed with a rebuttal. Duncan made his case by highlighting the illegality of drone warfare as stipulated in international law. “The US

faces no imminent threat,” he argued. “Such a use of force violates Pakistani authority and the UN charter.” U of T PhD student Simon Pratt moderated the talks and offered insights during several parts of the debate.

“Drones are only accurate in terms of the accuracy of the intelligence that employs them.” —Arnd Jurgensen

Racism continued from cover


« 03.18.2013

Editor-in-Chief » Stefanie Marotta

Rejecting the paycheque VP external candidate forfeits elections and calls out student union I’ve never been this impressed by any student union electoral candidate— and that includes the year that I ran with the “opposition” slate. When the U of T Students’ Union election period opened with one slate of candidates all running unopposed, I prepared for a fairly quiet campaign with little debate. Then the candidate for vice-president external dropped out with only a day left in the campaign. In an open letter on Facebook to her Team Renew colleagues, Sana Ali announced her forfeiture and accused the candidates of “groupthink”, suppressing ideas that do not adhere to their predetermined platform, and failing to listen to the valid concerns of students deemed the “opposition”. As of press time, the Facebook post has received nearly 1,600 likes, more than 400 shares, and 115 comments. I’ll bet the letter has garnered more hits than Team Renew website. While many people on this campus probably weren’t around when I ran for the VP external position on the “opposition” slate for the UTM Students’ Union, it’s no secret. I’m that much more grateful for Ms. Ali’s courage and honesty. Someone who’s experienced a student union election from the inside has finally stepped forward in the most respectable way. She dropped out. With eloquence and tact, Ms. Ali kept her points germane to the campaign. Without personally attacking the other candidates, she expressed her doubts about the system and the slate. This is much more than can be said for the video response from Team Renew, released on YouTube on Sunday afternoon. While I appreciate the slate’s effort to engage stakeholders through new media, the video lacked the professionalism of Ms. Ali’s letter. The video disregarded many of Ms. Ali’s points and instead referred to the texting sessions between the candidates, long meetings that brought about bonding, and rides home after tiring days. What does that have to do with electoral re-

form and open dialogue to promote transparency? Absolutely nothing. I can only assume that the tone and tears in the video are meant to tug at our heartstrings and make us resent Ms. Ali for hurting her fellow candidates’ feelings. To understand just how powerful a statement Ms. Ali’s actions made, you need to know what she walked away from. As VP external, Ms. Ali would liaise with the provincial government and university administrators on student affairs. Oh, the networking opportunities! Even greater, the position is by no means a volunteer one. UTSU executives receive a substantial full-time salary. (Go ask. Executives consistently sidestep the question in public forums.) While UTM hasn’t seen an election with more than one slate since spring 2010, two slates consistently participate in UTSU elections. One is always dubbed the incumbent slate, promoting unity, and the other the opposition slate, promoting change. Until this year, that is. Without opposition, Ms. Ali’s position was ideal. As the sole candidate, Ms. Ali could have floated through the elections on Team Renew platform. Instead, she walked away from a well-paid job with numerous intangible benefits. Her actions provided greater insight into the issues of UTSU than any opposition team campaign. By the time Ms. Ali realized her dilemma, she had a few options to consider. She could either stick it out with Renew and try to implement reform next year, leave Team Renew and announce her candidacy on an independent platform, or forfeit the election completely. If she had kept quiet and continued with Renew, she would have been expected to adhere to the team objectives during her term. After all, she would have been voted in for her exposure and electoral promises under the slate. On the flipside, the campaign period was coming to a close and Ms. Ali didn’t have enough time to renounce

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stefanie Marotta editor@mediumutm.ca

her candidacy with the slate to launch an independent platform. There’s no doubt in my mind that she would have won the election, if only because of the vacancy on the slate. I’ve never seen an independent candidate win an election. As her letter states, Ms. Ali believes that this year’s election clearly demonstrates a strong need for reform. I share her opinion that an unopposed election demonstrates students’ frustration with the student union. Our student union executives claim that they ran unopposed because the rest of us are too lazy to put in the hard work. Those that have tried tend to say they don’t want to run again because it’s impossible to beat the machine. Well, I put in the hard work. For months (that’s right, these slates don’t magically form the night before campaign launch), I worked with a slate of candidates to shape our policy and message. We were considered the opposition slate because we weren’t running under the usual message of unity and solidarity and we donned a team colour that wasn’t yellow and green— the usual UTMSU campaign scheme. But the other team did and they were considered the incumbents. One by one, the members of my slate and I were pulled aside by those involved in the student union to discourage us from running. I stuck to my one question: Why wouldn’t you want more than one team running for election? Isn’t that democratic? UTSU’s elections this year have come to an end and the VP external position will remain vacant until a byelection is held. I hope Ms. Ali will be a candidate. Over at the other end of U of T, UTMSU’s campaign begins this week. I wish I could say I’m excited to discuss student issues, but that would be optimistic. yours, Stefanie Marotta Editor-in-chief

SPORTS EDITOR Isaac Owusu sports@mediumutm.ca

When to choose a side Dear editor, I am not disappointed that you have taken sides in last week’s editorial (“Choosing sides in the Middle East isn’t easy”, March 11). Taking sides isn’t easy, like you said, but we should welcome all forms of discourse based on facts. However, I want to clarify a few inaccurate statements made in last week’s editorial. The first fallacy is based on the role of the student union. The student union is a political advocacy organization. Its role is to best serve the interest of its members by fulfilling its purpose, which is outlined in the governance documents we have collectively approved. For example, according to the UTMSU constitution, two of the purposes are “to work towards building an environment free of systemic societal oppression” and “to articulate the desire of students to fulfill the duties and be accorded the rights of citizens in Ontario, in Canada, and in the international community”. Hundreds of students at UTM have called on their student representatives to take a position on the systemic societal oppression of the Palestinian people. They have called for substantive action and their representatives have responded by endorsing a motion to engage in research and discussion on the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign. Research into the campaign will explain how it simply calls for Israel to abide by international law. This position was endorsed by the UTMSU board of directors because it calls for neutrality in terms of ensuring our tuition is not involved in any illegal activity or human rights concerns anywhere in the world. Currently, our tuition is unethically invested. This endorsement also primarily focuses on research into the university investments and emphasizes the importance of education, awareness, and discussion on where our tuition fees go. I am proud that UTMSU has committed to safeguard our members’ rights to organize social justice and human rights


DISTRIBUTION MANAGER ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITORS Amanda Braddock Jason Coelho Larissa Ho Ebi Agbeyegbe AD MANAGER news@mediumutm.ca Aditya Kristiono ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITORS PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR ads@mediumutm.ca Junaid Imran Jai Sangha photos@mediumutm.ca Michael J. Watson BOARD OF DIRECTORS Matthew Butler, Paul Donaghue, ASSOCIATE PHOTOGRAPHERS Sviatoslav Romaniuk, Monika A&E EDITOR Alberto Becerra Colleen Munro Bianca Nagy, Warren Clarke, Jasmeen Virk arts@mediumutm.ca Gwera Kiwana ASSOCIATE A&E EDITORS ONLINE MANAGING EDITOR COMPLAINTS Aristotle Eliopoulos Edward Cai Comments, concerns or complaints about online@mediumutm.ca The Medium’s content should be directed FEATURES EDITOR to the Editor-in-Chief who can be located Carine Abouseif DESIGN EDITOR at the email address above. features@mediumutm.ca Vivian Wong


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campaigns. I am also proud that UTM students have taken up causes that ensure our campus is safe, equitable, and a beacon for justice. The second fallacy is our own Canadian government’s position on the conflict, which you categorize as “relatively diplomatic”. Canada’s position is not neutral; it is in support of Israel, as clearly stated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and rejects the rights of Palestinians, who have been under military occupation since 1967. Nowhere is this stance more evident than in the UN, where Canada has most recently been one of a handful of countries opposing the Palestinian bid for observer status in the UN. We lost our bid to join the UN Security Council and have been isolated on the world stage to the extent that we are not perceived by most of the world as honest peacemakers. Sadly, our country supported the racist apartheid regime in South Africa that propagated the fallacy that people of colour are less human than Caucasians. I would also like to add that U of T was among the last universities in North America to divest all affiliation with South African apartheid. That system of racial segregation was rejected by the world in the 1990s, and today wellknown scholars and diplomats, including Noam Chomsky, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, and Howard Zinn have identified many similarities between apartheid-era South Africa and Israeli apartheid, including segregated roads, discriminatory land ownership regulations, and, most recently, segregated transit systems. In conclusion, I encourage all students to research this issue not only because we are educated and privileged students but because this issue affects us all. UTM students and the community at large will be ill-served by misrepresentation of the facts, the quality of discourse will deteriorate, and the voice of the true victims in this senseless conflict will be drowned away. In solidarity, Yasmine Youssef VP equity, UTM Students’ Union


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Editor » Colleen Munro

We all go a little mad sometimes Theatre Erindale takes on Shakespeare’s mighty Scottish play for their last production of the season KATE CATTELL-DANIELS There’s no denying it: Macbeth is one of my favourite plays. It took me a long time to learn to love it, though, and the reason was that I could never sympathize with anyone but Macduff. I always saw the play as being about one man whose story goes incredibly wrong, but the Theatre Erindale production argues otherwise. This production lifts the text off the page and delivers a Macbeth with lots of power, beauty, and supernatural meddling. Here, Macbeth is a gorgeous pas de deux between Macbeth (Owen Fawcett) and Lady Macbeth (Hailey Gillis). It is obvious right from the first letter Macbeth sends home how much he depends on his wife and how much love they share. Their murderous plot is intertwined with passion, transforming them from despicable villains into human beings— albeit ambitious ones. The ambition, though, is by no means hard to relate to; everyone knows what it means to really want something. I was so enthralled by the web they spun around themselves that I couldn’t find it in me to dislike either of them. In fact, I almost wanted them to succeed. I firmly believe that the witches are central to Macbeth. I saw a production in Stratford once that made the trio rather boring, but here they were an integral part of the narrative even

Realization dawns on the Macbeths (Hailey Gillis and Owen Fawcett). when they had no lines. The witches (Hannah Jack, Alex Spyropoulos, and Chiamaka Ugwu) and their queen, Hecate (Claire Sherwood), take no sides in the developing conflict, but they foreknow the outcome. They neither help Macbeth nor harm him, but rather take sadistic pleasure in watching him grapple with what he thinks he knows compared to what is true. In this production, the witches are in it for their own gain. The imagery in the play is beautiful, shifting through the piece with lyrical continuity. The large moon that dominates the set has lines of white string stretched across it, a

theme that reappears with the execution of each of witches’ victims. The witches carry a white ball of thread that measures out each dying character’s lifespan. Also, the painted symbols on the witches’ bodies, which seem to link their supernatural powers, are symbolically echoed on Macbeth’s body. To reinforce this, the witches take it upon themselves to paint Macbeth when he sees the apparitions, marking him as one of their victims before the battle between the Scottish and English. I was intrigued by the textual choices in terms of the witches’ lines. Their speeches and scenes are known


for having been tampered with somewhat extravagantly throughout the years, with directors and companies adding, cutting, and rewriting the witches’ scenes as they see fit. One such addition is a long speech made by Hecate to the witches shortly before they show Macbeth the apparitions. There is a general consensus that this is not Shakespeare’s text, and yet in the context of this performance it works. I think this is because Hecate is a consistent presence, an integral part of the play’s landscape, and often interferes with other scenes. The production is incredibly faithful to the sound cues in Macbeth, in-

cluding every owl screech and drum beat. However, some of the cues are a bit abrupt in their execution. For instance, the birdcalls that echo around Duncan’s party as they approach Dunsinane help tremendously to create the atmosphere of the castle with a “pleasant seat”. But they leave off after only a rapid declaration, leaving me to wonder why all the birds were hushed at once. The costuming is highly effective, creating an aesthetic wonderfully uniform yet varied just enough to distinguish the characters’ individual style. The men wear kilts (though not plaid ones), with white shirts and capes of fur. The kilts are versatile, transforming into more formal attire when the actors bring one side over the shoulder and adorn it with a jewelled pin. The witches wear skirts similar to the men’s kilts, and they can also be converted to make their wearers invisible. They bring the upper layer of the skirt over their heads, draping it across their hair, back, and arms. The only setback is that the skirts in their veil form tend to slip off the witches’ heads. Theatre Erindale’s Macbeth is a perfect balance of intelligent, tricky playwriting and directing, plain good casting, and solid—though never frivolous—entertainment. Macbeth runs until March 24 at the Erindale Studio Theatre.

Movie review: Ginger & Rosa conjures a stirring tale COLLEEN MUNRO A&E EDITOR Growing up is hard. But if Sally Potter’s new film, Ginger & Rosa, is any indication, it’s a heck of a lot more difficult when the world is under the constant and direct threat of nuclear annihilation. Set in London in the early 1960s, the film tells the story of a teenage girl, Ginger (Elle Fanning), who becomes obsessed with the media’s coverage of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Reverent to her own rebellious father (Alessandro Nivola) and disdainful of her mother, whom she sees as apathetic and

weak (Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks), Ginger becomes a budding activist alongside her best friend, Rosa (Alice Englert). Of course, Ginger & Rosa wouldn’t be a proper coming-of-age tale without a bit of personal turmoil and relationship drama, and Potter isn’t afraid to crank up the melodrama towards the end of the film. Given the deliberate pacing and careful attention to mood that Potter builds throughout, some viewers may be left rolling their eyes at the surprisingly conventional turns the plot takes at the climax. Yet for the most part the film is quite restrained, and


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the change of pace feels more like a deliberate attempt to disorient the viewer rather than a cop-out ending. Throughout the movie, we see the minor jabs and injustices that Ginger experiences, and rather than getting mad or making quips, she internalizes it all. (At one point, her father even praises her for not being a “moaner” like her mother.) By the time the last third of the film rolls around, the betrayals swell, and it all comes to a head with the force of... well, a bomb, I suppose. Sure, some of the symbolism and narrative parallels might be a bit heavy-handed. Potter’s style is not

particular subtle, combining a bombastic score with images of relative inaction throughout and offering numerous extreme close-ups in particularly dramatic moments. But she also doesn’t let her flair for drama overwhelm the modest, heartfelt story. Part of the credit also goes to Fanning, who was just 13 when Ginger & Rosa was filmed. It’s an extremely introverted performance for much of the film, but she subtly conveys the thought process of her character without it ever feeling forced. And when Fanning does get showier moments later on, she proves equally

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magnetic. Though Ginger & Rosa doesn’t cover a lot of new territory, it does offer some twists on the conventional coming-of-age story (for example, there is no traditional love interest for Ginger’s character) and takes a more serious approach to adolescence than many other movies with young characters. In some ways, Ginger & Rosa is firmly rooted in its time period. But even if the fashion and some of the political focus has shifted since the 1960s, there’s a timeless humanity to the film that transcends the decades. MMM½

Deadline July 1, 2013. Contest opens April 1. Contest details www.changefoundation.ca/ framingtheexperience Contact asunnak@ changefoundation.com


«ARTS THE MEDIUM 03.18.2013

Student art finds an unexpected home One person’s trash is another artist’s treasure in the latest exhibition from DVSSS, “Caché: things we keep” ALEXANDRA BALAJ STAFF WRITER The third floor of the CCT Building, with its narrow corridors and squeaky floors, might be the second-last place you’d expect to see an art exhibition (right after the library bathrooms). This year, the Department of Visual Studies Student Society has turned it into a perfect gallery space with their latest show, “Caché: things we keep”—the exhibition for anyone who likes secrets. Rounding the first corner on the left, you’d nearly pass right by the gallery were it not for the sign. At first glance, it’s a thin hall of grey lockers stacked two by two on one side, with barely enough space for two people to pass through abreast. But in “Caché”, the location is half the spectacle. Step one: open a locker. What’s inside? Maybe a silver web in which shiny knickknacks are caught, a flower locket, a vintage truck toy, a Snoopy pin. Junk that someone might have once called treasure. Step two: repeat. In this locker, there’s an Algonquin rock and mineral collection on display. In the next, a colourful troupe of bats hanging in their cave. Some might confuse you, like a shrine to the male genitalia surrounded by flowers on the locker walls and electric candles assembled around a Corinthian column. Some might amuse


Student lockers become sites of expression in the DVSSS art exhibition “Caché: things we keep”. you, like an interactive gum locker— including gum to chew and a wall to stick it on. DVSSS executive and gallery contributor Ebony Jansen says “Caché” is a gallery of obsessions, secrets, and things people like to keep to themselves. She points out that it can also be a gallery for projects and creations, referring to lockers #1 and #3 by Daniel Deus. His piece “365 Days of Plaid” presents his year-long study of plaid—both the patterns themselves and why people wear them. In one locker hang a few of his own plaid shirts, and attached to the door by magnets are a dozen notes respond-

ing to Deus’ question, “Why are you wearing plaid?”, with replies like “Because Thursday is plaid day” and “Because I don’t have to wear t-shirts underneath”. In the next locker, under a hanging counter reading “102” (the number of portraits he painted) are piles of thin wooden paintings of people wearing all the colours and patterns of plaid… without the people. Deus only renders the plaid in paint; the people are only distinguishable from the white background by the hinted-at shapes of their bodies and the waves of their hair falling over the plaid shirts. As several of the artists place the

finishing touches on their lockers on opening day, Jansen introduces me to Samantha Hanrath, the artist behind locker #10, “Attempting the Impossible”. Opening her locker reveals a man’s bald head and naked, armless torso, hanging from the hook like you’d hang an extra coat. The detailed shadows and highlights she painted give the figure the realism of an anatomy model. Hanrath explains the meaning behind her piece as a reflection of something she often sees in others and herself: the wearing of a metaphorical “second skin” that allows people to lie to themselves and others, but can actually become who

they are. She explains that she chose latex for the way it bends and folds when hung and for its skin-like feel. Further down the hallway, after opening surprise after surprise, I reach Breanna Shanahan’s locker. It’s the only one containing things you’d normally expect to find in a locker: books. White books with bold black titles reading Guide to Perfection, Guide to Academics, Guide to Niceness. I open that last one. On each page, the words “be nice” are repeated. I open the next book, Guide to Life Success. The words repeated in this one? “Don’t do art.” Shanahan explains to me that they represent the imaginary rules and guidelines by which people live their lives. Everything in the locker is white, including the wall behind the books. In the middle of the wall is a window, and on the other side, another book. A diary. Inside are her handwritten feelings: “I’m not. I’m sick. I’m sick. I’M SICK.” As I step back to look at the gallery again, appreciating it with new eyes, Shanahan observes, “People get sick of following all those rules just to be perfect.” “Caché: things we keep” will run until April 15. The opening reception on March 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. will take place at the same time as the Blackwood Gallery’s “Double Crossing” art and art history graduate exhibitions and the UTM Arts Festival.

Fear and curiosity at the Art Gallery of Mississauga The AGM gives its permanent collection a tech-heavy update with “Uncanny” COLLEEN MUNRO A&E EDITOR In art, and in many other facets of life, saying something in a way no one else has said it can result in praise and (the good kind of) notoriety. On the other hand, if critics and public reject the risky offering, it can also be a career-killer. When there is no blueprint to guide you through the response, the fear of the unknown can paralyze an artist and leave them frozen in their habits. Taking chances, though, is the theme of the Art Gallery of Mississauga’s latest exhibition, “Uncanny”, for which the gallery has integrated photography, video, audio, and even social media into its permanent collection. As the introduction explains, the gallery has had a “moratorium on its permanent collection practice” since 1998. Now, however, they’re looking to reinvigorate the collection by highlighting photography and digital

artworks. “Photography has become ubiquitous in our image-driven culture since its invention in the early 19th century,” the introduction states, and it’s clear that gallery embraces the medium’s status as a 21stcentury art form. Many of the works in the small display of the gallery’s reimagined permanent collection integrate photography, including Don Ball’s ghostly trio of ambrotypes, titled “In Service”, “Head”, and “Stealing Death”. The ambrotype is a longstanding printing practice in photography where the long exposure of the film allows for extreme detail. The photographs also tend to have an old-fashioned look. Ball’s photos recall a completely different era; one of them eerily depicts a body draped in what looks like a translucent funeral veil. This gothic-inspired imagery ties in nicely with the “uncanny” idea. Sigmund Freud referred to the concept of the uncanny to describe an emotion made up simultaneously of

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terror and fascination. The sensation is often linked to gothic literature and art through a sense of the supernatural, and even though the works in the AGM’s exhibition are relatively new, several evoke this classic contradiction of feelings. The other pieces in the exhibition include Osheen Harruthoonyan’s gelatin prints, which come from a series called “Morphogenesis”. The striking prnts depict a wispy, amorphous figure like moving smoke. Johanna Householder’s video project incorporates video elements (including a performance recorded on Skype), the artist’s homage to Star Wars, and archive footage of Ronald Reagan reacting to the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle. Though the exhibition is relatively small, it spans many different media and styles and suggests a promising future for the AGM’s permanent collection. The other part of the AGM’s exhibition space is devoted to previewing the gallery’s “Roots and Branches”

project, which introduces interactive artwork to various branches of the Mississauga Library. The project is helmed by Mississauga artist-in-residence Camille Turner. Each branch houses different pieces that aim to represent the particular community and encourage viewer engagement. Karen Maze’s “Many Faces, One Portrait” project originated at the Erin Meadows branch. Her goal was to create a portrait of Mississauga, so she photographed over 250 library patrons over six days at the branch and combined the images into an expansive photo collection that brings to mind a patchwork quilt. The crisp black-and-white portraits depict people of all different ages and ethnic backgrounds, and make for a fascinating cross-section of Mississaugans. Other artistic endeavours in “Roots and Branches” are less blatantly visual, including Immony Men and Maegan Broadhurst’s “From the Mouth of the River” proj-

ect from the Port Credit branch. They collected responses from Port Credit residents about what their community means to them. From skating on the river to a peaceful fishing excursion at J.C. Saddington Park, each participant brought a unique perspective to a familiar Mississauga community. The “Uncanny” exhibition and the “Roots and Branches” display both call for new ways not only of producing art, but also of engaging with it as a viewer. Here, new technology is presented as something to embrace, and even seemingly unartistic digital tools like Skype and Google Maps become components of artistic expression. So Instagram addicts rejoice—perhaps it’s only a matter of time before your iPhone snapshots find a place in the art world. “Uncanny” is on display at the Art Gallery of Mississauga until April 20. “Roots and Branches” will be displayed at various Mississauga Library branches until the same date.

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« 03.18.2013

Editor » Carine Abouseif

“Top of the muffin to you!”

The Medium goes in search of UTM’s best blueberry muffin


The Circuit Break Café’s oven produces the crispiest muffin tops. MADELEINE BROWN





As I discovered when searching for the best chocolate chip cookie on campus, Starbucks does their desserts rich, and that goes for their blueberry muffin too. Their take on the classic muffin is decadent and buttery, and comes dusted with sugar and bursts of blueberries. It looks almost too good to eat. When I actualy ate it, it was so cake-like that it tasted like a blueberry pound cake. It had a light, crumbly texture throughout. Of all the blueberry muffins I tried, the Starbucks one tasted the most artificial, but if you’re in search of a more dessertlike blueberry muffin, then Starbucks is the place for you.

The Tim Hortons blueberry muffin is simple, understated, and to the point. It’s the perfect size for a snack and not so rich as to knock you out. When breaking open the Tim Hortons muffin, you discover a lovely blue-tinged interior with the biggest blueberries of any of the muffins I tried. Nevertheless, the basic dough manages to stand out against the taste of the sweet blueberries and gives the muffin a greater depth of flavour. The muffin also had a consistent texture and an even rise. It’s nothing out of the ordinary; Tim Hortons offers a familiar take on the blueberry muffin that anyone can enjoy.

They know what they’re doing at the Circuit Break Café when it comes to baked goods, and I believe it’s because of the oven. Like their delicious cookies, they bake their muffins on site. In fact, when I asked for a blueberry muffin, a batch was put in just for me. The muffin was soft and chewy on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. It was ideally proportioned with a larger top than bottom (’cause who really likes to eat the bottom of a muffin?). It made such a good impression that I plan on going back and trying all of their muffins—and, for good measure, the blueberry muffin again.

The standout feature of Second Cup’s blueberry muffin is (as it should be) its blueberries. The blueberries make up a large percentage of the overall muffin mass and are the dominant flavour. Although these blueberries were rather small, their number more than made up for their size. The muffin had a solid structure. However, compared to the other blueberry muffins at UTM, Second Cup’s had the least character and enticing flavour. But should you really be stuck in the winter blues and missing the taste of sweet summer blueberries, this muffin will meet your need.

$2.05 BEST APPEARANCE The blueberry muffin can be eaten alone on the go, or paired with a hot drink on a (hopefully) hot date. It can serve as breakfast or a quick snack. It can be wholesome and nutritious or sweet and sinful. However you like your blueberry muffin, our campus has several variations to offer. Luckily, all of these options are perfectly moist. If there’s one thing I fear most in life, it’s a dry muffin. Of all the flavours of muffin available on campus, blueberry seems to sell the quickest. Don’t let this turn you off of trying each of them, but be prepared to fight for those coveted blueberry muffins.




More than a coffee break

A few useful distractions you should take up this exam season KIMBERLY JOHNSON I’m just going to state the obvious. I have an undeniable hatred for exams. Every year I am flabbergasted by the ability of a booklet of dead trees to have me shaking in my figurative boots. After years of exam after exam, one would think I’d learn to not stress out so much. One would be quite silly to assume such a thing. One has clearly never taken an exam before.

Every year I do the same thing. I arrive 20 minutes early, I sit among the terrified, and together we psych each other out for the communal goal of convincing ourselves that we’re ready. And when it’s time, we rise like a band of zombies to face the piece of terror—I mean paper—lying on our unfriendly desks. Just waiting. This happens every year. So, in an active attempt to procrastinate, I’ve compiled a short list of

ways to be less stressed than you were last year. And when you finish reading, dear reader, take my words to heart, and remember to take a break when you’re studying. Here are some great ways to calm down in the midst of madness. Walk it off I once hated nature. So in my first year, when my friend suggested it’d be a great idea to take a walk on this amazing path he’d

just discovered, every bone in my body screamed, “No, absolutely not! I like the indoors and I plan on staying here till I drop dead!” He looked at me with the excited brown eyes of a child on Christmas morning and the word “Absolutely” poured out of my mouth like Pepsi out of a shaken Pepsi bottle. Off we went. Even when we arrived at the path that leads to the dean’s house, I thought, “No. This looks creepy. Don’t go on the path. You

saw that movie that one time. Don’t be that girl!” And I kept walking. There is something about being in the quiet space in the woods that just wipes away stress. Amazing paths and forests surround our campus. Take a walk among the trees. (And if you’re brave enough, try leaving your cell phone at home. The distraction will only keep you tense.) Distraction continued on page 9




Phone wars: will BB survive? BlackBerry buffs up its business plan, determined to beat the best AHMAD RAHIF In an effort to revive its identity, the company formerly known as Research in Motion changed its name to BlackBerry on January 30. The change came as a response to the competition from technology companies such as Apple and Samsung, whose names are reflected in their products. To go along with the name change, BlackBerry’s new operating system, BB10, is rumoured to be pivotal in deciding whether BlackBerry can catch up with its competition. The new BB10 mobile devices—the Z10 with a full touchscreen and the Q10 with a QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen—were released in Canada and the UK on February 5. Analyst reports say that London shops were sold out of BB10 devices within 20 minutes of opening, and devices at one retail location in Toronto were sold out by 11 a.m. BlackBerry’s stock value rose following the news—an early sign if not a definite one that BlackBerry is getting back on track. It’s worth mentioning that the BB10 devices sold faster than the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows phone did at


its launch. The new operating system features real-time multitasking that should put it on par with recent mobile phone technology, as well

as “BlackBerry Hub”, an application that integrates social networks into the OS alongside native BlackBerry applications like email, contacts, calendar, and the

Pride and presumption Why do we assume English majors can write well? MARIA CRUZ STAFF WRITER Being an English major myself, I understand why people believe that writing is an essential skill for the field. The program is more full of essays and writing assignments than any other program. Students and professors alike take it for granted that students already have a basic knowledge of how to write upon entering a program. As a potential English major, it feels like you’re expected to be able to write a good paper and read 12 novels at the same time. (In the same way, of course, potential economics majors are expected to come in with a solid understanding of mathematics.) It’s true that they assign the work. The English program regularly requires its students tackle 10-page essays and 400-page novels, which probably does inadvertently strengthen their writing. But from this practice, an assumption arises: “All English majors and specialists are good writers.” But are English majors really taught to write any better than other programs? Is there a heavy focus on the intricacies of writing well in the English program? “I believe only English classes with tutorials are taught to write well,” said Carrilee Bryan, a double major in English and history. Bryan nevertheless believes that all English majors write well, “but only because this is their field of study and through practice there’s a tendency to write better than those out[side] the field.” That is, English majors and specialists write well only because the essay-intensive curriculum has them writing near-

ly all the time. So these assumptions are floating around, and they do carry some weight—at least among students. English professor Cary DiPietro says the departments set fairly uniform standards of writing for their students. “Student writing is not assessed according to the whims of any given instructor,” said DiPietro. “There are very clearly communicated expectations that students must meet in their writing. For the discipline of English, these expectations include the thesis, organization of the argument, close reading, and quality of writing.” For example, an online document lists these expectations for ENG110, which he teaches.

“I believe only English classes with tutorials are taught to write well.” —Carrilee Bryan, English major DiPietro doesn’t necessarily expect better writing from an English major than from a psychology major. “Again, students are required to meet standardized criteria, so it makes no difference what their majors are,” he said. “I’m happy to learn when students are enrolled in the specialist or major program in English and drama, and it may be true to say that they are more competent essay-writers—but only more competent meeting the requirements for an essay in English, because they will have had more

practice writing in the discipline. However, when it comes to my assessment, the disciplinary specialization of the student is immaterial; [it] simply doesn’t matter.” It seems the assumptions shouldn’t be quite so simple. English majors and specialists write well in the sense that they are more likely to meet the English department’s standards for writing a good essay. But, according to DiPietro, the stereotype that English students walk in as better writers doesn’t sit well with instructors. “Good instructors don’t make assumptions about their students’ abilities, but instead assess the work put in front of them according to objective, standardized criteria,” he said. “There are obvious disadvantages to making a priori assumptions about students.” This should probably come as a relief to potential English students. It means they aren’t automatically expected to be great writers. It also means that with practice, they’ll come to meet the expectations set for them by their program of study, and the same is true of any program. But in terms of what those outside the program believe, the lines get a little hazy. By analogy, would you expect an art history student to be a great painter? It might be a bonus if they are, but in reality the art history program focuses on analyzing existing work, not the mechanics of creating new works. Art history majors don’t learn how to hold a pencil to get the shading just right. In the same way, why should we expect English students to be great writers?

infamous BlackBerry Messenger. The devices were also built out of materials selected with the intent of making them more durable and more comfortable to hold than the

competitor’s. These are good developments, but why is BlackBerry so late to the party? One factor that prevented the company from keeping pace with the competition was its policy of secrecy. BlackBerry was extremely reluctant to share its technology with mobile app developers outside the company, fearing that such intimate partnerships would compromise its business secrets, especially the data encryption that protects their devices from hacking. Instead, BlackBerry hired its own software engineers, who didn’t always have enough experience with the companies they were to develop apps for, such as Facebook. Now, BlackBerry has adopted a business model that allows for partnership with engineers associated with other companies. developed. This is good news for customers, who have reportedly found BlackBerry’s proprietary apps and features lacking compared to those of other smartphones. The coming months will reveal whether BlackBerry can reclaim its place among the top tech companies.

Keep calm, take a break

Distraction continued from page 8

Read a book As an English major, I might just be feeding my own stereotype, but I love books. Books allow you to delve into a different world, far away from next week’s fine art history exam. You might argue that TV shows do the same thing, but I’d like to point out that TV does all the imagining for you, whereas books give you a much bigger role in creating the fictional world.

Sometimes, the best breaks are the ones where you ridicule and complain about the work you’re doing, and dream of the day when you’ll never have to remember your Turnitin password again. Books are also great distractions because they help get school off your mind for a little while but don’t have to hold you in their deadly grip for far too long, like YouTube inevitably does. The number of pages never changes, unlike the YouTube break that was supposed to last for 20 minutes and somehow turned into five hours of Community outtakes and Rihanna covers. Besides, it’s just easier to transition from a good book into a boring textbook.

Rant Sometimes, the best breaks are the ones where you ridicule and complain about the work you’re doing, and dream of the day you’ll never have to remember your Turnitin password again. Rant to a friend. Rant to your mother. Rant to yourself, if you really want. Sometimes that’s all it takes. In all seriousness, though, if you have the kind of relationship with a friend or family member where you can rant about how much everything sucks without them getting annoyed, you’re allowed make use of it when you really need it. (Preferably, this person is someone who has figured out the art of agreeing with you instead of telling you why you’re wrong.) Get social Hear me out. I realize that some people believe Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler are terrible when studying. And that seems logical. Except that if there’s anything I’ve learned from my three-hour night classes, it’s that sometimes staring at a screen of nothing but useful information can be incredibly overwhelming. Sometimes, just for a few minutes, change the screen, read a few tweets, and take a minute and pretend to care about the girl with the overgeneralized status about how her life sucks. But save the kitten videos for later. In my experience, it’s okay to give your eyes and mind a break. That being said, I have an essay to write. So, from one overstressed student to another: keep calm, study, take a break, and then get back to work, okay?


« SPORTS THE MEDIUM 03.18.2013

Mediumsports Editor » Isaac Owusu

Technical elimination Player registration flaw forces U of T to eliminate tri-campus hockey team from the championship game JASON COELHO ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR As the UTM tri-campus men’s hockey team prepared for a trip to the finals, they were surprised to receive an email from league officials informing them of their elimination. After defeating St. George Red in a 5–1 victory in the semifinal game on Monday, March 4 and moving to the championship game to face Scarborough, the team was shocked to hear of their disqualification due to a technicality. “No one on our team or staff was aware of this rule change,”

said Rory Bourgeois, a player on the tri-campus team. The rule, which cost the team a shot at the championship, related to player registration. A player on the UTM tri-campus team had been registered for only three regular season games; this used to be the minimum in the 2011/12 season, but the minimum was since changed to four pre-playoffs games. The player in question is Zach Zubac, who joined UTM in the second semester and played the minimum four games required to be eligible for the playoffs. However, in one of the team’s games against U of T Scarborough, Zu-

bac was running late and didn’t have the opportunity to officially check in with his T-Card. This minor error prevented the team from advancing to the finals.

“Most of the guys never sign the sheet. Usually they ask us to sign the sheet if there is some discrepancy with the players.” —Kyle Kuczynski “I feel bad that the other guys can’t play the last game because of

my mistake,” said Zubac. “I wasn’t entirely aware of the rules and the minimum game requirement. If I had known it was four, I wouldn’t have played.” Zubac’s unfortunate mistake has not earned him any hostility from his fellow teammates; rather, he has received immense support from the players and staff. “This wasn’t his fault,” said Kyle Kuczynski, a third-year centre on the team. “Most of the guys never sign the sheet. Usually they ask us to sign the sheet if there is some discrepancy with the players.” Because the team was not aware of the rule’s implementation before the start of the season, they

are frustrated to have been disqualified on its account. “UTM is not represented properly when it comes to athletics. This is no fault of UTMAC or our RAWC staff; it’s on U of T for not giving us proper information and enforcing ridiculous rules like this one,” Kuczynski added. “We do not get contacted about these rule changes.” Kuczynski plans on fighting the ruling by creating the UTM Hockey Players’ Association along with other members of the team in order to represent themselves. “Our team has been affected [by] these stupid rules, and it has cost us a championship,” he said.

High stakes in the EPL EBI AGBEYEGBE ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR A lot has happened this season in the Barclays Premier League. Going into game week 30, Manchester United holds an 11-point lead at the top of the premiership and seem to be running away with the title. At the bottom of the league table, it’s a struggle between five teams in the drop zone to see which three will be relegated. So far, 286 games have been played this season, 815 goals have been scored, eight hat tricks have been achieved, 883 yellow cards have been handed out, and four coaches have been fired. Coaches get fired every season for various reasons, including failing to meet club expectations or getting off to a bad start. This wasn’t the case for Chelsea’s coach, Roberto Di Matteo. After winning the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the team’s history last season, Di Matteo received just over two months of work before he was fired on the 21st of last November. Di Matteo was a fan favourite, and he was loved and respected by the players. But he wasn’t really a big-name coach, something Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has always looked for. Di Matteo was replaced by former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager Rafael Benítez. Chelsea has failed to improve much under Benítez. They currently sit in fourth place, 19 points away from first place, and were recently eliminated from the UEFA Champions League. “I’ve been a Chelsea fan for a long time, and honestly this season has been by far our worst for a long time,” said Anthony Kraveck, a second-year member of the soc-

cer club. “Abramovich is taking power to a whole new level, and if he doesn’t chill on his power trip, we won’t win anything this season.” Mark Hughes was also fired as the coach of the Queens Park Rangers, replaced by former Tottenham coach Harry Redknapp. Meanwhile, Southampton fired Nigel Adkins and replaced him with Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino, and Reading recently fired coach Brian McDermott but have yet to find a replacement. Major transfers happen all the time in the Barclays Premiership, where teams spend big money to bring in players. For the past three years, Arsenal has been sellings off some of their biggest players: Cesc Fàbregas, Gael Clichy, and Samir Nasri all left in 2011, and Alexandre Song left in 2012. All these high-profile players left Arsenal for other teams with whom they have won titles. But no transfer hurt Arsenal fans more than the sale of Talisman striker Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United. Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal, making 278 appearances and scoring 132 goals. Once loved by Arsenal fans, he is now one of the most hated players in the team’s history. “I still can’t believe we sold van Persie to Man U. Every time I see him score a goal, it upsets me,” said Eddy Dabire, a first-year political science student and longtime Arsenal fan. Arsenal replaced van Persie with German striker Lukas Podolski and French striker Olivier Giroud. Chelsea splurged big in the transfer window; they also spent $40 million on Eden Hazard and $32 million on Oscar Cardozo, and added Victor Moses and Demba Ba. EPL continued on page 11



Now that’s a goooooal!



Robin van Persie’s scoring skill has helped Manchester United. EPL continued from page 10 Tottenham spent over $40 million to bring in Clint Dempsey, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Gylfi Sigurðsson, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Moussa Dembélé. Manchester City also spent big on Matija Nastasić, Javi García, Maicon Sisenando, Scott Sinclair, and Jack Rodwell. Manchester United added Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell, and Wilfried Zaha along with van Persie. Other notable transfers include Dimitar Berbatov going to Fulham from Manchester United, Andy Carroll going to West Ham from

Liverpool, Adam Johnson going from Manchester City to Sunderland, and Joe Allen going from Swansea to Liverpool. Every season the fight to stay in the premiership is always an interesting one. The rewards for being in the premiership far outweigh the disadvantages, from a financial standpoint. For one thing, it brings lucrative TV deals and compensation from the FA. Each season three Barclays Premier teams get relegated to the Coca Cola Championship, English football’s second-tier league, and three teams move up from there. This season Reading, Southampton, and

West Ham were promoted to the premiership. At this point, only Reading is left in the relegation zone with the Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic. The difference in value between being in the premiership and the championship is estimated at over £20 million. Aston Villa are currently three points out of the relegation zone, with Southampton right above them. Going into the final eight games of the season, the bottom of the premiership can be much more interesting to watch than the top. This season, there have been a lot of goals in the premiership: 815

goals have been scored, and Manchester United leads the way with 68. Luis Suárez of Liverpool leads the league in scoring, netting 22 goals in 29 premier league games this season. Suárez is not known for his scoring alone, but also for diving (and also occasionally saying the wrong thing). “Suárez is a very good player—he scores goals—but I just don’t understand him as a person,” said Funmilade Taiwo, a second-year biology student and Arsenal fan. Along with the goals, there have also been 145 clean sheets, with Manchester United’s David de Gea

leading the pack. In total, 286 games have been played of the season’s 380. The season as we know it is almost over. Manchester United are on top and don’t seem to be looking back at all. It will be an interesting race for the coveted third and fourth spots between Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham. But it is on the bottom that eyes will be focused come the last day of the season. One things is certain: this season of the Barclays Premiership has been interesting to watch, as it always is, and there’s still much to look forward to as it comes to a close.