UTM Connect sole slate for election Current VP internal leads unopposed slate UTM Connect for executive positions Larissa Ho News Editor The UTMSU elections for spring 2013 are underway, with UTM Connect running unopposed in pursuit of all available executive positions, with the exception of the position for vice-president equity. This is the third consecutive year that a team is running for UTMSU without opposition. The Medium requested an interview with the slate, but the interview was cut short when candidates refused to answer questions related to their platform points until the questions had been approved by the chief returning officer, Sana Farukkh. The CRO is hired by the student union and is responsible for overseeing and enforcing the rules of the election. The remainder of the interview was conducted through email after the questions had been approved by Farukkh. Raymond Noronha, currently the VP internal and services, is leading the slate in pursuit of the presidency. On his team are Nausheen Adam for VP internal and services (currently the associ-
Ayman Khan/The MEdium
Hamza Ansari campaigning last week. ate to the same position); Melissa Theodore for VP external (currently an executive of the Caribbean Connections club); Ro’a Saafan for VP equity (currently the associate to same position); Hamza
Ansari for VP university affairs and academics (currently the associate to the same position); and Hassan Havili for VP part-time affairs (currently the president of the UTM Middle Eastern Students’ As-
sociation). The slate’s platform includes lobbying for heated bus shelters, coffee vending machines on campus, eliminating interest on deferred tuition fees, improving wireless
service on campus, and lobbying to “reform and implement progressive academic policies”. No reference has been made to reviving the Student Centre expansion, a referendum for which failed this year. When asked what was meant by “progressive academic policies”, Ansari said that UTMSU had successfully lobbied in the past for late withdrawal without academic penalty, which is an option UTM students can use for up to three credits, and the credit/no credit option, approved last year, which can be used for up to two credits. Ansari also said that the new Campus Council would be implemented this year and that he would be working with others to propose reforms if necessary. He also confirmed that he will be lobbying for the drop credit policy. “We are going to work with other student unions, faculty, and the administration to make sure that we implement progressive academic policy that is not just punitive,” he said. Elections continued on page 2
UTM Green Team holds Green Daze Students get excited and involved with environmental campaigns on campus Jai Sangha Associate News Editor The UTM Green Team held its annual Green Daze last week on campus to promote environmental issues and initiatives on campus. During the week, the Green Team collaborated with student clubs and Facilities Management and Planning to organize a worm-composting workshop, movie screenings, a seed-starting workshop, and two geothermal tours of the Instructional Centre. “People had said that they didn’t know too much about the geothermal system, they didn’t know where it was, and they’d like to learn more. The system is not very visible because the pipes are buried under [the North Field] and the equipment is in the mechanical rooms,” said Chelsea Dalton, the environmental/sus-
UTSU responds to Ali UTSU responds to Sana Ali’s letter in a two-part video. Medium News, page 2
Vote yes, no, or anarchy The student union has failed to connect with students for years. Medium Opinion, page 4
The Original Chords Student music finds a home on an album released by the Music Club. Medium A&E, page7
Flexibility vs. leniency Alberto Becerra/The Medium
The UTM Green Team promoted environmental initiatives on campus last week. tainability coordinator of FMP, the geothermal system, whereby compared to the air above, said who leads the Green Team, dur- a special liquid passes through Dalton. pipes beneath the North Field to ing an interview. The Instructional Centre is absorb or lose heat to the ground. completely heated and cooled by This keeps a steady temperature Daze continued on page 3
How are you supposed to “correct” language if you’re a linguist? Medium Features, page 12
Putting up a fight Tri-campus hockey is looking to develop a players association. Medium Sports, page 15
«NEWS THE MEDIUM
UTSU responds to Sana Ali’s letter Team Renew released response to Sana Ali’s letter of resignation with a two-part video Michael J. Watson associate news editor Members of the U of T Students’ Union Team Renew released their response to the open-letter resignation of Sana Ali last week. In a twopart video released on YouTube, Renew members spoke about how they felt reading Ali’s letter and the allegations she made. “We were absolutely taken aback [by] her decision to quit the team and forfeit her position,” said the union’s new president, Munib Sajjad, in an email interview. “We wanted to address things stated in her letter […] and to let Sana know that we were genuinely hurt by her quitting and not speaking to any of us about it beforehand or afterward.” This sentiment was shared by other Renew members. The members’ emotions were visible in the videos as they expressed confusion, sadness, and indignation at Sana’s letter. Although Ali said both in her letter and in an interview last week with The Medium that she did not wish to malign the team, it was clear that Renew members had taken the letter personally. “I asked you [to run] because I really liked your ideas. […] I was really looking forward to working with you. I can’t believe you
think we—I—asked you because of your race or ethnicity,” said Renew member Yolen Bollo-Kamara in the video, referring to a part of Ali’s letter saying she felt she had only been asked to join Renew to contribute visual diversity. With regards to the part of the letter saying that Team Renew’s platform was recycled, Bollo-Kamara cited instances where additions and changes were made to the platform based on student needs and requests. “I can’t believe you’d say that this is the same platform from year to year. Like, if sexism is on the platform—and it was on the platform—I’m sorry that we weren’t able to eradicate sexism and all forms of oppression in one year,” she said. Though these and other instances of direct response to the points in Ali’s letter were present in the 20-minute response, a substantial portion of the video addressed hurt feelings. When asked for her view on the candidates’ choice of medium, Ali replied, “I don’t think it was a great decision. They reinforced my point about group pressure and hearing but not really listening. […] If they’re truly convinced I was way off base with the concerns I raised in my letter, they have not explained to [students] why I am
wrong. “This is exactly the kind of reaction I expect would have come my way if I had raised my concerns to them in private,” she continued, referring to why she didn’t talk to Renew members before resigning. “Very little solid content, lots of trying to make me feel guilty.” Ali also denied the claims in the video that she had avoided responding to her former teammates’ phone calls and texts. “I had actually been in touch with them the day before the video was released,” she said. “I’m guessing they’d already filmed it by then and didn’t want to change the parts about me ‘hiding’.” A petition to have the response video taken down has been circulating around Facebook. The petition was created by Aimee Quenneville, the University College board of directors representative on campus. “I believe it is fairly evident […]that [the videos] are an attempt to discredit Sana and her concerns,” she commented. “A lot of the videos are spent reminiscing on all of the good times that the Renew slate had together before Sana’s departure, seemingly accusing her of betrayal.” Quenneville took particular issue with the choice of a video response. “Rather than issue a written response that addresses any or
all of the considerable concerns that Sana’s letter raised, and which we must not forget are precisely the concerns that students have been raising on campus for years, her complaints themselves are disregarded in favour of 20 minutes of video that serve only to attack her credibility,” she said. “The videos insinuate that Sana is not a responsible person; they draw into question her character and they excessively angle for pity while framing her as a disappointment. “I don’t think that any student on our campus should be portrayed in such a way by our elected representatives, but perhaps more importantly, I don’t think our elected representatives should conduct themselves in such a way,” she continued. “I don’t think these videos are becoming of the University of Toronto in the slightest, I do not think they paint us in our best light, and I would like to be able to expect better from the union that is supposed to represent and advocate for me.” When Sajjad was asked about the medium, he responded, “Just like Sana, we have the freedom to express through any medium how we feel about her leaving the team. And we chose a video.” “I personally don’t have any grounds to demand that Team Re-
new take down the video, because they have every right to express themselves,” said Ali in regards to the petition. “I did the same thing when I expressed myself publicly through my open letter.” She also said the response to the petition has been “overwhelming”. Despite her views on its content, Ali has no hard feelings towards the team. “All I would like to respond with is my regret that things had to be this way,” she said. “I can understand that they would be shocked and upset, but I hope they can recognize that my intention was never to cause them pain. I hope they can get past the personal issues and really take a hard look at the truth that is in front of them.” The Renew slate was voted in last week without Ali, who forfeited her candidacy for vice-president external in the middle of the election. “When I decided to run for this position with this team, I was under the impression that I would have the opportunity to apply myself in order to create something good for students,” wrote Ali in her letter. “I have now been disillusioned. I was pulled on board this team to fill a space and fulfill a preset mandate, not to bring my brain.” One of the things Ali questioned was Renew’s opposition to online voting.
UTMSU election is underway Bringing green Elections continued from cover “The drop credit is such a policy,” Ansari continued. “However, it is important for us to carefully examine the parameters of its implementation and educate our members and other stakeholders on the policy.” When asked how she would lobby for more multi-faith space on campus, VP equity candidate Saafan said she would involve all stakeholders. According to Saafan, she is working with the current VP equity, Yasmine Youssef, to amend the multifaith space report, which is a review, analysis, and set of recommendations to the university about space at UTM. On the topic of campus accessibility, Saafan said that “improvements can be made. As our beautiful campus grows, so should our commitment to make it accessible.” The accessibility coordinator, Ankita Nayar, along with the equity team, administrated an accessibility audit this year. VP external Theodore’s platform includes a promise to lobby for international students to be included in the Ontario Health Insurance Program. International students currently pay private health insurance fees through the University Health Insurance Plan. International students were covered under OHIP until the service was cut in the 1990s in response to the province’s fiscal crisis. The Ontario government has also scaled back on OHIP services for citizens. “This is outrageous,” said Theodore. “Our team believes that UHIP provides very limited emergency health coverage and is not accepted
universally by physicians, hospitals, and clinics in Ontario.” She added that international students often pay up front for expenses in excess of OHIP rates because they are limited by their private health insurance plans. “We have heard of experiences where international students have been refused to see a doctor due to the fear of costs associated with the procedure,” she said.
“We will connect with other student unions on a collective strategy to lobby our provincial government to invest more in postsecondar y education and reduce user fees, such as tuition fees.” —Raymond Noronha In answer to a question about the feasibility of eliminating interest on deferred tuition fees, Theodore responded, “It is very feasible. The university should not be making money off students who have deferred their tuition fees because they are dependent on loans. It is unreasonable for the university to profit from the most vulnerable. We shall lobby the Governing Council and its committees.” Havili, running for VP part-time student affairs, said he will advocate for students who are enrolled in
as low as 20% of a full course load to be eligible for OSAP. “Unfortunately, students with a disability or mature students are impacted by the current designation,” he said. “UTM Connect is committed to advocating for more grants and less loans.” Adam’s platform includes improving fees for Orientation Week, which she says will be done by hiring a sponsorship coordinator. According to Adam, $25,500 was set aside in the current fiscal year. “Pending board approval, we will advocate for $30,000 to be set aside for orientation programming and our goal will be to have a deficit-free Orientation Week,” she said. Noronha’s platform includes lobbying to create a “Welcome Week”, something like frosh but for all students regardless of year of entry. When asked how he would reduce tuition fees, Noronha responded, “Our lobbying efforts will continue. However, we shall develop a different strategy. As a team, we will connect with other student unions on a collective strategy to lobby our provincial government to invest more in postsecondary education and reduce user fees, such as tuition fees.” The annual executive all-candidates debate will be held on Monday, March 25, from 12 to 2 p.m. in the Blind Duck Pub. An hour is allotted to candidate opening statements, 30 minutes to questions, and 35 minutes to closing statements. The date, time, and location of the debate were not publicized until Friday evening. Since there is only one slate, the debate is also being advertised as a question-and-answer period to give students an opportunity to pose
initiatives to campus Daze continued from cover Dalton added that the tours attracted a lot of students and were completely booked on the second day. James Boutilier, the urban agriculture coordinator of the Green Team, led the seed-starting workshop to show attendees how to make a good seeding mix of soil, how far below the surface to put seeds in seed starters, and what to do once they germinated. “[I wanted people] to get some hands-on seed-starting skills for the season and to also know that we have a community garden on campus where they can apply these skills,” said Boutilier in an interview. On Friday, the Green Team helped promote EnvirOlympics, organized by the UTM Residence Council. At the event, around 40 students split into teams to earn points at different stations. The stations included games like charades and jeopardy, and a debate station where teams debated the merits and demerits of “Earth Hour”, an initiative in which citizens turn off all electrical lights and appliances in coordination. During lunch, Dalton gave a talk about green initiatives on campus,
including the LEED-certified buildings (including IB, the library, and the Health Sciences Complex); alternative transportation (including UTM BikeShare and the U-Pass); naturalization sites where native plants are grown; hydrogen fuel cells, which supply backup power for UTM’s computer servers; and the “green dashboard”, a touchscreen display in IB that displays real-time information about energy saving on campus. The goal of Green Daze was to show students which environmental initiatives are present on campus and which opportunities are available with the Green Team, and to get students excited about the environment, said Dalton. She mentioned that she was drawn into environmental issues by a student club at UTM during her first year, and hopes to pass on the same excitement to current students through Green Daze. UTM Green Team is a group of Work-Study and volunteer students who help out with environmental initiatives on campus, according to their website. UTM BikeShare cancelled its workshops and tours due to weather conditions.
THANK YOU... to this year’s editorial team at The Medium. It’s been awesome working with you this year. Thank you also to all my contributors: Jai Sangha, Michael J. Watson, Sana Haq, Alexander Tkachuk, Matthew Butler, Lily Bowman, Annette Kwaitkowski, Sarah Elborno, Bailey Green, Mudeeha Yousaf, Abhilasha Patel, Doaa Rohillah, Cliff Lee, Joanna Iossifidis, Saleha Faruque, Stefanie Marotta, Atika Azhar, Andrew Dmytrasz, Amy Pryhoda, Jericho Tan, Elizabeth Smurlick, Afsheen Adam Haji, Felicia Paulozza, Muhammed Qureshi, Shefa Obaid, Madiha Aziz, and Maria Iqbal.
03.25.2013 THE MEDIUM NEWS
Wealthy Barber comes to UTM David Chilton talks about lessons on personal finance Jai Sangha ASsociate News Editor David Chilton spoke about his experiences as an entrepreneur and his financial issues with the Canadian economy during the Countdown to Success conference last Friday at the RAWC. Chilton is author of the 1989 Canadian bestseller The Wealthy Barber, a novel that gives lessons on personal finance, and the newest “dragon” on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, a show on which people pitch business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists. “Before Dragons’ Den, the question I used to get the most was ‘Should I pay off my mortgage or should I max my RRSP?’ ” said Chilton in his keynote. “But everywhere I go now, the question I get 20 to 30 times a day is ‘Is [fellow dragon] Kevin [O’Leary] really an asshole?’ ” Chilton talked about the businesses and people he invested in as a “dragon”, including Hand and Beak cards, which feature designs made of paper shredded by a bird. The cards were subsequently picked up by Hallmark Canada. Chilton emphasized the value of good people over just a good idea. “You know, what often gets lost in the shuffle of colleges [and] universities is one of the key things in business, and that’s to be nice. You’ve got to treat people with kindness and re-
spect,” said Chilton. “It’s all about relationships. Very few businesses now can avoid being commoditized—you look at our banks, they offer the exact same products. It’s all about relationships.”
“It’s all about relationships. Very few businesses now can avoid being commoditized— you look at our banks, they offer the exact same products. It’s all about relationships.” — David Chilton Chilton also talked about personal finance and the recent financial crisis, focusing on the debt fuelled by consumption rather than investments, infrastructure, research, and development and savings. People in Canada have lost the sense of spending money in the context of affordability, to focus more on getting more and more consumer possessions, according to Chilton, who encouraged the audience to redefine themselves by their values and character rather than finances. “We define ourselves by our possessions. If I said to you ‘John is very successful’, every person in this room
defaults to ‘John is making a lot of money’,” said Chilton. “Nobody would possibly think by that sentence I mean that John is a good father or that John is actively involved in the community.” UTM’s department of management organized the conference to expose students, alumni, and professionals to business and networking opportunities in accounting, finance, and management fields, according to the conference website. In his introductory remarks, Professor Ulli Krull, VP research at UTM, said that the Kaneff Centre, which houses the business programs at UTM, will soon be tripled in size to house the new Institute for Management and Innovation. He described the institute as a business school for the 21st century that will connect students from economics, management, and commerce with those from life sciences, engineering, environment, and other technical backgrounds. At the trade show, attendees networked with representatives from General Electric, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Enersouce, the City of Mississauga, and Certified Management Accountants, among others. The event was sponsored by Certified General Accountants of Ontario. The first 500 attendees received free copies of Chilton’s 2011 book The Wealthy Barber Returns, which gives further advice on personal financial planning.
»What impressions did you have going into university?
Isaac Owusu Sports editor, The Medium
Anthony Redegeld 2nd year, psychology
I never expected to be sober or in class. Here I am. Graduated. Wow.
I was expecting it to be a student assembly line. I didn’t expect so many deer.
Taras Yasynovsky 3rd year, CTEP
Sam Whelen 4th year, anthropology
I didn’t think there would be that big of a variety of women here.
I just heard about the “Freshman 15”.
Healthcare representatives and residents gather The seminar, titled “Health: Not Sure Where to Start?”, was held last Saturday in the main RAWC gym. The guest speakers included Mayor Hazel McCallion, Gayle Bursey of Peel Healthcare, and Michelle DiEmanuele, the CEO of Trillium Health Partners. McCallion opened the seminar by highlighting the global importance of healthcare. “I believe strongly that if we want peace in the world, we are going to have to do an awful lot to upgrade the health conditions and poverty in the developing world,” said McCallion. “That’s the answer, in my opinion. It’s not sending an army, not sending supplies, but sending and giving them the knowledge of the programs that we have developed in the western world and sharing them with other parts of the world.” The mayor closed her speech by emphasizing the need to establish a
team-based approach through the Healthy City Stewardship Centre, chaired by Ulrich Krull, a professor of analytical chemistry at UTM. Krull elaborated on the development of the HCSC program as a collection of public agencies, police, school boards, the university, and Sheridan College, all of which have the largest social footprints in the community. At one part of his speech, Krull introduced an assortment of food prepared for the attendees based on a menu he said was designed to balance nutrition, low cost, and taste to create food suitable for cafeterias. Bursey stressed the public’s reliance on technology and the conveniences it provided. He said that the province of New Brunswick spends half of its budget for healthcare; Ontario uses 47%, he said, and the percentage is likely to increase in the future. One of his concerns is the growing frequency of health problems, such as diabetes, related to the
general population’s lack of physical activity. DiEmanuele explained the continued growth of Mississauga will pose many challenges ahead for the healthcare system. The merging of Trillium Health Centre with Credit Valley Hospital just over a year ago led to the creation of the Trillium Health Partners Strategic Plan 2013–2018. This plan aims to aid the public by reducing costs and avoiding duplicate services— common problems when navigating the transfer of patient treatment— and to coordinate the teamwork of the healthcare providers. The plan is also designed to address how the organization will deal with the growing population, hoping to maintain the quality, access, and sustainability of its healthcare. DiEmanuele emphasized the importance of patients and families actively participating in their healthcare. “Pay attention to your own health—it matters,” she said.
Mayor Hazel McCallion speaks at the RAWC.
Ryerson engineering group under fire over half-naked romp
Pair of Chinese pandas en route to Toronto for five-year stay
Like mother, like son in this drunk driving family, police say
Man erroneously jailed for 23 years has heart attack day after release
College and university students want fees tied to inflation
A Ryerson University engineering tradition has drawn sharp criticism after a video of half-naked students crawling through slush surfaced on YouTube. President Sheldon Levy condemned the event as “completely unacceptable” and not representative of the “principles of civil society, and the positive and supportive culture of Ryerson”.
The Toronto Zoo will soon host a male and female bear on Monday, just over a year after the cuddly creatures were officially loaned to Canada by the Chinese government. Canadian and Chinese officials have voiced hopes that the pair will add to the species’ sparse population during their stay.
Police say a mother who came to pick up her son after he was arrested on a suspicion of drunk driving found herself charged with the same offence. Both have had their vehicles impounded and licences suspended for 90 days. They are due in court next month.
A New York City man whose murder conviction was overturned after 23 years in prison suffered a heart attack on his second day of freedom. David Ranta is 58. He told reporters on Thursday, when he was released from prison, that his new freedom was emotionally overwhelming.
University and college student groups say tuition should be tied to inflation. Based on a new poll, Ontario residents appear to agree. Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, has hinted that he might not allow colleges and universities to continue to raise tuition by 5% per year.
Source: The Toronto Star
Source: The Globe and Mail
Source: The Globe and Mail
Source: The National Post
Source: The Toronto Star
Essra Mostafa/THe MEdium
Editor-in-Chief » Stefanie Marotta
Abstaining on the voting ballot A former candidate for UTMSU and current editor takes a look at this year’s student union election This school’s awareness and involvement is in the most pathetic state I’ve ever witnessed in my five years here. All week, the other editors and I walked around campus looking for candidates and volunteers to answer questions and perform interviews. At one point on a Wednesday afternoon—one of the busiest days of the week at UTM—we walked around for two hours before we finally found an executive candidate. With only four days left in the campaign period, I wonder how students are expected to make informed decisions when heading to the voting polls. Not voting, you say? Well, you’ll be pressured to. You will be walking to class, head buried in your cellphone. Then a stranger in a lime green shirt will say hello, shove a flyer in your hand, and motion you towards the polling station. Then, after the elections close and the results come out, the candidates will announce victory with a 15% voter turnout, the average student union election turnout statistic on this campus. That’s approximately 1,800 of the 12,000 undergraduates at UTM. Then UTMSU will say that students are informed by and engaged in their student union. To preface what I’m about to say, the individuals at the student union are, for the most part, bright and well-meaning students. I have been particularly impressed with this year’s executive. President Chris Thompson set up not one, but two referenda. Yes, one of them failed due to technicalities, but they represented progress nonetheless. When I criticize the union, my opinions are not directed at individuals. My criticism is directed at the institution as a whole. There are overwhelming weaknesses in this year’s election in particular. The editorial team and I have been on campus all week looking for coverage opportunities. I ran into executive
candidates just twice. Then there’s the debate that seems more like a question and answer period. The event, set for Monday at noon, was initially advertised on Facebook on Friday night. With less than 72 hours’ notice, what kind of turnout can UTMSU expect? As of press time, about 250 students are invited and nearly 40 students say they are attending. That neglects only 11,700 other students at UTM. Each year, The Medium covers the debate. If you watch the video from last year, you’ll notice that the few students in the pub looked relatively uninterested and I was virtually the only person stepping up to the microphone. I had an article to write and since no one else was asking the hard questions, it was up to me to clarify the candidates’ claims. Yet on the Facebook event page for this year’s “debate”, last year’s VP equity said that she wishes more students would ask questions, saying that students instead “get upset”. It’s extremely unfortunate and discouraging that the few students who take real interest in our student union and ask informed questions about policies are insultingly dismissed as “getting upset”. That attitude is neither inclusive nor representative of the student population. By the way, your questions will be screened before you head to the microphone. On the event page, I asked why The Medium’s news editor was refused an interview. We set up the interview on Wednesday, and four hours before the interview on Friday, the news editor was informed that the questions had to be screened by the chief returning officer—who is hired by the union to oversee elections. She was about to step into a long meeting and only had time to send three questions and reassured the CRO that all her questions would be germane to the candidates’ platform points. In the interview, she proceeded
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Stefanie Marotta email@example.com
to ask a question that hadn’t been screened by the CRO but was directly related to one of the candidate’s platform points. UTM Connect refused to answer any more questions and brought the interview to an abrupt end. On the Facebook event page, the deputy returning officer—also hired by UTMSU—said that “as per the rules”, interviews are considered promotional material and, based on “past precedence”, need to be screened by the CRO.
It’s extremely unfortunate and discouraging that the few students who take real interest in our student union and ask informed questions about policies are insultingly dismissed as “getting upset”. So I referenced the union’s Elections and Procedures Code. Interviews are not specified as campaign material. As for the alleged precedence, I’ve been taking part in UTMSU elections since 2009. Last year, I interviewed the independent candidate and the CRO did not require that questions be screened and did not categorize the interview as promotional material. The Elections and Procedures Code hasn’t changed, so the rules this year are the same as last year. Regardless, I have yet to receive a response explaining why the candidates refused a legitimate and relevant interview of a member of UTMSU and student of a recognized student organization. I ran for UTMSU three years ago. I had heard the rumours about the
SPORTS EDITOR Isaac Owusu firstname.lastname@example.org
big bad union and, although I felt intimidated, I resolved to run on the socalled opposition slate. Then intimidation took on a new meaning. The yellow slate, UTM Students United, and the blue slate, UTM Renew, both campaigned tirelessly and clocked in hours of work. We all missed classes, skipped meals, and cut back on sleep. The election came down to the way the elections were adjudicated. Each week, we came before the Elections and Referenda Committee, comprising two UTMSU executives, the UTMSU-hired CRO, and a UTMSU director of the board, and listened as our demerit points racked up, bringing us nearer and nearer to disqualification. The other team had been found guilty of the same infractions, but the committee conveniently reduced the number of demerit points for them. At one point, the other team had so many demerit points that they were disqualified from the election. The next morning, the committee reduced their demerits by nearly half and they evaded disqualification. Aside from numerous other occasions where our efforts as the “opposition” team were suppressed, I was personally pulled into the student union office by the current executive director of UTMSU. He tried to convince me not to run. The same was done to the other members of my team. That year, the elections saw the highest voter turnout in the organization’s history, demonstrating that competition and choice promote discussion and participation among the electorate. Why would the union want to discourage that? This is my opinion based on my experience. I’ve approached UTMSU several times this year, encouraging them to write letters to the opinion section to ensure comprehensive coverage that includes diverse voices from UTM’s student body. Along with the news editor, we ensure that
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all parties are contacted to provide balanced information and perspective in all news articles. The Medium is the recorded and published voice of students on campus and will always investigate contentious issues affecting stakeholders. The result, whether positive or negative, relies on the message put forward by the organizations involved and the position of the reader. I recognize that members and volunteers of UTMSU would disagree with me and even accuse me of bias. Regardless, there is a reason that incumbent executives run unopposed every year for some of the highestpaying student jobs on campus. An option you won’t find on the ballot is “abstain”. There will be boxes for “yes” and “no”. As you have probably assumed, I don’t expect to vote yes. But I also won’t vote no. I’ll abstain—an option of which most students are not made aware. I will leave the ballot blank to abstain and demonstrate that I am not “informed” just because someone in a t-shirt shoved a flyer in my face at the last minute. Mr. Noronha is a competent and professional executive, and I am confident he will make progress with important campaigns next year. However, while UTM Connect is quick to take credit for accomplishments achieved by this year’s executive, such as the credit/no credit policy, I have yet to hear about issues such as the failed Student Centre expansion referendum and the replenishment of $140,000 in student money taken from the contingency fund to redeem yet another failed campaign. Without more choices and greater accessibility and transparency from the unopposed slate, I don’t feel confident in the system. yours, Stefanie Marotta Editor-in-chief
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03.25.2013 THE MEDIUM OPINION
Making it through U of T Rejected by Response to “My freak exam schedule” Dear editor, Sami Karaman’s opinion piece (“My freak exam schedule”, March 11) gives an honest and unapologetic criticism of the university’s methods of assessing students’ knowledge through participation grading, including the dreaded iClicker and the 10% participation grade. The author’s imagery, including the conniving Office of the Registrar plotting to destroy the fates of each year’s graduates, is undoubtedly entertaining, but these images are problematic. They derive from the author’s subjective opinions, which have several inaccuracies, and I am here to point them out. Let us talk about assessing class participation. Predominantly used in first-year courses, the iClicker inevitably gives way to cheating. It is a social norm to help that friend who did not do the scheduled readings in the hope that you can rely on him or her in the future, and so it is not a fair way of assessing each student’s grasp of a specific topic. But maybe the purpose of these gadgets is to encourage class attendance, as high school graduates arrive with the knowledge that skipping classes will not result in phone calls to Mom and Dad. Furthermore, these iClickers do get that desired student participation, as we are forced to think and analyze on the spot and deliver an answer. So while as an assessment tool they are inefficient, they encourage (albeit through force) physical and cognitive participation, and can contribute to information retention, which may help with assignments and exams. Then there is that 10% participation grade. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses, and publicly expressing our understanding of the content may not be that strength. What is worse (and I agree here with the piece’s complaint) are the students who do not have that talent either and yet who take pleasure in hearing the sound of their voices. Stating, though, that these “un-shy” students are the ones getting the better grades is false—in one of my tutorials I could not get a word in because of this enthusiastic individual who ultimately received a low participation grade, and I know
that because she told everyone: an unfortunate side effect of verbal diarrhea. I myself have suffered mediocre participation grades, thinking that attendance and quantity over quality were the determinants to high marks. I was very wrong, but I learned from my mistakes. A trending alternative is communication through email. If you are shy, do not hesitate to speak to your professor, as he or she should be completely sympathetic to that request. Participation is not regurgitating, for example, the plot of a novel; it is the ability to take that information, analyze it in accordance to your field’s methodologies, and form opinions on your subject that will only increase your knowledge and aid you in your work. So now to exam scheduling.
While demanding from U of T future exam schedules that are fair is unrealistic, maybe the institution can follow in the steps of Harvard University, which eliminated year-end exams a couple of years ago, and opted for smaller tests throughout the semester—a more effective method. The author of the piece gave a wordy description of each of his exams and his frustration as they occur sequentially within a three-day period. Now listen: I hear you as any student who has come across the week(s) of hell. These conflicting deadlines are not restricted to exam periods and include the consecutive papers and midterms, but once again I highlight thinking in perspective. Yes, you (the author) are forced to start preparing weeks before, and mixing information from different classes is unavoidable, but it is an inescapable reality of being a student, and it could be worse: you could have two exams on the same day. You proclaim the “unfairness” of other stu-
dents having more time to study, but can you not say that you are many times that student who got lucky? The Office of the Registrar does not “roll the dice” in regards to the scheduling; they have an exam team that takes several weeks to create it. Logically, this team wants to create a schedule with the fewest possible conflicts so that the office employees are not faced with hundreds of angry faces demanding solutions. As stated on the university website, UTM has 12,158 undergraduate students, and just this semester there are over 350 exams, so to demand from this university the ability to attend to the needs of every student in hopes of achieving fairness is unrealistic, and conflicts will happen. It sucks getting the short end of the stick, but when we enter university we have to take responsibility and create ways to cope with the stress through structuring our schedule and creating study habits that help us when deadlines loom. While a domestic graduating student, like that author, is nervous about decreasing his GPA and losing his hard-earned money, let him consider my international friend, who currently pays per annum $26,000 for 4.5 credits. When she goes into an exam, she knows that if she performs poorly, about $5,800 is lost. As students, we have the right to complain and feel self-pity, but that wallowing needs to be temporary, as its extension becomes counteractive and threatens our success. Thinking in perspective takes you out of your frame of reference and gets you to consider and analyze your situation in relation to the world around you, which will hopefully lead to action. While demanding from U of T future exam schedules that are fair is unrealistic, maybe the institution can follow in the steps of Harvard University, which eliminated yearend exams a couple of years ago, and opted for smaller tests throughout the semester—a more effective method of knowledge retention, I would say. So take a deep breath, cry a little, and then get to work; summer break is so close you can practically smell it in the air! Well, unless you are taking summer school. Victoria Partyka Fourth year, English
UTM Connect Our news editor’s interview came to abrubt end Dear editor, This past Wednesday, I attempted to set up an interview with the slate running for next year’s UTMSU executive team, UTM Connect. I approached Raymond Noronha, who is running for the position of president, and was told that his team would be able to meet me on Thursday morning for an interview. On Thursday morning, two hours before the interview, I called Raymond to ask him to confirm. He informed me that because three of the candidates on his team, including himself, have class during that hour, we would be unable to hold the interview. I rescheduled for the following afternoon. Three hours before the interview, Raymond messaged me asking me to send him the questions for the interview in advance so that his team could prepare. Also, the CRO needed the questions as well. I was a little confused about why the CRO needed the questions, but because I was in the middle of The Medium’s elections and about to present a speech, I only had time to quickly type out three or four questions and email them to Raymond. When the time for the interview arrived, I met Raymond and his team in the boardroom of the Student Centre. After we’d sat down, I asked Nausheen Adam my first three questions and she responded. Then I asked my fourth question: “You say you want to lobby to improve the amount of services offered at the infobooth. What services would you implement?” She looked over at Raymond. Everyone looked over at Raymond. There was a pause. Then I asked, “What’s going on?” Raymond explained to me that I’d only sent three questions, and that only those three questions had been approved by the CRO, and so I was unable to ask anything but those three questions. I told Raymond that I’d been
unaware that questions needed to be approved by the CRO. I asked if we could proceed with the interview anyway; I’d send the questions to the CRO, and if my questions weren’t approved, then I wouldn’t use their responses for my article. Raymond said they could not answer anything that hadn’t been approved by the CRO.
She looked over at Raymond. Everyone looked over at Raymond. There was a pause. Then I asked, “What’s going on?” I told Raymond that I needed his team to answer my questions because my article on the elections was due before Sunday. It would be in the last print issue of The Medium for the year, and their voices were a crucial part of the article. Raymond said that his team would respond to my questions by midnight, after they’d been approved. A couple of hours after midnight, Raymond sent me a question: “Larissa, sorry, I just got home from an event. Do you still need the responses or are we just going to wait for the all-candidates debate?” I reiterated that the questions needed to be be answered by tomorrow night at the very latest so they could appear in the issue. I finally received their answers the next afternoon, after a long few days of anxiety over whether or not I would actually have any of their answers for the article. All of my questions were germane to the elections, so I have trouble understanding why the slate wasn’t able to answer them, and I truly hope this doesn’t happen again in the future. Larissa Ho News editor
Welcome to next year New editor-in-chief looks ahead Hi, everyone. I’m Luke, a senior linguistics and French student, and next year’s editor-in-chief. My background at the paper is three years of copy-editing and two of writing Luke’s Languages, a features column in which I talk casually about linguistics. I have worked under three excellent editors-in-chief: Saaliha Malik, Michael Di Leo, and Stefanie Marotta. Every year, I’ve seen the quality of the paper improve under their leadership. Although I come to the position with quite a different set of competences, I hope to build on their work. I am particularly glad for our independence from other organizations, which these editors have used
to take stances not represented on other people’s posters, encouraging an exciting amount of editorial response from the campus. The relationship of a good editorin-chief to the editing team is reciprocal. Without the talent of the editors, associates, and writers, the leadership afforded by this position would be useless. There are many in this bunch with whom I will be proud to work. Till then, I think it’s about time we all took a break from everything school-related. So have a good summer!s Luke Sawczak Copy editor
» OPINION THE MEDIUM 03.25.2013
Poor form passing the motion UTMSU should not debate foreign policy issues like Israel and Palestine In last week’s edition of The Medium, Yasmine Youssef, VP equity of the UTM Students’ Union, defended the union’s position to endorse a motion of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel (“When to choose a side”, March 18). The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is both complex and emotional. But for BDS proponents, the goal seems to be tearing down Israel rather than supporting Palestine. Instead of seeking peace through dialogue and negotiation, BDS singles out residents of the only liberal democracy in the Middle East—Israel—for economic punishment. I find it rather hypocritical that Ms. Youssef uses the UTMSU constitution to defend the union’s decision. That very same document includes a mission statement that aims “to safeguard the individual right of the student, regardless of race, colour, creed, sex, nationality, place of origin, or personal or political beliefs”. By passing a boycott motion, the union is clearly in contradiction of its own mandate and in violation of this most basic principle. A boycott of Israelis represents nothing less than discrimination against Israeli academics and students on the basis of national origin. The very idea that individuals should be blacklisted because of the decisions of their government is fundamentally offensive. Can you imagine a boycott of American scholars during the Iraq War in protest of the policies of George Bush? Or to put it another way, can you imagine Canadian academics being boycotted on European campuses simply because our government has sent troops
to Afghanistan? This sort of nasty, counterproductive, and discriminatory approach is exactly what underscores efforts to single out Israelis for boycott. This includes those Israelis who have spent their lives advocating for peace, who would likewise find themselves blacklisted by a misguided student government on our own campus.
It is unacceptable that they failed to provide any notice of the meeting or provide a meeting agenda. A minimal standard of accountability holds that the board of directors must not be allowed to act in secrecy outside of the watch of the student body. The vast majority of students expect the students’ union to deal with actual student issues like tuition fees, student services, and the quality of campus life. It is downright bizarre that students’ union meetings would come to resemble a debate club that has delved into the Middle East conflict. How is this in any way consistent with the union’s mandate to represent all students? And shouldn’t such debates take place on campus—in shared spaces, classrooms, and elsewhere—but have no place in a body tasked with advancing our collective stu-
dent interests? Perhaps the most serious issue that has not been mentioned in the pages of The Medium is that there was no notice given that a meeting of the board of directors (where the BDS motion passed) was even taking place. It is unacceptable that they failed to provide any notice of the meeting or provide a meeting agenda. A minimal standard of accountability holds that the board of directors must not be allowed to act in secrecy outside of the watch of the student body. This motion was not passed at an annual general meeting where all voices can be heard, but at a meeting where only a miniscule number of representatives are present. There was no opportunity to voice an alternative viewpoint to those of antiIsrael activists, demonstrating an inability or disinterest on the part of the union in reflecting a diversity of student opinion. For Jewish and pro-Israel students, the failure of the union to appreciate the complexity of this issue and the impact of a boycott of Israelis is deeply alarming. It is critical that members of this students’ union not allow our student government to be misused in such a reckless manner. I urge my fellow students who care about openness and good governance to tell union representatives that we expect our student government to spend its time—and our hardearned student fees—advancing the interests of all students rather than debating divisive foreign policy issues. Stan Fedun Fourth year, political science
Yellow and green dynasty Looking behind the curtains of the election “Vote [insert name], vote UTM [insert keyword],” reads the campaign material that pollutes my Facebook newsfeed. I smile. Before you and I were students on this campus, there was Yellow, and Yellow decided it liked the then newly built Student Centre way too much to ever let go. Yellow was clever, to say the least: it built a team of students with strong political interest. If this was Greek mythology, then these early student leaders were gods. To be fair, they worked tirelessly and hard and the efforts showed. The turnout to most events was consistent—this was before the days of social media— and strong. Yellow prided itself on having built this from nothing. However, as with all things, change happened. Yellow, however, only liked the change that it brought about, so it sought to resist the rest. It was easy in the beginning, really. The only opposition would come from students who had no track record in student politics and were comfortably walked over by Yellow and its team. However, Yellow anticipated competition in the future, so it sought to squash it prematurely. This gave birth to the caucus. The caucus was an informal group consisting of student group leaders with the most outreach to the student body. The caucus decided to screen their candidates and put them through an interview before the nomination period to achieve two things: it ensured the strongest candidates made it through and let the losing candidates know that they would face a monumental task in gathering votes. Before the nomination period had even begun, teams were decided, campaign materials were published, and the race was effectively over. There was some discontent, but it was always kept internal. Yellow preached family and ties and any problems were nipped in the bud. Yellow also sought to befriend the loudest frosh leaders, the first-year students with aims of changing the world, and the previous executives. However, gradually, there was a decline in the quality of the executives and Yellow thrived on exercising control. It was Yellow’s master plan and it was proud of it. In 2009, two things happened that upset Yellow: a former executive joined The Medium, and a group of students on the union’s board of directors showed their intentions by coordinating a failure to approve the agenda for a board meeting because agendas had been sent out the night before at 4 a.m. Yellow had been around long enough to know this would be an ugly year. It did not foresee how dirty it would get. Hacked emails, malicious slander, threatening phone calls, and tense faceoffs ensued. The campus bled. There was Yellow and there was Blue. Students were legitimately confused. Blue was made up of the same people
that had worked with Yellow. However, Yellow’s experience shone. It manoeuvered Yellow to a strong victory. The meeting to ratify the results was the highest-attended meeting of possibly all time—hell, it was even videotaped. Words flew and the board voted in favour of ratifying the results. Yellow had successfully managed to ridicule and alienate Blue.
The arrest of a UTSU executive for the Gardiner protest in 2009. UTMSU introduced a motion to successfully donate our student money towards the legal fund to fight the case for the said executive. It would not have happened under a different regime. In the grander scheme of things, it squashed any competition for the foreseeable future. Yellow had won just like it did many years ago and has enjoyed a peaceful term since. Any time talk of a competition is brought up, people talk about Blue and think twice. Yellow, in all likelihood, will still be there when you are done with this campus. “Why?” I hear you ask. I don’t know for sure, but I can certainly refer to select past events to shed some light on potential reasons. The arrest of a UTSU executive for the Gardiner protest in 2009. UTMSU introduced a motion to successfully donate our student money towards the legal fund to fight the case for the said executive. It would not have happened under a different regime. The donations UTMSU made to the Canadian Arab Foundation “in solidarity”. The chair for the board in 2009 was closely involved with CAF. The presence of Canadian Federation of Students campaigners at UTM to campaign against Blue. It’s like me coming to your house and telling you whether to side with your mom or dad in case of a disagreement. The caucus, a group of individuals deciding a team before the nomination period and making every effort to keep this off the record. Any time anyone is comfortable taking an action that affects the public but would like to keep it off the record sets warning bells ringing in my mind. That’s just a few that jump to mind. I would say I’ll let you decide for yourselves in this upcoming election period, but only 5% of you can think for yourselves anyways. Till next time. Nabeel Jafri UTM alumnus
Editor » Colleen Munro
Striking an original chord UTM Music Club celebrates the launch of their new album of student-penned music MARIA CRUZ STAFF WRITER After planning the project for over a year, the UTM Music Club released an album of original songs by UTM students and held a launch concert last Tuesday. Almost all of the artists were present to perform the pieces they recorded for the CD, titled The Original Chords. The atmosphere in the MiST Theatre was a cozy, welcoming one. Lights were wrapped around the railings around the seats and the stage was strewn with guitars and speakers. The small theatre was perfect for the intimate evening of great music from talented students. Throughout the night, the audience cheered on and applauded the performers, who played and sang to the best of their ability—especially after the hosts announced that there was an independent record label representative in the crowd. The night also included a raffle for an iPad Mini. The hosts informed the audience that all proceeds from the sales of raffle tickets and CDs would be donated to Canadian Music Therapy, a charity that helps disabled people of all ages learn adaptive skills through music. The hosts gave the example of a boy born with polio who learned to use crutches and a wheelchair through music therapy; he eventually became a rapper and has since worked with Eminem. The first performance was given by Nicholas Calismo, the winner of the online covers contest that UMC held last month. Calismo covered several songs on solo electric guitar and controlled his own mix from his iPad. Several members of the audience could be seen videotaping the impressive performance. Next, Sophia Bustos, also known as Selah, performed her original song “Losing My Heart”, accompanied on piano by Vinh Nguyen, also known as Lasersharp. Bustos is no stranger to the music scene, having been spotted late last year at the EDSS open mic night. Vinh later performed his own solo piano piece, “Eclipse”. He seemed nervous, but he had absolutely no reason to be—in fact, he wowed the crowd with his talent. He was not the only pianist there; Luke Sawczak also performed a reflective piece called “Late Afternoon”. Michael McTavish was one of the many performers who explained his song’s background and meaning by way of introduc-
MARIAM AHMED/THE MEDIUM
Sophia Bustos and Vinh Nguyen perform “Losing My Heart” at the launch of The Original Chords. tion. “Near and Far Shores” was about a canoe trip gone wrong, he said, and about deciding whether to give up or press on in hard times. The message of the song and the humour of its origin made it even more enjoyable. Jason Summers, also known as Punch Face Champion, shared with the audience that all the names of his songs are lines from sitcoms. Because of my extraordinary skills as a TV-watching couch potato, I recognized this one from Friends. Summers’ song, “Oh Dear God, This Parachute is a Backpack”, matched the high energy of his very entertaining performance. Andrew Wilson, who played a month ago at UTM’s Got Talent with his band Northern Souls, performed solo this evening with his song “Here on Earth”. He described the song cryptically as “about a tree” and cheekily encouraged the audience to “buy the CD if you want to know more”. Several of the songs were based on breakups and broken relationships. Joe Measures confided that he had not played “How Long”, with its intricate fingerpicking, since June 2012—that is, not solo. The song was about relationships, as he put it, “because music”. Danny Lwin played another notable song about “unresolved things after a relationship ends”, called “Rain, Rain”. The energetic band Nebula took the stage for the second-
last performance of the evening. Nebula told the crowd that their song, “Last Time”, was “like a newborn— not quite mature yet”. They also warned, “It’s really sad, so don’t get pumped about it.” But this didn’t stop the audience and the hosts from voicing their appreciation.
Professor Dax Urbszat concluded the evening with a song called “The Song that’ll Change the Word”, inspired by a lucid dream he had. After the applause, the hosts presented the raffle winner iPad Mini. Perhaps because some ticket buyers didn’t actually attend, the hosts had to read out
three ticket numbers before an ecstatic member of the audience came up to claim her prize. After the show, I caught up with UMC’s president, Nilabjo Banerjee, to ask him why he thinks it’s important that students have this platform to share their music. “Because on this campus, since there is no music program other than us and ArtsFest—which happens once a year—there’s no other avenue for musicians to showcase original talent,” he pointed out. “Most of it is limited to, say, cultural clubs.” He also stressed the importance of representing diverse musical styles. “When people come to our events, most of the performers tend to be typical guitar and vocals or keyboard and vocals, and we kind of give off the image that that’s what we cater to. But we want to open it up so that people don’t feel they’re restricted,” he said. “We want to encourage anyone that plays anything or sings anything to come to our events.” With gala dinners to raise money for United Way, jam sessions every Friday, and open mic nights once or twice a month, the Music Club has had a busy year promoting UTM’s musical talent. At the time of writing, there are still some copies of The Original Chords available for purchase through UMC’s Facebook page.
«ARTS THE MEDIUM 03.25.2013
UTM Arts Festival draws a crowd Diverse student performers thrill a packed audience in the MiST Theatre SONIA DHALIWAL STAFF WRITER Perhaps the best thing about art is that we all do it. It’s something that binds us all together. “Wait,” you might say. “I’m not an artist! I don’t paint or write songs.” But maybe you doodle in your notebook when you’re extra bored. Maybe you do fantastic solos in the shower, or have a way with the written word. Not everyone views themselves as an artist, but UTM’s Artistic Resource Team believes that every student, regardless of academic background, deserves an opportunity to come into that role. The annual UTM Arts Festival, a visual art exhibition and performance showcase, provides them with a venue to display and even sell their art. “If anyone is interested in buying the art they see, they can let us know, and we’ll pass their request on to the artist,” said Christopher Lengyell, one of the event organizers. In addition to hosting ArtsFest, ART offers programs to UTM students to nurture their artistic talents and pursue potential interests, offers volunteer and Work-Study positions, and organizes excursions, including art gallery tours in downtown Toronto. ART set up the first part of ArtsFest, the visual art exhibition, just outside the MiST Theatre on Wednesday evening. Anyone passing through CCT could see the exhibit spread out on tables, leaning up against banisters, and even sit-
ALBERTO BECCERA/THE MEDIUM
The UTM Dance Team entertained the crowd at ArtsFest during intermission. ting on benches. I loved the use of lots of beautiful colours in Zack Honey’s oil on canvas piece, “Agrophobia”. A sculpture entitled “Wednesday” by Shonise Douglas was made simply from wires, feather, and wood, yet the delicate placing of each feather brought the entire sculpture together to create a beautiful set of wings. Daniel Deus also displayed several of his pieces, all done in acrylic on masking tape. The masking tape gave a plaid background to each painting, a beautiful texture that complemented the subjects; images
of flannel shirts and contemporary architecture added even more lines to the pieces. A little before 8 p.m., the exhibit viewers began filing into the MiST Theatre for the performances. The judges of the show were Juliana Zalucky (the exhibition coordinator of the Blackwood Gallery), Jenna Menzies (a UTM staff member), Marguerite Sookoor (a UTM alumna), and Dax Urbszat (a UTM professor who performs at various campus music events). The show was hosted by Daniel Altman, a senior at UTM.
Act one was packed with cover songs to get the crowd pumped by music they could sing along to. The show started with an opening performance from Urbszat, and then Ronny ElShabassy and Joe Measures (known together as YallaYalla) took to the stage with a cover of Local Natives’ “Who Knows Who Cares”. More covers followed by the Trace, Aaron Schaefer, and Sara Peters. Jason Summers performed an original song called “Jimeny Jilikers Radioactive Man”, and there were dance performances as well. GG Squad did a breakdancing rou-
tine, and Courtney Keir performed a dance called “On/Off ”. There was even a dramatic reading from the Judith Thompson play Such Creatures by second-year theatre and drama student Kate Cattell-Daniels. During the intermission, the UTM Dance Team gave a preview of their performance at the U of T Festival of Dance and offered a contemporary jazz fusion piece called “Aretha”, choreographed by Ali Lefcoe. The music for the piece was a medley of three songs by Aretha Franklin, each representing a different stage of a relationship. Act two began with a campus favourite: Northern Souls. The boys recently performed at UTM’s Got Talent and UTM’s annual Science Formal. They performed an original song called “Down on Canoe Lake”. The audience enjoyed more covers from Ram Jam, Jordyn Stewart and Daniel Deus, Matthew Butler, and Brittany Miranda. Alex Tkachuk gave a dramatic reading of his poems “I Can’t Find the Spot” and “The Finches”, and Luke Sawczak performed an original solo piano song called “Three Swans”. The truth is, art isn’t limited to painting or singing. Whether you wrestle with drawing, piecing together, constructing, or whatever else might merit the name of art, you have the opportunity to share your work on campus, thanks to organizations like ART and the flourishing artists of the UTM community.
UTM Dance Team shines downtown U of T Festival of Dance highlights a diversity of styles at Hart House ARISTOTLE ELIOPOULOS ASSOCIATE A&E EDITOR
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Hart House Theatre presented its 18th annual two-day Festival of Dance last Friday and Saturday nights. According to the playbill, the festival celebrates “the diversity and prosperity of the U of T dance community”. With Melanie Mastronardi returning as festival director for the two-day event, the show saw some thematic changes that made the night more cohesive. Rather than focusing on the differences between the dancers and the dances, the performances were divided into five categories—passion, frolic, strength, celebration, and mystery—that illustrated a variety of emotion rather than style. The show opened with our own UTM Dance Team performing a routine on the theme of passion. Although the team started the show with a rocky routine to Linkin Park’s “Numb” that felt underrehearsed, they later redeemed themselves, returning to the stage several times on Friday night much improved. Some of the highlights of these later performances were a solo dance by Courtney Keir inspired by the restart and shutdown sounds of Windows XP, a playful Aretha Franklin tribute, and a dance to the Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling” for which the dancers showed off their gold glitter sarongs,
high kicks, and even higher ponytails. The UT Fo’Real hip-hop dance crew delighted the crowd with more than 30 different dancers on the stage and an R&B medley featuring the songs of Miguel and Chris Brown— an impressive performance given the number of people on stage. “I really thought it was a standout performance,” said audience member Matt Leung after the show. Another standout from the night, and my personal favourite, was by Masaki Maruyama, Ryo Matsuzawa, and Narumi Joyful Sugimura of the Cast Dance Company. The soundtrack ranged from Daft Punk’s “Technologic” to “The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, but did so without of any traditional music accompaniment. The trio danced through the electric mix performed solely by one their members beatboxing and throat singing. It was a highly original performance that helped the show balance the excessive high kicks, power arms, and floor rolls that can sometimes overpower a festival of this nature. The festival organizers also allowed the show to explore the spiritual and cultural side of dance in several of the routines. This included an elegant and mesmerizing traditional Indian dance by Rugveda Gawade. The skillful dance commanded full attention and put out some intense energy to the music of Bhool Bhulaiya.
The other cultural dances included a traditional Chinese dance by Only Human Dance Collective to Tarkan’s “Kiss Kiss”, a dance by the Russian Student Association Dance Ensemble that would’ve delighted Baryshnikov, and a dance by the Egyptian Dance Academy that married belly dancing with ballet. While all the dancers demonstrated a high level of skill, some also modelled their favourite fashion trends. This included YYZ Dance Company, whose dancers seemed delighted to wear their new Topshopstyled outfits of bomber jackets and denim, Vic Dance Company’s routine to the Black Keys, which felt like a commercial for Gap, and MY Soul Dance Crew, who stripped off their power blazers in the middle of their sultry Britney Spears routine to reveal hot shorts and hair flips—to the glee of their supporters sitting in the row in front of me. The Friday festival night concluded with many of the performers in the different dance troupes joining each other on stage—and even the aisles of the theatre—for a final routine. The collaborative dance cemented the festival’s emphasis on community and allowed the diverse performers to get the audience moving. “I might go home and finish my essay tonight just so I can go to tomorrow’s performance,” said Caitlin Young, leaving with a group of friends. “I really enjoyed it.”
03.25.2013 THE MEDIUM A&E
Double-crossed at the Blackwood First of two art and art history graduate exhibitions opens at the Blackwood Gallery ANDREEA MIHAI The Blackwood Gallery is currently holding the first of two art and art history graduate exhibitions together called “Double Crossing”. The first exhibition held its opening reception on March 20 and will run until March 31. The second exhibition will open April 3 and run until April 14. The exhibitions are also on display in the e-gallery. Visible from outside the Blackwood Gallery is Alison Siobhan’s multimedia piece “From the Past into the Future”. Made of chicken wire and braided fleece, it bears a slight resemblance to the head of an elephant. In her artist statement, Siobhan talks about how the symbol of the elephant fascinates her, specifically its association with family, memory, strength, and wisdom. She says she chose the medium of braided fleece because it connects her to her mother and grandmother. In contrasting manufactured metal wiring with braided fleece, the artist puts the focus on the handmade and the duality of experience and memory. Another beautiful piece is Crystal Rosbrook’s acrylic on canvas titled “Windows to Look Through”. In her statement, she says her painting is part of a series in which she tries to blur the lines between religious and secular places of worship. She comments on how the
KATHLEEN CHAVEZ/THE MEDIUM
The first half of UTM Art and Art History’s graduating class display their work in “Double Crossing”. dark spots contrast with the light, the black representing the parts of a person’s character that are not yet clear to them. Tanya Petrina’s “Reflection”, made of wood, acrylic, watercolour, and pencil crayon, reflects her passion for the natural environ-
ment by composing a new landscape in different media. She says her inspiration came from looking at photos of a recent visit to Croatia, and from how the mismatched pieces of painted wood on the reflective surface recall the jagged reflection of land in water.
On display in the e-gallery is Anthony Bellavia’s “Frank”, a mixedmedia piece showing a mummy made of foam sitting in an old armchair. Bellavia says he has always been captivated by monsters and horror movies and he uses his artwork to explore how experiences
change based on how things and people are perceived, particularly in their physical appearance. Also in the e-gallery is Katherine Salgo’s moleskin sketchbook, displayed on wooden platforms. The piece, entitled “Strangers in Transit”, is made up of quick sketches in graphite Salgo took of people sitting still on buses. In her comments on her process, she writes that she only sketched what she could see and stopped once the passengers got off the bus, giving her sketches their unfinished but whimsical look. The other artists featured in the first exhibition are Anita Bir, Karly Boileau, Taylor Bosada, Siobhan Burbidge, Frances Cordero de Bolanos, Daniel Deus, Rebecca D’Onofrio, Hanna Grunow-Harsta, Dorothea Hines, Zack Honey, Li Fan Huang, Olga Klosowski, Adriana Lychacz, Melissa Moss, Stacy Ng, Kirsten Parry, and Elizaveta Semechko. The artists in the second exhibition are Diana Angelescu, Lauren Baker, Samantha Banyard, Bethany Bosma, Sabrina Brown, Emily Cadger, Natalie Chung, Erin Doane, Kara Firth, Danya Gamelin, Liz Gibbs, Stephanie Hagendorn, Amand Inglis, Ebony Jansen, Alexandra Khosravi, Ming Lau, AnnaLiisa Ollila, Lesley Savoie, Melina Sevilla, Ashely St. Pierre, and Mackenzie Veldboom.
«ARTS THE MEDIUM 03.25.2013
Reducing stigma through humour Mental Health Comedy/Variety Night takes a lighthearted approach to a serious issue ANDREEA MUSULAN Burst Your Bubble collaborated with the Ministries of Equity and Student Life to host the Mental Health Comedy/Variety Night in the Blind Duck last Thursday. The groups hoped to work towards removing the stigma of mental illness through the event, and donated the proceeds to Children’s Mental Health Ontario. The first half of the night was a round of comedic performances hosted by Allan Strong, a selfproclaimed expert on “how to win friends and influence your other personalities”, and his personal flair permeated each introduction. The comedy group that performed was part of the organization Stand Up for Mental Health, which works to raise awareness and money for the mental health cause through comedy and unravel the myths and stigma surrounding mental disorders. All of the routines were based on the performers’ experiences with their own mental health.
AYMAN KHAN/THE MEDIUM
A comedy group from Stand Up for Mental Health performed at last week’s Comedy/Variety Night. Many people live with mental disorders every day, but many don’t seek help because of embarrassment or denial. The comedians alleviated this embarrassment by drawing on the humorous tendencies of their disorders. The
first comedian, Marcie Gray, was a recovering agoraphobic, with anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Agoraphobia is the excessive fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas. Just climbing up
on stage and performing in front of a large crowd must have been daunting for Gray, but she said that medication helps her deal with the anxiety of agoraphobia. “Is that a bottle of Prozac in your pants, or are you genuinely happy
to see me?” Gray joked. All of the comedians referred to their dependencies and tendencies, rather than “symptoms”, to explain how ridiculous their behaviour could be. The second half of the night was dedicated to the contributions of UTM students to mental health awareness. Style and Profyle performed a jazzy dance called “Circus”, whose orderly yet playful choreography seemed to tap into the same humour the comedians had displayed. Ace Ting, who was the winner of this year’s UTM’s Got Talent, played to a fantastic toe-tapping rhythm with elastic melodic precision to conclude the performances. Raising awareness of mental disorders requires changing the way society sees people with mental disorders, as well as changing the way these people see themselves. With the participation of UTM students and organizations that understand this need, the Mental Health Comedy/Variety Night reached its audience.
Adapting to a new musical landscape Justin Timberlake and the Strokes return with two of spring’s most anticipated albums COLLEEN MUNRO A&E EDITOR Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience After appearing in several movies (including The Social Network) and a string of well-received SNL hosting appearances, ex-boybander Justin Timberlake returned to his musical roots with the release of his first album in seven years, The 20/20 Experience, last week. And the simple question on every blogger’s fingertips is the same: is it worth the wait? From his performance at the Grammys to the promo material to the album cover, it’s clear that Timberlake is actively crafting a more suave image for himself and, as you might expect, the music on the album matches. It’s not a huge leap from his previous efforts, but Timberlake’s musical style has certainly matured. The 20/20 Experience is a cohesive and meticulously crafted collection of above-average pop songs. But there’s one catch: in most cases, they aren’t really pop songs. From the eight-minute opening track, the groove-heavy “Pusher Love Girl”, it becomes clear that Timberlake is more interested in building atmosphere than offering easily digestible hooks. Impressively, though, this 70-minute album largely avoids self-indulgence and Timberlake’s solid songwriting and strong pop sensibilities allow 20/20 to eschew the hit-based formula of many pop albums while still remaining entirely accessible. One of 20/20’s catchier offerings is its second single, “Mirrors”, which, like many of Timbelake’s best tracks, offers a mixture of earnest introspection and delicious bombast that few other artists could pull off. Timberlake is not exactly a master wordsmith (see the somewhat
Can the Strokes live up to their past success with their latest album, Comedown Machine? cringe-inducing sexual innuendo of “Strawberry Bubblegum”), yet the obvious motifs of reflection and doubling on “Mirrors” perfectly suit the track’s kaleidoscopic musical ambition. Timberlake has one more trick up his sleeve with the album’s final track, the plaintive “Blue Ocean Floor”. In this restrained ballad, the subtle accompaniment—piano and string flourishes, woozy percussion, and what sounds like the breathing of a respirator—never distracts, and after everything is stripped back, Timberlake’s voice is front and centre. Calling to mind the likes of Kanye West, it’s a song that doesn’t push or try too many things at once; it may be Timberlake’s loveliest song to date. Granted, Timberlake’s neo-soul approach isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Current artists like Robin Thicke and even Bruno Mars have explored a similar retro sound. But Timber-
lake does have an undeniably distinct voice, and with coproducers Timbaland and Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon, Timberlake seems to have finally carved the perfect groove for himself as a solo artist. Combining the lighter R&B stylings of his debut, 2002’s Justified, with the earnest soulfulness of 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, The 20/20 Experience expands on his earlier promise and adds a heavy dash of nostalgia, resulting in a fully realized, slick mix of styles. MMMM The Strokes Comedown Machine After apparently setting the bar far too high with their debut album, 2000’s Is This It, each new album from the Strokes has seen diminishing returns in terms of praise from fans and critics. In fact, Julian Casablancas’ appearance in the Lonely Island’s “Boombox” sketch may be
the most universally liked thing that anyone in the band has done in over a decade. After receiving a mixed critical response to the release of 2011’s Angles, the Strokes have now returned with their fifth studio album, Comedown Machine. Angles found the band heading in a new direction. It provided many dynamic moments with tracks like “Under Cover of Darkness” and “Taken for a Fool” and proved that the five-year break between albums served the band well. By contrast, while still aiming for innovation, Comedown Machine feels like a limp, low-energy rehashing of what listeners can easily find on the band’s previous albums. The opening track, “Tap Out”, begins with a discordant guitar screech before quickly transitioning into a repetitive mid-tempo synth riff, and that little prelude just about sums up the whole album. Too often, it seems like the band
relies on “quirky” instrumentation and stylistic tics to stand in for the subpar songwriting. Tracks like the jaunty “One Way Trigger” find them borrowing from ’80s new wave acts like a-ha to underwhelming effect. Casablancas misguidedly embraces a thin falsetto whine for much of this song (and far too frequently elsewhere on the album, too) and the natural grit of his voice is largely absent. The Strokes have always been a band driven by simple yet infectious melodies, so to see them release such a tuneless, middling song is surprising. Of course, Comedown Machine isn’t without its bright spots. “All the Time” is one of the few that Casablancas sings with any real conviction, and the bouncy guitar accompaniment propels the song along in true Strokes fashion. As well, the album’s second-last track, “Happy Ending”, feels like a better reworking of “One Way Trigger”, and offers one of the album’s few lasting hooks. However, a handful of engaging songs does not compensate for the several bland, midtempo offerings that never amount to much, like “Slow Animals” or the murky album closer, “Call It Fate, Call it Karma”. A number of Comedown Machine’s tracks feel like someone blended Is This It-era Strokes with a Phoenix or Arctic Monkeys outtake and broadcast the resulting gloop through a transistor radio. Ultimately, it seems like the Strokes have struggled to adapt to an indie world becoming more and more influenced by electronic music and increasingly less interested in the garage-rock revival that the Strokes spearheaded around the turn of the millennium. Comedown Machine suggests that the Strokes are settling for becoming the second-rate version of the bands they once inspired. MM
Editor » Carine Abouseif
Pressure on the International Centre Newly enforced act will restrict the services the IC can offer, but may shorten lineups JAI SANGHA ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR UTM’s International Centre recently updated their services to comply with Bill C-35, which allows only authorized representatives from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to give immigration advice to students regarding study permits, off-campus work permits, and postgraduation work permits, among other things. The change is significant, since the primary role of the IC since its inception in 2010/11 has been to offer CIC-related advice to students. Before the IC, UTM students had to go to the Centre for International Experience at the St. George campus to get immigration help. In the 2010/11 academic year, the IC was piloted at UTM by a single staff member, Stacey Platt, then an advisor at the International Students Centre at U of T Scarborough. The IC planned to provide CIC advice and information on study abroad programs to students at UTM. In its first year, the IC held 361 CIC and 47 study abroad advising sessions. An advising session is
KATHLEEN CHAVEZ/THE MEDIUM
Students line up at the International Centre. a private hour-long meeting with a staff member. The IC’s budget is supported by both student tuition and central funding. In 2011/12 academic year, the office continued with only Platt, but held 744 CIC and 96 study abroad advising sessions. The use of the service had more than doubled. In summer 2012, Joanna Mackie, a former recruiter at the University
of British Columbia, was added to the IC staff and the office was moved to a bigger space in which both Platt and Mackie had private offices for advising. The office also launched a drop-in advising slot to accommodate more students. By the end of fall 2012, the office had already held 586 CIC sessions, 112 study abroad sessions, and 278 drop-in advising sessions—an increase in one semes-
ter to 116% of the service in the entire previous year. There is a lot of overlap in the work Platt and Mackie do; almost 75% of it is CIC advising. The rest of the time, Platt focuses on study abroad advising while Mackie focuses more on internationalLIFE, a peer support transition program for first-year international students.
In 2012, international students represented 22.3% of the total undergraduate enrolment. This is projected to reach 25% of the total by 2014. Currently, the IC at UTM has one advisor for every 1,000 international students. Other universities, like UTSC and the Okanagan campus of UBC, enroll a similar number of students but allocate one advisor for every 300 international students. To ease some of the pressure, the staff at the IC, along with Dale Mullings, UTM’s director of residence and student life, proposed increasing the IC’s budget to accommodate one additional staff member. The new staff member would develop online content, assist with the internationalLIFE program, and do more drop-in advising. The proposal was voted down at a recent meeting of Quality Service to Students. Many students see the IC as a place only for international students, but it’s also a place for “internationally minded” students who want to study abroad, according to Mullings. IC continued on page 13
Out in the fields
Students travel to Mexico for fieldwork in an environment course JAI SANGHA ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR The best course I’ve taken at UTM didn’t happen at UTM. I travelled to Mexico in August 2010 for ENV331: “International Environmental Sustainability—Mexico”, a field course for which we studied the Lake Zapotlan basin. I was one of 11 students to go to the lake near the city of Ciudad Guzmán that year, about an hour and half south of Guadalajara by car. The lake was the location for the water sports of the 2011 Pan-American Games. I met with the other UTM students at Pearson in the morning of the early August day on which we left for Guadalajara. I only knew a few of them when we took off, but by the end of the two weeks of living and staying together, we had developed a strong bond. ENV331 is a half-credit fall course with fieldwork in August and analysis and presentations during the semester. This year, the tuition for the course is $1,500, with a heavily subsidized travel cost. Part of the course was a week of fieldwork in Mexico alongside students from the University of Guadalajara’s Centro Universitario del Sur (CUSUR) campus in Ciudad Guzmán. The lake is wedged between the sister cities of Guzmán and Gómez Farías, and is overlooked by hills and
Nevado de Colima, an inactive volcano. Harvey Shear, a professor in UTM’s geography department, proposed the course in 2006 to Brian Branfireun, then acting chair of the department. The course was offered for the first time in 2008 after an agreement was signed between the University of Guadalajara and UTM. Shear is also the instructor, and travels to Mexico with the students.
In the interview, Shear asked me about my background and how it would be helpful to the work in Mexico, what I wanted to gain from this course, and my level of comfort working in team environments. On the trip, Shear spoke in Spanish to help us exchange currency, translated conversations between us and our driver, and explained menu items to us. We stayed at a forestry centre during our time in Ciudad Guzmán, and at a hotel during our break week in Guadalajara. As part of the application process, students in third year apply with a statement of interest, a list of relevant
experience, and an interview with Shear. Students from any program can apply, but the hands-on experience is particularly relevant to the theory in environmental science, geography, biology, chemistry, and economics programs, according to Shear. In the interview, Shear asked me about my background and how it would be helpful to the work in Mexico, what I wanted to gain from this course, and my level of comfort working in team environments. The course has two components: a socioeconomic component involving the social, cultural, and economic aspects of the basin, and a fieldwork component involving analyzing the lake’s water quality, pollution sources, and fish populations, and understanding the process of sewage treatment at a nearby plant. Our group took and analyzed samples of the water from the treatment plant whose output went into the lake to see how pure it was, went by boat to different parts of the lake to take and analyze samples to see how pollution levels had increased, dissected the two major types of fish in the lake to see how the pollution had affected their reproductive organs, and interviewed fishermen to understand how smaller fish populations had affected economic activity around the lake. Fieldwork continued on page 12
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FEATURES THE MEDIUM 03.25.2013
LUKE SAWCZAK COPY EDITOR Hey, everyone. It is now endgame, and frankly I’m impressed you’re still taking time to read a newspaper at this point in the semester (and flattered that you chose this article). When I started this column two Septembers ago, my first piece was on prescriptivism versus descriptivism. Prescriptivism is essentially the belief that some language is better than other language. It comes with a pack of related beliefs: that certain forms of language are purer, more correct, more grammatical, more logical, more efficient at communicating, more beautiful, more advisable. Descriptivism, on the other hand, is the campaign to neutrally describe and analyze all language, whatever its status. Which is the philosophy of a linguist? By now, you can probably recognize that it’s descriptivism. Linguistics is not—contrary to the answers high school students give for why they’re enrolling in LIN100—the pursuit of the “best” language. It’s the scientific study of language without gradation. In order to understand why prescriptivism is of little help here, you need to be disabused of a number of myths, many of which I’ve talked about in this series. But now I’ll be explicit. Here are a few facts that lead to that realization: As far as can be told by human behaviour, no language is on the whole more effective at communicating (although the concepts a language most handily addresses may vary) or more capable of logical relation. The perception of linguistic beauty is highly subjective according to which
language you speak. All languages have a grammar, in that they all have regular structure, correct and incorrect utterances, patterns of sounds, words, discourse, and more. What is alleged to be linguistically pure is proportional to social prestige, be it the respect of eldership, wealth, nobility, or simple popularity. Not only conventions (of which punctuation is particularly variable) constantly undergo change, and acceptability is largely determined by arbitrary regulation. As for advisability, here’s an illustration. I volunteer at a Sunday school, and one day we were doing a trust exercise where one child led another, blindfolded, around obstacles. When a group came to a place where they had to limbo, the leader said, “Duck… okay, now unduck!” Curious about the child’s innovation, I asked another child later whether he thought “unduck” was a word, and he said no. He’s right in that you won’t find it in a dictionary. The average language purist probably takes this as a sign of the carelessness of parents raising their children and the lack of education. But this is perfect nonsense. All of their “careful” language came about in the same way. I find this particular child’s innovation genius because it demonstrates the arbitrariness of our rules: we all understand exactly what “unduck” means. Even the kid who said it wasn’t a word suggested some synonyms for me. But for purely nonlinguistic reasons, we deem it unacceptable. Yep, a good linguist is firmly descriptivist—just fascinated by the patterns and explanations of language, not preoccupied with what it “should” be.
Okay. Now look at the title under my name at the top of this article: “copy editor”. The job of a copy editor is to fix mistakes in the article, to bring the language in line with the standard. I am paid to identify that the phrases “they wont play their best”, “instill participation”, and “a third year student” are all wrong and need to be corrected. That’s pure prescriptivism. And I’m very emotionally attached to it, thank you very much.
Linguistics is not— contrary to the answers high school students give for why they’re enrolling in LIN100— the pursuit of the “best” language. It’s the scientific study of language without gradation. The interesting question is, how do I choose what’s correct? One hint is that it could never automated. Yes, we all learned the basic rules of English in high school, but even if you memorized them all and could analyze every sentence you face, it wouldn’t be enough. They rarely give you clear directions on how to solve problems. Most of what I knew when I applied came not from them but from the intuitive and alert reading of well-edited books—a kind of mini-descriptivism. My job would be impossible without research. I often consult The Medium’s style guide (The Canadian Press
Stylebook). Well-respected books like Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style can be very helpful. Failing those, I compare the arguments and examples on grammar or dictionary websites (some are more reliable than others), or consult with other editors (I’m lucky enough to have a professional editor for a mother). If worst comes to worst, sometimes a slightly advanced use of Google can turn the Internet into a worldwide corpus of how, and how often, people use a given term. You might wonder what makes it so hard to find the correct usage. I discovered very early that this is a fundamental misconception about copy-editing, and a fundamental flaw in prescriptivism: the assumption that there is always a correct usage. In reality, only a few rules seem to follow from our use of language, which is itself changing; the rest are editorial convention. And most are disputed. Different style guides abound, and they all recommend different things. Of course, certain patterns represent clearly defined camps, like American or British style. Canadians have it harder, since we can’t agree on what to glean from each side. In some cases a generalization can never be always correct. Take the serial comma, the comma before the last item in a list (“poems, stories, and essays” vs. “poems, stories and essays”). Every style guide dictates differently if and when you use it. But both options can be made to sound wrong. If I say, “I’d like to thank my parents, Madonna and God,” you wonder why I think Madonna and God are my parents. A comma after “Madonna” solves the issue. But in the case of “I’d like to thank
my mother, Madonna, and God,” the same comma makes Madonna my mother, and the sentence would be clearer without it. The only sane course is flexibility. Flexibility is not leniency, and that’s the issue on which the job rests. Leniency means serving a rule, but not always enforcing it. Flexibility means knowing when to override the rule. And if judgement is required for a problem of punctuation like the serial comma, where the options are very clearly laid out, then judgement is much, much more involved in the problems of logic and word choice. As a copy editor, I deal with thousands of these issues as I go through the paper every week. Most of them are even more invisible to the casual reader. But they probably shouldn’t be visible. If there’s one reliable rule of prescriptivism, at least for the pragmatic purposes of publication, it’s to communicate effectively. The copy editor must reduce the effort to readers by making explicit what is implicit, improving the formal connectivity of ideas, replacing or reordering words to make the author’s meaning clearer, and tightening the excess. And as for the minutiae, they serve to level the playing field by bringing the writing in line with a standard—more conventions means fewer ambiguities and surprises for the reader. Of course, this means flouting convention is a good way to surprise. For all the work I’ve done and the love I have for rules, what I find delightful in this job is the same as I find in linguistics: seeing someone use language in a new way, a way informed by and so standing in contrast to convention. Okay, that’s all for now. Thanks for
Environment field work
Field work continued from page 11
In the lab at CUSUR, we analyzed how many bacterial colonies sprung up in different regions. Our days would usually start at 7 in the morning and go until 11 at night. Our evenings were a mix of discussion about the day’s progress, Mexican music, banda dancing, and tequila. During our break in Mexico, we visited a resort town by the Pacific Ocean, a crocodile reserve, and a tequila factory. After the trip, I visited Shear in his office and saw two group photos of students from my batch on his desk cabinets above the computer screen. I asked him what he enjoyed most about the course. He told me that he most enjoyed watching the students interact with the CUSUR students, and watching them learn and grow over the course of the trip. Some students had never travelled outside of Canada or on an airplane, and he enjoyed seeing them get to step out of their comfort zone and even learn enough Spanish to get by in Mexico.
In 2011 and 2012, the course was cancelled due to low enrolment, said Shear. He said that it may also have been due to security concerns in Mexico, but added that Guzmán is a very safe, rural area. All the students are escorted, usually by Mexican students or faculty. This year, the students will be staying at a CUSUR campus residence rather than at the forestry centre. “You don’t need to speak Spanish for the course,” said Shear. “If you do, that’s great. But you just need to be open to a new experience.” I asked him what he thought students take from the course, and he replied that it was a better sense of what they want to do with their lives. Of the 27 students, almost half of them went on to graduate school in science programs. If they didn’t have that vision before, he said, or if they were still confused about the decision, this course gave them a strong indication of whether they wanted to continue in that field. “The course is really for learning about yourself,” he concluded.
03.25.2013 THE MEDIUM FEATURES
Debunking university myths Five misconceptions about the “university experience” KIMBERLY JOHNSON I’ve heard the “university experience” described as “cold, expensive, and isolating”. So that’s what I expected when I came to UTM. People were right in saying that no one was going to hold my hand through every step. What they never told me was that that doesn’t mean isolation in learning. I asked some students what they thought university would be like when they were high school seniors, and how that differed from their actual first-year experience. I received five overwhelmingly unanimous answers. So, without further ado, here are five major myths about university. “You’re all alone” So maybe your first week as a firstyear was a little lonely, and a little academically daunting. This myth says you’ll be lonely, miserable, and buried under books. But in reality many students get academic help from the library, the academic skills centre, and even professors. Universities have all kinds of resources for learning, scheduling, and writing. You just have to find them—and be willing to give them a chance. The loneliness myth isn’t specific to UTM, either. Students from other universities also talked about the idea of your own success being on your shoulders, the idea that you just have to deal with it all yourself. This myth probably originated from parents, professors, and old high school teachers who wanted to emphasize how different and difficult university would be, probably to get us to take it more seriously. Maybe a
noble intention, but in many cases, it just stops students—particularly firstyears—from seeking the help they need. “Professors are unapproachable and don’t have time for your whining” Despite what you might think, professors are human. There’s a belief, particularly among first-years, that professors are distant, even scary human beings who see teaching as a burden they must bear for the sake of their academic endeavours. But in fact, people who teach at the university level often genuinely enjoy what they teach and enjoy talking about it in more detail with the students. Professors who are stern in class unwittingly lend credence to the myth. In fact, that’s probably where it originated. In reality, building a relationship with your professors can help you academically and professionally. Sometimes, just discussing what you’re learning can open up ideas you didn’t have before. Sure, it can feel like you’re just a number when you’re sitting in a class of 500 students, but if you go to their office hours regularly, you might just bust this myth. “Study, sleep, party—pick two” You can’t do more than that because you obviously won’t have time. In more extreme cases students claim, almost with a note of pride, that you can only pick one. We’ve all met that person who says no to everything because they “have to study”. But really, how much can you study? Contrary to this popular myth, balance is important. First-years usually struggle
to find the equilibrium. One key is not to underestimate the value sleeping and partying themselves, not to mention the ensuing sanity, will have in letting you study more effectively. This is another myth that probably originated as a warning, but all it does is make you freak out. “It’s all in the textbook” I was surprised to find how many people think this. When I asked current grade 12 students what they expected from their first year, they spoke about the amount of reading they would be responsible for. You can’t fall behind on the readings, they warned me. I’m going to drastically improve my work ethic, others promised. The slideshows can tend to only be summaries of chapters, but few professors design the actual lectures so that they’re limited to the textbook— and even those who do will say more if students ask more. “Get in the fast lane and never switch” When I came to UTM, I intended to study psychology, but one fateful summer I took a writing course, and I was hooked. Many students have the same story. They come to university with their whole academic career planned out, and then they happen to take a course on a random topic and everything changes. In a way, they learn about themselves and what they like. There’s no shame in realizing that you like something or than you thought, nor in taking longer to do it. When classes are starting points of interest, studying, reading, and learning suddenly don’t seem like such a chore.
Retooling at the IC IC continued from page 11
International students have the added stress of maintaining their status in Canada while juggling academic obligations and co-curricular activities, says Platt. Sometimes students lose their status in Canada after their study permit expires and sometimes pass into a restoration period (during which they can still apply to be reinstated). It becomes hard for students to restore their status after the restoration period; Platt recalls an instance in which a student who had only one credit left to graduate was deported due to study permit expiration. She said that the student developed a lot of anxiety in facing his parents back home. She emailed the student a few times after he had left but never heard back from him again. Earlier this semester, the IC had to cease all CIC advising to comply with Bill C-35. Now, the IC can only refer students to the CIC website or their toll-free number to get answers to any kind of immigration-related advice. It may take 20 to 30 tries to get a CIC representative due to the volume of calls, and students usually reach a different person each time they call. There are more changes in the pipeline regarding international students, according to a report of recommendations to CIC by Canadian Bureau for International Education, a research and advocacy organization for international education. International students may soon have to be enrolled full-time in order to maintain their sta-
tus in Canada, which means students cannot drop courses if they are struggling when dropping would recategorize them as part-time. Universities and institutions may also have to start reporting the status of international students to CIC, including whether a student is in good standing (a requirement for studying in Canada), whether a student has decided to take a semester off, and whether a student has gone from full-time to part-time status. But everything is not for the worse, according to Platt, who reiterates that the regulations are well-intended and do crack down on fraudulent advising and immigration help, and that there are some good changes, including a more streamlined application process, more flexibility with off-campus work hours during semesters, and full-time work permits after graduation for international students. With the changes to CIC advising, the IC can now catch up with their other services, including a more frequent newsletter, a more robust transition program, better guidance on the University Health Insurance Plan, and more outreach to and collaboration with student groups on campus to promote multiculturalism. Both Platt and Mackie emphasize that students need to take control of their legal status in Canada. It is up to the students to be aware of their documents, their expiry dates, the CIC application processes, and the application timeframes, so that students don’t lose their status in Canada and are able to complete their education.
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03.25.2013 THE MEDIUM SPORTS
Mediumsports Editor » Isaac Owusu
Seeking representation The UTM men’s tri-campus hockey team looks to fight their disqualification by implementing a players association JASON COELHO ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR Last week, we covered the disqualification of the UTM tri-campus men’s hockey following a registration technicality, an unfortunate end to a promising season (“Technical elimination”, March 18). As the players come to terms with their forfeit, they are looking to implement the UTM Hockey Players Association next year in order to file appeals for rule changes and suspensions incurred over the course of the season. Currently, UTSC is the only campus that has such an organization: the Scarborough Campus Hockey Players Association. The SCHPA engages both fans and players on the men’s and women’s teams and hosts events, such as their recent “DJ Skating Night” at the Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto. Kyle Kuczynski, a centre on the UTM tri-campus team, will spearhead this campaign. He wants to incorporate a structure similar to
UTSC’s, inviting fans to share their opinions with players about the administrative aspects of the league. “The main idea will be to attend these meetings and show the league commissioners that we should have some collective bargaining rights,” said Kuczynski, a third-year history and political science major. Though the UTM team’s players and management are still working out the mechanics of the association, they are hopeful that it will be the solution to their problems. “I think better representation and better communication would help,” said Rory Bourgeois, a second-year political science major and left winger for the tri-campus men’s team. “The incident [with player Zach Zubac] was a misunderstanding caused by a lack of communication.” The incident is currently being assessed by members of UTM’s physical education department, located in the RAWC. Personnel are stating that the real issue may be educating not players but coaches
about rule changes. “It is ultimately the coaches’ responsibility to make sure that the game sheet is filled in correctly,” said Jack Krist, the department’s program coordinator. Krist said this is not the first time a technical mishap has cost a team their trip to the championships. “We have lost in the 2011 women’s tri-campus indoor soccer semifinal by forfeit—after having won the game—for not having put a player on the game sheet for a regular season game. This made her ineligible for the playoffs by one game,” he said. “Very similar to what happened in this hockey case.” Though Krist said he does not see the value of implementing a players association, saying it would do little besides involving more of the student body, he stressed the importance of coaches educating their teams about all the rules before the season begins. “Having our coaches explain the rules […] to all the new players
And the winner is...
UTMAC wins three United Way Youth Spirit Awards for Charity Week
would be very helpful […],” said Krist. “The coaches we have are often alumni that have played in the leagues, so they are all aware of the rules and regulations for each of their sports. They also know that the UTM athletic staff are supporting their teams, and if they have any questions or concerns they need to contact us right away.” UTSC is the only U of T campus that has successfully established a players association, and the SCHPA has grown exponentially over the years and been named the most engaging program on the Scarborough campus. “We have significantly increased hockey awareness on campus, and currently our fanbase is huge because of it,” says UTSC’s Joe Goode, a fourth-year geography major and president of the association. Though SCHPA is not responsible for fighting suspensions and rule changes, Goode offers his advice to the UTM hockey program about how to go about achieving change in these domains. “Network
Coach Carlyle’s style Head coach a credit to the Leaf’s success in 2013 JASON COELHO ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR
JUNAID IMRAN/THE MEDIUM
The UTMAC mascot in action. GRACE ROCHA The UTM Athletic Council) was selected as a winner in the first annual United Way 2012 Youth Spirit Awards. The United Way of Peel Region and the Young Leaders Council presented the 2012 Youth Spirit Awards to various elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools and student groups on Monday night at Sheridan’s Hazel McCallion campus. The Youth Spirit Awards program recognizes outstanding efforts by youth in supporting the United Way.
A total of four Youth Spirit awards recognize participation in an event dedicating its proceeds to United Way: the “Social Spirit” award, the “Biggest Bucks” award, the “Uniquely Yours” award, and the “Helping Hand” award. UTMAC directors Grace Rocha and Andjela Oćićek accepted all but the “Uniquely Yours” award on behalf of the council. UTMAC was recognized for their use of social media to draw support for and spread awareness of Charity Week (“Social Spirit”), the most money raised by a postsecondary
school or student group for United Way of Peel Region (“Biggest Bucks”), and most engagement facilitated between students at an event (“Helping Hand”). “It was our first year working with United Way of Peel Region and our first year hosting Charity Week. To be recognized after doing an event like this for the first time is an honour and further motivates us to continue this every year, making this a UTMAC tradition,” said Adam Niaz, the president of the athletic council. “We look forward to setting the bar higher next year.”
as much as possible with league personnel,” he says. “Having strong leadership skills when managing an association is key in developing leaders in the hockey community. And, overall, knowledge gained from real-world experience will be more valuable than anything else.” Meanwhile, UTM students are trying to find their own solutions. “I don’t think it’s fair that a single governing body at St. George should be in charge of authorizing rules for the entire league if it is in fact a tri-campus league,” commented Christopher Autuchiewicz, a second-year political science major. “There should be members elected from each campus who have the power to determine whether or not something is fair.” As another school year comes to a close, the future of UTM’s athletics program is hopeful; they are striving to reach out to the student body regarding the importance of physical activity, playing on UTM sports teams, and supporting the teams as fans.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are past the halfway point of a shortened NHL season, and find themselves somewhere they haven’t been since 2004: the playoffs. After a series of management changes, beginning with the firing of Head Coach Ron Wilson last week and the recent firing of General Manager Brian Burke, the Leafs have seen many changes in their locker room. These changes have not divided the team, but rather brought them closer together. The Leafs now occupy a seventh-place spot in the Eastern Conference, tied with the respectively eighthand ninth-place New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. A lot of factors have contributed to the team’s success, including the outstanding play of younger players like Cody Franson and Nazem Kadri and the stable goaltending of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens, which the team lacked in past seasons. But the team attributes the bulk of their success to the player-oriented coaching style of their esteemed head coach, Randy Carlyle. Carlyle arrived in Toronto a year ago after guiding the Anaheim Ducks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2007 and cementing his status in the NHL. As he enters his first full season with the Maple
Leafs, there have already been some changes both inside and out of the locker room that haven’t gone unnoticed. Carlyle treats his players with the respect they deserve, and has motivated them to improve their performance on the ice by trusting them with a spot on his roster. Coach Michael Keaveney of the UTM ice hockey team believes that it is the role of the coach to be attuned to the needs of his players in order to promote growth. “If the players don’t feel appreciated or motivated, they won’t play their best,” he said. The statement holds true for the Maple Leafs, whose breakout star, left winger Nazem Kadri, has praised Carlyle for his guidance and concern over the course of the season. Keaveney likens the Kadri-Carlyle situation to that of Alex Ovechkin and Bruce Boudreau, whose relationship earned the Russian winger an MVP award and three consecutive 100-point seasons. “Bruce Boudreau was really able to get the most out of him, and he had some really big years,” he said. “It’s been a tough time for Alex [Ovechkin] without him.” This remark was in reference to Ovechkin’s role having diminished over the past two seasons following Boudreau’s departure. Opus continued on page 16
SPORTS THE MEDIUM 03.25.2013
Becoming “ultimate” Does a good coach How UTM’s ultimate frisbee situation can be resolved BRANDON RYNKA On Friday night at Varsity Field in downtown Toronto, the UTM intramural frisbee team played their semifinal game against PT/ OT for a spot in Saturday’s final. UTM was considered the favourite, but PT/OT didn’t buy the hype. They came out and played the style of game they wanted to play, dictating the pace and overall direction of the game. PT/OT used a zone strategy, a strategy seldom used because it’s rare and confusing to most teams. PT/OT used it well, and took advantage of the frazzled UTM team. They handed UTM a 15–8 loss to take back to Mississauga. But the bigger story here is the issues surrounding the intramural frisbee league. Although the league has many good things going, there are a few issues that should be addressed. For one, after talking to some of the players on Friday, I found the lack of common knowledge of the league problematic. I didn’t even know the league existed, and was surprised they had a season going on in the winter. The publicity of the league is subpar, mostly invisible to non-frisbee players. Worse, the practice time given to the players and teams is barely worth attending. Teams are given one to two practices a week, scheduled during the day—yes, the school day—which
makes it difficult to have the entire team present at practice, defeating the purpose. Anyone who has ever played in an organized sports league understands that a practice with half the team won’t be much benefit when game time rolls around.
Anyone who has ever played in an organized sports league understands that a practice with half the team won’t be much benefit when game time rolls around. When half the team knows a play or strategy and the other half doesn’t, the play will not run. When half the team knows a play or strategy and the other half doesn’t, the play will not run. It will most likely look like four players running a play while three others stand with a confused look on their face, trying to figure out what’s happening. So rather than scheduling
practices when students are in class, the league should schedule practices at a convenient time, possibly at night, when most students have more flexible schedules. Finally, the players I talked to see the small fields as the biggest issue in a sport with a flying disc designed to fly 60–70 yards into the air. When any throw can easily clear the whole field, it’s a problem. The more athletic players lose their advantage, because the field restricts them from speeding past a person, which a long field of, say, 80–90 yards would allow. I play in an ultimate frisbee league in the summer, and my team prides ourselves on our athletic ability and speed. We exploit these skills whenever we can, if not all the time, due to the large field; if we were restricted to a field where we could all be covered for the most part by field size rather than player talent, we wouldn’t do as well, because the game becomes more about the plays. Any league should reward athleticism and strategy equally, but I think it’s currently more of a 7:3 ratio in favour of strategy at U of T. If this means we have to make the field larger to give a fair chance to athleticism, let’s go for it. Until then, we will never truly know which campus has the ultimate ultimate frisbee team.
mean a good team? Opus continued from page 15 Surprisingly, the excellent work by Carlyle comes during a season that many were forecasting would be abysmal. The importance of team management in dictating a team’s success is becoming more apparent than ever. Of course, the players will still need to do well in their own respect if Toronto is to stand a chance this year, and not all fans think management plays such an important role. “The management needs to give the resources to the coaching staff to win, whether it be practice times, equipment, or the right players,” said Keaveney. “The coaches can only do so much; they don’t play the game.” “I don’t think the change in management has helped as much as peo-
ple think. You can’t attribute winning or losing to a coach or a general manager. I think it all boils down to leadership, and the Leafs have one of the worst possible captains in the league,” said Kyle Kuczynski, a third-year history and political science major and centre for the UTM hockey team. “[Players] should be able to handle any type of coach.” Others believe the coach’s background provides them with the experience necessary to guide the team. “Carlyle is a Norris Trophywinning defenceman, and cares more about the defensive zone, which translates into good offence and wins games,” commented Rory Bourgeois, a teammate of Kuczynski’s. “Coaches need to know when to be tough, and when to let the players enjoy the game.”
A fantasy shopping spree Knowing who and what to look for as you prepare to create your MLB fantasy team RANDY JIN Since the early ’90s, fantasy baseball has become popular among fans of the game, and gains a larger following each year. The common fantasy forms are “rotisserie”, in which the so-called “owners” accumulate points based on the performance of their chosen players during the season, or “head-to-head”, which pits players in the league against each other based on various statistics. “I started playing it a few years back, and every year my buds and I play together for bragging rights,” says Mike Benson, a first-year philosophy student. So how can you win in your league and get those bragging rights? Here are the top players at each position, for standard 5x5 rotisserie leagues. Catcher Buster Posey is your man; the 2012 NL MVP hit .336, with 24 homers and 103 RBIs. While his team’s lineup isn’t ideal, he should have plenty of chances at RBIs while batting behind guys like Ángel Pagán, Marco Scutaro, and Pablo Sandoval. But keep in mind that catchers are much more susceptible to
injuries, so one nasty collision can knock your stud out for the whole year. Plan B: Matt Wieters, who can provide more than 20 homers and 80 RBIs, or Joe Mauer, a batting machine when he isn’t injured. First base I’m tempted to recommend Albert Pujols, but he was showing some effects of age last season stumbling out of the gate. Instead, I’d go for 28-year-old Prince Fielder, who hit .313 while slugging 30 homers and driving in 108. While Pujols drives in Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick (and maybe Josh Hamilton, depending on where he bats), Fielder plays with Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martínez. When in doubt, go for the younger guy. Plan B: Paul Konerko, who hits .300 with 30 homers yearly, or Mike Napoli, who should get a boost from the Green Monster of Boston and can give you some insurance at catcher position. Second base Robinson Canó has everything but stolen bases. Last season, he hit .313 with 33 homers, 94 RBIs, and 105 runs. Canó is helped by the
short porch in New York, and he is no slouch on the road. In fact, he scored more runs and had a higher batting average on the road. Did I mention that he’s in the last year of his contract? Nothing will stop the Scott Boras client from tearing it up. Plan B: Former Blue Jay Aaron Hill, who scored 93, drove in 85, and hit 26 round-trippers while hitting .302, or Dustin Pedroia, who’s a good bet for .300, doubledigit homers, and over 90 runs. Third base Miguel Cabrera, without hesitation, is the best choice for third. The Triple Crown winner and 2012 MVP winner (though not the most valuable player according to WAR) is in the prime of his life. Good luck finding another third baseman who can put up .300 with 30 homers, 100 runs scored, and 100 RBIs with ease. Plan B: Adrián Beltré or Evan Longoria are good bets for 25 homers and 90 RBIs. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is a rare shortstop who can hit for both power and average. Granted, playing in Coors Field can significantly boost your
stats, but there’s no point deduction for home parks. What more could you want in a shortstop? Plan B: José Reyes, a great source of runs and stolen bases, or Asdrúbal Cabrera, who can do a bit of everything. Outfield Bryce Harper would be a good choice had he not looked lost against sliders in a game last season, fanning five times against lefty pitchers. Mike Trout, on the other hand, was hot throughout the entire season, and finished as the unanimous AL Rookie of the Year (and also more valuable than Melky Cabrera according to WAR). Even if he doesn’t hit as many homers again, he should have a great year, providing batting average, stolen bases, and runs. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he has Josh Hamilton and Pujols to drive him in. Plan B: Josh Hamilton, who should have at least one more great year left in him, or Justin Upton, who might finally realize his potential after uniting with his brother in Atlanta. Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg is a great choice. Without an innings restriction this
year, the young phenom will have nothing in his way. Leading the league in strikeouts per nine innings, he should be a great source of wins, strikeouts, ERA, and walks and hits per inning. Strasburg is even more appealling if you’re playing in a keeper league. Plan B: David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young and winner of 20 games, or Gio González, Strasburg’s teammate and another winner of 20 games. Relief pitcher While Craig Kimbrel is bound to regress, he will likely still have an awesome season saving games for the Braves. The young fireballer strikes out an astonishing 16.7 per nine innings and allowed only 3.9 hits per nine innings—the same as his debut season of 2010. He should offer an abundance of save opportunities for Atlanta, who will battle Washington for the NL East crown. Plan B: The immortal Mariano Rivera, or Rafael Soriano, the new Nationals closer and Rivera’s former deputy. Choose your fantasy league players from this list, and fantasy victory may be in your future.