the watch VOL. 30 NO. 1 - FALL 2012 - watchmagazine.ca
Party culture at kingâ€™s sodexo contract renewed elizabeth orensteinâ€™s incredible ordeal bursar fired
M A I
YOU ARE. WE ALL ARE. If you’ve picked up a copy of this issue, you’re probably wondering what the hell the “I AM” on the cover means. “I AM” is our message to you. This isn’t some sort of cryptic, pseudo-Cartesian message for you to decipher like the good King’s students you are. “I AM” means “I am The Watch.”If you go to King’s, you are The Watch. Every student pays a levy to make up this magazine. Every last penny comes from you. This keeps us financially separate from the administration and the KSU. It allows us to be the storytellers that serve King’s every day. Without you, The Watch would not exist. The Watch is run and written by students. You are The Watch. For 30 volumes, you have determined the direction this magazine takes, the stories we tell, and the people who work behind the scenes by contributing to our magazine and voting at our GMs. We can’t wait to see where the next 30 volumes take us.
What’s Inside? 6 15
ksu election turnout
Elizabeth Orenstein’s incredible ordeal
Time to Shift the Power
Teaching fellows sign agreement
“The Obama Idea”
king’s finally meets fire code
Snapshot: FEE PROTEST
In Her Shoes
Puppies pay a visit to dal
EDITOR’S NOTE TREASURER’S REPORT
KING’S REMEMBERS DRAKE PETERSEN
PARTY Central Peer pressure, policy and tradition Fire code changes affect parties operation fallback
the new crew: Councillor interviews
Signing for sodexo
Students want better food
the watch VOL. 30 NO. 1 - FALL 2012 watchmagazine.ca firstname.lastname@example.org TWITTER @kingswatch
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ben Harrison Rachel Ward ONLINE EDITOR Philippa Wolff PHOTO EDITOR Alexandra Estey COPY EDITOR Theresa Ketterling FACT CHECKER Candace Thomson REPORTERS Keili Bartlett Rachel Bloom Scott Cooper Emma Davie Jessica Dort Ariane Hanlon Ava Hansen Clark Jang Braeden Jones Grace Kennedy Emily Kitagawa Natascia Lypny Christian Pollard Mackenzie Scrimshaw Kristie Smith Emily Watson Tari Wilson Courtney Zwicker
PUBLISHER James Jenkinson TREASURER Simcha Walfish CREATIVE DIRECTOR Patrick Odell PHOTOGRAPHERS Gabrielle Hill-Desjardins Bryn Karcha Evan McIntyre Paul Rebar Adam Scotti Ken Wallingford COLUMNISTS Moh Hashem Amy Hurley Simone MacLennan Christian Pollard Olivia Rempel DJ Rossi Lucy Wallace PUBLISHING BOARD John Adams Anna Dubinski Jake Eidinger Quinn Harrington James Jenkinson Braeden Jones Mackenzie Scrimshaw Fred Vallance-Jones Simcha Walfish
We welcome your feedback on each issue. Letters to the editors should be signed. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. The Watch is owned and operated by the students of the University of King’s College.
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people not be warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at watchman’s hand. — Ezekiel 33:6
the watch W
A BRAND NE
IN THIS ISSUE STORIES
Party Central PAGE 6
Of peer pressure, underage drinking, campus traditions and new fire regulations
Signing for Sodexo 12 King’s renews Sodexo contract without faculty, student involvement
Slipping Away 16 Elizabeth Orenstein falls thirty feet and lives
Bursar Fired 25 Board of Governors relieves Gerry G. Smith of duties
University of King’s College 6350 Coburg Road, Halifax NS, B3H 2A1 Photo by Evan McIntyre
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EDITORS’ NOTE T
he first time we ever spoke with Drake Petersen was over the phone, last year. Rachel was working on a story about the budget advisory committee, and someone told her Drake had written a critical report of the committee during the Barker administration. From the moment he picked up the phone, he was ready to help us with any question we might have. The first thing that struck us about Drake was his dedication to King’s, but also his ability to step back with a critical eye. He had a back-pocket full of information and before our conversation was over, he had invited Rachel to tea, excited about the story she was working on. King’s is a school of two identities. One identity is made up of our traditions: formal meals, formal gowns, oral exams, Dante parties, sherry hours and Wayne Hankey. Just as important is the second. FYP instils in us a critical impulse, encouraging us to challenge, question and analyze ideas. As journalists at King’s, we embody that second identity every day in our work and our lives. There’s a reason why the fourth-year journalism students tend only to talk about J-School life, and our honours projects turn into drinking games. At King’s, we decide how we embody both identities every day, thinking about where we fit between the two ideals, and how that shapes us as thinkers. Drake Petersen
found a perfect balance between the two identities at King’s, always ready to send a handwritten invitation for tea, but also ready to criticize established King’s elements. The Watch is dedicated to continuing the legacy Drake started — to his fairness, his critical eye, and his dedication to all King’s has been and can be. We’re dedicated to bringing up the quality of our writing and design, to making sure we exist in five years, and to always having our writers’ backs. So much has happened already to put us on the track to doing this. We’ve watched our writers do great work and develop against all sorts of obstacles within the walls of King’s. We believe in mentorship and creative freedom, and we’ve been so proud of our writers, both online and in print. Since the arrival of the levy only a month ago, we’ve balanced the books and found a new printer. Since the summer, our teams of writers, photographers and designers have been hard at work and dedicated to publishing monthly and online and doing a kick-ass job. Take a look through our pages and tell us what you think. We’re here to listen, and also, here to inquire. Come take part. We dedicate these pages to Drake Petersen, a true advocate for King’s and a great soul who is missed so much on this campus.
The Watch Interactive Every issue of The Watch features great additional content — photo galleries, videos, extended stories and more — that we just couldn’t fit in the print version. To make it easier for you to access this content, we’ve included QR codes you can scan with your mobile device to bring the content directly to your screen. Next to each code is a content tag. If you’re using a device that can’t scan the code, just point your web browser to our site, watchmagazine.ca, and add a forward slash followed by the tag. Give it a try right now:
Rachel and Ben
TREASURER’S REPORT Here’s an experiment in transparency for you. As the treasurer of The Watch, I sit on all the treasure. Until we received the first half of our levy on Oct. 30, that was a cool $36.21 in the bank. If you’ve ever wondered where The Watch gets its money, the answer is that most of it is from you. Student Accounts collects $12 from each King’s student per year. It looks like this year that will work out to something like $14,600. The levy makes up most of our operating budget. The rest we’re going to make up in ad sales and fundraising. A pretty big chunk of the budget goes to the actual printing costs of the paper ($1,100 per issue). The rest goes to paying contributors ($15 per story; $10 per photo; $15 per photo essay for online; $1.50 per 50 words; $10 per photo for print), having a website, access to information requests, honouraria for our staff and executive, paying off some pesky old debts, and more! Feel free to come by the Watch office to take a look at the fully detailed budget posted on the wall.
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ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Back ISSUES issuu.com/kingswatch
KING’S REMEMBERS DRAKE PETERSEN by Emily Kitagawa
fter devoting 42 years of his life to the University of King’s College and its library, Drake Petersen passed away Oct. 17. A memorial service in his honour was held Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. in the King’s chapel, followed by a reception in the library. In his early days at King’s, Petersen was the don of Middle Bay, a campus residence. He was hired as a cataloguer for the King’s library, a position he held for twenty years. He was also a Classics student and, in 1990, he earned his MA in Greek Literature. He is remembered today as the library’s archivist and librarian. Nick Hatt, the dean of residence, wrote in an email, “Above all, I shall always remember Drake for his kindness.” During Hatt’s first year as dean, he had difficulty finding a quiet place to work. “Drake let me work in the library’s committee room — perhaps one of the loveliest rooms on campus — and we would often chat throughout the evening, sometimes until long after the library had closed!” Hatt didn’t realize until a few years later that Drake had mentored him through his first year as dean. “I shall always be profoundly grateful for the way in which he reached out to me.” Almost 20 years ago, Petersen took over the position of librarian from Wayne Hankey, who is now the chair of the Dalhousie University Classics department and a professor at Dal and King’s. There was nothing Petersen couldn’t solve “ingeniously” and “inexpensively,” says Hankey. Petersen worked under the constraints of a limited budget and limited space. And, Hankey says, Petersen was good at training his staff and student assistants. Dani Pacey, a recent King’s graduate who worked at the library for three years, says Petersen cared for his staff. He would frequently leave a bag of fruit in the fridge and say, “Eat this fruit,” says Pacey. “I guess he was just making sure that we were all being taken care of properly, which is really sweet.” Pacey has fond memories of sitting with Petersen in his office and going through books he was considering for the library’s
collection. She remembers his office with its “great window looking out onto the quad,” old wooden chairs, and a cabinet stuffed with “random” things that she found endearing. She says he would sometimes ask, “Wait a second, why are we ordering this book?” He would give her his opinion on various authors, and “he always had something to say.” She remembers him as quiet, and a little bit mysterious. She doesn’t think she ever “knew him, knew him,” and she wishes she had had the chance. Petersen was a private individual, and, as Hankey describes him, “a fundamentally contemplative soul.”
PHOTOS BY Alex Estey
Drake believed fiercely in truth and beauty, and was immensely practical. The care and attention he gave to the library, and the endowment he established, are mere examples of his stewardship —Nick Hatt, dean of residence
He says Petersen “had a personality. He was independent … He was an intellectual. He believed in books. He devoted himself to an institution his whole life. He made (the library) a place of contemplation.” When people come into the library, “they love it, they love to be there, and they look after it. Drake fostered that spirit and cared for it,” says Hankey. “It really is a wonderful, wonderful place for King’s students and for anybody who comes into it. And he’s so important for preserving that.” Hatt agrees. “He knew how important the library was in upholding that old way of learning. That he should work so hard to maintain this for us is perhaps the greatest gift he has left to all (of) us.” |w
King’s chaplain Father Gary Thorne at Petersen’s memorial Nov. 3
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Photo by Evan McIntyre
e r u s s e r p r e e P & y c i l po n o i t i d a tr I DJ Rossi
t is my understanding that the school has seen a great change in both policy and attitude towards hosting parties on campus this year. Iâ€™ve never considered myself to be much of a party animal, though I did run the toga party for four years. When I was approached by The Watch and asked to write this article, it took me a long time to think of anything to say in relation to raging, peer pressure and alcohol.
But then it occurred to me — I was in residence at King’s an awfully long time, and I suppose I could put some new light on what I perceive to be an interesting shift over the time that I spent there. To that end, I’d like to take a little time to ruminate on what I think is a shift back to a more traditional King’s residence experience. A lot changed over the five years I lived in residence. But, the biggest change — one of attitude and spirit — has occurred this year, I’m told. I remember that, only last year, parties were not allowed in Alex Hall. This was for a number of sound reasons. The first was logistical — bays are much more conducive to a party atmosphere, given their large open central staircases, and the double room aspect which allows for whole front rooms to be cleared, making ample room for dancing and frivolity and mirth and so forth. Alex Hall, built like a hospital, has one long hall and smaller rooms with two beds, and two desks, and other such fire hazards all about the place. Now, parties weren’t banned there for logistical reasons. Rather, it was because of the “No-Drinking-in-the-Hallway Rule.” Given the smallness of the rooms and the way that
they would get hot and stinky in no time flat, people went out into the halls and they drank there. This is a huge problem for a school with a bar on campus — if the bar was open, and someone in a position of legal authority saw that students were drinking outside their rooms or outside the designated drinking area under the A&A, the bar could lose its liquor license. I remember, back in my day, we would drink and have a good time but other people would drink, and it wasn’t for the right reasons, and they would not have a good time. They had been pressured into it. It would not be any exaggeration to say that my first year was unusual. Back in my day, there was that whole double cohort thing, whereby both grade 12 and grade 13 all came out of high school at once. I think this had something to do with a rise in peer pressure since about a third of the population leaving high school was already of legal drinking age and the other two thirds just wanted to fit in. My first-year don told me that, before my year, Middle Bay was always very quiet. But, virtually every year I was in residence, on
Tuesday morning after every FYP Monday, the campus looked like a war zone. I mean, sure, it was still a special occasion when taps were ripped off, the doors were covered with shoe prints and the poor cleaning staff were left to scrape vomit off the maples. But, I think that two points indicate residences are shifting back to a more traditional King’s style: a reluctance on the part of bays to host parties and a reduction in the number of trips to the hospital for alcohol poisoning (the record for which is three times during frosh week in my third year — by other people, I should add, not by me). Obviously, taking on a party is a great responsibility for any location — decorations have to be purchased, refreshments arranged and cleanup managed. If people don’t want to host parties, and if people don’t want to party, it is entirely up to them. Each year must define itself, and it seems this year isn’t a raging year — and, by God, I think the grounds could use a break! It is not a loss of spirit in the first-years which has led to this change, but rather a decision to be true to themselves, which I think is downright admirable. |w
Fire code changes affect residence life, parties
ou shall not pass the threshold of a room in a King’s residence without first knocking. That’s because every residence room door locks automatically when it closes and because propping them open is prohibited by law. According to the Nova Scotia Fire Safety Act, doors have to be closed because clauses say doors must have a “minimum 20-minute fire-resistance rating”. For buildings exceeding three stories, that jumps to a minimum 30 minutes of fire-resistance. In the past, extra deadbolts built into the doors kept them subtly wedged ajar. The deadbolts were removed in summer 2012 by King’s facility workers for two reasons: the impact of deadbolt on doorframe dislodged
the locking mechanism within the door and the deadbolts encouraged breaking the law. Dean Nicholas Hatt says the stricter closed-door policy in residence affects the community dynamic. “It makes it harder for students to visit each other, and for dons and patrol to have those impromptu chats in passing,” said Hatt. Another drawback for residence life, besides casual socializing, is the effect that closed doors have on partying. Everyone who enters and exits a party will open and close the door, people will be marooned outside of doors not sure where to go, and the Kramer-esque entrances of yesteryear are impossible given that a certain spectacle is made of everyone who knocked to be
200+ tickets issued during Operation hristian Fallback CPollard this year
Nearly $100,000 in fines was handed out to students in September as part of “Operation Fallback.” Operation Fallback is a police campaign that puts two police officers on full time duty around the Dalhousie and King’s neighborhood in September to reduce excessive noise, public intoxication, and property damage. Of the $97,734.17 in tickets handed out, it’s un-
let into the party space. Besides that challenge, Patrol staff members also have a new obstacle in keeping evening events safe. “It’s a lot more concerning knowing that all parties are happening behind closed doors,” said Hatt, noting that students have been accommodating to the challenge Patrol faces in keeping things safe. Hatt says he’s working on long-term goals to mitigate any drawbacks of following firecodes, by possibly installing magnetic mechanisms on the door to hold it open but shut it if an alarm sounds, such as those doors on either end of the Link. |w
known how many are being fought, or if it’s been successful. Sarah Toye received a noise ticket for a party she had on Sept. 21. She has to pay the $457.41 ticket to the city, or fight it in court. Toye thinks she can fight it. “I went and read the noise by-laws to
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Operation Fallback v CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7
make sure we were violating them, and we were,” she said. Toye discovered it’s not mandatory for police to give a warning before a ticket, but she says it is customary. That luxury was not granted on the night of the party. “I could probably fight it on precedence of not having a warning,” she said. Toye’s situation could have been worse. Her ticket was issued to the house to split three ways. Some tickets are given separately to each person on the lease. Even in a two-person house, fines can get into the thousands very quickly. Halifax Regional Police Public Information Officer Pierre Bourdages says fines can
also be compounded by multiple offences. “These fines can add up quite quickly. You have someone, let’s say an 18-year-old student from Ontario walking down the street intoxicated with an open beer. An open beer is $457.41, underage drinking is $457.41, and intoxicated is $123.91. In that specific case, the officer has the option to give over a thousand dollars in tickets, and keep him in booking for six hours,” he said. As a result of 237 calls about disturbances in September, 41 people were given underage drinking tickets, 126 were charged with illegal possession of liquor, and 16 with public intoxication. Only 19 tickets were given for noise violations.
he second floor of Alexandra Hall is decorated with cut out Roman style columns. King’s students flood to the second floor, white bed sheets billowing behind them. Johanna Pyle-Carter grabs her bed sheet and a clothespin to complete her outfit for the night’s toga party. She’s off to the party, a King’s tradition for the past few years. This year, however, is the first time it won’t be held in one of the five bays. This year, the toga party was supposed to be held in North Pole Bay, but students weren’t as interested in hosting as they have been in past years. Despite the change, Pyle-Carter says parties anywhere can be great, with a few decorations and a casual atmosphere. “When people are moving and actually talking to each other and just when you feel like you can go in and the vibe is getting infectious,” said Pyle-Carter. Kayla Fells, the campus safety coordinator, says parties need to start organically, even if, she says, students feel they should uphold a tradition such as the toga party. “If they want it, it’s their party,” said Fells. Some students, she says, do feel pressured to party and to host parties. “I don’t like that some people feel that they have to party,” she said. Fells lives on residence and says this year “a lot of the impromptu parties have been really good,” but, “there’s always a fair bit of pressure on campus to drink.” Middle Bay don, Jesse Blackwood, says
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he thinks his bay hosted a few too many parties last year. This year his residence went on a two-week “party break” to encourage, he says, parties to bud elsewhere on campus — and different kinds of parties. He says parties often help develop communities and friendships, but often only at smaller parties. “You can learn something through the organization and working together,” said Blackwood, “but you don’t learn anything from the party really because it’s impersonal and people are just getting drunk.” Some Alex Hall students took on hosting the toga party, as well as the one for Halloween. Pyle-Carter helped organize it, and she says it was a success. “That, I think, is the first party that I’ve been to where people stuck around for a while. I think that has more to do with that they put up decorations,” said Pyle-Carter. The school has put a few new rules in place, as well, in regards to parties.
Decorations might encourage a festive spirit, as Pyle-Carter says, but all confetti must be gone from the carpets and all glitter wiped from the walls by the next day. Cleaners have suggested that students clean up from their parties by 1 p.m. the next day, and Nick Hatt, the dean of residence, says students have been good about respecting that. Robert Hall, a maintenance worker at King’s, says he agrees and the worst mess he’s seen this year has been in the Wardroom, not in a residence. Different this year, as well, is a new closeddoor policy for fire safety reasons. Students say this makes it harder for students to find out where parties are happening unless they know one of the hosts. “I think those are two things that the student body is trying to work against,” said Blackwood. “The closed doors and no one is nineteen, so everybody has to stay in their rooms to drink.” |w
King’s finally meets fire code
More than 20 years of deferred fire safety maintenance has been corrected
he interim facilities director at the University of King’s College can breathe a sigh of relief now that the fire code has been met, following two years of upgrading the institutions’ residences. Gerald Wilson says King’s has been out of compliance since 1988. In 2010, the city took the university to court because of fire code violations. King’s was ordered to have all the changes for fire code compliance completed within two years. Fire safety doors were put in place as well as new fire exits in residences. A new fire exit was built for the Wardroom pub and canteen located in the basement. In addition, residence rooms were given new fire detectors and self-closing doors. A consultant from a Dartmouth-based fire protection engineering service checked up on King’s fire code compliance progress every three months. All of the changes were finished by Sept. 24, and the consultant sent a final report to the Halifax Regional Municipality fire prevention division. “Well, the good news is that it’s all been completed,” said Jim Fitzpatrick, interim controller for King’s. “The university was found to be in non-compliance with a lot of fire regulations and fire codes, and it needed to be compliant. Simple as that.” Dan Hamer, the HRM university fire inspector, dealt with King’s as the school was brought up to code. “Really, when a fire inspector comes in the problems found should be zero, as the university should be self-governing and maintaining fire codes,” said Hamer. The years of violation and deferral is what separated King’s from other universities and
Money spent King’s expenditures on upgrading its facilities to meet the fire code: 2010/11 $99,436 2011/12 $279,652 2012/13 $278,730 (to date) Total
PHOTO BY Tari Wilson Hamer says he’ll return in 2013 to check that King’s is still in compliance. “We’ve caught up is the best way to put it and now we have to keep an eye on things,” said Fitzpatrick. King’s facilities management employees still have projects awaiting renovations that need to meet fire codes. Wilson says the King’s basement theatre, the President’s Lodge and the fire exit from the chapel have yet to be completed. Wilson has allowed King’s to have a temporary fire exit on the chapel until the school can afford to upgrade it, a decision proposed by RICAS Fire Protection Engineering
and King’s. Hamer, the fire inspector, says he tried to work with schools and be reasonable about how quickly things can get done. “Money rules,” said Wilson of the limited funds available to make these changes. Fitzpatrick began working at King’s five months ago and he says the total amount King’s spent making the upgrades over the past two years exceeds $657,000 (see totals listed above). “It’s obviously been a substantial amount, hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Fitzpatrick. |w
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THE NEW CREW
Amelia PHOTO BY ALEX ESTEY Interviews conducted by
Emily Watson Kevin Brown and haydn watters Grace Kennedy Gabriel Goodman Gabrielle-Hill Desjardins Braeden Jones (NOT PICTURED) Jessica Dort Amelia wilding
our new councillors are getting their first taste of politics at King’s while an experienced one has changed seats on the King’s Students’ Union council this year. Kevin Brown, Gabriel Goodman, Braeden Jones, Haydn Watters and Amelia Wilding were elected to complete the 15-person council in October. The Watch sat down with each councillor shortly after the election to learn more about their plans, their campaign goals and their early experiences.
KEVIN BROWN What was your first impression of King’s? I think it’s cozy… in a great way. The best way I could describe it is communal, accepting and positive.
Why did you want to run? I thought I had good ideas to bring to the table. I knew a few KSU positions were open to the first-years and I didn’t pay any attention to it until I heard there was a King’s science rep and I thought I could do a good job with that.
Do you think it’s important to take both science and the arts? Yes, if you taking one pure subject that leaves
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REPPING FOR YOU
you vulnerable whereas if you take multiple subjects you leave yourself many options. This year I am trying to balance out my curriculum as much as possible. You are also well versed and get a deeper education. I am currently taking FYP as well as Biology and Physiology.
What are some of your hobbies?
[Laughs] Ripping up the Quad may or may not be a pipe dream. I don’t know how feasible that will be, because the administration all drive cars. So that’s one thing. And the other thing is that, in terms of finances, it’s actually very expensive to fund five meals per day for 50 people. It’s a lot of money, and I don’t know if it’s something the union can handle just yet. So, I’ll keep that idea in mind, but I’ll perhaps look for other ways of incorporating the Day students into King’s culture.
I love film, so I shoot, direct and edit short films. I like to express my ideas through one simple story. Once I learned more about film, I moved into filming mountain biking and skiing. I was considering going to film school, but I’d like a more stable career. I also extreme BBQ and burned off half my eyebrow once.
What makes you the best person to be science rep? Because I’m tall. But seriously, I don’t know. Actually I do, because I’ve got a bunch of good ideas and I am motivated and curious to see how politics work at King’s.
In our last interview (published online) you mentioned the Day students and the Meal Hall, and ripping up the Quad as well.
After this meeting, have you taken on any responsibilities? Yeah, I’m on the Residence Committee. I think at this point, I’m waiting on an email from the
dean of residence. What’s the dean of residence’s name, Nick Hatt? Yeah, I’m waiting from him for when that meeting — there’s a meeting that’s supposed to be taking place. A lot of the committees are positions that I was unfamiliar with, so I didn’t want to just jump into the middle of something that I didn’t know what would be happening. So, as firstyear rep, like I said before, I have to make sure I’m getting into the way this school works.
On the Residence Committee, what responsibilities would you take up? I’m not entirely sure. I’m waiting to be informed on that.
ly dependant on, or doesn’t really conform to the council schedule, so just like conveniently I am not going to finish every two weeks you know what I mean? ‘Cause that isn’t how the world works. Like, maybe I’ll finish something two days after council and then have to hold onto it for two weeks, or maybe I’ll finish something a week before council and hold onto it for seven days, or maybe I’ll finish it an hour before council and be not quite ready to talk about this yet, but that being said, I had the opportunities to put things on the agenda at any point, and I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet this week, maybe a couple discussion items.
What is the King’s Army? How do you think the student response has been to you being elected and your work so far? Generally very positive. I’m sure those that who are not so happy have politely held their tongues, so that’s nice. I mean, I’m glad to be the first-year rep, but I want to represent everybody. Some people, maybe they didn’t vote for me, maybe they said ‘good for you, good job’, rather than ‘oh man, I really wish you’d lost’. So, those people have been very polite, and other people have been very enthusiastic. I haven’t heard much feedback in terms of what I’ve been doing, but that’s a more difficult question because I haven’t had very much time to make a very large impact yet.
BRAEDEN JONES Do you know what you are going to bring forward next meeting? Yes, actually, I’m doing work right now with Nick, and I have a meeting coming up with the Registrar, and I am not sure what we are going to put forward in motion quite yet, because sometimes things do take time, but if I am able to make headway on it, we have some plans to resurrect the King’s Army in a new form, and that is about as much as I can say about it until I have consultation with other people. It’s not like every council meeting I am going to go there and be like “I have something to say!” That is not necessarily the case, but I have ideas. And whether or not they happen is up to how my consultations with other people go during the week. A lot of the times in council, what we are doing isn’t necessari-
In the past the King’s Army, well the King’s Army hasn’t been here since I was here. The resurrection in a way is going to be reviving the spirit of the King’s Army, and taking on a new presence of sort of community based, not advertising, but endorsement of King’s and expression of how proud King’s students are of their school, by just getting a group of people really excited about sharing what King’s is. It seems ambiguous because it is, because I haven’t talked to people about it yet. It’s kind of complicated because the King’s Army is going to be about students helping to spread the word of about King’s, that’s it, and that is really not that well-formed yet but those ideas are being formed. And besides that and again I am not sure if this is going to come up at council, because if something is not ready for council it’s not worth talking about, but as a discussion point, I have been talking to Quinn, the FVP, about, because we have the next general meeting, and we’ll be talking about budget, and he is entering into budget consultations with people and what I want to help him figure out is a new line that I thought we should have a new budget line of sorts to offer funding to a different kind of ratified society, so that there is less sort of bureaucratic hurdles so that to receive funding. It would be an easier sort of ratification and potentially, like I say nothing is set in stone, but to potentially take the form of a simpler ratification process one that offers financial support for a single or fewer endeavours than a society would require, and then expire after those events or the usefulness of that ratification ends. So, for example, if you were hosting a Frisbee tournament and you wanted to buy a trophy, it would be a front group and a bit of a farce for you to ratify that Frisbee society,
just to use our money for a trophy. Instead you would just simply write a letter as you would for a travel bursary and ask for money to buy a Frisbee trophy, because it is a lot less convoluted that way.
HAYDN WATTERS How was councillor orientation? It was great. I needed it and it’s still going to take a little while for me to get comfortable because a lot of them have been on council a long time so they are very familiar with the rules. But at times during council, Omri would ask if we could have a more informal conversation where Robert’s Rules are not in effect. Things get done way faster that way. That way people an add on points and give feedback without having to put their hands up and waiting to be called to speak. We will probably do it again because it is a quicker process. We also went through office hours at orientation, I will be in the KSU office on Tuesdays between 1:15 and 2:15.
Any further projects? Yes, I am planning on working on a project with Omri about how people can get involved with the KSU. So that will be a pamphlet or a brochure. I am also keeping my Twitter and Facebook updated. The links are: twitter.com/ HaydnJournalism and facebook.com/HadynJournalism. I would like to get more rolling on my platform. Also my meeting with Kelly Toughill had to be pushed back, so I am hoping to meet with her at the beginning of next week. I have been thinking about a template for the J-School Journal but I want to talk to Kelly as I’m hoping to do it in collaboration with the journalism department.
What else have you been doing this week? Tomorrow, and I’ve been tweeting about this already, we are covering the elections and keeping people updated. I am promoting hrmvotes.ca this week which is the website that the journalism students from King’s and NSCC have put together.
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the watch | 11
Si g ni n g FOR SODEXO Critics of the Tater Tot casserole will have to make do. Sodexo is here to stay, at least for another five years. by Mackenzie Scrimshaw | Photos by Bryn Karcha 12 | the watch
The University of King’s College has signed a four-year extension to its contract with Sodexo — the 1993 Food & Conference Services Agreement, which was set to expire in June 2013 — without student or faculty involvement. Sodexo will now continue to operate out of Prince Hall until September 2017. “My understanding is that the bursar signed (it),” said Kim Kierans, vice-president of King’s. Gerry Smith, the school’s former bursar, signed the extension, said Kierans, either in consultation with or with the knowledge of former president Anne Leavitt. Leavitt said this was the case in a phone interview on Oct. 19. “It was something I knew about but it is the responsibility of the bursar to contract services for the university,” said Leavitt. The Watch has received, after filing through Freedom of Information legislation, copies of the amendment and the original agreement. Dean Jobb, the university’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy officer, notified The Watch in writing on Nov. 13, 2012 that the processing of the magazine’s FOI request had been delayed by 20 days “for the third party to decide whether to seek a review of the university’s decision to release additional records.” The Watch received a second letter from Jobb on Nov. 28, 2012, which stated the university requires “more time to consult with the third party.” The university has further extended the deadline for its response by 30 days to Jan. 3, 2013. The information released so far shows Gerald Smith signed the amendment on Jan. 9, 2012, as well as the original agreement with Sodexo in 1995. Even though Smith signed the amendment at the beginning of the year, faculty, staff and students were not told about the renewal for four months. King’s faculty only learned of its signing when Nick Hatt, dean of residence, raised the issue at a faculty meeting on May 14. “Nicholas Hatt asked about the status of negotiations regarding the contract for food services,” reads the faculty meeting minutes. “The President said the negotiations were private and they were ongoing.” Neil Robertson, former chair of faculty, says he thought that was true after having attended the meeting in May. “The impression left was that it (the contract) was still under negotiation,” said Robertson. But the contract was a done deal by the faculty meeting on May 14. The next day, on the afternoon of May 15,
I was surprised that it had been extended for four years without any consultation with students Kim Kierans
faculty received an email from Leavitt. “Yesterday at the Faculty meeting, we had a discussion of our food services contract with Sodexo,” read part of Leavitt’s email. “I’m sending this e-mail to let you know that that food services contract has been signed. The contract will run until September, 2017.” Leavitt did not say in the email when the administration had signed the contract. “Whether that was a correction to what was said during the faculty meeting or it had been signed between the faculty meeting and the email…I don’t know the answer to that,” said Robertson. “Certainly there is an issue there about faculty involvement.” Another professor says he has similar concerns. Fred Vallance-Jones, a journalism professor, attended the meeting and received the email that followed. “The whole process took place without I and many other faculty members being aware that it had been taking place,” said Vallance-Jones, adding that he is giving his own opinions and not those of the university or the committees he sits on. “I think faculty in general, without speaking to this specific case, should be informed that a contract is up for negotiation and appropriate faculty committees should be involved in that process.” Faculty was “not at all” involved, said Kierans. The bursar, she said, had the responsibility to negotiate the contract. She says students should have a say in the discussions about the food service at King’s and how it can improve. “I was surprised that it had been extended for four years without any consultation with students,” said Kierans. Omri Haiven, vice-president external of the King’s Students’ Union, says he was “out-
raged” that the administration signed the contract without student involvement, particularly in light of the KSU’s boycott of Sodexo in summer 2011. The KSU began the boycott in response to Sodexo’s treatment of one of its long-time canteen employees, Zona Roberts, who no longer works at King’s. “So it was about workers’ rights at the canteen,” said Haiven, “but it was also about ethical food, sustainable food, local food and a student-run option.” Several weeks into the boycott, the KSU sat down with the administration and Sodexo. Gabe Hoogers, the KSU president at the time, says that they met several times, and reached the agreement on Sept. 9, 2011. In the agreement, Haiven said, the administration agreed to two terms. “The first… was to have a student, faculty and staff consultation process, and a process where we would actually choose the terms of a new food service contract.” The second term required the administration to offer the KSU the former canteen in the Wardroom before putting it on the market, said Haiven. The administration held to that term and the KSU opened its own canteen, the Galley, on Feb. 14. The KSU was not so successful with the first term. “The administration did not follow-up with the consultation process of students, faculty and staff on the agreement,” said Haiven. Other food services also were left out of the consultation process. The administration did not tender the contract, said Kierans. That means the university did not offer the contract to any other companies that offer services similar to Sodexo’s. Putting contracts to tender is a valuable
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v CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 practice, says Vallance-Jones, and did not happen in this case. “It was sole-sourced,” said Vallance-Jones. Tendering could result in innovation in service delivery, he said. “There has to be a clear advantage if you’re going to sole-source a contract.” Vallance-Jones said so at the May 14 faculty meeting. “Fred Vallance-Jones asked why the University doesn’t open up that contract to tendering, as a normal procedure,” read the minutes. “He said the best deals are gained frequently through open competition.” The minutes also include then-president Leavitt’s response: “The President said she has been told that historical University practice has been to stick with long-standing service providers.” Faculty has taken steps to involve its members and different representatives of the King’s community in future discussions about the food service at the college. Kierans and Hatt formed the Standing Committee on Residence Life in the spring, with Leavitt’s approval. “This was something that our late librarian Drake Petersen recommended years ago,” said Kierans. Petersen put forth the idea for the committee in a report dated February 2005. The committee includes the dean of residence (Hatt), a don, a faculty member, the chaplain, the vice-president (Kierans), the chair of bays, the president of Alex Hall, and a representative of the Day Students’ Society and of Sodexo. “(We will) be able to sit down and say, ‘OK, how are we doing right now? What are our complaints about food services? What do students want? Do the meal plans work for us? What kinds of meal plans do we need?” said Kierans. The committee hopes to meet at least once before the December break, she said. |w
King’s Students Have Campaigned for Better Food by Ariane Hanlon
f King’s is your home away from home, you eat there every day. Even if you’re a day student, you’ve probably eaten there with your friends or tutorial. But in the last few years students have been expressing concerns with what they’re eating and where it comes from. Tamar Wolofsky, a third-year student, used to participate with the now-dissolved King’s Alternative Food Co-operative Association (KAFCA), a society that cooked and served local, healthy meals on a weekly basis. “I got involved because I saw a need for something,” said Wolofsky. “Sodexo wasn’t healthy or vegan enough. People wanted local, healthy, non-corporate food choices.” Celine Beland, manager of Sodexo staff, is responsible for keeping students happy and producing of hundreds of meals a day. She says the job can be a balancing act. “This year all the nutrition information is there, we always have a vegetarian option, a gluten-free item. We revised based on feedback from students,” said Beland. Some requests come with a high cost. “Every year I hear new needs,” she said. “The most common one this year is gluten-free… some people are gluten-free by choice, others by necessity, but gluten-free is very expensive.” For example, she says a loaf of bread usually costs $2.50, but a gluten-free loaf comes in at $7.50. “If everyone wanted gluten-free, it just wouldn’t be feasible.” Beland says she can’t afford to give every diner local, organic and gluten-free food, but says working with a large company such as Sodexo has benefits. “We buy only from approved vendors. This means they have insurance liabilities. They are inspected,” said Beland. “The reason we can’t buy stuff from the farm at the end of the street is because what if they sell you something with e coli? You have clients’ lives in your hands.” Wolofsky agrees. “You can’t just buy potatoes from the side of the road and then feed them to hundreds of people,” she said. Though it’s what she would do, Wolofsky says it’s not a risk everyone would want to take. Still, Beland’s main objective is to keep students satisfied. “It’s my goal to figure out
3 Celine Beland (left) says her job is a balancing act 14 | the watch
PHOTO BY Alex Estey
what they want to eat,” she said. “If you are here seven days a week, you can get bored.” Students are doing that, says Beland, by writing comments in her suggestion box, which she says she checks every morning at 6 a.m. “Students are smart enough to understand we can’t give them steak and seafood every day,” she said, “but they also understand that we try to treat them when we can.” Sodexo management has tried other ways to engage students, such as a company survey that has since been cancelled, special meals with student representatives from each residence to hear feedback, and a “Recipes from Home” program last year. This year the dean of residence, Nick Hatt, is spearheading a food committee with Sodexo staff, students and faculty members. Not everyone thinks Sodexo facilitates student involvement well enough, including Omri Haiven, a fourth year student and the King’s Students’ Union external vice-president. He has been involved with food politics since his first year, when he founded KAFCA, and now belongs to the Dalhousie University food group, the Loaded Ladle. “Despite being excellent people,” said Haiven, “they [Sodexo] don’t have the right structure to do what students want.” Haiven says, despite the efforts from Beland and other staff, the food is still provided by a corporation. . “There is a need for food sovereignty,” he said, “people who provide the food and eat it need to be democratically involved.” Wolofsky is more conflicted. “That’s the way I want things to go, but on the other hand, you can’t go into Wendy’s and for $1.50 get a burger made from local organic beef.” She says residence students only have Prince Hall for food and so must make their expectations clear. “In the absence of choice we have to demand to be provided with things we would choose for ourselves.” Beland is of the same mind. “Sodexo does not decide what we serve here. We go on the daily feedback from our client,” she said. “We are following the rules of Sodexo Canada, but we are following the expectations of our client: students.”
Why So Few Candidates? by Ariane Hanlon
he October 4 KSU election that saw four new councillors elected had low voter turnout, but most striking was the lack of candidates. Of five positions, two candidates ran unopposed while two other positions had only a two-person race. By comparison, the most sought-after position, first-year representative, had a whopping five candidates. Braeden Jones was elected this year’s Member-at-Large and is the former Chair of Bays. “I want to be involved because I am able to,” said Jones. “It comes down to the desire to have time to do it. Is the time commitment of these positions scaring away potential candidates? Nick Stark, the current KSU president, is not so sure. “It can be a lot of work, but the more work you do, the more that happens,” said Stark.
THE NEW CREW
ELECTIONNUMBERS Stark also said that having two candidates per position is pretty standard. “I’m impressed with the amount of people this year. Except for two positions, there were at least two candidates,” Stark said, adding, “if you have too many candidates there’s the fear that people’s votes won’t be adequately represented. People want to make sure that they are being heard.” Jones ran unsuccessfully for first-year rep in 2010, was elected Chair of Bays in 2011, and had another unsuccessful bid for vice-president of student life in spring 2012. In this most recent election he ran unopposed and was elected Member-at-Large. “We shouldn’t just promote that there’s an election happening, but also participation,” said Jones. “There’s no reason for someone to run unopposed, and if they are then I’d peg it down to a lack of interest.” |w
AMELIA WILDING How was your first council meeting?
v CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 Are you planning on surveying the students and asking what they want? They can comment on my Facebook or Twitter with ideas but I am hoping that students will be able to voice their opinions at the social. That way it can be a platform for feedback and critique. Also, I have been talking to students about how we can improve the journalism school.
It went well. Apparently it was one of the shorter meetings, at four hours.
Have you had any student interaction yet, has anyone come up and asked questions, or made requests? No, not yet. Hopefully soon. I definitely want people to come and talk to me. I went to a DASSS meeting, which I sat on as the Arts representative. I was able to hear about what societies at Dal are doing, so I’m able to bring that information back to King’s. That went really well. There’s a lot of stuff going on there that King’s students should be involved in too, society-wise.
What have been some of the suggestions?
What other tasks have you taken on?
Well, people want to have a end of the year critique of the journalism department to bring the students together.
I’ve put a couple announcements in TWAK, coming out on Monday. I’m looking for upper year students to institute a FYP journal, so we
Low Turnout — Voter totals for the election were down as only 11 candidates ran for council positions. (Numbers provided by the Deputy Returning Officer.)
can start doing things with FYP papers that are really good. We’ll be able to publish that, and hopefully have it for this, and up coming years. There are already a couple of upper years that expressed interested in that, so that will hopefully come together in the next couple weeks. We’ll form a society, get the funding. I’m going to be working with Gabriel Goodman, the firstyear rep on that too.
Have you bumped into any problems as of yet? Nothing yet. I’m sure I will, in applying for things, and getting things organized. Those things never go off with out a hitch. I’m kind of excited to see what things come up, to see how I can deal with them. But so far no problems, maybe just student engagement.
Anything else you’d like to add? Not really. Things are going well. Next meeting is next weekend, so if people are interested in coming to that they should come out. I’d really like people to talk to me, if they want to about anything. I have office hours, on Fridays from 12:30–1:30. That’s pretty much all that’s going on, just with the projects being to roll around, I’ll be busy talking to lots of people. |w
the watch | 15
lizabeth Orenstein is chatting animatedly in her first apartment, a quaint affair on Oxford Street, on a bright September afternoon, having only moved in last week. She’s hustling about, making tea and talking about how she’s spent the past few days scrubbing down every surface of her new home with her mother and stepfather. Ten days before today, she could barely stand and couldn’t sleep through the night. Less than a month before today, she was lying at the bottom of a ravine, unconscious, blood dripping from her ears and nose, with a friend screaming her name and hoping she wasn’t dead. “He looks up and he says, ‘You be careful’ and I go, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll be fine. You be careful too.’ And then a minute later, my foot slipped and my hand slipped and I somersaulted backwards for 15 feet and then was in free fall for 15 feet. I landed on my head, neck and shoulders with my body bent back over me.” “He” is Adnaan Stumo, a friend from the second-year King’s student’s hometown of Great Barrington, MA. On Aug. 21, Orenstein and Stumo were at Sages Ravine in Connecticut on the most recent of many hikes together. “We were hiking up a trail that apparently a lot of people fall off of,” says Orenstein. “I, as the idiot local, had no idea.” The pair had climbed quite high when Stumo, noting the rock was slippery, suggested Orenstein climb back to the trail. It was a 50-foot, uphill trek. After 30 feet, Orenstein opted for a shortcut. “I don’t even actually remember slipping,” she says. “He told me I slipped, and I can think through it, but I don’t think it’s a real memory. I think I was holding onto a sapling or something to steady myself. Then the moss slipped, or the leaves or something.” “It must be a one or two-second memory of falling backwards. … I was like, ‘Huh. This is really bad. I’m either going to die or I’m not.’ I was very, sort of, relaxed about the whole thing. I thought I was moving really slowly and the colours were really bright. My adrenaline must’ve been crazy. And then I think I passed out.” Orenstein thinks she survived because she passed out before landing at the bottom of the ravine. “I was so limp when I hit that I just flopped.” Orenstein told her mother, Sarah Bingham, who Stumo had just called, that she was fine and intended to hike back out.
Slipping Away by Philippa Wolff Photo by Alex Estey
Within an hour, Bingham learned emergency medical technicians (EMTs) were preparing her daughter to be airlifted to the emergency room. Bingham had gone to the police station just as a precaution. “That was not a fun moment,” she says. Bingham drove out and waited five hours for the approximately 15 EMTs to get Orenstein out of the ravine. “You go into cope mode real quick. I lost it when I got to her when they were boarding her on the helicopter. … I was good until I saw her and then I lost it.” Orenstein had sustained four skull fractures, bruising to the left side of her brain, blood in her sinuses and eardrums, a bruised rib and a few cuts and scrapes. She spent two days in the hospital’s intensive care unit, during which time she had several X-rays but was ultimately told she needed bed rest to heal. “They didn’t know what to do with me. … I came within a millimeter of breaking my neck,” Orenstein says. The first two weeks of recovery were long. She couldn’t stand up straight because of muscle spasms during week one. Her eyes “felt like they were doing jumping jacks” when she looked up and she couldn’t read for more than a minute at a time. Along with pain that woke her up in the night, Orenstein struggled with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. “It was just thoughts that wouldn’t ever leave me alone. What if you get in a car accident? What if you fall off another mountain? Things that are menial thoughts when you’re fully functioning … were very much a truth and a reality and really scary.” She found relief in tapping therapy, which Bingham describes as “acupuncture for the emotions.” At the end of those two weeks, Orenstein regained the ability to walk normally and comfortably. Nine days later, Orenstein feels “really good,” aside from a “constant low-grade headache” and a “tugging fatigue,” both of which will haunt her until her head injuries heal completely. She hopes they will clear up by the end of the semester. She laments missing her first frosh week as a leader and finds it “really frustrating” that her injuries mean taking notes and multi-tasking don’t come as naturally anymore. She’s still smiling, though. “I’m walking and talking and still remember who I am and remember who my friends are and that’s pretty incredible. I don’t over think things the way that I used to. It’s kind of like, ‘I fell off a mountain. That’s not really important.’ I’m alive. That’s good and that’s where I’m going from here.” |w
Sages Ravine in Connecticut, where Elizabeth Orenstein slipped and fell approximately 30 feet
PHOTO BY Thomas McNally
“ I came within a
millimeter of breaking my neck” — Elizabeth Orenstein
From Adnaan Stumo’s journal Our bags were several hundred yards away I'd guess, but in my adrenaline-fueled state I jumped the next several waterfalls and reached the location in a matter of seconds. I had to keep screaming her name so she would hear and know that I was not just abandoning her, that I was trying to bring help. I immediately dialled 911, but the male voice on the other end was choppy and kept asking me to repeat myself. The line disconnected. I called again, and a woman answered the line. She transferred me to Suffield police station when I asked for Sheffield. FUCK! I imagined Elizabeth bleeding out alone in the woods. I made one final call as I began to run back up the mountain, along the side of the ravine this time. The call connected. “Transfer me to Sheffield, MA police station NOW!”
READ THE WHOLE ENTRY ONLINE |w
slipping-away the watch | 17
time to shift
the power FIGHTING CAPITALISM AT POWERSHIFT
our blackboards, already full of words by the time I had arrived, sat covered in terms like “capitalism” and “carbon credits,” under headings like “root causes” and “fake solutions.” The group of 20 had been brainstorming for an hour. After another had passed, they mused what $1.4 billion in government fossil fuel subsidies could do elsewhere. Education, sustainable infrastructure, and organic farms were suggested. This was the first workshop of the weekend, called “We Are Powershift.” It was on Saturday morning. It was mandatory. It laid out the values of the conference, and “how to approach community and climate organizing in a way that is anti-oppressive, inclusive and strategic.” The conference was a success, says Cameron Fenton, the director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and one of the head organizers, and it restored his faith in the environmental movement. “Before Powershift I referred to something called the youth climate movement in Canada, and now I actually believe it exists,” said Fenton. “I’ve always known there’s something there, but it’s been so long since we’ve had something like Powershift in this country.” On the first day alone, there were 87 workshops and panels. The pace was frantic and the excitement palpable. After “We Are Powershift,” I attended a panel on “the muzzling of scientists” or, how increasingly difficult it is for journalists to interview federal climate experts. Alana Westwood, a Dalhousie Biology PHD student, led the discussion, and she says she spoke to as many scientists as she could when preparing for the panel. None would go on record and almost all of them had at least one story about being threatened with losing their jobs if they spoke to the media without supervision. “It’s like the 1950s Soviet Union,” said Westwood. To speak to a scientist now, she says you must contact the media relations person at the department you want to speak to. This 18 | the watch
person puts the request through, which is then discussed amongst superiors in the department. Sometimes it goes all the way to the Prime Minister’s Office. The process can take at least two weeks, and sometimes there’s no response at all, says Westwood. When there is, journalists are asked to submit a list of questions prior to the interview, and the scientist is given a list of suggested answers. If their answers differ from those given to them, they put their job at risk. This is one tiny scale on the complex and ravenous monster of capitalism that Powershift is trying to subdue. The activist spirit of the conference eventually permeated the discussion — what could be done to change this? The arduous and bureaucratic process, said Westwood, is susceptible to simple overload — if many people put in requests at once, it would highlight the system’s absurdity. No action was planned. The panel disbanded just past noon. Zigzagging through the University of Ottawa halls between workshops was like buzzing through a hive. The workshops were all were honing different skills — communication, investigation, campaigning, activism and policymaking — but held a common goal. Two more rounds of workshops came before the evening’s keynote speeches, with something for any skill, interest or degree program. The speeches began at 7:30 p.m. The excited hope of a day spent learning was pragmatically stifled by a heavy and honest message from the speakers. The environmental rhetoric of young people tends to have a naïve sense of fate — the good guys always win. The speakers reminded the audience of how things really work. Naomi Klein, renowned environmentalist and author, says society has sunk into a misguided industrial progress. “How did it become more reasonable to change the colour of the sky, rather than ask someone to take the bus?” “Just showing up is no longer enough. This is a war for the future,” said Klein. Bill McKibben, with flailing arms and
Robin Tress, internal media coordintor for Powershift, in Ottawa
STORY AND PHOTO BY Christian Pollard
lanky figure — not unlike an excited Kermit the Frog — said to the crowd, “I don’t know if we can beat ‘em, but looking around this room, I really like the odds.” Since writing The End of Nature in 1989, widely considered the first book about global warming geared towards a mass audience, McKibben has co-founded 350.org, a world-renowned and well-regarded climate change organization. A community advocate and co-director of Honor the Earth and the White Earth Land Recovery Project, Winona LaDuke, said climate change is affecting her Aboriginal community in northern Minnesota, U.S. The fix won’t be quick, she said. “Things take a while to get messed up, and they take a long time to fix.” Her speech ended with a standing ovation. It was 10 p.m. by the time people had left the auditorium. Fatigue was setting in. Despite a collective will to maintain the day’s energy, people were needing sleep for another early day. Ninety-five workshops and panels awaited the group on Sunday, plus regional meetings to discuss how to bring the new knowledge home. If only there was more time. |w
rotestors gathered on Parliament Hill on a chilly Monday morning in late October, wearing all manner of strange ‘Halloween’ costumes, to protest the $1.4 billion David Suzuki says the Canadian government gives annually in subsidies to the oil and gas industry. I stood apart. Before I got on the bus from Halifax to Ottawa, before I started attending events for a conference called Power Shift, and before my views on environmentalism and activism completely changed, I had planned to write a story about this protest on the Hill. But I no longer wanted to. Before the conference, I hadn’t given much thought to the word ‘activist.’ All I knew was activists cared about the environment, and so did I, and so I identified as one. In a university town such as Halifax, activists are everywhere. Street canvassers flag you down on your way into the SUB, bake sales tempt you with food for charity and events are advertised as a way to dance, drink and get trashed all for a good cause. Activism has become so ingrained into our culture that, in my mind, the underlying “cause” often becomes a little lost in the act. Only during this weekend did I really start to think about this. As she walked over with me during her lunch break, my cousin, Meredith Holmes, a family lawyer, pointed out the Prime Minister’s Office. “You know, they only protest on Parliament Hill because it looks good in pictures. If they really wanted to reach the prime minister, that’s where they’d protest,” she said, pointing at a nondescript building. Both of us agreed: the protest was for a good cause. But I was over protesting. I was not the only one. As Meredith headed back to work, I saw Ezra Manson, another King’s student who fit in with the age bracket of the rest of the protesters much better than Meredith did. Like me, he ignored the chant sheets and the hype of the crowd. I asked if he planned to join the protest. He didn’t. He had passes to observe parliament and asked if I wanted to join him. I knew I had a story to write, but I kept thinking about the past weekend of talks and workshops. Many were given by people who had never built a wind turbine, analyzed climatic data or practiced sustainable farming, yet that’s what they were talking about.
Why I’m done with protesting by Olivia Rempel
King’s Power The KSU council unanimously approved $420 in funding for two students to attend the PowerShift conference
PHOTO BY Christian Pollard A talk about alternative energy had an anti-nuclear spin and exaggerated much of the information against nuclear energy and completely ignored or discredited pro-nuclear information. Even if your side is probably the winning side, listeners should be given a balanced argument and be able to make up their own mind. That’s when I realized I didn’t want to talk about or protest something. I would much rather spend my time working toward tangible change than focus my energy on getting in other people’s faces about the world’s problems. Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely not saying activism is all bad. What I am saying is if an activist does not properly engage with an issue, does not fully understand the implications of what they are proposing, and does not present their argument fairly and in a balanced way, then that is the kind of activism I disagree with. I decided to leave the protest and go with Ezra. Ezra led me across the grass, away from parliament. I looked back. Maybe 50 were protesting by now, but as we got further away, the Peace Tower dwarfed their presence. “I hope they don’t push for zero fuel subsidies and focus on reducing instead,” I said, “because no one will listen to them if they’re unrealistic like that.” He agreed. We entered a large, historical building, almost like a castle, with a copper roof long oxidized into a turquoise colour. This is where many MPs have their offices.
When we passed the protesters for the second time, their group had grown from 50 to maybe 100, and police presence had also increased slightly. We watched the crowd from a distance, skirted in front of them, and ducked into the entrance below the Peace Tower. At the final security check, I went into my bag to take out my pen and notepad so I could take notes while observing parliament, but the security guard said, “No, you can’t take that in.” “It’s just a pen and notebook.” “You can only have what’s on your person,” said the security guard. I later learned what they were telling me was true. The forbiddance against note taking in the House of Commons is a remnant from a time when parliament struggled against the Crown and there was a constant fear of a “stranger in the House.” Reporters have only been allowed to legally take notes in the House since 1971. But that privilege has not been extended to ordinary observers yet. I looked pleadingly at the security guard, and then at Ezra as the guard put my bag behind the counter and handed me a tag. Ezra asked another security guard if I could have my notebook and the answer was no. There goes my story, I thought. I stood there for a moment and said “fuck” a bit too loudly. Then I looked at Ezra and said, “Now what?” |w
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NOTEBOOK Yearbook editor position cut, will be replaced by a committee by Emma Davie The days of yearbook editors scrambling to complete The Record by deadline are over. The position was cut at the KSU fall general meeting on Nov. 14. This year, the yearbook will be created by the newly created yearbook committee, which will also provide a recommendation on The Record’s continuing existence at the end of this school year. In previous years, the yearbook editor was paid $1,250 for the entire year, and held the second-highest paid union-hired position. The Record began in 1879 as a monthly magazine. In 1951 it began to resemble the type of yearbook we have today. Davis Carr, last year’s editor for The Record, says it’s “an insane job” for one person. She believes that, in years past, students who wanted to help with the yearbook were looking to be part of a team — and unfortunately, that wasn’t the way it was set up. Carr says that the deadlines for the printing company may have also contributed to a lack of interest in The Record over the past few years. The way it has been set up means that the yearbook is finished in August, and comes out in October. “Just the nature of how the publishing works, it’s already irrelevant. It’s not released at the end of the first year, where there would be a lot of anticipation because it’s the end of the year, everybody’s looking back.” Carr says losing the yearbook would be a loss for the university. “The yearbook is a really great opportunity for us to sort of break down those social barriers and really look at the school as a whole,” said Carr. “It’s a really interesting way for King’s to reflect who we are. It’s a way of understanding ourselves as an institution.” Noah White, student life vice-president, doesn’t want to lose the yearbook either. He says that in 20 years he won’t want to reminisce about King’s over Facebook pictures — he wants a hard-copy yearbook to look at.
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“I think the yearbook can be an incredible thing,” he said. “Having a hard copy of this, having things in the archives, keeping things on paper I think is incredibly valuable.” Carr and White agree that in order for The Record to keep going, something needs to change. “I’d like to see something that makes it more definitively King’s,” said White. “If we are going to have a hard copy, I want it to be something students want to see. Or, you know, at least have them be a part of the process that decides what is in the yearbook, because I think that’s what’s most valuable to the union.”
STUDENT GARDEN IS NO MORE by Grace Kennedy The student garden has come to an end after three seasons of difficulties. At its Nov. 14 fall general meeting, the KSU announced that another garden coordinator would not be hired. Last fall, the Student Horticulturalist Society managed the garden in Nick Hatt’s backyard. Emma Wolfe, Rebecca Davies Wilson, and Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand made up the executive. They worked on a volunteer basis throughout the year, and brought the idea of creating a union-hired garden coordinator
position to the KSU. They hoped to give the coordinator an honorarium of $500. “The Student Horticulturalists have been organizing how the plan is going to run and what is going to happen,” said Emma Wolfe at the 2012 spring general meeting. “This position is an incredible opportunity and creates opportunities in the fall as well. They will start running in September. The work put in is a lot and it deserves the $500 because of the time put into it.” Though two people were found to fill the position, one dropped out, leaving only Asher Goldstein in charge of running the garden over the summer. This left Goldstein in charge of a community garden with very little community participation. While students helped kick off the Student Horticulturalists’ involvement in the garden by building another raised bed in the fall of 2011, there were only 15 to 20 individuals that participated in the summer. Among these were Goldstein and Noah White, who had been involved with the garden before the Student Horticulturalists took over. “There wasn’t that much student participation other than Asher and Noah,” said Roberts-Stahlbrand. “It’s not quite ingrained enough in the culture to get the summer students out.” Student participation wasn’t the only problem gardeners faced. The soil was clay-like, and of poor quality. It didn’t allow for proper aeration and restricted the root vegetable growth.
PHOTO BY Bryn Karcha
Fire ants were also an issue. Their tunnels restricted the ability of the plants to get nutrients and moisture from the soil, and the ants themselves are omnivorous. They ruined the zucchini crop so no fruit came after it flowered. Goldstein separated some of the ant-contaminated soil and applied Borax to it — a natural mineral with uses ranging from insect repellent to laundry detergent. “The red ants are a problem. There are just so many of them,” said Roberts-Stahlbrand. “Asher boraxed them, which is the natural way to do it, and they came back.” The garden also suffers from a chaotic history. Since its start three years ago, the garden has been partnered with four different organizations: the King’s Agricultural Food Cooperative Association, the King’s Agricultural Collective, the Ecology Action Centre, and the Student Horticulturalist Society. Soil that was ordered for the garden was dumped in Nick Hatt’s front yard, and left there until the next year, when the Student Horticulturalists built another raised bed for the garden. Despite these issues, members of the KSU council remained positive about the prospects of the garden. “This community garden not only represents new forms of student initiative but also the opportunity for King’s to become a more conscious and locally focused campus, and for the different elements of our campus to engage with the community nestled around us,” wrote then-President Kiki Wood, in her report from Sept. 19, 2010. These hopes were not fulfilled over the trial season, and the Student Horticulturalists will not continue their involvement with the garden. “We have decided, as the Student Horticulturalists, to rebrand,” said Roberts-Stahlbrand, “to remake ourselves as an interest group more… relating to food as directly as we can but not actually growing it. So I don’t think we are going to try and garden again. It was also a lot of time on our part.” This isn’t the end of gardening at King’s though. Students can talk to the librarian about utilizing growing space around the library.
Wardroom and Galley sales down from last year by Ben Harrison Sales were down at the Wardroom this fall, compared to last year. “Sales for the Wardroom have been very good,” said John Adams, the bar manager. “This is where it gets weird. We’re slightly down from last year. We’re down about $1,000. But, having said that, we also brought down a lot of our costs, so we profited just short of $700, which is the same as last year.” Adams says the Wardroom made $22,000 in sales for September. Last year, they made $23,500. One of the major cuts was the loss of the booking manager position. Adams now does bookings himself. The bar also now has a supplier for plastic cups, lemons and limes. “That’s saving us money, because I don’t have to go to the store and buy the stuff,” said Adams. Other than the booking manager, the cuts won’t affect employees. Wages are up this year, from $10 to $10.15. Staff are also seeing more hours, with a third staff position being added to early happy hour shifts.
PHOTO BY Bryn Karcha
Sales at the Galley are also down from their first full month of sales in March. This March, the Galley brought in $7,000 in sales. In September, the Galley made $5,790 in sales. “I think we could have done better,” said Adams. “One thing that happened was we were running out of food a lot. And this came from our fear of throwing food out, because that’s a waste. But having said that, we’ve now come to the realization that we were limiting ourselves by capping how much we could sell in a day.” Adams says the Galley has become much more aggressive in their food orders because the demand has been there. “Every week in October we’ve ordered more food,” said Adams. “The biggest thing to note is in March, we sold more but we also bought more. This time, we’ve sold a similar amount, but our costs were less. Our ratio between our profit per item has gone up.” Adams hopes to bring the Galley sales up to $7,000 a month. One of the major complaints he’s received about the Galley is the length of wait times. “That’s something I’ve addressed with the staff, and I’ve been pretty hard on them,” said Adams. “Some staff can manage it, some can’t, but we all have to. That’s something I’ve been hard on them about.”
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Teaching Fellows Sign Agreement by Candace Thomson
t’s a day like any other, as hundreds of students shuffle by the row of FYP tutors toward their seats. It’s the row of tutors that has changed, not the students, however. The group of fewer than a dozen now has a collective agreement, signed 14 months after unionizing. It became official on June 7, 2012 with a handshake, says the registrar, Elizabeth Yeo, speaking on behalf of the school’s administration “It was like a sigh of relief,” said Yeo with a smile, adding that negotiations went smoothly. Matt Furlong, union president, also says the process came to a welcome end. “The process was not excessively long,” said Furlong in an email. “That said, it was a taxing process. The additional workload was a real challenge for everyone involved. We were all very tired by the end, and glad to have it concluded, but overall we’re pleased that the Collective Agreement was accomplished in a timely manner.” The University of King’s College Teachers’ Association is the first teachers’ union in King’s history to have reached a deal with the school. The union only includes teaching fellows on yearly contracts, but before its start in 2011, King’s was one of the only schools in Canada without a union for any part of its faculty. The rest of King’s faculty remains without a union, but their wage increases and staffing rule follow the agreement of the Dalhousie Faculty Association. All King’s faculty and staff are governed, as were the teaching fellows prior to unionizing, by the “Pink Book.” These regulations left teaching fellows debating staffing rules, which classed teaching fellows as “other than academic staff,” and left them ineligible for sabbaticals or tenures, stuck on a pay scale lower than the lowest ranking professor and without representation on the Council of Co-
Glad it’s done Professor Susan Dodd says she is happy to see a deal signed
PHOTO BY Alex Estey ordinators, the group that governs and disciplines the fellows. Susan Dodd, a professor at King’s, voted in the original union vote more than a year ago. She is no longer in the union as she was promoted to assistant professor shortly after the vote. Even so, she says she’s glad to see a contract signed. “I feel really weird about this because I wasn’t part of the negotiations towards the contract on either side so I feel very much as if this is something other agents have done,” said Dodd. “I’m grateful to them for having done it.” Dodd says she remembers the issues of the day, which went beyond the salary differences with regular professors. Several fellows testified in a Labour Board hearing in June 2011, which was prompted by an objection by then-president William Barker. He told the board that the fellows weren’t a unique group and a union would fracture the collegial nature of King’s. Scott Marratto, a senior fellow at the time, testified in favor of the union. He said he had complained about fellows being left out, but to no avail. “While the faculty is very collegial, those who are in full time have a sense of inclusivi-
ty which is not shared with those who are just ‘contingent labour,’” said Marratto. Another fellow, Corey Stockwell, testified about several issues, such as the FYP department preferring the essay topic suggestions of professors over tutors’. Dodd says she remembers such discussions and struggles, but hopes they’re now resolved. “We spent years arguing about this stuff — years and years and years,” said Dodd. “I think that having this explicit agreement is just a nice clarification. To a certain extent, it doesn’t depend on culture and convention and personality so much. So the clarity is a good thing.” The new agreement includes several changes that give more self-governance to the teaching fellows. One change is that the union has a member sitting in on Board of Governors meetings, although that member is non-voting and cannot attend in-camera discussions, unless invited by the board. The union also has a representative sitting on the Council of Coordinators, which means non-unionized teaching fellows will be involved in any amendment to the FYP regulations. |w
“ Something is being done
against the student will” —Liam Crouse, first-year student
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FIND OUT MORE ON PAGE 24
3Editors’ Note In this piece, you’ll notice the interview with Dr. Furlong was conducted by email. After editing this story, we’ve decided we should be able to speak with everyone in person, especially in a small school like King’s. In-person conversations are more direct, honest and frank. That’s what our readers deserve. Dr. Furlong did not want to be interviewed any other way. In the future, our reporters will not interview any member of the King’s community by email except under extreme circumstances. Someone’s life being in danger is the only extreme circumstance we can think of right now. We’re not trying to censor people. We’re making sure journalists can have the discussions that are necessary to understand the story they’re writing. That being said, Dr. Furlong did have a philosopher on his side. Here’s what he said, in response to our journalist Candace Thomson: Hi again Candace, Yes, I am, in fact, opposed in to a phone interview. I’ll quote a thinker from who I’ve learned a lot: “I take my precautions: when at least I believe I must respond, I do so without haste, on a date, in a form, and in a situation that are appropriate to the seriousness of what I want to say” (Jacques Derrida, “Reading ‘beyond the beginning’; Or, the Venom in Letters, in The Instant of My Death/Demeure: Fiction and Testimony, with Maurice Blanchot [Stanford, Stanford UP: 2000], 104). I believe that every person reserves the right to do so. Given the fact that interviews, unless printed verbatim, and sometimes even then, are inherently selective and partial, it is good to have a paper trail so that in cases of disagreement, the entire record can be published so that readers can decide for themselves and that everyone involved (interviewer and interviewee) can receive fair treatment. I mean this quite sincerely, and without glibness. So, again, please feel free to send me your questions. Best, Matthew Given our FYP and CSP experience, we know that using quotes can only ever be “selective and partial,” so we hope Dr. Furlong sees the irony in his response.
The “Obama Idea” Bringing out the possible in everyday life
PERSPECTIVE BY Moh Hashem PHOTO BY Evan McIntyre
lection night in the United States of America was one of the most anticipated nights this year. All you had to do was turn on the TV or log onto Facebook or Twitter to join the hype. But this hype didn’t just appear on Election Day. You couldn’t escape it for most of this year. Daily lengthy and explicit Facebook arguments about Obama or Romney were the norm on your newsfeed. Opinionated conversations on who is a better candidate were just a part of another regular day. Even those who consider themselves “politically oblivious” had already chosen a candidate they fully supported and stood behind. Obama isn’t just a politician or a president — he’s an idea. And that idea marks a major turning point for those of us in the western world. For example, his 2008 election changed the dynamic completely for anyone who belongs to a visible minority. We all grew up with the idea that we can be anything we wanted to be. It was plain and simple, and our parents couldn’t stress it enough. But as you continued to mature, there were still doubts at the very back of your mind. Aiming for the top is never easy, but it’s even harder when the ones up there have nothing in common with who you are. But it’s not just about race. This Barack Obama concept can resemble any obstacle (no matter how big or small) that we face in our lives. You don’t have to be campaigning to be the leader of the free world in order for it to take effect. It’s an idea of struggle and triumph. In a way, this idea can represent your own aspirations and dreams. Whether it’s a career you aim for down the road, or just something you hope to accomplish by the end of the week, this is just an idea to bring out the greatness that’s hidden deep down. Once you look past that barrier, one will see that it’s not about ‘we’ or ‘them’ it’s actually about you. The term ‘Yes We Can’ was a product of Barack Obama the individual, but if you apply the same analogy to Barack Obama the idea, the term now becomes ‘Yes You Can.’ And unlike the American president, this ‘Barack Obama Idea’ can indeed bridge gaps across as many borders as possible. And the good news is, you don’t need Obamacare to be covered by it. |w
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It’s a free country The KSU organized an ‘80s aerobics class on Dec. 3 in the Quad as its first action in dissent of the approval of a new $180 athletics fee to be introduced in 2015. King’s president George Cooper (quoted) joined in the fun, much to the delight of the students. PHOTO BY Bryn Karcha 24 | the watch
BURSAR FIRED President says governance review is underway by Rachel Ward
niversity of King’s College bursar Gerry G. Smith has been fired by the school’s board of governors. Board chair John Hamm sent an email to King’s faculty and staff on Friday, Nov. 30 saying the board had terminated Smith’s employment. “I wish to advise the King’s community that the Board of Governors, at its meeting yesterday, confirmed that the employment of Gerry Smith, our Bursar, has been terminated,” wrote Hamm. “Mr. Smith has served the College as Bursar for 22 years and we wish him well.” Smith has been on administrative leave since the end of March after being charged with sexual assault, indecent assault and gross indecency. President George Cooper says Smith was fired for reasons other than the charges. “There’s no connection, at all, between the charges coming up and the change in employment status,” he said. The incidents are alleged to have taken place between 1980 and 1985, before Smith was at King’s. Smith came to King’s in 1991 to replace retiring bursar Don Fry. Smith had been working for as a controller for Coastal Rentals for four years, and prior to that, for Fednav Offshore Inc. from 1981 to 1986, as well as a supervisor for the chartered accounting firm Hemming and Co., according to a Tidings article dated March 1991. Smith also made the news recently when King’s released its salaries over $100,000, in accordance with the province’s Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act. Smith was paid $241,073.96 for the 2011 fiscal year — the highest salary at King’s, higher than the two most recent presidents of King’s, as well as the current presidents of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Saint Francis Xavier University. The email did not specify the reason behind Smith’s termination, and Cooper refused to specify if the board paid severance to Smith.
PHOTO COLLECTED FROM The Record, 1996-97 ed. The bursar at King’s had equivalent responsibilities to a vice-president of finance at other institutions. Hamm’s email also says the board will be striking a search committee for Smith’s replacement. The university hired Jim Fitzpatrick to run the university’s finances in July after putting Smith on administrative leave. “It was clearly on an interim basis,” said Cooper, adding the school plans to post an advertisement for the bursar’s job by mid-December. The school is also hiring a facilities manager, and Cooper says the position may incorporate some of Smith’s old responsibilities, but he’s not sure “exactly how that will all play out.” “I think that Gerry did have in his direct line of responsibilities facilities,” said Cooper. “I know there was some confusion about it.” The board voted on Nov. 29 to kick-start a “top-down governance review” of all gover-
nance structures, said Cooper, for example, committees, policies and job descriptions. Some changes have been made already, he says. “We’ve wanted to make sure our financial controls are all up to date,” said Cooper. The school has outgrown its current policies, says Cooper, who served until October with the Institute of Corporate Directors, a not-for-profit organization that makes recommendations to improve the performance of boards and directors. “It seemed to be the right time—new president, new bursar, right time, too,” said Cooper. Cooper says policy changes are coming and have already begun, but says Smith’s firing won’t greatly affect the school. “As you know Gerry had been on administrative leave for six months or so, so in that sense, there’s been no change because he hasn’t been here for six months.” |w
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THE LAST WORD
In Her Shoes I
had many new hopes and dreams going to a new school, but most were tainted by my dysphoria. I am Lucy, a transgender woman. What defines me to many is a small part of who I really am. I was born with an anatomical sex that was incongruent with my gender identity. I always knew deep down that this was the path I had to take to find peace within myself. For many trans people, transitioning is costly both mentally and physically. We endure almost constant harassment and teasing while also having to pay for much of the physical transition ourselves because few governments offer medical coverage. I started to transition from male to female publicly the summer before the twelfth grade. This confused many people. Media rarely covers trans people, like myself, in a positive fashion, so I have been faced with a lot of stigmatized comments. The first year of my transition was the hardest time of my entire life. I felt like, in the attempt to discard my prior life, I was being barred from becoming who I really was. It was difficult for me because, for a while, I dealt with bullying and harassment. That worsened my depression and anxiety. Having already attempted suicide, it was very hard for me not to give up. Being constantly judged and hated for something I cannot change is too much. I want to be free to be who I am just like anyone else. I moved to Halifax two months ago from the Annapolis Valley in beautiful Nova Scotia in order to attend the Foundation Year Programme at King’s. Since being at King’s, things have been very different, but not in all ways. I still get asked a lot of awkward questions. I still feel uncomfortable using the public washrooms. I still shudder when I think about social interactions and introductions. The fear for my safety when I leave campus is still far too real. King’s is the ideal for school for someone like myself in terms of learning and community, but it still gets tiring because I feel that there aren’t adequate measures taken to educate students and staff about how to respect marginalized people. This isn’t just about my-
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by Lucy Wallace
What defines me to many is a small part of who I really am PHOTO BY Alex Estey
self, but about other people also struggling for equality: the fight is the same. That said, I do feel proud to be a student here because, most of the time, I am respected and treated with dignity by both staff and students. When I am off campus in the urban sprawl, I still face gossip, bullying, being outed, sexual harassment, death threats and the constant fear of being assaulted. For me, these threats and fears are very real, and they all started simultaneously when I transitioned. I no longer bare the face of humankind, but am a stigmatized caricature of a fetishized and dehumanized being. Intrusive questions, debates and hatred are now part of my life as people try to grapple with what they deem as a decision, when in reality, no one in their right frame of mind would choose hate over love. I often watch other people have a typical university experience while I look on with jealousy. I can’t go to house parties, flirt or date because many people are very closed minded to my status and often times react very negatively and sometimes even violently.
It’s not all that way. The allies I have met on campus are absolutely wonderful and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Almost always I am treated the same as everyone else and it makes me feel so blessed that I chose King’s as my university. I hope that one day it will feel like this for me everywhere I go. |w
How to be an ally
FACTS & FIGURES
Do not ask someone about their anatomy or how they engage in sex Ask people what their preferred pronouns are — never assume Stand up against transphobic remarks or jokes Do not ask someone what their “real” name is, as it voids their preferred name Do not “out” (inform other people of someone’s status) without their express permission Be open-minded and research so you can better grasp these issues
At least one transgender person is murdered each month, and several more are assaulted 55 per cent of transgender youth report being physically attacked One-quarter of young transgender people report having attempted suicide More than half of transgender people who were harassed or assaulted in school because of their gender identity have attempted suicide via GLAAD Transgender Resources
Puppies pay a visit to Dal The Watch brings you inside the room that made headlines across the country and changed student life forever... the Puppy Room. While students had a chance to hug a puppy, the hugs from friends and family over the vacation will be all the more special. From us at The Watch to you, have a splendid break. PHOTOS BY Bryn Karcha
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Published on Dec 13, 2012
The first issue in Volume 30 of The Watch, which is the student-run publication at the University of King's College in Halifax. I was respon...