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VOLUME 22 ISSUE 11

NOVEMBER 14, 2012

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Fido investigated for underage signing

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Aleida Guevara speaks at TRU conference 7

UBC athletes investigated

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It was bound to happen...

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TRU’s Independent Student Newspaper


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November 14, 2012

Feature

Investigation finds Fido agents knowingly signed underage students to cellphone contracts

Arno Rosenfeld

A legal grey area

The Ubyssey (UBC)

VANCOUVER (CUP) — A Ubyssey investigation has discovered evidence of salespeople from Fido Mobile compelling underage students to sign cell phone contracts using false ages. Through interviewing students who signed up for Fido cellphones at two on-campus events and at an off-campus Fido store frequented by students, as well as reporting undercover from both locations, it appears that asking 18-year-old students to fudge an extra year onto their ages may be a common practice for dealers at the cell phone service provider. “We’re just going to make [you] one year older,” a Fido saleswoman in the Student Union Building (SUB) at UBC told a Ubyssey reporter inquiring as a potential underage customer. B.C. law prevents minors under the age of 19 from being legally bound by contracts. Additionally, law professors interviewed about Fido’s practices argue that this practice could possibly constitute fraud. Presently, no governmental agency appears to be responsible for enforcing the behaviour of cell phone providers. Fido paid $5,000 for the exclusive sponsorship of two events during Jump Start, a two-week orientation event for first-year international students at UBC in August. At a parents’ reception and a student dinner in mid-August, Fido signed many students up for their first Canadian cell phone plans. Fido also had a table in the SUB during the first week of classes, while Skynet Wireless, a Fido-authorized dealer, had booths in the first-year residences during the first week of school. Several of the underage students who spoke to The Ubyssey found the lines at those events too long, and signed up at the Fido store on 519 West Broadway, a bus ride away, instead. At all of these locations, salespeople reportedly offered to let 18-year-olds enter into multi-year contracts. T., an 18-year-old arts student from Wisconsin, said she visited the Broadway store with her mother, who T. assumed would need to sign the contract for her. The Ubyssey is only identifying underage students interviewed for this article by the first letters of their names to avoid putting their contracts in jeopardy or exposing them to legal liability. T. described standing at the counter while a Fido salesperson read off her passport, activating her account over the phone. “They were reading it off and they said April 22 … 1993,” said T., whose passport attests that she was actually born in 1994. “And my mom and I both jumped up and we were like, ‘What? That’s not my birthday.’ And the person behind the counter told us, ‘Stop, let it go.’” T. said the salesperson later offered to correct her birthday but discouraged it, saying it would make things more difficult.

According to UBC law professor Bruce MacDougall, B.C.’s Infants Act declares that any contract signed by a minor is unenforceable on the minor, at least until he or she reaches the age of majority. In some cases, this can mean the contract stays unenforceable even after that minor’s 19th birthday. MacDougall said that even though an 18-year-old signing a cell phone contract isn’t actually bound by its terms, many such minors feel compelled to follow them anyway. “A lot of people actually abide by contracts that aren’t actually binding on them,” said MacDougall. “There are all sorts of contracts that you don’t have to abide by, but people do because they’re led to believe that somehow they’re binding.” As well as believing they are locked into a cell phone plan’s monthly fees, underage students who have signed up with Fido also run the risk of having their credit damaged, MacDougall explained. Many questions about the legality of Fido’s practices, and who is in charge of enforcing those laws, remain fuzzy. There is little regulation in the Canadian cell phone market, and it’s unlikely that the company would face any consequences for signing up underage customers unless the customers themselves complain. In 1996, the federal telecommunications regulator, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), decided that there was enough competition in the cellphone market that federal oversight was no longer needed. “From that point onwards, wireless providers did not have to get the CRTC to approve their rates, terms and conditions of service,” said Kirsten Embree,

Ubyssey reporter, when asked if someone who is 18 years old can still hold a regular cellphone plan. “But I can make it work,” she added. She indicated that she would be using a false age when entering the account information into a Fido database. When asked why it was necessary to put down a false age, she explained, “It’s just with Canada ... once you sign up, they want you to take responsibility of the account. So they want you to be older.” It isn’t strictly illegal for people under the age of 19 to sign a contract; the law only says that while people are still minors, they can’t be bound by the contract’s terms. Recording a customer’s age incorrectly as 19 doesn’t make the contract enforceable, but it does make it look like salespeople are complying with Fido’s corporate policy when they aren’t. Sara Holland, a spokesperson from —Bruce MacDougall, UBC law professor Fido’s parent company, Rogers, said that the company’s policy was to a part-time professor at the University only allow people who are 19 years and of Ottawa and former legal counsel at older to hold contract-based cellphone AT&T Canada. AT&T Canada previ- plans. “Students may have different exously held an ownership stake in Rogers Wireless, which has been Fido’s periences going through [authorized dealers] when it comes to price,” wrote parent company since 2004. Embree continued, “The CRTC has Holland in an email. “What should be never really focused specifically on the consistent across the board, however, is age at which contracts are entered into our policy on age and account activa... I think there’s an implicit assumption tion.” Rogers’ policy states that proof of that contracts will be with individuals age must be provided when a customer who are over the age of majority.” opens an account. “Customers under age of majority First-time buyers are not eligible to act as a financially When The Ubyssey went undercov- responsible party (i.e. account holder),” er to the Fido authorized dealer at 519 wrote Holland. While Holland said Rogers does West Broadway and began the process of signing up for a new cellphone plan, not disclose employee compensation, we discovered that the rules were easy several online sources, including a job description on the Rogers website, into flout. “Legally, it’s 19,” a salesperson at the dicate Fido salespeople are expected Broadway store told this 18-year-old to meet sales goals. On Glassdoor, a

“There are all sorts of contracts that you don’t have to abide by....”

—ILLUSTR ATION BY INDIANA JOEL/THE UBYSSEY

website where employees post reviews of the companies they work for, someone describing themself as a Rogers employee in Ottawa said commissions were tied to “impossible targets.” The pressure of sales goals would provide an incentive to violate corporate policy and sign up underage customers. In 2008, the Toronto Star reported that Fido was shifting its business model from “one focused on attracting young urban professionals to one targeting price-conscious first-time buyers.” “Price-conscious first-time buyers” might describe the 700 or so international students at Jump Start, most of whom were under 19, as well as many of the UBC students encountering Fido’s tables in the SUB and at campus residences during the first week of school. Holland said Fido’s strategy during Jump Start was to sign up 18-year-olds for contract-free prepaid plans, and to restrict contract-based plans, which usually cost less on a per-minute or permegabyte basis, to those 19 years and older. She added that the goal of the Jump Start sponsorship was to attract international students in general, not specifically first-year students, though the Jump Start program is exclusively for first-year students. Is this fraud? According to Holland, there aren’t many checks on whether Rogers’ age policy is upheld. Age is only verified by the salesperson at the point of sale, Holland said. She said date of birth was kept on file as part of the mandatory credit check for contract plans. Holland said she wasn’t able to comment on whether Rogers or Fido monitor or review the contracts signed up by their authorized dealers. Signing up minors is a risky business practice, said law professor MacDougall. “I can’t see how if [Fido salespeople are] the ones who are encouraging people to do this, how they

would have any leg to stand on in trying to require the people to be bound by the contract,” MacDougall said. He said that while the contract is unenforceable on the minor, it stays completely binding on Fido’s side. “Whatever they [minors signing the contract] were promised, they can get,” MacDougall said. J., an 18-year-old arts student from California, described a Fido salesman’s instructions after he signed up for a contract cellphone plan. “What he said was that, after I turned 19, to call the company and inform them of the error that was made on the sheet because I checked my own information and saw that they put my birthday in wrong.” Under the Infants Act, if an adult ratifies a contract they signed while underage, then it becomes legally binding for both parties. Ratifying a contract can be as simple as the adult informing the other party, in this case Fido, that they are now old enough accept the terms of the contract and wish to do so. “I have a suspicion that what they may be doing is trying to turn [a minor informing them about an ‘error’ in their age] into a ratification,” MacDougall said. MacDougall added that if a student does not repudiate the contract, either verbally or simply by stopping payment, within one year of turning 19, the contract is considered to be ratified automatically. MacDougall was clear in in his criticism of the Fido salespeople’s practices. “In terms of contracts, it almost certainly would be an illegal contract,” MacDougall said. A contract becomes illegal when it violates a public policy or piece of legislation, he explained. In this case, getting a minor to sign a cellphone contract attempts to skirt laws meant to prevent the exploitation of minors.

SEE CELLPHONES p. 6

ON THE COVER: Winter has finally arrived in Kamloops. On the night of Nov. 10, approximately 10 to 15 cm of the white stuff came down over only a few hours, blanketing the city — and campus — in winter. — PHOTO BY COURTNEY DICKSON


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The Omega · Volume 22, Issue 11

THE

MEGA

www.theomega.ca

November 14, 2012

Volume 22, Issue 11

Published since November 27, 1991

editorialstaff EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Mike Davies

Editorial/Opinions Pre-congratulations!

editor@truomega.ca

250-828-5069

@PaperguyDavies BUSINESS MANAGER VACANT NEWS EDITOR

Devan C. Tasa

news@truomega.ca @DCTasa ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Brendan Kergin

arts@truomega.ca @roguetowel SPORTS EDITOR

Adam Williams

sports@truomega.ca

@AdamWilliams87 ROVING EDITOR

Courtney Dickson

roving@truomega.ca @dicksoncourtney COPY/WEB EDITOR

Taylor Rocca

copy@truomega.ca @manovrboard

omegacontributors Mark Hendricks, Rishu Gaind, Maximilian Birkner, RDC Photography, Astralwerks/ Secret City

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF * Mike Davies BUSINESS MGR * VACANT INDUSTRY REP * Mike Youds FACULTY REP * Charles Hays STUDENT REP* Sadie Cox

letterspolicy

Literary and visual submissions are welcomed. All submissions are subject to editing for brevity, taste and legality. The Omega will attempt to publish each letter received, barring time and space constraints. The editor will take care not to change the intention or tone of submissions, but will not publish material deemed to exhibit sexism, racism or homophobia. Letters for publication must include the writer’s name (for publication) and contact details (not for publication). The Omega reserves the right not to publish any letter or submitted material. Opinions expressed in the Letters & Opinion section do not represent those of The Omega, the Cariboo Student Newspaper Society, its Board of Directors or its staff. Opinions belong only to those who have signed them.

Editor’s Note Mike Davies Ω Editor-in-Chief This being the third-to-last issue of The Omega for the Fall 2012 semester, I thought I would go ahead and pre-congratulate you all on a job well done. I know, I know, “we’ve still got final projects to turn in and then the final exam period!” you yell in frustration and dismay at my presumption of your success. To that sentiment I say this: You’ll be fine. You’ve done the work, gone to class, taken diligent notes and you know what you’re talking about around a table at Heroes (or wherever) with your classmates after class.

Cariboo Student Newspaper Society (Publisher of The Omega) TRU Campus House #4 Box 3010, Kamloops, B.C. V2C 0C8 Phone: 250-372-1272 E-mail: editor@truomega.ca Ad Enquiries: managerofomega@gmail.com

(Correspondence not intended for publication should be labelled as such.)

I’m willing to assume, however, if you didn’t put in the work you instead focused on other things — like socializing. This is valuable, too. As I have said in earlier columns this semester, people need to take time for non-academics. Whether you’ve spent your time (and it turns out to be too much of it) at the bars, or around the dorms, or at sporting events, engaged with clubs or organizations — these are valuable endeavours. Some of my best friends are those I met when I just started school and had more interest in hanging out at the bar, or around the dorms, or at sporting events, involved in clubs or organizations — and you don’t want to see my transcripts from those first years. Or maybe you do — it might make you feel better about this past semester if you can’t pull out the credits you were hoping for by the end of it. I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out and the person I turned into because of it all — and you will be too. So here’s a pre-congratulations to you all — no matter why you deserve it. editor@truomega.ca

Cliché motivation for a cliché situation

copyright

All material in this publication is copyright The Omega and may not be reproduced without the expressed consent of the publisher. All unsolicited submissions become copyright Omega 2012.

You’ve put in your time and effort and you are about to be rewarded with a decent — if not excellent — grade and a month off to relax. In fact, some of you are about to be rewarded with your TRU credentials and will be entering the workforce guns-a-blazin’ and ready to take on the world. And you will. Granted, there will be some of you who have not done what I’ve said you have. You’ve not attended classes, or done the readings, or learned what you’ve needed to learn in order to pass the class(es) you’re enrolled in. To those people I say this: You’ll be fine. You’ve still got some time — now do you see why I’m writing this with a couple weeks left? — and let’s look at the worst-case scenario…. You don’t pass the class(es) you’ve paid for and you’re out the money you put in — and let’s not forget you’ll never get that time back, either. Here’s the rub, though: You’ve taught yourself a valuable lesson — you get out of your educational experience what you put in. If you don’t do the work, you’re throwing money away.

TRUe Thoughts Taylor Rocca Ω Copy/Web Editor Well kids, you’ve just about made it. Whether you are counting down the days until the completion of your first ever semester at TRU or whether you’re counting down the days until the completion of your last ever semester at TRU, the light is finally visible at the end of the tunnel. But don’t let that light fool you. Sure, it might be there, a shining beacon of hope calling out your name, touching your skin with its warmth but don’t get complacent. Just because you can see the light and feel its soothing heat in the dead of winter, doesn’t mean you’ve reached

your final destination. You could still freeze to death. My compatriot Mr. Davies has given you all a pat on the back for your hard work, or lack thereof. I’m here to give you a firm, yet motivational kick in the pants. Sure, hard work pays off in the end. The only problem is that hard work requires you to dedicate yourself from start to finish, exposition to denouement, or for the full 60 minutes as the old sports cliché goes. Don’t stop until it is all over. Don’t take your entire semester’s worth of hard work and f lush it down the toilet simply because you feel like mailing in the last couple of weeks. How brutal will you feel knowing you could have come out with an A but instead took home a B-minus because you cut corners, slacked off and went on vacation before vacation actually started? As much as there is a valuable learning opportunity in doing something like that, the fulfillment of completing a task to the best of your ability is much greater. So forge on, I say. On top of all that, how much sweeter will four weeks of time off be after you have slaved and worked tirelessly for the two weeks that precede that vacation?

On the f lipside of this coin, we have a group of people in despair — the pack of kids who kept saying to themselves, “Hey, it’s still October, I have plenty of time to catch up. I can make up for that botched midterm with an awesome final project.” Guess what, Mr. Party Pants? October has come and gone. The homestretch is upon us. For you, it is likely looming much more ominously than it is for others. Don’t worry, there is still hope for you, if only a sliver. Sure, you might be staring a D or even an F in the face right now, but if you dig deep and pull out all the effort and hard work you so effectively squirreled away during September and October, you can bust out a C-plus at the very least! The moral of the story, for both sides of the coin, is to never give up and never give in. Keeping chugging along until you’ve reached your destination. Keep slugging away until the final bell rings. If all of that isn’t cliché enough to motivate you... It ain’t over ‘til it’s over... So play on until the fat lady sings you to your glorious finale. And oh how glorious that finale will be. copy@truomega.ca

CORRECTION: The Omega would like to correct the photo caption in the top right photo of last week’s feature piece entitled, “A flag that I know and a flag that I trust.” Cpl. Max Birkner is the soldier pictured, not Kieran Van Wagoner. We apologize for the mistake. Also, it has been pointed out that “officer” is a rank structure, not a rank itself. Thank you to Wayne Cardinal for pointing out our error.

Nitrogen-infused beverages can be gastronomically explosive Kristina Charania The Peak (SFU)

BURNABY (CUP) — When you walk into your first Monday morning lecture with a raging headache and a gymnastic stomach (the only acrobatic part of your body) you’ll obviously blame it on the alcohol: the vodka, the henny, the blue top, and the liquid nitrogen. Here’s the 411: when a few drops of liquid nitrogen are added to a drink, they release plumes of hazy vapour that make any plain margarita look like a misty bonsai tree. That might sound like a sexy little concoction to you now, but you’ll be rethinking your woefully deluded opinions after it causes your stomach to literally explode. Sadly, this isn’t a figment of your worst nightmare. According a recent online publication for The Daily Mail, 18-year-old Gabby Scanlon was enjoying her birthday at a wine bar in Lancaster and chugged two Nitro Jagermeisters to celebrate — this quickly turned sour when she began experiencing breathlessness and intolerable stomach pains. She was then sent to a nearby hospital where doctors diagnosed her with a perforated stomach that was leaking acidic gastric juices with a severity that required specialists to remove nearly all of it. Scanlon now faces a lifetime of specialized treatment, and a severely restricted diet. Naturally, this will sound like nonsensical rubbish until you understand how liquid nitrogen functions. It’s a cryogenic fluid — this means that it exists naturally at temperatures cold enough to freeze your finger on contact and cause it to fall off your hand. This makes the substance handy as a coolant or preservative for biological samples like umbilical cords. It also has its uses in food processing: if you were around for SFU’s Week of Welcome, you may have noticed that liquid nitrogen was used to freeze ice cream doled out to students. And yet, unlike our friend Gabby Scanlon, stomachs campus-wide were left intact and unscathed. This mystery isn’t really a mystery at all; it’s just science. High school science teaches us that matter has three states: solid, liquid and gaseous. A liquid needs to be heated to boiling in order to vaporize. Liquid nitrogen’s boiling point is minus-196 degrees Celsius, but upon becoming gaseous, it expands to almost 700 times its liquid volume. Although the boiling off process for liquid nitrogen is rapid, it’s very likely that Scanlon guzzled her nitro-infused cocktails much quicker than your average alcoholic. Therefore, the nitrogen didn’t have enough time to vaporize before the drink entered her system. Considering that our body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius — way above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen — her stomach perforation was caused by the huge expansion of the liquid into a gas. Two nitro-jagers quickly expanded into 1,400 jagers — not the kind of Jagerbomb you want on Friday night. This doesn’t mean that you should abstain from suspiciously steamy alcoholic beverages and nitro-popsicles, though. It’s really as simple as letting your edibles sit for a few minutes. However, if your concerns are insurmountable, stick with capped Red Racer beers and homemade highballs — you just can’t know how well-trained a bartender is in using liquid nitrogen, or how much of it is left in what you’re about to consume. Obviously, you’re always better off


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November 14, 2012

News TRU student teaches peers about sexuality

Diwali comes to TRU Courtney Dickson Ω Roving Editor

The TRUSU India Club will be hosting a Diwali Bash in the Grand Hall of the Campus Activity Centre on Nov. 18. Diwali, otherwise known as the festival of lights, celebrates the triumph of good over evil and falls on Nov. 13. Because India has a variety of cultural inf luences, each culture follows slightly different legends of the celebration. However, because the entire country of India and many other communities around the world celebrate Diwali, it unites the people in a substantial way. During Diwali, celebrators light lamps called diyas that stay lit through the night, meant to represent the power of good (light). Candles and fireworks are also lit for Diwali. People often clean their homes, buy new clothing and cook new meals. Diwali is to the Hindu community as Christmas is to Christians. According to the Association for Canadian Studies, there are more than 372,500 people practicing Hinduism in Canada, with most of these people living in British Columbia and Ontario. As of 2010, Hinduism is practiced by 13 per cent of the world, making it the third most-practised religion, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Courtney Dickson Ω Roving Editor

TRU knows how to celebrate Indian culture. This photo from Rang De Basanti (three Indian festivals rolled into one to celebrate spring) held on campus March 2012 is one of many yearly celebrations of culture held here.

—PHOTO BY TAYLOR ROCCA

New web portal makes finding climate data a breeze in B.C. Alex Davidson

The Martlet (UVIC) VICTORIA (CUP) — A new web portal is now open that allows anyone to access weather observations from over 6,000 locations in B.C. The University of Victoria’s Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) launched the portal on Oct. 24 as a means of providing easily accessible weather and climate data from as far back as 1872. “The achievement is bringing to-

gether all of these networks into a single location,” according to Francis Zwiers, director at the PCIC. “In the past an engineer might have been aware that there was data from Environment Canada or other sources, but may not know how to get that. Now they can get that easily.” However, it is not simply engineers who will find this portal valuable — students who are engaged in the issue of growing climate change and storms will find it useful too. “If you’re engaged in those topics, you can help to inform yourself by using our product,” Zwiers said. The infor-

mation is laid out on a map of B.C. By accessing the Provincial Climate Data Set Portal on the PCIC site, anyone can simply highlight an area of interest with a polygon tool in the top right corner and find data on any climate variable under 14 different networks. Users have the option to filter results and can choose to do so by temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind — even soil moisture. The new portal also creates teaching opportunities. Zwiers suggested that “[students of] math and stats, where they might need a handy source of data to play with, or ocean sciences and topography,

where they actually teach climate,” will make use of the not-for-profit collaborative project. In a more professional setting, the PCIC portal puts wind in the sails of people like David Atkinson, who is building models to predict future climates. Atkinson, a geography professor at the University of Victoria (UVic), focuses his study on storm surges and impacts, such as the recent Hurricane Sandy. For Atkinson, “having data, actual observed data from ground locations, is golden,” he said, appreciative of the PCIC efforts.

Faculty association rejects verbal offer; begins negotiations Devan C. Tasa Ω News Editor

The negotiations for a new contract for TRU’s support workers union are over but for the university’s faculty, it has only started. It started with a verbal offer from the university’s administration. Approximately 200 members of the TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) met Oct. 7 to discuss the offer. “The membership’s response was that they overwhelmingly rejected the idea of accepting the offer,” said Jason Brown, TRUFA’s president, after 87 per cent of the membership voted against the deal. TRUFA’s collective agreement ended March 31 of this year. The provisions of that contract will remain in force until the next one has been signed. Brown said he couldn’t reveal the details of the verbal agreement at this time, but did say it was in line with recent agreements with public sector unions. At most universities support

worker unions have secured a two per cent increase in wages per year over the last two years. This includes TRU’s Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4879. John Weir, the B.C. Federation of Labour’s director of organization, said it was unusual to begin negotiations with a verbal offer. “Usually people file more formal proposals initially,” he said. “It’s quite unusual for people not to come back without some very specific things. Usually there’s an agreement about what’s exactly on the table before the union goes back so everybody’s clear on what the offer is. You don’t want that miscommunication.” Weir said verbal offers were common during the final stages of negotiations as it allows the sides to explore possibilities without necessarily committing to them. Brown said it was too early to discuss with the media the particular issues TRUFA will be focusing on in its negotiations with the university. “It’s reasonable to assume

that people are wanting a fair fects TRUFA’s position because and reasonable wage increase we have our own issues to conamongst a variety of other things sider and a different type of that will be discussed among our membership and a different type of collective agreement,” he membership,” he said. There are also non-monetary said. issues to be discussed, Brown added. Students don’t have to worry about job action from the university’s professors for a while. “It’s way too early for thoughts about that because we haven’t even gone to the bargaining table,” Brown said. First the union and the university have to present proposals and counterproposals to each other. If either side feels those negotiations are going nowhere, then job action can be taken. Brown said he doesn’t believe CUPE 4879’s new collective agreement with the university will affects TRUFA’s TRUFA president Jason Brown. negotiations. —IMAGE COURTESY JASON BROW N “I don’t think it af-

Corey Keith came to Kamloops this fall to obtain her master’s of education from TRU. She has become actively involved in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) community in Kamloops. Her background in social work mixed with her diploma in professional counselling and coaching enables her to teach others how to think about sexuality in different ways. “Sexual education is important,” Keith said, “and it does need to be ongoing.” Keith, who is now attending her fourth post-secondary institution, has noticed generally schools teach students the bare minimum about sex and gender. Schools often focus on teaching the mechanics of sex rather than starting from the beginning and talking to students about relationships and communication. She finds people are ashamed to talk about sex. “Talking about sexual health in depth can be difficult because everyone is at a different level of understanding, especially in a community like TRU where there are so many international students,” Keith said. Keith’s intention is to finish her master’s degree and teach in post-secondary institutions and implement more human sexuality courses in a variety of disciplines. Keith started her own business in 2011. Spectra Wellness Coaching and Consulting was established when she recognized being transgendered was impacting her ability to get employment. Spectra provides coaching, counselling, workshops and sex and gender consultations to anyone in need of assistance or education. Keith started the business on her own. Though the practice is still quite small, Keith has acquired a strong team of nine people. Keith’s plan for Spectra is to remain a primarily online consulting business so that individuals from any area are able to reach out and find support. In order to help people in distant communities, Keith is familiar with Skype and other online communication tools. “Counselling is an art form,” Keith said. She is passionate about her role in the community and finds it challenging at times but incredibly rewarding. Keith’s intention for the practice is to provide businesses, individuals and families with support and a sense of safety when discussing sensitive issues. Her vision statement is to help others “live an authentic life, love one’s self and live the life we are meant to live.” For more information about Keith or Spectra, visit spectra. webstarts.com/resources.html.


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The Omega · Volume 22, Issue 11

News

Sexual health education crucial for post-secondary students Courtney Dickson

Corsi said. Sexual Health Awareness week is one of many health education events the Wellness The TRU Wellness Centre Centre has planned. According to Corsi, 83 per cent teamed up with the Zeta Beta Psi sorority and the Canadian Cancer of students have had at least one Society to provide students with sexual partner already. However, information about sexual health many of these students are unaware of how to communicate from Nov. 6 to 8. Student volunteers set up a ta- with their partners about sex ble Tuesday and Wednesday last or relationships. The Wellness week in Old Main with games, Centre is dedicated to informing prizes, pamphlets, giveaways and students about the importance of healthy relationships and how to donation boxes. The Public Health Agency of maintain them. A September 2012 report from Canada released a study in 2011 revealing that sexually transmit- the B.C. Centre for Disease Conted infection rates among indi- trol indicates rates of chlamydia viduals aged 20 to 24 had more and syphilis are 0.2 per cent higher than the average rate of than doubled since 1991. A Statistics Canada report in the past two years. This number 2010 indicated more than 50 per only includes infections reported cent of college and university to public health authorities and students in 2007 were between does not account for undiagnosed individuals. the ages of 18 and 23. In addition to the information With students and STI sufferers falling into the same age demo- sessions, Corey Keith, a social graphic, sexual health education worker and TRU student, ran two is essential for post-secondary 50-minute workshops to educate students in order to combat these about sexual communication and sex and gender diversity on Nov. statistics. 10. Donations Rather than to the Canadistrictly teachan Cancer Soing facts, ciety could be Keith facilimade in any tated discusdenomination sion amongst and paper bras attendees. and boxers The goal of could be purThe Joys of chased, which Good Commuwere hung in nication and Student Street Sex workshop following the was to dispel info sessions. myths about Chelsea expectations Corsi, wellin romantic ness coorand sexual redinator on lationships. campus and Keith talked a registered to attendees nurse, realabout the defiizes students nitions of rehave generspect and conally had some sent. form of sex She also education but said, “It never —Chelsea Corsi covered nonviolent comhurts to provide critical Wellness Coordinator munication, a way of cominfor mation municating twice.” In talking to students through compassionately when making the years, Corsi learned many requests or expressing concerns young women have either never to a partner. The second workshop, Sexual had a PAP test or aren’t getting PAP tests regularly. This is the and Gender Diversity Awareness, only way to detect cervical can- taught students about gender stecer so it is important to be tested reotypes. Keith used games to engage the group and provide regularly. Rather than teaching the breast them with definitions of sexual health exam, the Wellness Centre terms. The TRU Wellness Centre promoted women familiarizing themselves with their bodies in hopes to present some more specific workshops and information order to notice changes. “The Wellness Centre is trying sessions regarding sexual health to promote health and prevent ill- and healthy relationships next seness rather than treat patients,” mester.

Ω Roving Editor

“The Wellness Centre is trying to promote health and prevent illness rather than treat patients.”

Got a story idea? Get in touch with the appropriate section editor (email addresses on page 3, left side) and we’ll explore it.

International Intonation

LGBTQ rights, a wearable translator and suicide rates by economic status Mark Hendricks Ω Contributor

Gay rights not just topic on American minds

Can you hear me now? A new speech translator may soon make cross-language communications easier and more convenient than ever. Microsoft is in the prototype stages of a new wearable translator that will translate your speech

There is no indication of when the product will be ready for commercial use. A technology presentation in Tianjin, China on Oct. 25 was used as a proof of concept.

Where you can find out more: While the lesbian, gay, binews.discovery.com sexual, transgendered, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) Suicide rates higher in community in the United wealthier neighbourhoods States is in the midst of hope and change, the LGA new study from the FedBTQ community in France eral Reserve Bank of San is waiting with anticipation Francisco has found that, over their own vote. with all other factors being The controversial bill, equal, suicide rates are highknown as the “Marriage er in wealthier neighbourfor All” Act, would give hoods. gay and lesbian couples the It’s been a long standing right to marry and adopt belief that income is directly children. related to happiness, thereThe bill could go into fore it stands to reason that effect as early as 2013 higher income areas should and would make good on have higher levels of happia campaign promise of ness. French president François The study reveals that deHollande, who was elected spite this belief, individuals into office six months ago. in identical social and ecoThe bill is facing innomic situations are 4.5 per creasingly strong opposicent more likely to commit tion. A survey in 2011 re— IMAGE COURTESY CHRISTIAN FISCHER suicide if they live in a highvealed that 63 per cent of WIKIMEDIA COMMONS er income area. French people supported The study does confirm gay marriage. The support that higher income levels has dropped among right wing citizens, dropping 20 per and repeat it in the desired lan- generally lead to lower suicide rates overall. cent in support for both gay mar- guage in your own voice. When income levels are disThe prototype is still far from riage and gay adoption. parate between individuals in a André Vingt-Trois, the Arch- perfect. The error rate is better than neighbourhood the lower income bishop of Paris, has come out most modern translators - which families will face a higher suistrongly in opposition. France is a historically Catho- are around 20 to 25 per cent - but cide rate. The study calls this lic nation with a 2009 survey is still 15 per cent error rate on “behavioral response to unfavorable interpersonal income comshowing 64 per cent of the nation average. The translator works by trans- parisons.” identifying as Catholic. lating your speech into text. That Where you can find out more: Where you can find out more: text is then translated into the debusiness.time.com sired language. thedailybeast.com

Letter: Effects of electronic media on North American Teens

Rishu Gaind Ω Contributor

The principles of electronic media are based on mass communication. It took researchers tremendous amount of time and energy to achieve it. It was created as a mode of entertainment and information but what was not considered were the drastic effects it would have by its overuse. This issue of overuse has been highlighted on numerous occasions and with many age groups. The age group that concerns me the most is the teenage group in North America. The continuous overuse by this age group and the content of television, video games and the internet are an area of concern because of the effects they have on their mental and physical health. “Years 15 to 18 are considered as developmental years in a teenager’s life,” according to an article published August, 2011 on the website WebMD entitled “Children’s Health: Growth and Development, Ages 15 to 18.” It is the period where teenagers develop new skills and enhance their creativity. Electronics influence these aspects in a major way since teenagers are dependant learners and do not question what they learn or see on the television or the internet.

Teenagers are distracted easily as they evolve from a stage of dependency to making their own decisions. Television broadcasts a wide variety of programs on themes such as violence, lust, greed and temptation. Certain issues such as smoking, drug use etc. are portrayed with positive reinforcements in shows, which influence teenagers in a destructive way, according to the WebMD article. Perception of life is influenced negatively by television shows and movies that portray killing someone for revenge and then getting away with it. The Internet is even more dangerous — especially in modern times. Children are lured by its offerings and spend countless hours browsing it and have access to the content that is not appropriate to them like adult and sexual websites. All this overexposure to electronic media has led to serious issues in contemporary youth. “Obesity is one of the major health problem highlighted among teenagers due to overuse of television,” according to Stuart James, in his May, 2011 article, “Negative Effects of Technology on Teenagers.” Weakening of the eyesight and laziness are some other health issues in teenagers. Among the above-mentioned health issues laziness and obesity are interre-

lated since one leads to the other. According to the WebMD article, “the influence of TV, magazine and internet can add to a teen’s body image.” Many teenagers stop being social or don’t participate in any physical activities because of this addiction. Electronic media overuse influences the development of a teenager in a negative way. Firm steps should be taken if mental and physical health of teenagers is to be kept in check. Parental control in checking the content of the television shows or browsing history should be the main focus in homes where it is overused. Getting teenagers involved in outdoor activities such as swimming, camping etc. may help ease this problem. Also it is necessary to communicate with teenagers about the hazardous effects of overuse, as they might get defensive and angry when told to do something else than browsing the Internet or playing video games. Parents influence most of the teenager’s decisions, and so they should lead by example by reading books and moderate use of computers and televisions. Controlled and positive use of the electronic media will surely benefit our teens and make them into wellinformed and responsible citizens.


6

November 14, 2012

More work, less play: quality of life in Canada on the decline according to study

Connor Thorpe

The Capilano Courier (Capilano) NORTH VANCOUVER (CUP) — Despite Canada’s relatively graceful recovery from the worldwide economic meltdown of 2008, the quality of life Canadians experience is on the decline. According to the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW), a study conducted in conjunction with the University of Waterloo, Canadians’ quality of life plummeted by 24 per cent between 2008 and 2010. Based on CIW findings, the culprit is an excessive focus on the economy and issues related to it. “In a society that is preoccupied with the economy and working hard, among the first casualties are those things that ironically matter to us the most,” said Bryan Smale, director of the CIW. “We forget to protect time for family and friends, and to enjoy those pursuits that bring meaning to our lives. “We want to bring some balance to the conversation by reminding people that a good life includes those things that too many people regard as being less important than work and making money.” The correlation between wellbeing and economics has been demonstrated by earlier CIW studies. From 1994 to 2008, Canadian wellbeing — as measured by the CIW — rose by 7.5 per cent. In the aftermath of the economic crisis, and Canada’s subsequent recovery, that number dropped by 5.7 per cent in just a two-year period.

CELLPHONES...from p. 2 Professor Joel Bakan, who also teaches contract law at UBC, took an even stronger stance. Encouraging minors to lie about their age “in order to avoid legal restrictions in British Columbia is … highly problematic, akin to fraud, as there is a deliberate attempt to profit through deliberate deceit,” wrote Bakan in an email. “The company’s actions are certainly unethical and likely unlawful.” UBC professor Joost Blom, who is familiar with both contract and fraud law, said it was unclear whether it constituted fraud to lead underage students to believe the contracts they signed were legally binding. However, Blom certainly thought the process was deceptive. “Falsely telling someone what their legal rights are isn’t necessarily fraud,” Blom said, adding, “It’s not an easy matter.” Legal hot potato With the CRTC no longer regulating cellphone companies, it’s unclear who is in charge of ensuring they follow ethical guidelines. “We don’t regulate contracts like that; I know, for sure, that is provincially regulated,” a CRTC spokeswoman said, saying that The Ubyssey should instead contact Consumer Protection B.C. Consumer Protection B.C. — the provincial agency charged with regulating business practices, including contracts — said the matter fell outside of their purview because there are federal bodies charged with overseeing the telecommunications industry. Those bodies are the CRTC and the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services (CCTS).

“The concern then, and even less time spent in social leisure, more so now, was that policy was reduced economic security, inbeing driven primarily by a con- creased long-term unemployment, cern with the economy and little longer commute times, and perelse,” Smale went on to say. “Our haps most troubling, [a] growconcern was that Canadians’ well- ing income gap between rich and being was suffering because we poor.” In Smale’s opinion, that income were not attending to other aspects of our lives that contributed to gap and reduction of the middle quality of life. Certainly, the econ- class is where the problem lies. “ T h e omy matters, growth in an but [not] to economy is the exclusion not necesof everysarily a bad thing else that thing, but the makes our increasing inlives worthcome disparwhile.” ity, with those Canadian at the lower quality of life end stagnathas primarily ing and the taken a hit in middle class the broader shrinking, areas of envithat seems to ronment, time be accompause, leisure nying this peand culture, riod of slow though Smale recovery is explains that je opa rd i z i ng the CIW is other aspects based on 64 —Brian Smale, director, CIW of our lives,” specific indihe said. “Adcators. “Among the indicators that herents to ‘trickle-down’ economshowed the greatest declines were ics have failed to produce any evisuch things as: fewer social con- dence that the wealth generated at tacts, worsening green gas emis- the top of society has benefited sions, a larger ecological footprint, those at the bottom.” While it might seem that an ecoan increase in the percentage of people with diabetes, continuing nomic recovery would increase sodeclines in visitation to our nation- cial engagement, leisure time and al parks and historic sites,” Smale cultural participation, the solution is not that simple unless “that resaid. “Less volunteering for culture covery creates more opportunity and recreation organizations, for everyone.”

“Certainly, the economy matters, but [not] to the exclusion of everything else....”

The CCTS is a federal agency that addresses consumer complaints against phone companies. However, a representative said they cannot intervene unless a consumer brings a personal complaint to their attention, and even then, they can only act if a cellphone company is explicitly violating its own corporate terms of service. Fido’s terms of service make no mention of age. Most of the 18-year-old students who signed contracts with Fido said in interviews with The Ubyssey that they were happy with their phone service, so it’s unlikely that any of them will be complaining to the CCTS anytime soon. “The guy who was working at the [Fido] desk was really cool,” said J., the student from California. He said upon learning his age, the Fido salesman told him, “I know this is the situation, that you are a student, so I’m going to help you with this.” The CCTS told The Ubyssey that Canada’s Competition Bureau, which enforces various business regulations, might have some jurisdiction over this matter. This summer, the bureau launched a class-action lawsuit against wireless companies Rogers, Bell and Telus for allegedly misleading customers about fees. However, on the issue of minors signing contracts, Competition Bureau spokesman Bray Park said, “It may be more prudent to contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or a local law enforcement authority.” The RCMP did not reply to repeated requests for comment and the Vancouver Police Department does not have jurisdiction over UBC’s campus. When told that the federal agencies declined to address the issue, Consumer Protection B.C. spokesman Manjit Bains said the agency would

“The wellbeing associated with engagement in leisure and cultural pursuits does not simply require having sufficient funds to purchase recreational products and services,” said Smale. “There must be the will among policy makers to ensure that such opportunities are available to all and that economic pressures do not bring about the decline of leisure, recreation, arts and cultural services, programs and other opportunities. It is through our social relationships in leisure, our time spent in meaningful pursuits, and our enjoyment of the people and the world around us that enrich our lives, bring us closer together, and defines our humanity, that matter.” It’s important to understand that the CIW’s definition of wellbeing does not equate to general public happiness. “Quality of life — or wellbeing — is a broader concept that includes both those things that are internal to us like our health, happiness and life satisfaction, as well as those things that are external to us that affect our quality of life, such as our social relationships, our environment, our communities and access to opportunities to enhance our lives,” said Smale. “Happiness is really linked to just emotion and general life satisfaction, although many others treat it as equivalent to wellbeing, perhaps because it is a more familiar concept to people.” Smale emphasizes, “Happiness is about emotion, whereas wellbeing is about flourishing in our lives.”

theomega.ca

Life & Community

follow up with the CRTC and CCTS. However, after Bains checked with both those bodies, he said he had no new information. A Consumer Protection B.C. representative said they would look to raise the issue during their periodic discussions with the government. Vetting Fido In the case of Fido’s Jump Start sponsorship, UBC international student advisor Michelle Suderman said Jump Start relied on the government to ensure sponsors followed ethical business practices. Randy Schmidt, associate director of UBC Public Affairs, elaborated on the vetting process. “Jump Start staff put out a request of interest for their event ... reviewed them for issues like fit, whether they met a student need, service [and] affordability,” Schmidt wrote in an email. “Fido was chosen as a good fit.” Schmidt continued, “We are not aware of any complaints or concerns about their presence at the Jump Start [events].” The Alma Mater Society (AMS), UBC’s student union, provided little information about how they vetted vendors in the SUB, how much they charge to rent vendor tables, or which authorized dealer was representing Fido at the table in the SUB during the first week of school. The AMS referred any legal questions about vendors’ actions to the RCMP and said they had not heard from any students unhappy with the Fido booth’s actions. As for Skynet Wireless, the Fidoauthorized dealer present in the firstyear residences during the first week of school, Schmidt said Student Housing and Hospitality Services enters into agreements with vendors every

—IMAGE COURTESY SCALLOP HOLDEN/FLICK R

year who pay a daily fee. Schmidt added that Skynet had been on campus during the first week of school since 2010. When this Ubyssey reporter went undercover to try to sign up at one of the Skynet booths, a salesperson said that no lying about age was necessary. The Skynet salesperson said they could sign up anyone who “had credit,” which they said could be obtained by purchasing a prepaid credit card. Anyone 16 years of age or older can get a pre-paid credit card in Canada, though most such cards do not actually contribute to the user’s credit history. Tightening the leash Rogers spokeswoman Holland said Rogers would be investigating these incidents, and she said they would take steps to make sure this practice doesn’t keep happening.

“It is hugely concerning to us if students are being signed up in violation of our policy or being encouraged to be dishonest about their ages,” she wrote in an email. With an eye toward providing more oversight of cellphone companies, Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have all passed legislation regulating cellphone contracts’ terms and conditions over the past year. Frustrated by the piecemeal nature of these new provincial regulations, Rogers and Telus have petitioned the CRTC to create a national consumer code regulating cellphone contracts, with Rogers going as far as to submit an actual code to the CRTC for consideration. “Everybody seems to play a little bit of a different role,” said Bains, the Consumer Protection B.C. spokeswoman. “There’s definitely room for strengthening the oversight of cellphone contracts.”


7

The Omega · Volume 22, Issue 11

Life & Community ¡Viva la revolución conferencia!

TRU will remember revolution conference on fifth of November Devan C. Tasa

Kamloops Burlesque troupe puts revenue from their monthly show toward Movember movement

Ω News Editor

On Nov. 5, TRU played host to the last day of the fifth annual Che Guevara Conference, whose featured speaker was Aleida Guevara, a paediatrician and the daughter of revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Approximately 120 people attended the event, held at the Irving K. Barber Centre. Organized by Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC) and the TRUSU Socialist Club, the first three days of the conference were held in Vancouver. “We’re here to talk about how Cuba, a small, Third World, developing country, is able to provide free education and free health care for its people,” said Tamara Hansen, VCSC’s co-ordinator, “while the government of Canada keeps having to cut all of the budgets here, in a very wealthy country.” On the final day of the conference, there were two workshops. One focused on the plight of five Cubans arrested by the Americans. The Cubans speaking at the conference said the five were in Florida to keep an eye out for terrorists and drug traffickers in the Cuban exile community while the American government said they were spies and conspiring to commit murder. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights has said in a 2005 report the five Cubans, being tried in Miami, did not have a fair and objective trial. The other workshop focused on Cuba’s economic reforms, which include removing restrictions from private business and allowing Cubans to buy and sell houses and vehicles. These new market-based reforms don’t mean Cuba is going capitalist said Manuel Yepe, a professor and revolutionary leader. In the current economic crisis, capitalist countries like the United States have been enacting centralized solutions, so the opposite is true for Cuba. “They resorted to the bail out of the banks. They had [a] centralized solution,” he said. “I’ve never heard anyone say because of this, the United States is heading towards socialism and communism.”

Tassels, feathers… and moustaches? Brendan Kergin

Ω Arts & Entertainment Editor

Aleida Guevara, daughter of revolutionary “Che” Guevara, speaks to the assembled croud at the fifth annual Che Guevara Conference, Nov. 5.

These reforms are necessary because of the global economic downturn, a reduction of prices for Cuba’s main exports, the fall of the Soviet Union, low productivity and the embargo enforced by the United States, said Yepe. It was the embargo that caused Aleida Guevara to express anger. She told the audience it increases costs for basic items such as food and blocks vital drugs that could cure fatal illnesses. “A little baby, eight months old, is condemned to die and the reason is because she was born inside a socialist [country.] This is what it means to blockade the people of Cuba,” she said through a translator.

—PHOTO BY DEVAN C. TASA

If the embargo were lifted today, the lives of Cubans would be “80 per cent better,” Guevara said. For instance, in order to get powdered milk, the Cubans have to get it from New Zealand instead of getting it cheaper from the closer United States. Justin Terwiel, a recently graduated TRU business student, said he was at the conference to listen to new perspectives and hear about the economic reforms. At the point he was interviewed, he only heard about the five arrested Cubans. “I’m really open to seeing what they speak about, but I’m here with an open mind and I can’t judge that until they finish their presentation,” he said.

While burlesque and moustaches might not be traditionally envisioned together, the Kamloops Burlesque troupe combined it into an evening of costumes, mostly nude women, comedy and song Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Blue Grotto. The evening of entertainment threw back to the roaring ‘20s while mixing in some more modern fundraising via fuzzy upper lips. Performing on the second Thursday of each month, the female group decided to lend their monthly show to benefit the increasingly growing Movember movement. With an opening number that seemed to take inspiration from the Village People — male stereotypes dancing — and then played with it (all the dancers were women in drag) — the show got off to a good, genderbending start. The performances from there varied between magic, comedy, and stripteases with live MCs and music from Emergency Happiness interspersed. While some of the performances were fairly amateur, the crowd responded well to the mix of nudity, music and jokes. The performers all go by pseudonyms like Calamity Jane and Vixen Malone and have a variety of careers outside their on-stage passtime. Particular highlights from this month’s showcase included Calamity Jane’s take on the classic striptease

with huge feather fans, Coco Crème’s dance to the Guys and Dolls classic “Take Back Your Mink,” Pipes’s (aka Lizzie Borden at most other performances) take on Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” and the duo of Coco Crème and Gilda Lily with an extended Egyptian piece which included belly dancing and finger cymbals. The finale provided not just a humourous closing, but also a message relating to the Movember movement. Pipes played a biker-physician while Calamity Jane took on the role of patient with a huge top hat covering her to just above the waist. From there the majority of the skit took place behind a sheet as the performers were more akin to shadow puppets, which allowed for a surreal prostate exam (think of the Austin Powers 2 scene in the tent). The Kamloops Burlesque group has been performing publically for nearly two years. With a fluid group working with the group there are around 40 people involved according to Caroline Dick (aka Lizzie Borden/Pipes). “The majority of the performances are unique each show. We do a fan favourites every single year, and occasionally a performer may do a repeat, but our themes really foster creativity and the performers are always coming up with fun and new ideas,” said Dick in an email. The costumes are also often created to some degree by performers for their specific skits. Future shows should have increased floor seating for the audience, as the shows are up to 100 people.

UWindsor prof looks to dandelions for cancer cure Darryl Gallinger

The Lance (University of Windsor) WINDSOR (CUP) — A University of Windsor professor’s research into using dandelions to cure cancer is awaiting approval from Health Canada before moving to human testing. Professor Siyaram Pandey has been working on a cure for cancer involving dandelion root extract. His work is focused on apoptosis, or programmed cell death, a field that picked up steam in the 1990s. “Our cells perform their function, and then commit suicide,” Pandey explained. Damaged cells sometimes forget to die off, become cancerous and then rapidly divide and multiply. He is using natural sources such as dandelions to find a way to convince cancer cells to die while sparing healthy cells. Pamela Ovadje, a PhD student in biochemistry who has been working with Pandey since he started this project, explained that finding such a treatment is the goal. “That’s the problem with currently available treatments like chemotherapy, because they are not very selective so they tend to target non-cancerous cells as well.”

Pandey’s attention was first brought to dandelions by Windsor Regional Cancer Centre oncologist Caroline Hamm, who discovered that two of her patients with leukaemia found positive results while drinking dandelion tea. “Two people mean nothing,” Pandey said of the questionable results. He explained that the cases could have been coincidental with other factors being responsible for it. “It could have been psychosomatic,” he added. Despite his skepticism, he was willing to take a chance and look into it. “The results were astonishing,” Pandey said. “I was not expecting anything.” Tests on non-cancerous cells have proved promising. He was quick to caution that despite the fact that just treating cancer in mice has turned out positive results, it may not show the same success with humans. Currently, Pandey is trying to secure permission for clinical trials on humans from Health Canada. Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation has provided over $150,000 in funding for human testing, which Pandey can tap into as soon his request is approved. Pandey has found a lot of support locally, with donations from the Knights of

Columbus, Seeds 4 Hope and the parents of Kevin Couvillon. “That kid … he was so amazing,” said Pandey, who added that Couvillon had donated blood for Pandey’s research. After Couvillon died in 2010 of leukaemia, his family kept faith in the project and later donated $20,000. In February 2012, another $20,000 was donated to keep the project going. Pandey credits his students for the success he has experienced so far. “They are the ones who do the experiments — the hard jobs, actually.” Pandey is researching other areas involving apoptosis, such as inhibiting cell death. “If cells in the brain start dying at a faster rate, we have a problem. With an excess of cell death we end up with neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” Pandey explained. “If we understand cell suicide, can we inhibit cell death in the brain?” Krithika Muthukumaran, a PhD student in biochemistry, has been working with Pandey on this next project. “I wanted to do something related to neurodegeneration,” she said. “We work with a water soluble formulation of Coenzyme Q10, which we’ve shown … could be used in curing Parkinson’s disease.”

—PHOTO COURTESY R DC PHOTOGR APHY


8

November 14, 2012

Arts & Entertainment

Album Review: Free Dimensional Brendan Kergin

Ω Arts & Entertainment Editor While there’s great music coming out of this country from coast to coast, Toronto is the centre of a variety of genres, including electro/synth-based pop. Right in the middle of this is Diamond Rings, cementing his presence with the catchy, ‘80s-esque 10-song release, Free Dimensional. Diamond Rings, a solo project by John O’Regan, formerly of the D’Ubervilles, pulls a lot of influence from David Bowie (especially aesthetically) and a variety of ‘80s synthesizer-based pop such as A-Ha and the Eurythmics. While the album starts out strong with the coolly confident “Everything Speaks,” upbeat and danceable “All The Time” and guitar-led “Runaway Love,” it flounders a bit with the down-tempo “Put Me On.” The lead single and strongest track, “I’m Just Me,” resurrects Free Dimensional for a moment with a back and forth between stripped-down verses and an explosive chorus before the album slows from there. If the synth pop of the first couple of tracks hadn’t fully won the listener over the second half will be lost, without much more exploration of the sound O’Regan has built. The sound stays generally light and doesn’t explore some of the darker areas the synth allows for. At times some free-style rapping livens up the course but it’s limited. On the upside, those looking for a modern Pet

Shop Boys might appreciate it. The album wraps up with a noteworthy track in “Day and Night” if only because it follows a much more modern sound, which seems reminiscent of late ‘90s pop. Lyrically, the album puts forth a strong, confident self from O’Regan, though ill-defined. This leaves it open for the listener to connect with what’s being said but it can get repetitive as the album

goes on with not much explored, not dissimilar to the music. While Free Dimensional is a trip into a style of music less common right now, it can grow tiresome. The first half is definitely worth a listen for those interested in the general electronic-based pop genres, it’s niche specific afterwards. That said, the single “I’m Just Me,” could carry Diamond Rings a distance and allow for follow-up work, which is deserved.

—IMAGE COURTESY ASTR ALWER KS/SECRET CITY

How to star on Big Brother Canada Inonge Chimwaso The Weal (SAIT)

Calgary (CUP) —The hit reality television series Big Brother is coming to Canada in early 2013 — which could be a big deal for ordinary people looking to become stars. Viewers familiar with the American version of the show, which has been airing since 2000, will likely recognize a familiar format. Locked in a house for nearly three months, contestants compete for food, special privileges, and power. Cameras follow the house guests 24 hours a day, while microphones record their every word, leaving absolutely no room for privacy. The end goal is to be the only contestant not voted out of the Big Brother House. Sue Brophey, one of the producers of Big Brother Canada, shed some light on what takes to be a star on the show. The Weal: A lot of people would love the opportunity to star on Big Brother. What are some qualities that you look for in a contestant? Brophey: We are looking for contestants who are fiery, outgoing, adventurous, plotters and planners who are somewhat competitive and are ready to live in a house for 75 days without any contact from the outside world. What things should potential contestants avoid doing during their audition? The most important thing to do is to be yourself. A lot of people come

in trying to be just like previous Big Brother contestants and put on a persona that isn’t truly them. We are looking to see real people. So if you’re funny, be funny. If you have a wacky personality and you like to wear carrot costumes, then do that. If a contestant is unable to attend an open casting call because they live in a different city, are there other ways to apply to be on Big Brother Canada? Absolutely. You can apply online by going to Slice.ca and follow the casting link to the casting application website where you can upload a video. Fill in an application form and answer every question as best you can. The producers look at and evaluate every single application. If we really like you, we will call you and if we truly like you, we will come straight to your town to meet you. So the entire country definitely has a chance to be on the show. How is Big Brother Canada going to be different from Big Brother U.S.? The format that we will follow will be similar to Big Brother U.S., however, we will be adding Canadian twists as well as Canadian elements to the show to make it our own. But the real difference will be that all our house guests will be Canadian. Is there any last piece of advice that you can offer? The most important thing for anyone who wants to apply for this show is to make sure to be yourself and show us who you are. Don’t be a wallflower. We are looking for big personalities, so you need to show us your personality.

Local rockers play for local rock fans at Heroes Brendan Kergin

Ω Arts &Entertainment Editor

Canadian Music Corner Taylor Rocca

Ω Copy/Web Editor If you don’t know who The Dudes are or what they sound like, you probably won’t be surprised when the tunes hit your ears. You will be hard pressed to find a band with a name more suitable for its sound. The Dudes come just as advertised. The four-piece hails from Calgary, Alta. Bringing an enjoyable blend of indie rock and alternative garage to the table, The Dudes look and sound like a bunch of dudes just having a good time playing some rock ‘n’ roll. If you’re a fan of Weezer or Canadian pop-rock acts such as Two

Brendan Kergin

Ω Arts & Entertainment Editor Delhi 2 Dublin might not sound like the most Canadian of band names, but being based out of Vancouver definitely puts the group inside our nation’s borders. With inf luences from India, Ireland and many more locations, the sound is part of the world beat genre but modernizes those sounds into something that is more comfortable in a club than a traditional venue. While plenty of the music relates heavily to the Delhi side, especially the rhythm section and a strong does of sitar, mod-

Hours Traffic or Bend Sinister you will definitely dig The Dudes. Formed in 1996, The Dudes are well-known around the Alberta music scene and received some positive recognition country-wide for 2006’s “Dropkick Queen of the Weekend.” A mainstay on Canadian college campuses, The Dudes most recent release came in April 2012. Barbers, Thieves and Bartenders features the single “American Girl.” Also worth checking out from The Dudes’ 2012 effort is “Saturday Night.” “Girl Police,” from 2009’s Bloods. Guts. Bruises. Cuts is another upbeat, party rock track that is sure to get you going on a Saturday night. ern arrangements are more common and fiddles play a prominent role in the vast majority. Then there’s the addition of electronica for beats and melody. This trio of sounds may seem bizarre written out but the group makes it work, producing a sound extraordinarily unique. In a world where so much music is made it’s hard to find a niche unexplored. This is partly due to the band’s willingness to explore roots music as inspiration for more modern sounds. It’s an area where some of the most exciting sounds are coming from (like MIA and Gogol Bordello). Suggested listening would be the title track off the recently released Turn Up The Stereo.

Live music at Heroes on Wednesdays continued on Nov. 7 with locals, the Chris Brock Band. Brock, himself a resident in Kamloops for a decade, led the foursome of local lads (David Johnstone, Kelly Myre and Casey Kayczan) through a variety of covers and original material. While the crowd wasn’t large it was boisterous and spent the encore shouting out requests. The set consisted of a f lair for ‘90s, an era filled with rock. While not all songs originated during that decade, many still carried that inf luence, including forays into Pink Floyd and Phil Collins. Bands that were popular post-grunge held the day, with covers of bands like Bush and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In amongst the covers were some of Brock’s original material, which fit well among the likes of Matthew Good and 3 Doors Down, though was typically more down tempo, though not to the point of ballad. Brock and other locals can often be found Saturday nights at the Rock’n Firkin Pub & Grill as part of an open mike night with live musicians.

Chris Brock leads his band through the night as the Wednesday live music continues to roll through Heroes. —PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIES

Got an event coming up you think we should review? Want to be an arts photographer? Think you know music and want to review an album? Contact Brendan at arts@truomega.ca to get involved.


9

The Omega · Volume 22, Issue 11

Arts & Entertainment

Film review: Skyfall

Maximilian Birkner Ω Contributor

Last night I saw Skyfall. My head is still spinning. The film begins appropriately with a motorcycle chase in that classic Third World setting. Surprise, surprise, 007 is in dire straits again because of a girl (Naomie Harris) – a very important girl, as we will soon find out. It’s not the first time Bond has died. This time he uses it to take time off on an island paradise with women and Scotch for company before returning to England after a bomb attack on MI6 In London, themes from the past are dug up. The fight in the “shadows” is a young man’s game. Can Bond continue to measure up in the modern world? After all, exploding pens aren’t standard issue anymore and even Q is younger. The story continues to Shanghai, which reminds us of the timeliness of the Bond enterprise. In Quantum of Solace, problems lay in the dwindling world water supply. In the newest success, director Sam Mendes takes us straight to the rising Red Dragon. Under the flashing neons of the booming Chinese metropolis, and later in Macau, Bond takes control of his destiny. There is the obligatory casino scene, an Asian siren (Bérénice Marlohe), and a journey by sailboat to an abandoned city where Bond comes face-to-face with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) the latest sociopath, out to dominate the world in a glaringly modern way. Forget the nukes, this villain does it online. Suitably, the latest and greatest finale brings us back to the old country. We almost wonder why no Bond film already did this. After a brief incarceration at MI6, Silva breaks

free and adds subway derailments to his record in the London underground. Then, on a moor in Scotland, Bond returns to his roots, in an Aston Martin DB5 complete with ejector seats. The sentiment only holds for so long. Soon a mansion is ablaze, a helicopter gunship does its thing and 007 strides unhampered through the

exploding masonry, utterly himself. When we have survived the shocking climax – very shocking because of that sick twist we all knew had to happen – the conclusion is just as rapturous. In a cyclical closing scene, the man with the license to kill feeds us one more critical detail and leaves us white-knuckled, panting for the next one.

—IMAGE COURTESY MGM/EON PRODUCTIONS

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‘Shit Girls Say’ goes from Twitter to TIFF Torontonian turns YouTube fame into short film success Aaron Hutchins

The Ryersonian (Ryerson) TORONTO (CUP) Despite the fact that his video has been viewed over 30 million times on YouTube, Graydon Sheppard is not easily distinguishable from the teeming crowds of his hometown, Toronto. Sheppard looks simply “like a boy,” he says with a laugh. A scruffy beard and short messy hair make up his everyday look but, on camera, he stands out as ditzy brunette girl, star of the viral video “Shit Girls Say.” Dressed in drag and a long brown wig, 29-year-old Sheppard squeals nuanced catchphrases, uttered often by members of the fairer sex. “Do you want to split a cookie?” “Do you know anything about computers?” Despite his knack for oneliners, Sheppard and his partner Kyle Humphrey are no one-hit wonders. The fourth and final installment of their “Shit Girls Say” video franchise was viewed by more than online comedy lovers — it was a feature video of the Short Cuts Canada program at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Unlike the over-the-top lead character from “Shit Girls Say,” Sheppard is soft-spoken and shy when speaking from his ninth f loor room in the Ace Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. After graduating from Ryerson’s photography program in 2005, he has been directing regularly, heading up all kinds of projects from commercials to music videos. He also did the graphic design for Feist’s 2011 album Metals. A fun little side project and a few simple tweets starting in April 2011 put him on another tangent. He and Humphrey started the Twitter account @shitgirlssay.

Promoting it through his contacts in film and music, they quickly garnered a following that now exceeds 1.6 million. “Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, had followed ‘Shit Girls Say’ on Twitter,” Sheppard says. “At one point, someone sent us a tweet that he had written saying, ‘hope someone is making this into a movie.’” Little did Bailey know that the films were already in the works, and that actress Juliette Lewis, perhaps best known for playing alongside Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers, had already filmed a cameo appearance for the “Shit Girls Say” videos. Once the webisodes were released online, Sheppard and Humphrey were asked to submit videos for Packaged Goods, a showcase for short filmmaking at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The pair credit the smart use of social media, namely Twitter and YouTube, for elevating their web videos into mainstream conversations. Countless variations of the meme have also struck niche audiences, but the original has brought Sheppard and Humphrey to the next level. Having TIFF on your resumé is a huge push for any young filmmaker. “It gives you that cachet so you can be recognized and make more films,” Sheppard says. It is also a big boost when asking for grants, like those used toward the development of the newly released Shit Girls Say book. Though “Shit Girls Say” has quickly grown from Twitter and YouTube to theatres and bookstores, Sheppard isn’t worried about being typecast in the same role or cornered in one-line comedy writing. “I’m not pigeonholed,” he says. “More opportunities are coming up than ever before.”

Puzzle of the Week #10 – Losing Your Marbles This is the last problem of the semester. See you in January. You kept your marbles in a paper bag. Unfortunately, in the rain, the bag became soggy, and well, you lost your marbles. Each marble was one of six colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

incentives?

1. The number of blue marbles and yellow marbles together was the same as the number of green marbles and orange marbles together.

Got a car and

2. The number of orange marbles was one less than the number of red marbles.

a license to operate it?

3. The number of blue marbles was not prime. 4. There were more of each succeeding colour when the colour names were arranged in ascending alphabetical order.

Contact

5. The number of red marbles was greater than twenty and was also prime.

editor@

6. There were fewer than 100 marbles and at least one marble of each of the six colours.

truomega.ca for details.

How many marbles were there of each colour? This contest is sponsored by the Mathematics and Statistics department. The full-time student with the best score at the end of the year will win a prize. Please submit your solution (not just the answer but also why) by noon next Wednesday to Gene Wirchenko <genew@ocis.net>. Submissions by others are also welcome. The solution will be posted the Wednesday after that in the Math Centre (HL210A). Come visit: we are friendly.


10

November 14, 2012

Sports

Let’s stop pretending sports aren’t important Adam Williams Ω Sports Editor

Have you ever thought about what your life would be like without sports? For some, things wouldn’t change much. The occasional spectator would find other things to watch and the casual participant another way to get exercise. For those who don’t see the value of sport it would be an occasion to celebrate. No more outrageous registration fees for a child’s minor sports, no more professional sports monopolizing the television on weekends and holidays. For others, it would be a devastating loss. I’m not just talking about the hardcore spectator who spends his entire Sunday watching football, or her entire Christmas holiday watching the World Junior Championship. I’m also talking about people who have used sports as a forum for personal growth, who have improved self-confidence and developed collaboration skills as part of a team. I had the opportunity to work with a phenomenal program this past weekend that’s allowing kids to do just that, which reaffirmed for

me the importance of sports in our society. It’s called Hockey for Youth with Special Needs. It’s entering its second season of existence courtesy of the City of Kamloops. The group had their first on-ice session Nov. 10 at Interior Savings Centre and welcomed 14 returnees and seven new members. The program is open to youth of all ages and skill levels. It focuses on helping kids develop basic hockey skills while at the same time giving them the opportunity to socialize with their peers. These are kids who face challenges every day but as Ashly Hay, a coach in the program, asserts, “this is an extra challenge and they’re succeeding at it.” Whether they���re just learning how to skate or they’re a fairly accomplished player already, this program has enabled them to play a sport they love. Before the first year of Hockey for Youth with Special Needs, there was no league for them to play in. Now, they’re gaining confidence, they’re having fun, they’re bonding with their peers and learning how to work as part of a team. It’s the sport that has allowed them to do that and if you ask me, that’s pretty important.

Those are just the social benefits these kids are getting, there are also the health benefits. Health Canada recommends “an hour every day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity.” In today’s day and age, childhood obesity is running rampant and sports are a means for kids to stay active. According to a 2004 Statistics Canada study, 24 per cent of Canadian youth between the ages of 12 and 17 spend 30 or more hours a week participating in sedentary activities and according to a 2008 study, 24 per cent are either overweight or obese. According to Health Canada, regular activity improves mental health, reduces stress and helps kids to do better in school -- as I see it there aren’t too many negatives to regular participation in sports. Sure, sport has its problems. When our athletes are making $5 million while our school teachers are making $40,000, one has to wonder about the priorities of our society -- although the same could be said about the entertainment industry. At the heart of sport is giving kids the opportunity to have fun and exercise, make friends and just be kids, which is exactly what Hockey for Youth with Special Needs is all about. There are few things more important than that.

The Omega would like to congratulate the WolfPack women’s soccer team on finishing fourth nationally in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association for the second consecutive year. Check out next week’s Omega for a year-in-review from both the men’s and women’s soccer seasons.

UBC Athletics investigating athlete misconduct Laura Rogers

The Ubyssey (UBC) VANCOUVER (CUP) — A website and Twitter feed devoted to nonconsenual photos of and lewd comments about women on UBC campus has resulted in a backlash that may have consequences for some UBC varsity athletes. UBC is looking into whether they will discipline a number of student-athletes for their alleged involvement in the “UBC Dime Watch” website and Twitter feed. The UBC Athletics department became aware of the site and account late Tuesday night, when UBC Insiders editor Neal Yonson tweeted an image showing that the domain name thedimewatch.com was registered to varsity hockey player Ben Schmidt. The website appeared to be linked to the Twitter account @UBCDimeWatch, which was started in early 2012. The account encouraged people to post pictures of women without their consent. A “dime” is a slang word that references the practice of rating a woman’s level of attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10. Schmidt claims he made the site for a friend. “I registered the domain and created the basic website layout for a friend. Didn’t expect publicity for it,” Schmidt said in a tweet. “There was some concern expressed to us…. [People] complained about the sexist nature of that language, and had concerns that … some of the posts, they felt, were getting pretty close to harassment,” said UBC director of public affairs Lucie McNeill. “Or some of the posts were also a little bit scary in terms of inviting harassment. So the whole tenor of the conversation took a turn that UBC Athletics certainly felt was not something that would be considered conduct becoming of a student-athlete.”

When the details of Schmidt’s link to thedimewatch.com were made public, UBC student Ekateryna Baranovskaya retweeted them and condemned Schmidt’s involvement with the site. The @UBCDimeWatch Twitter handle and other UBC varsity athletes, tweeting under their own names and retweeting one another, mocked Baranovskaya and called her derogatory names. “I definitely got a very, very negative response from members of the UBC varsity hockey team,” said Baranovskaya. “It definitely highlighted the things I did not like about the @ubcdimewatch Twitter account, which were very gendered insults. “I noticed that there were quite a few more targeted at me rather than Neal [Yonson, who originally reported Schmidt’s involvement]. I would say most likely it was for that reason.” A number of athletes who were deemed to have some connection with the incident were called into an emergency meeting with UBC Athletics on Oct. 31. They were encouraged to make sure

UBC Athletics is investigating alleged misconduct occurring over social media that may have involved some athletes. Photo by Colin Chia/The Ubyssey .

“We will be looking into this, and UBC Athletics will decide whether or not action is needed,” said McNeill. “Depending on the results,… there may be consequences.” UBC has a code of conduct all athletes are required to sign that prohibits harassment or any actions that are “insulting, intimidating, hurtful, malicious, degrading or otherwise offensive.” “They are held to a higher standard of behaviour; they have to have conduct becomof a student-athlete, —Ekateryna Baranovskaya, UBC student ing because they represent the university,” said that the website and the @UBCDime- McNeill. The code doesn’t set out any specific Watch Twitter account were deleted, punishments for when its rules are brosaid McNeill. So far, UBC has not confirmed the ken. Disciplinary action is at the discreidentity of who was responsible for the tion of the UBC Athletics department. “People who were involved in that Twitter feed, although they believe it may have originated within the men’s Twitter conversation, whose own Twitter handles were [retweeted] on that varsity hockey team. McNeill said it is not UBC’s place to Twitter feed, they themselves deny that uncover the identity of the people be- it was anything more than casual involvement — because they were drawn hind the anonymous account. So far, UBC Athletics is still investi- into it, because of the mention of the gating the incident and has not yet de- men’s hockey team,” said McNeill. “So this has to be looked into a little termined if any discipline will happen.

“I think there should be a relatively serious response.”

—PHOTO BY COLIN CHIA/ THE UBYSSEY

more seriously … before we can start determining if indeed there is something that needs to be done, or actions to be taken [against] individual studentathletes.” “I think there should be a relatively serious response,” said Baranovskaya. “If this is something that many members of the varsity hockey team are in support of, then this is something more systematic than they would like.” She said that she hopes UBC will create some form of education for student-athletes to try to prevent similar incidents in the future. UBC does not currently have a social media policy for student-athletes, but they are developing one in response to this incident. “To be fair, those students [tweeting] did not have guidelines in front of them,” said McNeill. She mentioned that orientation sessions for athletes at the beginning of the year did contain a brief presentation about social media. “Clearly the people who participated in those conversations on social media think that it’s all fun and games, and maybe they don’t think of the ramifications of what it is they say,” said McNeill. “This is a challenge that’s facing not only UBC, but all schools that have intercollegiate sport right now.” Other universities with more promi-

nent varsity athletics programs take varied approaches to policing their athletes on social media. According to Carter Henderson, an assistant athletic director at the University of Washington, student athletes at that school sign a general code of conduct but no policy specific to social media. That’s handled on a program-by-program basis, meaning it is under the purview of head coaches. To his knowledge, no incidents had occurred under this policy. Within the University of California system, student-athletes sign a social media policy that gives general advice and begins with, “If you wouldn’t want your grandma to read it, DON’T post/tweet it.” At UBC, McNeill said it was a challenge for staff to keep tabs on students’ social media use. “It goes to show that there is a bit of a generational divide between faculty, staff leadership, who tend to be over 35, and students, who are often younger than 25,” she said. These incidents come at a time when UBC Athletics is still in its first year of participating in “Be More than a Bystander,” a campaign aimed at raising awareness about domestic violence through the endorsement of prominent athletes. The program is also promoted by the B.C. Lions CFL team. — With files from Jonny Wakefield


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The Omega · Volume 22, Issue 11

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68. Organism that needs oxygen to live 69. Like some phone nos. 70. The Who’s “___ O’Riley” 71. Hypnotic state Down 1. It often appears to the right of you 2. Slip in a pot 3. Simple swim stroke 4. Mideast V.I.P. 5. Saturn has these 6. Visit 7. Cold one 8. Extend, in a way 9. Make beloved 10. Female hare 11. Result 12. ___ squash 13. Magritte and Descartes 16. Dot-com’s address 21. Persian potentates 22. Burgundy grape 23. One of the Waltons 24. Drilling grp. 26. Drug type 30. End 32. Domestic 34. Biblical plot 35. ___ Rebellion of 1857-59 37. ___ pressure

38. Aerodynamic 39. In a strange way 41. ___ acid 42. Prefix for scoliosis 46. Antique mecca in Illinois 49. Can’t stomach 50. Jeweler’s glass 51. Agreements 53. Middle Eastern dish 55. Kind of cake 56. Prefix with red 58. Schuss, e.g. 60. A constellation 63. Court ploy 64. Deserter 65. “Today” network 66. Watchman ___, Chinese Christian author

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LAST WEEK’S ANSWERS

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“Novel Characters”

MYLES MELLOR AND SALLY YORK

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12

November 14, 2012

TRUSU Membership Advisory Post-Secondary Education Fact:

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BC charges the highest rates of interest on student loans of any province in Canada This Week: • Random Acts of Kindness Week • Biohazard Night at Heroes • Diwali Bash • Council Meeting Check out the Events Calendar at trusu.ca for details!

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November 14, 2012