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Are downtown businesses struggling to stay open?

Online training in sexual harassment introduced.

Extremism in University politics detracts from real issues. Page 8

Interview with folk musician Aidan Knight.

Men’s volleyball shows promise for post-season.

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Page 10

Page 13

T u e s d ay , F e b r u a r y 5 , 2 0 1 3 — I s s u e 3 1

j the ournal Queen’s University — Since 1873

Sunday snowsquall


SMART goes corporate

Clean-up service to separate from the MAC B y Vincent M atak Assistant News Editor

Students trek through campus Sunday afternoon during a mild snow storm.

Photo by Timothy Hutama

The Student Maintenance and Resource Team (SMART), an AMS service that provides regular clean-up work throughout the student housing area will become an official corporate service come May 1. SMART, which was created last year, is currently under the purview of the Municipal Affairs Commission (MAC) and the AMS vice-president of University Affairs. The service is intended to help fulfill the mandate of the MAC in


Black history a cause for celebration Ceremony honours black alumni and students’ contributions to the University B y J ulia Vriend Assistant News Editor Queen’s first-ever Black History Month (BHM) opening ceremony was held last Friday night in the JDUC. In an effort to make this year’s BHM more celebratory, the planning committee decided to host the ceremony, which included several speakers. The seven-person committee is comprised of students from the African & Caribbean Students’ Association, Queen’s Black Academic Society and Queen’s Coalition against Racist and Ethnic Discrimination. The committee began planning for all of the month’s events in October. “I hope [what] Queen’s students take away from this is that there is a big Afro-Caribe culture here at Queen’s,” organizer Stephanie Jackson, ArtSci ’14, said. In February 1926, ‘Negro History Week’ was initiated by black historian Carter G. Woodson, the date chosen to mark the birthday of both President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation

improving town-gown relations by cleaning up the student housing area, so that it will no longer be referred to as the “Student Ghetto.” SMART’s services are also available on a contract-basis for local landlords. The service employs students to rake leaves, cut grass and complete maintenance work, such as fence and deck repairs for local properties. It also runs a “red cup program,” which charges property owners $25 per hour to clean up yards. Both the MAC and the vice-president of University Affairs don’t have the necessary expertise to deal with the budgeting, finances, marketing and workplace safety standards of the service, said Mira Dineen, AMS vice-president of University Affairs. “Leaving SMART within the [MAC] represents an opportunity cost for the time and energy of the commissioner and the VPUA,” she told the Journal via email. This means the MAC and the VPUA would have less time to spend on other responsibilities within their portfolios. “A corporate service director and

in 1863, and Frederick Douglass, have contributed to the University. about those contributions and how an activist, writer and escaped She didn’t want the month to they affect students today. “I hope the students get a better slave. It eventually became Black be “subtle” like previous years, appreciation for the significant role History Week, and in 1976, she added. The prevalent theme of the that black students and alumni the week was expanded to a ceremony was raising awareness month-long celebration. See Ceremony on page 5 See Service on page 6 In 2008, the Canadian Senate officially recognized Black History Month after black Nova Scotian Admissions Senator Hon. Donald H. Oliver brought forward the resolution. Over 50 people filled the JDUC’s McLaughlin Hall on Friday to attend the ceremony, Applicants from both near and far are increasingly choosing Queen’s while Queen’s TV offered live broadcasting of the event on B y H olly Tousignant “The Office of the University released by the University, TV Cogeco. Registrar — Undergraduate “Undergraduate and Admissions News Editor “I was happy if we just filled Admission increased our and Student Awards worked the chairs,” organizer Jackson said. Applications for undergraduate international recruitment activities closely to boost the number “People kept filing in.” admission have increased by this past fall, travelling to Brazil, of early offers of admission, Organizers aimed to spread the 15 per cent this year among China, England, Hong Kong, India, scholarship and bursary to high word about the celebratory month international students. Turkey and the United States,” academic achievers.”Information by involving different student-run This compares to a three per Pinchin told the Journal via email. wasn’t available on how this year’s committees, as well as posting cent spike in Ontario applicants Queen’s admission recruitment efforts compared to flyers and advertising on Facebook and an eight per cent increase representatives visited hundreds previous years. and Twitter. in non-Ontario applicants. The of schools in Ontario alone in “We review and update our travel Jackson planned the event with number of Ontario students who 2012, as well as schools in all other plans each year in an effort to best fellow committee member Sharon identified Queen’s as their first provinces and territories except for achieve the strategic enrolment Obuobi, who was also pleased with choice also rose by seven per cent. Nunavut and Prince Edward Island. priorities of the University,” the turnout. Associate University Registrar A four per cent increase was Pinchin said. Obuobi said it was important Stuart Pinchin said this growth also noted in applications from The University’s international for them to increase the presence of is the result of several factors, “self-identified Aboriginal students.” community isn’t, of course, BHM on campus this year to show including expanding efforts in Admission doesn’t close until restricted to the seven nations where students what people of colour attracting international students. Feb. 1, but according to a statement See Queen’s on page 6

International applications up

2 •


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Feature City of Kingston

Downtown’s natural evolution Kingston is home to 750 businesses in the downtown region, including over 300 retailers B y R osie H ales Features Editor Downtown Kingston’s tight knit community may contribute to a common myth which suggests that businesses have a high turnover rate. But according to owners, this may not necessarily be true as business turnover downtown is just a microcosm of the situation in larger retail areas. “I think that’s a natural evolution of a downtown,” said Kaitlin Byrick, projects manager of member services for Downtown Kingston! Business Improvement Association (BIA). In 2010, Kingston saw 44 new businesses open in the downtown region. This number dropped to 27 in 2011 and grew once more in 2012 to 32 openings. Byrick attributes these fluctuating numbers to the natural ebb and flow of new spaces becoming available. ‘Downtown’ Kingston is located between Ontario and Division Streets and includes both sides of Brock, Princess and Queen Streets, stretching down towards the lake. “We still consider [Princess St.] the centre of our downtown,” Byrick said. “I wouldn’t be able to say one general reason that people decide to close,” Byrick said, adding that people may want to sell the business or retire. She added that many businesses decide to open in the spring in anticipation of the tourist season. However, throughout the year, locations with retail space on the ground level are popular choices for businesses, Byrick said. “People who decide to have their business on Princess St. are picking it because it’s a busy street,” she added. She added that students and tourists are beneficial for downtown businesses at different times of the year. Cyndy Gibson, co-owner of three boutiques on Princess St., Agent 99, Blueprint and Three Boutique, said rent is always going

up but people still want to open up on Princess St. because of the amount of traffic it receives from shoppers. “If people didn’t want to be here then things would change,” Gibson said. She’s been stationed at Agent 99 on Princess Street for 14 years. “From there it’s just sort of evolved as we saw different needs and different changing aspects of the market,” Gibson said. “We decided to open similar yet different stores all in the block of one another so we can be there for them.” Gibson’s stores have remained open but she said that there was always an opening and closing phenomena of businesses on Princess St. She couldn’t speculate as to why businesses close down, but doesn’t think businesses in Kingston are struggling. “I don’t think it’s a different formula [than] if you look at Queen West in Toronto or the Plateau in Montreal … I think we’re just a microcosm of the typical situation with retail stores anywhere,” Gibson said. Gibson stationed her first clothing store, TKO, on King St. In 1993, Princess St. was more of a site for furniture stores than clothing stores. This all changed when The Gap moved into its current location on Princess St. in 1997. “When [The Gap] came to town, believe it or not, it was a really big deal and they took a spot where they are now and it changed everything,” Gibson said. “A lot of people clustered around them and this became sort of the shopping block.” She thinks that the co-existence of corporate and independent businesses in Kingston was a positive development. “If they wanted to come here, it’s because we’re a pretty cool neighbourhood. We’re doing really well,” Gibson said. Madison Koekkoek, thinks that larger downtown businesses might be having an effect on the

In 2010, Kingston saw 44 new businesses open in the downtown region. This is an increase since 2011 when only 27 new businesses opened.

smaller ones. Koekkoek, ArtSci ’14, goes downtown between three and four times a week and was sad to see her favourite store, Starling Vintage Lovelies, close down. “She closed this summer because she said that a lot of people would come in thinking it was a second-hand shop. She didn’t get all the Queen’s students who liked high-end vintage,” she said. “It was my absolute favourite shop.” She added that while students are a big part of Kingston’s business demographic, that all changes in the summer when many students leave the city. “Some of the [businesses] that close maybe don’t appeal as much to students,” Koekkoek said. Richard Ottenhof agrees that Kingston’s downtown business atmosphere is constantly changing. “You’ll see one store can change a block and one store can make it difficult for other places along a block,” Ottenhof, owner of Coffeeco, said. He added that places like Woodenheads Gourmet Pizza are keeping Ontario St. going. Ottenhof said that downtown business owners need other successful businesses to surround them because they share patrons. “That’s why Market Square works for me. There will always be people around me,” he said. When it comes to businesses

Cyndy Gibson, co-owner of Agent 99, Blueprint, and Three Boutique on Princess St. says that rent is always increasing.

closing down, Ottenhof said that reasons for ending a business were different for everybody. “It’s not a proposition where you crack open the door, put your feet on the desk and wait for the till to ring. It’s vacuuming up pennies,” he said.

When [The Gap] “came to town, believe

it or not, it was a really big deal and they took a spot where they are now and it changed everything. A lot of people clustered around them ...

— Cyndy Gibson, Owner of Agent 99, Blueprint and Three Boutique For Ottenhof, he had to leave his location of Coffeeco at Johnson and Division Streets after the location’s landlord wanted to raise rent by 40 per cent. When looking for a new location for Coffeeco, he barely considered Princess St. “Princess St. is really hit-and-miss and it’s not what it was, in my opinion, 20 years ago,” Ottenhof said. “I looked at it but could never find a compelling case to want to

Photo by alex choi

spend money to be there.” Now, Ottenhof said that the new location in Market Square downtown is much better in terms of visibility. “The Market Square was really an area that was attractive to me as the city tends to spend a lot of money promoting [it],” he said. He added that the location is much bigger and rent is comparable on a square foot basis to the old location on Johnson St. and is more exposed to tourists. “Market Square will be much more tourist-driven but the tourists provide that spike that evens out the first couple of years while you’re developing,” he said. Ottenhof said that the Market Square location of Coffeeco tries to appeal to graduate students and professors, rather than undergraduates. “First year students don’t opt for high-end espresso, they go for whipped cream and sugar,” he said. In order to appeal to a more mature crowd, the Market Square location of Coffeeco doesn’t offer WiFi. “Prevailing thought [in the worldwide coffee community] is not to offer WiFi and to encourage conversation.” — With files from Alison Shouldice

Photo by alex choi

4 •


Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Job Shadow program offers real world career experience Career Services matches students with local workplaces B y J anina E nrile Postscript Editor

“It’s not a job interview,” she said. with a focus on graduate students and arts and science students, Fader “They get to have more insight said any student is welcome to by watching what people do and talking to them about their work Over the next two months, 50 sign up. Students are chosen based on and how careers work in general.” students will participate in the Prior to going to a half-day second run of the Queen’s Job how well they fit with any of the job shadow, students attend Shadow Program — the same participating organizations. “We try to match them as closely pre-departure workshops with amount as last year. Career Services to help them First piloted in 2011, the as possible,” she said. According to Fader, rather than prepare for their experience, program matches students with host organizations in Kingston, a full-fledged co-op placement Fader said. Host organizations undergo where they spend a half-day program similar to many high learning about the ins and outs of schools, the half-day model is ideal. similar preparations. “We provide guidelines and “It allows a good amount of their desired career. “It lets students have the chance time [for students and host suggestions for them,” she said. to get really up close with a organizations] to connect and get “We also give them some ideas for some things they might do with the particular area of work and the to know each other,” she said. The program coordinators also student on-site.” role that they’re interested in,” Career Services isn’t just limited Christine Fader, career counselor encourage students to keep in to the Job Shadow Program, touch with their hosts. at Career Services, said. According to Fader, the though. Fader said students can Career Services works with Kingston businesses, categorizing relaxed atmosphere lets students still seek assistance if their desired them by sector so that students can observe more in the workplace, sector isn’t in the program. “We talk to [students] about how helping them in their own career get matched easily. “[Organizations] identify what decisions. A list of the participating they can set up their own job their sector or sectors are,” Fader groups is not available to prevent shadow for the first time or in the said. “Students look at that same students from flooding them with future,” she said. “They’re able to move ahead on list and … they pick their top three requests themselves. The Job sectors of work that interest them.” Shadow Program can facilitate creating job shadows themselves.” Some sectors include healthcare, communication between students and groups, however. technology, education or law. Fader said she expects the same number of Kingston organizations C l a r i f i c a t i o n s as last year, about 50, to participate. “We have a lot of really The students in Erin Ball’s aerial acrobatics class have been practicing generous local organizations,” their skills for years. Ball created the splits balance sequence. she said. Incorrect information appeared in the Feb. 1 issue of the Journal. While the program was designed

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Human rights

Online modules educate on sexual harassment

New modules developed by the Human Rights Office available for Queen’s community and other universities B y J oanna P lucinska Editorials Editor

harassment prevention coordinator at the Office, said. “We set the bar pretty high at the 90 per cent level. The Human Rights Office You have to really pay attention at Queen’s recently released and take in the material.” The first module sets a base a sexual harassment module designed to educate staff, students definition and provides basic and faculty for prevention in information about what sexual harassment is. It also cover the laws the workplace. The program is comprised of surrounding it and the individual’s three modules, each of which duty to prevent harassment is designed to educate and test from occurring. Once this foundation is the user on how to identify and prevent sexual harassment in a established, the module takes the university setting. user through a variety of case studies Participants are required to involving sexual harassment. They attain a score of 90 per cent or range from a professor-student above in order to qualify for a issue in a classroom to a personal relationship dynamic. certificate of achievement. While the program will be “‘Is the situation sexual harassment?’ ‘What are peoples’ available for free to all students, responsibilities?’ — that’s the quiz staff and faculty at Queen’s, it’s part,” Margot Coulter, the sexual also being sold to other institutions.

“An institution will pay $500 once and they can use it however they want to,” Coulter said, adding that the program isn’t designed to be a money-making venture. For members of the Queen’s community, the modules can be accessed on the website of the Human Rights Office. While sexual harassment forms only one of the many human rights issues on campus that are addressed, the Human Rights Office felt that it was important to address this particular violation comprehensively. “In terms of issues on campus, it seems to be the most often reported violation of human rights,” Coulter said. The Office generally tailors their individual human rights training sessions to the particular groups

they’re presenting to. “We don’t have a package that works for everybody. This module is the best way to say that it works in all situations,” Coulter said. Coulter explained that it was a project that was in the works for over 15 years.

“I’ve been doing this work for 20 years. I drew on a lot of my experience,” she said. “A lot of the experience is from situations we’ve heard about in other institutions and things that have happened here to make it relevant to our population.”

Ceremony was well-attended Foundation of Kingston; and Rector Nick Francis. There was also performance by have played in the development of the University and the programs,” spoken word artist and student Daniel Quainoo, ArtSci ’14. Obuobi, Comm ’13, said. “Black history month is an The ceremony featured five speakers, including opportunity to commemorate and Principal Daniel Woolf; Wayne remember some very important Myles, Queen’s University people who are a part of our International Centre Director; Felix collective history,” Quainoo said. “As [Woolf] said today, I think Akols, president of the Kingston African and Caribbean Collective; Black History Month isn’t always Judith Brown, president of the going to be necessary … “But Afro-Caribe Community [BHM] is important today in Continued from page 1

order to raise awareness about our history.” Woolf ’s speech included a mention of changing the curriculum so that it covers broader historical perspectives. A list of events for BHM is available on the committee’s Facebook page. This month will include a soul food gathering, a cooking demonstration, radio broadcasts and an ongoing photo gallery in Stauffer Library.

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6 •

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Queen’s reps recruited from seven countries in 2012 Continued from page 1

Photo by Charlotte Ganier

Applications from international students were up 15 per cent this year, compared to three per cent from Ontario.

recruitment is focused. Over 1,300 international students from more than 80 countries currently call Queen’s home. In his May 2012 “vision document,” titled the Third Juncture, Principal Daniel Woolf prioritized increasing Queen’s global reputation over the next decade, which currently “lags our national profile.”

Service designed to improve town-gown relationship “[However], SMART differs dramatically from other AMS the vice-president of operations are government services, such as the much better suited to mentoring Peer Support Centre, the Food and overseeing the head manager Centre, the Academic Grievance and the service.” Centre, and the Bike Shop,” she The decision to transition said. “SMART is a corporate the service was passed at AMS service, with wages staff, inventory, Assembly on Jan. 24, after a revenue and business contracts consultation with the SMART head with the City and the community,” manager, the current and previous she said. Municipal Affairs Commissioners, It has not yet been determined AMS retail operations officer, which service director will oversee AMS information officer and SMART. Dineen said the shift, the AMS board of directors, which is expected to be finalized Dineen said. by May 1, won’t affect the services According to Dineen, SMART offered by SMART. was established as a government However, changes need to be service last year because of its made to ensure that SMART still political mandate to improve upholds its political mandate. town-gown relations. These include holding scheduled

Continued from page 1

meetings between the MAC, the SMART Head Manager, and the service director.

SMART differs “dramatically from

other AMS government services.

— Mira Dineen, vice-president of university affairs

“[They] will discuss matters related to the perception of SMART by community members, City staff or bodies, the University and other stakeholders related to the [MAC],” she added. In addition, the MAC will

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In January, he told the Journal that the University has been developing an international strategy over the last couple years. “Internationalization [is] a very key goal of mine for the University and it’s going to take some time,” he said. “We are on the brink of presenting an international strategy to the Senate and to the Board [of Trustees].” Chúk Odenigbo, ArtSci ’13, first heard about Queen’s hours after arriving in Canada on his way to his new school in Hamilton, ON. Odenigbo, who previously attended high school in Molo, Kenya, said he’d never seen any advertising or recruitment by Queen’s prior to moving to Canada. He added that he thinks the increase in international continue to sit on the AMS Landlord Advisory Board with the SMART head manager, to discuss issues relating to the student housing area and the rest of the City. Tristan Lee, AMS vice-president of operations, said the shift was expected when SMART was created last year. “It was created with the understanding that it may have to shift at some point in the future,” she said. “This change is logical and one that was bound to happen, we have decided to do this in order to make sure the service moves forward sustainably and efficiently.”

applications is interesting, but that he believes the University needs to increase advertising. “In the year I started at Queen’s, there were very few international kids who had never been to Canada because, outside of Canada, people have barely heard of Queen’s,” he told the Journal via email. He said he thinks the benefits of an international education include experiencing different cultures, flexibility of learning, travel and learning new languages. Ekaterina Manoylenko, who hails from Moscow, Russia, also hadn’t encountered any advertisements for Queen’s at home. Following an exchange to the US during high school, she decided to pursue post-secondary education outside of Russia and chose Canada, specifically, and Queen’s after researching what she wanted and falling for the “wild” Queen’s spirit. “I am excited for the new international applicants and I am excited to have people from different backgrounds here at Queen’s,” Manoylenko, ArtSci ’15, told the Journal via email. She added that she thinks the experience allows for personal growth and opens doors. “Also, you become friends with fantastic people from completely different backgrounds than you. It is fascinating,” she said. “International education is a great gift I will thank my parents and this university for the rest of my life.”




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Contributing Staff



t’s not anyone’s business who your sugar daddy is. A website called has sparked controversy lately with its promise to matchmake young, attractive individuals in financial need with older, wealthy partners. Specifically, it’s seen a spike in usage among Canadian university students, mostly among female “sugar babies,” as the site calls them, looking for “sugar daddies.” The existence of the website raises moral queries. While it explicitly states that it isn’t a prostitution or escort service, the financial exchange involved in the arrangements the website promotes may suggest otherwise. The website does clearly indicate its purpose though. All those who choose to register with the service fully understand the nature of the arrangement. At the end of the day, whatever way individuals choose to earn money is up to them — it’s paternalistic to explicitly disallow young people from seeking financial aid in this way. However, there are inherent risks that the “sugar babies” using this website are hopefully aware of. The power dynamic between what is usually an older, wealthier male and a younger, financially needy young woman can be worrisome. “Sugar babies” may be



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JENNIFER CHE FANNY RABINOVITCH-KUZMICKI HANK XU Tuesday, February 5, 2013 • Issue 31 • Volume 140

The Queen’s Journal is an editorially autonomous newspaper published by the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s University, Kingston. Editorial opinions expressed in the Journal are the sole responsibility of the Queen’s Journal Editorial Board, and are not necessarily those of the University, the AMS or their officers. Contents © 2012 by the Queen’s Journal; all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission of the Journal. The Queen’s Journal is printed on a Goss Community press by Performance Group of Companies in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Contributions from all members of the Queen’s and Kingston community are welcome. The Journal reserves the right to edit all submissions. Subscriptions are available for $120.00 per year (plus applicable taxes). Please address complaints and grievances to the Editors in Chief. Please direct editorial, advertising and circulation enquiries to: 190 University Avenue, Kingston, Ontario, K7L-3P4 Telephone: 613-533-2800 (editorial) 613-533-6711 (advertising) Fax: 613-533-6728 Email: The Journal Online: Circulation 6,000 Issue 32 of Volume 140 will be published on Friday, February 8, 2013

It’s unfair to assume that the ‘sugar babies’ inherently don’t respect themselves and are victims.



Advertising Manager


Cashing in on sweet nothings


Business Manager



Better than reaction


elittling a culture is never funny. Last week’s attack on Team PDA’s Vice-President of Operations candidate Craig Draeger was well called for, but it failed to deliver the appropriate message. A Tumblr page entitled “Queen’s is better than racism” called for Draeger’s removal from the AMS elections race, after an older YouTube video featuring Draeger in “brownface” circulated online. In this case, Draeger was clearly parodying Mexican culture. The video shows him shaking maracas to mariachi music, wearing traditional Mexican clothes. The video, which was taken down, sparked a marked reaction from the group, who accused Draeger of racism and microagression. “You cannot separate the racist history from said action just because you want to cosplay [costume play],” the page read.


putting themselves in a position of vulnerability, especially with a financial transaction involved. Some may also be seeking this service for the wrong reasons, going to it as a last resort to get more money instead of making an informed, empowered and comfortable decision to enter such a relationship. But some individuals may genuinely enjoy and desire this “It’s extremely selfish and racist of you to disregard those very real emotions and realities for your own self-interests.” The campaign, which had good intentions, was misdirected by its extreme and accusatory nature. Instead of calling for Draeger’s resignation, it should’ve campaigned for an explanation or an apology from him regarding the video. What they did was effectively prejudge Draeger based on past actions, to the point where any explanation would have been rendered futile. I don’t condone racism and I’m not excusing Draeger’s actions, but in order to combat acts of racism, or any act of bigotry, it’s better to call for reason than reaction. I don’t intend to speak on behalf of racially marginalized groups, but I have experienced my own forms of discrimination on campus for who I am and what I stand for. The fact that a person committed an act of racism in the past doesn’t mean that person was or continues to be a racist. We can’t take one action and judge a person — that in itself is an act of discrimination. We should use this to better understand how and why acts or racism are still occurring today, instead of calling for measures too extreme for the situation. Vince is an Assistant News Editor at the Journal.

type of arrangement. It’s unfair to assume that the “sugar babies” inherently don’t respect themselves and are victims. While the nature of these relationships promoted by this website can carry negative qualities, one can’t predict what each of these relationships actually looks like. Romantic relationships nowadays have varying power

dynamics and differing definitions. There are more grey zones than there are clear distinctions. It’s ultimately none of our business if a young woman wants a “sugar daddy” — who’s to judge what form their relationship takes? — Journal Editorial Board


Eril Berkok Josh Burton Jordan Cathcart Alex Choi Prisca Choi Tristan DiFrancesco Alex Downham Janina Enrile Nick Faris Katherine Fernandez-Blance Charlotte Gagnier Trilby Goouch Chloë Grande Labiba Haque Rosie Hales Rachel Herscovici Zoe Kelsey Sam Koebrich Lauri Kytomäa Tiffany Lam Peter Lee Sean Liebich Vincent Matak

Jeremy McDonald Robert McKeown Olivia Mersereau Peter Morrow Eugene Michasiw Nick Pateras Joanna Plucinska Peter Reimer Colin Robinson Alison Shouldice Adrian Smith Carling Spinney Savoula Stylianou Sean Sutherland Styna Tao Colin Tomchick Holly Tousignant Julia Vriend Terence Wong Ali Zahid Geroldine Zhao Jerry Zheng


8 •

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Opinions — Your perspective

Photos by Alex Choi

Campus Commentary

Political games overshadow issues Contributor critiques last week’s AMS executive elections and the political squabbles that ensued

Aarondeep Singh Bains, JD ‘14 Student politics, and not just in this AMS election, have become derailed. This past week simply serves as an example of how student leaders are letting their personalities overtake their offices. Days ago, members of the Queen’s community sat in the audience as several students allowed their personalities to extend well beyond the offices they fought for. The office in contestation was the AMS executive and what we saw was nothing less than a comic tragedy. Candidates began the campaign promoting platforms and reform projects. However, by the middle of the week the campaign was riddled with various allegations against nominees. Finally, the week ended in claims of election tampering, the vastly inflated personalities being deflated with the results and the escorting of a candidate out of the JDUC. What can we learn from the week? First, there are a lot of

issues impacting the daily lives of students that we should be talking about, and I am very glad that a platform for discussion exists. The second point however, is that the speaker’s shadow shouldn’t be taking the light out of their debates.

Days ago, members of the Queen’s community sat in the audience as several students allowed their personalities to extend well beyond the offices they fought for. The office in contestation was the AMS executive and what we saw was nothing less than a comic tragedy. Issues such as mental health and the expansion of blue lights are vital to students on the ground. These topics provide students with resources, and ensure their safety. This is especially important, when existing blue lights are threatened by misuse, endangering students and staff. Student parties tried to address concerns about accessibility and tuition. A bridge was proposed

between the shortest and perhaps warmest passageway in the school. Another party proposed student fee decreases. Students may have been trying to address worthwhile issues such as accessibility, which goes beyond physical access . Platform points involved accessible food options as well. As these issues began to be debated, I was truly proud to see this occurring. However, priorities changed, as is inherent in university politics, the debaters overshadowed the actual issues. The first discussion about the elections that I had with a student on campus didn’t involve any of the above issues but was instead focused on the candidates. There were rumours of past inappropriate conduct and current opinions. The problem isn’t that these issues arose, but that the candidates at times not only allowed them to, but also poured on the fuel. Students involved in university politics often lose sight of the offices they are seeking to hold. The issues get washed away as they pour criticism and insults upon one another in an attempt to gain an inch or two in the election.

This week was no different and social media simply made these spats easier and more widely read. As a result students lost sight of the actual issues. The white noise of allegations, candidate history and the YouTube presence of a certain party’s candidates drowned out the meaningful discussions trying to be had.

I used to believe in Henry Kissinger’s phrase that “university politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” But he can’t be correct — Queen’s students have a lot at stake. This was rather comically climaxed in the final few stages of the production when election results appeared to be delayed. More allegations were thrown around, and even Queen’s Student Constables arrived. I’m glad to say that in the end the personalities have drawn away and we are left with an outstanding party. However we really shouldn’t ignore the field from which they rose.

The election was merely the catalyst in the systemic problem of personalities overpowering politics. Watching the election and sitting in meetings where students hurl insults and accusations instead of critiques and solutions forced me to think about the state of student politics. I used to believe in Henry Kissinger’s phrase that “university politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” But he can’t be correct — Queen’s students have a lot at stake. We rely on the services provided on campus for our education, or health and at times our safety. The election campaign should have ended where it began, on debates surrounding the issues affecting us today and what we plan to bring to the table tomorrow. Sadly, this was lost, in the election, and all too often in student politics generally. It’s the duty of students to keep the issues on our leaders’ tables and check them when their behaviour is not very leader like. I don’t know how big the AMS executive offices are, but I am pretty sure they should always be remembered as being far bigger than any one office holder.

Talking heads ... around campus What do you love/hate about math? Check out Postscript for the full story.

“Love learning it, hate being evaluated in it.” Ridge Bandeen, Sci ’16

“Numbers aren’t my thing, math makes me physically nauseous.”

“Give me Edgar Allan Poe over Pascal anyday.”

Julie Pecek, ArtSci ’13

Mara Bryden, ArtSci ’14

“Love that feeling when you know you’re gonna get to the end of the question.” Alex Blaine, ConEd ’15

Got an opinion? Send it to:

Photos By Terence Wong

“Math is a lot like Teletubbies, better, though less efficient on shrooms.” Ahren Baumgardner, Sci ’16

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


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10 •

Tuesday, February 5, 2013



Passion before a paycheque Musician Aidan Knight reveals why he appreciates the job he gets to do B y A lex D ownham Assistant Arts Editor

Aidan Knight says he sees other young people who have to continue their day jobs even though it’s not what they’re passionate about and he says he’s grateful that he gets to do what he loves every day.


film festival

Garnering a global reach

Third time’s the charm with Aidan Knight, it seems. The folk musician and I finally got the chance to talk about his musical influences and his latest tour after playing a lengthy game of phone tag due to miscommunications. Knight tells me that while he’s excited about his upcoming tour dates, the lifestyle of a musician isn’t typical. “There aren’t many people who understand it. It doesn’t make sense on paper, that’s for sure,” he tells me. He said he’s grateful that he’s able to do a job he’s passionate about every day, while others aren’t as lucky. “People in their 20’s have vast amounts of knowledge. When

I look around, I see people are taking jobs or committing 60 per cent of their life to day jobs rather than their passion,” he said.

There aren’t “many people who

understand it. It doesn’t make sense on paper, that’s for sure.

— Aidan Knight

Knight’s latest album Small Reveal takes a look at Knight’s obvious love of music. This is an experimental album ranging from the sweet lullabies to crashing ballads. Quite unusually, Knight tells me that comparisons between his music and the music of other bands is like having a passionate uncle. See Star-struck on page 12

Last year, the Reelout Festival reached new distances being able to travel to help Ankara, Turkey with their festival B y S avoula S tylianou Arts Editor The annual Queer Film and Video Festival has gone global, reaching Turkey in its travels last year. Festival Director Matt Salton said last year was one of the Festival’s proudest moments in its 13-year existence as organizers were able to help start up the first queer film festival in Ankara, Turkey. “We showed Canadian short films in Ankara and we were actually able to send one of the filmmakers from Toronto to Turkey for the Festival,” Salton said. Taking 15 minutes to talk to me in between workshops on a busy Sunday, Salton said this year’s festival has had over

300 submissions. “Our programming committee had to pick only 80 films to show.” Cutting down the list of films to show was especially difficult this year with the high volume of submissions that came to the festival, Salton said. It’s clear this year’s Reelout Festival is just as popular as ever. “We have over 33 filmmakers coming and engaging with audiences this year,” Salton said. “And we have over 80 films from 12 different countries.” The 10-day Festival runs until Sunday and Salton said since the festival is turning 14, a new theme was chosen to match that. “We thought since we’re working with so many great community partners and we’re turning 14, let’s

do it for teens,” he said. “We have a lot of young queer filmmakers with a lot of stories to tell.”

still a lack “ofThere’s visibility of queer

lives on television and mainstream films. This gives the queer community 10 days to be the star and to shine.

— Reelout Festival Director Matt Salton

Along with this year’s Reelout theme, Salton said the people behind the festival plan to carry the theme of youths even past the

dates of the festival. “We’re trying to get Reelout in Schools off the ground, so we’ll be visiting local area high schools and showing films in April and starting a discussion about bullying,” he said. Salton said even though films aren’t shown on campus and are now mostly shown at the Screening Room downtown, students are still fundamental to the Festival. “We have large support from student opt-out fees. In fact, without the support of those opt -out fees, the festival would really be suffering,” he said. It’s students and youths who can help to ensure that the film doesn’t become extinct, Salton said. “We’re hoping more people in this age of downloads and online

Sophia Takal and Amy Seimetz star in Coffee and Pie, a women’s short being shown at the Screening Room on Saturday as part of this year’s Reelout Festival.

films realize they’re missing out on the whole point of the film Festival.” Salton said the community Queer Film Festival still has a place in today’s society even with the strides that have been made in regards to human rights issues. “Kingston is a small city that prides itself on being liberal, but it’s still a conservative white town,” he said. “There’s still a lack of visibility of queer lives on television and mainstream films.” “This gives the queer community 10 days to be the star and to shine.” The Reelout Queer Film and Video Festival runs until Sunday at various locations. For a schedule of events, go to

photo supplied by Douglas Horn


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

• 11


A shocking success Controversial exhibit arouses discussion on campus

B y S avoula S tylianou Arts Editor

illustration by oliVia Merserau

art revIew

Artists in the artwork In his latest exhibit, Chris Miner brings together the creator and their very own creation B y a manDa watSon Contributor Art galleries house the artwork, not the artists. Somehow Chris Miner manages to combine both in his new exhibit. In Artists Statements, Miner provides an intimate look at the artists behind the works through his photograph series. The Kingston photographer offers the artist statement through his camera lens, scrapping the traditional document used to deliver the audience with notes on the artwork. The State of Flux Gallery at Modern

Fuel was filled with five life-size, sepia photographs, each depicting a local artist juxtaposed with a piece of their artwork. Having a visual of the artist to accompany their work was strangely intimate. The portraits force the viewer to not only accept the work at face value, but ask questions about the inner ambition of the artist. This was evident in the first photograph I came upon, a portrait of Jane Derby gazing into the eyes of a bust on the table beside her. Above her was a photo of her mixed media piece, “Runes,” which first appeared to be wooden slates, intermingled with clay or mortar.

Chris Miner’s new photograph series Artists Statements juxtaposes artists next to their artwork. Artist Su Sheedy poses behind the branches of a tree.

photo by saM KoebriCh

Art shocks — and Deanna Bowen knows it. The Toronto artist’s new art exhibit, entitled Invisible Empires, has successfully given students something to talk about. The artist’s new show at the York University Art Gallery gives an in-depth look at the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) era in Canada in the 20th century, providing an artistic avenue to discuss a taboo topic. The exhibit brings the sensitive subject matter to life by including two mannequins dressed in KKK robes and a re-enactment of a 1965 interview with some members on the TV show This Hour has Seven Days. It’s easy for Canadians to forget that the KKK ever existed because it doesn’t pose an immediate threat anymore, but Bowen’s aim isn’t to cause harm; rather it’s to avoid citizen apathy. The bold exhibit forces York students to stop and take note of Bowen’s artwork as they’re slowed down by the banners which When I stepped a little closer to inspect Derby’s piece, I noticed the many recycled materials embedded in the clay, such as pop cans, electrical plugs, screws and netting, among other things. This seemed to oddly parallel the portrait, as character traits started to make themselves known through the artwork. While the proximity made me uncomfortable, I felt closer to the artists who were stranger until this point. This realization became clear as my focus shifted to “Beautiful Bag,” an abstract oil painting on canvas, beside local artist Su Sheedy peering piercingly out from within the branches of a tree. I sensed a disconnect between her woodsy portrait and her synthetically-themed creation, proving that artists can sometimes use art to step outside

are purposefully placed on the campus. While initially some might see the exhibit as offensive — and it very well might be — it accurately achieves the artist’s goal of starting a conversation about a taboo topic. Every piece of art has an intention, and it’s the artist’s job to present their work in a fashion that will accurately convey the message at hand. Rather than being criticized for offending people of her own race, Bowen needs to be strongly commended for the fearlessness she shows. Invisible Empires does shock its audience, no matter what their background may be, but after that initial tremor, the viewer’s interest is piqued. Bowen achieved her goal with the exhibit — people are talking. A debate has ensued regarding the KKK and their effect on Canadian history in one of the best places possible — an educational institution. What better place to have a broader discussion than at a university? Bowen’s work is admirable as it takes a step forward with the way modern art directly engages the audience. Taking art away from the passive medium it might be considered to be, Bowens has brought the art form to the future and showed how it can make a poignant difference.

of themselves. Miner’s idea to have the artist pose immediately next to their work had a strong impact — allowing the viewer to make the connection between creator and creation. While hiding behind the trees in her portrait, Sheedy was also hiding from the viewer who’s now familiar to her. Looking at Sheedy’s piece, the initial fear I felt being so intimate with the artists dissipated. I came to terms with the fact that an individual’s physical body will never be completely synonymous to their artwork. Chris Miner’s Artists Statements is on exhibit in the State of Flux Gallery in Modern Fuel until Feb. 13.

12 •

Keep up to date on Kingston’s art, music and theatre scene.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Star-struck Knight Continued from page 10

“It’s kind of like the toughest uncle you’ve ever had — he was this brilliant, poetic mind who had a real appreciation for arts and creativity, but also drank hard at the bar, worked full-time and had really gnarly hands.” The band is often compared to indie rock group the Constantines. Knight said when his idol Bryan Webb, the lead vocalist from the band, came to one of his shows in Winnipeg he was more than a little star-struck. “The only thing I could think of to say was, ‘You play Guild guitars and I also play Guild guitars. Do you want to see it?’” Talking to Knight over the phone, I found him to be a friendly,

genuine guy in an abnormal situation, and he found much of the same talking to his idol. “I felt really dumb about it because he seems like a very genuine, normal, just regular person, so I don’t know why I was

building it up so much.” Knight said. “I remember there was about an hour where I struggled if I would go over and say hi.” Aidan Knight plays the Grad Club on Saturday at 9 p.m.

Aidan Knight says he got nervous when his idol Bryan Webb of the Constantines came to one of his shows in Winnipeg.

Is music your forte? Is art your niche? Is theatre your calling?

Email us to write for Arts!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

• 13

Sports WOmen’s Hockey

Frenzy at the front

Gaels in three-way duel for OUA lead B y S ean S utherland Staff Writer The playoff picture hasn’t become any clearer for the women’s hockey team. The Gaels blanked the Windsor Lancers 3-0 on Saturday before pulling out a 3-2 overtime victory over the Western Mustangs on Sunday. The two wins put the team in position to battle for first place in the OUA with the Laurier Golden Hawks and Guelph Gryphons. “We didn’t have any discussion with the players — no formal discussions anyway — about rankings or where we are,” head coach Matt Holmberg said. “Our sole goal last weekend was to win the next game we were going to play.” Strong defence highlighted the Gaels’ 3-0 blanking of the Lancers. Mel Dodd-Moher recorded her third shutout of the season, making 22 saves in the game. It was the eighth time this season the Gaels shut out their opponent. “Against a high-powered team like Windsor, to throw up a shutout ... is indicative of how the team is playing defensively,” Holmberg said. Defender Danielle Girard’s second period goal was the game-winner, while forward Kristen Smith and defender Alisha Sealey added insurance goals. “We had to fight and scratch for that victory,” Holmberg said. “It really could have gone either way at stretches.” The victory over Western was sweetened by the fact that it avenged two previous losses this season to the Mustangs. Girard was the overtime hero, deflecting a Chelsey Verbeek shot into the net to give her two game-winning goals on the weekend.

had to fight “andWescratch for that victory.

Gaels head coach Brenda Willis focused on middle blocking after Queen’s 3-1 loss to McMaster.

Photos by Alex choi

Men’s Volleyball

Homeland security Gaels sweep York, assure first-round rematch on home court B y S ean L iebich Staff Writer The Gaels have secured home-court advantage for their first-round playoff matchup. The Gaels finished off the York Lions in three straight sets at home on Saturday, clinching fourth place in the OUA and setting up a first-round rematch with them on

Feb. 16. The victory extended Queen’s winning streak to three games, but the run was snapped on Sunday when the undefeated McMaster Marauders came to town. The first-place Marauders topped the Gaels 3-1 to preserve their unbeaten record. The Gaels managed to win Sunday’s first set 25-23 — a feat

they weren’t capable of when the two first met on Oct. 26. “It was disappointing, but I mean we came closer,” Gaels head coach Brenda Willis said. “We didn’t take a set in the fall so taking a set was good.” McMaster responded with a strong 25-14 second set, and never looked back. The Marauders proved too much for the young

Men’s Hockey

Another fatal fourth frame Blown lead a familiar result as men limp into homestretch B y J osh B urton Staff Writer A bad bounce in overtime damned the Gaels in their final regular season home game. After a back and forth regulation that saw three lead changes, Ottawa Gee-Gees’ forward Matthieu Tanguay-Theriault scored the 4-3 overtime winner on a deflection off

a Gaels’ skate. “We executed well and it was a well structured game,” head coach Brett Gibson said, “but [it ended on] another bad bounce in overtime that cost us a point.” Keeping with the season’s overall trend, the unfortunate loss followed a 7-2 dominating victory over RMC on Thursday and came after the team blew another late

— Matt Holmberg, women’s hockey head coach Heading into overtime, Holmberg decided not to say much to the players. “They still seemed excited and ready to go and focused,” Holmberg said. “After seeing them in that state I’m not that surprised that we went on to win.” This coming weekend sees the Gaels finish their season at home against the Waterloo Warriors and the first-place Golden Hawks. Queen’s 4-3 loss to Ottawa last Saturday marked the Gaels’ seventh overtime defeat of the season.

Photo by Colin Tomchick

third-period lead. “I’ve seen goals this year go in that I’ve never seen [even in] my playing career, and they’re costing us games,” Gibson said. “You want to say it’s a fluke but when it happens consistently it’s frustrating.” The penalty kill has been more than effective, operating at 89 per cent over the past five games, including two short-handed tallies. Gaels’ defenceman Patrick McEachen believes the recent special teams’ success is essential to their upcoming postseason campaign. “As the games become tougher and goals are harder to come by, capitalizing on our power play chances will be vital to us having success,” McEachen said. With only two games remaining in the regular season, the Gaels still have a chance at sixth seed in the OUA East, currently held by the Toronto Varsity Blues. “We need to avoid small defensive breakdowns that lead to us giving up goals late in games,” McEachen said. “We need to concentrate on sticking to our aggressive fore-check and the systems that are in place. “We’re not going to make any drastic changes at this point.”

team, taking the match in four sets. Service errors were a problem for the Gaels on Sunday afternoon. “We have to make sure we serve aggressively from start to finish,” Willis said. “I thought at times we served tough enough and then at times we got conservative.” The Gaels felt the absence of recent acquired middle hitter Daniel You. The fifth-year Dalhousie transfer missed action due to important midterms, but is expected to rejoin the team for their road trip this coming weekend. “We could have used [You] today,” Willis said. “The best way to counter a team with a good middle is to beat them right back with it.” If the Gaels can top York in the first round two weeks from now, they’ll likely get another shot at McMaster in the OUA Final Four. “We know that if every guy on the team brings their A-game, we can push them, we can potentially beat them,” Willis said. The team will wrap up the OUA regular season this weekend, travelling to play the Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams. The Gaels beat both teams in the first half of the season.

Inside Women’s Basketball Losing streak reaches six with pair of home losses.

Women’s Volleyball

Marathon matches leave Gaels with weekend split. Page 14

Men’s basketball Burgesson back, but East powerhouses punish Gaels. Page 15


14 •

WoMen’s baskeTball

Spiralling down the final stretch

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


OUA East woes persist as losing skid reaches six B y J erry Z henG Staff Writer Fourth-year co-captain Sydney Kernahan may have played her final home game on Saturday. The Gaels’ final home stand featured a 90-54 loss to the Carleton Ravens on Friday and a 67-53 loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees Saturday. With their losing streak now at six, Queen’s has two road games remaining to right the ship before playoffs. In her four years with the club, Kernahan worked her way up the roster, becoming co-captain in her final year. “It’s been an amazing experience playing for Queen’s,” Kernahan said. “I put my heart and soul into this team.” Fellow co-captain Liz Boag is one who holds Kernahan to a high regard. “I look up to [Kernahan] a lot because she’s a player who had nothing given to her,” Boag said. “She works day in and day out and is one of the hardest workers I know.” Head coach Dave Wilson also spoke highly of Kernahan’s four-year career. “[Sydney] is such a great player, but even more so a great person,” Wilson said. “She’s not a kid I’m looking forward to having a

Photo by Alex choi

Rookie post Nicole Morse earned her first career start against Carleton.

The women’s volleyball team sits third in the OUA with two games left.

Women’s volleyball splits five-set affairs

Photo by tiFFAny lAm

Guard Liz Boag (above) hit four of 10 field goal attempts against Carleton.

team without because she also provides great leadership in addition to all the things she does on the court.” Against the Gee-Gees, she collected 13 rebounds, scored six points, and tallied three steals. Despite playing their final home game of the regular season, Wilson believes his team will see another game at home. “I don’t plan for it to be our last game here at home because we’re going to get a playoff game here,” Wilson said. “We’re working our ass off to make it happen.” The Gaels suffered their worst loss of the season against the Ravens on Friday, losing by 36 points. They shot 32.7 per cent from the field to the Ravens’ 47.6 per cent and were outrebounded 45 to 28. All of the Ravens’ starters scored in double digits, led by fifth-year Alyson Bush with 18 points. Jenny Wright and Boag finished with 16 and 11 points, respectively. The Gaels will close out the regular season on the road against the Laurentian Lady Vees next Friday and the York Lions on Saturday.

Do you want to make an impact?

After a hard-fought win and a tough loss, the Gaels remain in third place in the OUA. Queen’s couldn’t fend off the second-place York Lions on Saturday, losing the match in five sets, including a 15-10 defeat in the deciding frame. They’ve still yet to beat York or the Ottawa Gee-Gees — the two teams ahead of them in the standings. Sunday proved to be a better game day for the Gaels, as they topped the McMaster Marauders 15-9 in a fifth and final set. Colleen Ogilvie, Brett Hagarty and Kelsey Bishop’s double-digit kill totals led the Gaels to victory. The women finish off the regular season visiting the fourth-place Toronto Varsity Blues and the sixth-place Ryerson Rams next weekend. — Rachel Herscovici

Photo by Alex choi

dance category. The Queen’s cheerleading team was also present on Saturday, taking part in the cheer portion of the competition. The cheerleaders won their division and were front row centre for the Dance Pack’s routine. “What differs us from a lot of other dance groups is that we don’t go to dance competitions, we go to cheer competitions and then we compete in the dance division,” said Dance Pack team captain Sam Dick. “It’s like Bring it On.” Absent from the event was Queen’s rival and number one competition, the Toronto Varsity Blues Dance Team. Both teams will meet at nationals in Waterloo on Mar. 1. “I like to think that we have an advantage over [Toronto] in the fact that we do this competition first,” Dick said. “It pushes us to be ready in February and then we just have to work on fine tuning and conditioning.” — Sean Liebich

Dance Pack reigns supreme at big east blast Queen’s Dance Pack continued their winning ways as they took home top honours at the Big East Blast. The Dance Pack took part in their first competition of the year this past weekend at the K-Rock Centre. The team participated in the dance category of the cheer competition. Over the last three years the Dance Pack has gone undefeated, winning the competition all three years. This year they claimed two trophies, winning their division and being named grand champions in the

sUPPlieD by JUstin chin

Queen’s cheerleading team won the Big East Blast on Saturday.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

• 15

Men’s baskeTball

Learning experience Youthful Gaels fall twice, but gain veteran boost B y Peter r eiMer Staff Writer A familiar 6’6” presence returned to the court last weekend. Veteran forward Bernard Burgesson hung up his jersey last year after playing in his fourth year of eligibility, but has stayed involved with the Gaels from the sidelines this season. With third-years Greg Faulkner and Ryan Golden out of the lineup from concussion and groin injuries, Burgesson got the call to dress on the weekend. “It was kind of a weird feeling to step out there for the first time in a long while,” Burgesson said. “All I can do is keep improving from here on. Whenever coach calls on me, I’ll be ready to go.” Burgesson played 16 minutes in his debut last Friday against the Carleton Ravens, fouling out with four points and

Photos by tiFFAny lAm

Fifth-year forward Bernard Burgesson suited up for the first time this season on Friday, snagging four rebounds.

four rebounds. After struggling to match the calibre of play displayed by the nationally top-ranked Ravens (16-1), the Gaels fell behind early and never recovered, losing 99-57. “[The Ravens] have been on a tear, and it was no different tonight,” Gaels head coach Stephan Barrie said. “They’ve found everybody out, so it’s not like we’re different than anybody else in the league.” On Saturday, the Gaels faced-off against the eighth-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees (13-4) in the Marco W. Alessio Memorial Alumni game. Before tip-off, third-year guard James Asefa was honoured with the Alessio Award for academic achievement and athletic excellence. Following the ceremony, the game’s first half saw Ottawa claim a 53-40 lead after an unprecedented 10-13 shooting stretch from beyond the three-point arc. Unable to keep up with the Gee-Gees’ shooting, the Gaels showed more aggression in the second half, with Barrie and rookie guard Roshane Roberts both picking up technical fouls. Despite the Gaels’ high-tempered effort, the Gee-Gees built on their lead in the second half, finishing the game up 99-80. Five Gaels broke the double-digit barrier, led by forward Nikola Misljencevic’s 15 points. “This was a major step for us to take in terms of standing up for the program and where we’re trying to go,” Barrie said. “It was a physical, hard-fought, chippy game, and that’s going to be the way it is with the playoffs approaching and teams fighting for positioning.” The Gaels close out the regular season next weekend on the road against the Laurentian Voyageurs (9-8) and the York Lions (6-11). “We’ve just got to keep trying to get better, regardless of what day of the week or what day of the year it is.”

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

postscript education

The rule-breaking numbers game Math can be frustrating, but it’s hard work, not genetics, that brings success B y S ebastian L eck Contributor If you’re struggling with a subject, it’s easy to feel that you lack the natural talent to excel in it. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the IPSOS-Reid Institute, 72 per cent of Canadians reported that they lack confidence in their math and money-management skills. This aversion to math is evident within the Queen’s student body. “It’s boring. It’s hard to make a math course interesting because you just sit down and copy down answers from the professor,” Emily Adams, ArtSci ’16, said. She said it’s difficult to relate math problems to the real world. “Apart from multiplication, adding and subtracting, there’s nothing else you need in day-to-day life,” Adams, who’s enrolled in MATH 126, said. She said she originally took the course to keep her options open, but she now plans to avoid the subject altogether for the rest of her time at Queen’s. Lynda Colgan, a professor in the Faculty of Education, and creator of the math-based children’s television show, The Prime Radicals, said this negative view of math is widespread throughout North American society, and has real-world effects. “It is socially unacceptable not to know how to read,” she said. “However, if you listen to people on the street, they’ll say ‘I hate math. Math has nothing to do with my life. I was never very good at math.’” Colgan said this mentality can be observed as early as third grade, and it affects what students choose to pursue later in post-secondary studies. According to Statistics Canada, enrollment growth in mathematics and statistics has been slower than in other disciplines. The two subjects accounted for three per

cent of total enrolment in 2009, in contrast to 17.2 per cent enrolment in the social sciences. At Queen’s, only 55 Arts and Science second-year students chose to major in math, compared to 173 second-year students in political studies and 127 in psychology. To rectify this, Colgan said we need to understand that we are constantly surrounded by numbers and mathematical patterns in the real world. She said that she runs math classes for adults and starts off her classes by showing her students a graph from a news article. “The graph is usually wrong, or it has information that is so distorted that it is ridiculous,” she said. It’s crucial that we recognize how data can be manipulated and misrepresented if we’re to make intelligent decisions based on this information, she said. “It is all used for persuasive purposes,” Colgan said. “Those graphs are what newspapers, magazines and websites use to persuade people — whether it’s how to vote, what to buy or what to do.” Scott Forster, a first-year student in MATH 121, said he believes that many students simply can’t learn any math more advanced than Grade 11 material. “We wouldn’t be doing them any favours by forcing them to learn it,” Forster, ConEd ’16, said. Daniel Ansari, a professor who runs the Numerical Cognition Laboratory at the University of Western Ontario, said that this notion is problematic. According to Ansari, there are no genetic markers that determine who will be successful in math. Mathematical aptitude is born out of interaction between genetic and environmental factors, he said, rather than the result of a single genetic trait. The major problem, according

According to a 2011 survey by the IPSOS-Reid Institute, 72 per cent of Canadians say they lack confidence in their math and money-management skills.

to Ansari, is that some students never gain a solid understanding of how numbers relate to each other during Grades 1-3. “People who lack these foundational skills can really suffer because it’s like building the foundations of a house,” he said. “If you don’t build a good foundation you are always going to have trouble with your house.” He said few people are totally incapable of learning mathematics. “The learning environment can be designed to help these people overcome some of these weaknesses,” he said. Peter Taylor, a professor at Queen’s Department of Mathematics, said some students struggle in introductory math courses at Queen’s because of the focus on content rather than problem solving skills. “If you look at a basic calculus first year course, the lectures are based on the premise that students already know how to think clearly,” he said. “But they don’t. And so if a student wanders off the street into that course, they’ll be lost from

the get-go.” According to Taylor, these students compensate for this by trying to memorize and regurgitate formulas on exams. “With the rush of material, most students, more than 50 per cent of the students, get lost in that and the clear thinking part never comes,” he said.

People who lack “these foundational skills can really suffer because it’s like building the foundations of a house.

— Daniel Ansari, professor at the University of Western Ontario Yet, for some students, the discipline is less daunting. “There’s a lot of beauty in mathematics,” Tom Henbest, ArtSci ’13, said. Many people he has met have a misconception that mathematics is

According to Faculty of Education professor Lynda Colgan, math knowledge is important in understanding how data can be manipulated and misrepresented.

photo by tiffany lam

simply calculation, he said, but the field is actually much more diverse. According to Henbest, mathematical ideas can be applied to visual art, music, poetry, and philosophy as well as the more traditional fields of science and engineering. “Mathematics lets us explore the universe in a way that goes beyond what we can see and touch,” the math and music medial said. “It’s indispensable for understanding the world.” He said it’s also relevant to daily life, since managing personal finances and filing taxes are much easier if you are comfortable with numbers. In addition to a useful set of skills, he said, mathematics provides students with a framework for thinking analytically about any problem, math-related or not. “It’s the ability to take a problem, attack it in a regimented, mathematical way, and prove why your solution is correct,” he said. “I think this is just as important for policy-makers as [it] would be for scientists.”

photo by tiffany lam

The Queen's Journal, Issue 31  
The Queen's Journal, Issue 31  

Volume 140, Issue 31 -- February 5, 2013