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NEWS GENERAL WHAT? 16 voting students attended the 2017 General Assembly Page 5

FEATURE DIRECTORS Where do the Board of Directors go after their terms are finished? Page 6-7

SPORTS ADVERSITY Vanessa Pickard wins award for perseverance through injury Page 23

The Silhouette Thursday, March 30, 2017

First-year band win a recording contract in the McMaster Students Union’s 2017 Battle of The Bands Page 16



The Silhouette

Volume 87, Issue 26 Thursday, March 30, 2017 McMaster University’s Student Newspaper







EDITORIAL BOARD editor-in-chief | thesil@thesil.ca Scott Hastie @Scott1Hastie managing editor | managing@thesil.ca

Rachel Katz production editor | production@thesil.ca

Nick Bommarito online editor | online@thesil.ca Haley Greene sections

Sasha Dhesi Steven Chen news reporter Emily O’Rourke features reporter Alex Florescu news@thesil.ca news editor

news reporter

opinion editor

Shane Madill

opinion@thesil.ca sports editor

Cullum Brownbridge Lauren Beals sports@thesil.ca

sports reporter

& culture editor Daniel Arauz arts & culture reporter Michelle Yeung aandc@thesil.ca arts


Madeline Neumann photo reporter Yung Lee production coordinator Nicole Vasarevic production@thesil.ca video editor Philip Kim social media coordinator Jasmine Ellis online content coordinator Susie Ellis online@thesil.ca photo editor

In late March 1988, the provincial government invested in Mills Library. Shoutout to Lyn McLeod!

WINDING DOWN The 87th volume of the Silhouette wraps up on April 6. We will continue to publish content on thesil.ca. Volume 88 gets underway in early June. We also accept submissions for the summer issues, and story pitches can be directed to thesil@thesil.ca.

COVER PHOTO Madeline Neumann



MUSC, Room B110 McMaster University 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4S4

The Silhouette welcomes letters to the editor in person at MUSC B110, or by email at thesil@thesil.ca. Please include name, address and telephone number for verification only. Letters should be 300 words or less. We reserve the right to edit, condense or reject letters and opinion articles. Opinions and editorials expressed in the Silhouette are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial board, the publishers, the McMaster Students Union or the University. The Silhouette is an editorially autonomous newspaper published by the McMaster Students Union. The Silhouette Board of Publications acts as an intermediary between the editorial board, the McMaster community and the McMaster Students Union. Grievances regarding the Silhouette may be forwarded in writing to: McMaster Students Union, McMaster University Student Centre, Room 201, L8S 4S4, Attn: The Silhouette Board of Publications. The Board will consider all submissions and make recommendations accordingly.

Editor-in-Chief (905) 525-9140, ext 22052 Main Office (905) 525-9140, ext 27117 Advertising (905) 920-1605 italim@mcmaster.ca 8,000 circulation published by the

WANTED: YOU! The Silhouette is hiring for Volume 88! We are looking for editors, reporters, photographers, videographers, web specialists and graphic designers. All of our jobs are paid part-time gigs for McMaster students taking 18 units or more. Jobs close soon! Visit msumcmaster.ca/jobs to find job descriptions!

www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Silhouette

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News What we learned from each other

Aimed at facillitating informed discussion, Broad Conversations gathered people of various backgrounds to discuss issues that matter The first Broad Conversations was held at 541 Eatery and Exchange and included a panel of diverse speakers followed by open discussion.

Emily O’Rourke News Reporter

The standard definition of the term “broad” means to cover a wide scope of area or subjects. The informal definition? A woman. Broad Conversations, an idea surrounding communal discussion, held its first gathering on March 21 at 541 Eatery and Exchange, gathering over 50 like-minded woman-identified, non-binary and gender fluid folk to discuss issues that matter. The idea behind Broad Conversations emerged out of a desire for collective learning and informed conversation. Through gatherings and newsletters, Broad Conversations ultimately aims to promote community and host informal, discussion-based workshops. The first gathering, which coordinator Erin O’Neil stressed as an experiment, served as a space for individuals to discuss their feelings, questions, and ideas about the world in a communal setting. “I realized that part of what I found so sad about what was happening in the [United] States and what I felt so much about the change in politics was that there’s a lot of apathy and a lot of hatred in the world. It wasn’t so much about one person getting into office, but it was the fact that people allowed that to happen,” said O’Neil. “I realized that the antidote to that is getting people together… Broad Conversations is an opportunity for feminist broads to get together and converse about the world in a safe place,” she said. The first gathering was themed around “Conversation”, and began with a panel of speakers with backgrounds in practice, activism and academia. The panel acted as conversational starters before guided conversations and open mingling.


The speakers, including Gachi Issa of McMaster Womanists, Broad Conversations coordinator Erin O’Neil and Elizabeth Maracle an Indigenous feminist, social worker and counsellor at the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton Area), discussed themes of conversation from their own experiences and the importance of conversation as a whole before guests were invited to discuss these topics amongst themselves. “We need one another,” said Maracle. “Connection, respect and talking with one another can restore circles of support and trust. Oppression and violence disconnects and isolates people. Anything we can do to change that has great value. Conversations can give

spaces to rage, grieve, question and challenge oppression. Conversations have the power to repair, heal, and restore social connection.” Each gathering hosted by Broad Conversations is free. Instead of charging admission, attendees are asked to donate to a Broad Conversations giving group in order for a collective financial impact to be directed at a local feminist cause. “These events give a chance for feminists, change makers, seed planters to be with one another. They provide opportunities to connect, heal, strengthen, plan and mobilize. Living in colonialism is hard; I lose circles of connection all the time. I know it’s normal to disengage for safety’s sake but

“These events give a chance for feminists, change makers, seed planters to be with one another. They provide opportunities to connect, heal, strengthen, plan and mobilize. “ Erin O’Neil Coordinator Broad Conversations

need connection and support in my life, especially since one of my life goals is to eradicate oppression and violence. When we acknowledge and listen to one another’s voices about our lives, we can expand our knowledge and momentum to impact social change. When we gather and discuss we resist oppression, we heal and strengthen our movements,” said Maracle. O’Neil hopes to host gathering three to four times per year and has been approached with ideas of collaboration events from other like-minded groups, which she says could happen whenever there is an opportunity. @emily_oro

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Thursday, March 30, 2017 | www.thesil.ca

Cannabis right by campus

Local dispensary focuses on offering alternative remedies to over 300 conditions Steven Chen News Reporter

It may be hard to imagine, but there is a marijuana dispensary just a few minutes away from campus. Nestled in Westdale Village lies a store with a casual spalike façade. This is Pacifico, and while the words “Mind, Body and Soul” printed on the storefront resonates with a leisure experience, the shop deals almost exclusively in medical marijuana. Pacifico is positioned conveniently in a high-density of McMaster student residences. Considering the culture of pot dispensaries and the legal issues commonly associated with them, Pacifico attempts to present itself in a strictly clinical fashion, pushing itself away from the illegal, recreational facet of marijuana. The backstory behind the medicinal marijuana dispensary began with the owner, Tamara Hirsh. After contracting a food illness from eating fish contaminated by the ciguatera neurotoxin, she was afflicted with complete nerve pain. Conventional painkillers were not doing the trick, and it was only until she tried cannabis that her pain was alleviated. Pacifico was founded under a core belief in alternative medicine, particularly helping people looking to choose cannabis as a remedy. As Hirsh explained in a piece from the Hamilton Spectator, Pacifico operates under tight security surveillance. The outside lobby area is kept clean with an ambience resembling that of a clinic. The marijuana itself is kept locked in an inner room that is stored in a heavy-duty safe when the store is closed. Pacifico takes pride in a business model that is stricter than other dispensaries. In order to qualify as a client, patients require a doctor’s note or prescription and must answer an eight-page intake form. “We require a documented condition, something written by a doctor diagnosing you with insomnia or anxiety,” said Alexis Titian, an educator at Pacifico. While this documentation is sufficient enough under Pacifico’s terms to sell marijuana to a client, it still remains illegal for

the individual. The store recommends that clients get the legal marijuana license as well. “We are connected with a clinic called Body Stream and with a doctor referral, they will take you through the process and you will get your legal medicinal marijuana license,” Titian said.

Considering the culture of pot dispensaries and the legal issues commonly associated with them, Pacifico attempts to present itself in a strictly clinical fashion, pushing itself away from the illegal, recreational facet of marijuana. Marijuana exists in a legal grey area. While currently illegal, the CBC has reported that the Liberal government will present legislation next month to legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018. In early March, police conducted raids on a series of dispensaries owned by Marc and Jodie Emery, also known as the “Prince and Princess of Pot.” One of the Cannabis Culture stores that was raided was located in downtown Hamilton. According to the report, provinces will have the right to limit how marijuana is distributed and sold as well as the right to set price. For businesses such as Pacifico, the future of their business is in limbo as governments decide how to regulate the industry. @steven6chen

Pacifico focuses on mindfulness and the healing powers of cannabis rather than its recreational use. MADELINE NEUMANN/PHOTO EDITOR

Hey, Present your valid McMaster I.D. on

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www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017

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General Assembly falls flat There are more words in this sentence than there were people in attendance at this year’s McMaster Students Union General Assembly Sasha Dhesi News Editor

Another General Assembly has come and gone, with one of the lowest attendances in recent years. Only 16 voters were registered, meaning only 0.00065 per cent of the McMaster Students Union attended the event. The annual General Assembly is meant to be a place where students who are not directly involved with student governance may have their voice heard. If the General Assembly hits quorum, which is three per cent of the MSU membership, all votes will be binding on the Student Representative Assembly, making it the highest form of governance in the student union. In the last 22 years, the General Assembly has only hit quorum three times. This year marked a notable dip in attendance, with last year’s attendance hitting 50 at its peak, which remains a paltry number considering last year’s quorum was 660 MSU members. Kathleen Quinn, incumbent SRA (Social Sciences) representative, cited lack of knowledge and interest in the union as the main reasons to why students were not coming out the General Assembly. “I feel like we need to be doing a better job, we need to be getting in people’s faces and their classes and talking to them about why it’s important to be involved with their union, otherwise, this union will continue to be insignificant on this campus,” said Quinn. Of the three motions put forward, two discussed changing the format of the General Assembly in hopes of engaging more students. Quinn put forward a motion to introduce a general meeting in first semester in

As the highest governing body, the MSU General Assembly’s decisions are binding if attendance hits quorum. SASHA DHESI/NEWS EDITOR

hopes of increasing interest in student governance earlier on. Quinn’s motion passed. Maxwell Lightstone, an incumbent SRA (Engineering) representative echoed similar sentiments but proposed lowering quorum so motions passed by the General Assembly with an attendance lower than three per cent be binding, as well as holding a General Assembly every term and investigating the measures needed to allow motions passed at General Assembly with one percent be binding on the MSU as long as the SRA has ratified it. Lightstone’s trifold motion failed. Quinn also put forward a motion asking the MSU to recognize education as a right and advocate for universal access.

This motion passed. The General Assembly continues to be an anomaly for the MSU with respect to student engagement, given that the MSU has some of the highest voter turnouts in elections and referenda. This past year’s presidential election saw a 44 per cent voter turnout and the Athletics and Recreation/Pulse expansion referendum saw a 30 per cent voter turnout. In the past few years, the General Assembly has seen quorum a few times. In 2015, the General Assembly hit quorum due to the highly contentious motions, namely the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions campaign which called for the divestment from any corporations that profits

from the occupation of Palestinian territory. The General Assembly also hit quorum in 2012, but much of this is accredited not to the motions discussed but rather the extensive campaigning done by that year’s board of directors, which included its own webpage, well-designed posters and a popular Facebook page. While the General Assembly remains the highest form of governance within the student union, it continues to lack any tangible results unless there is a controversial agenda or extensive marketing. Until at least one of those conditions are met, the General Assembly will continue to disappoint.


Number of MSU Members in attendance at the General Assembly


Number of MSU Members needed to hit quorum

0.00065 Per cent of all MSU members in attendance at General Assembly


1011 King Street West, Westdale Village 905.546.0000


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Thursday, March 30, 2017 | www.thesil.ca

he McMaster Students Union Board of Directors come from diverse undergraduate degrees. After their term, some go on to pursue the dreams they had a year earlier, while others have shifted their goals and go on to pursue jobs through the university. Many assume that most do go on to work for the university, but for how many past BoD members is this really true? What is it about the BoD position that changes people’s minds? We took a look at the BoD members since the 2012-2013 year to get an answer to some of these questions.

2015-2016 Aside from Ehima Osazuwa, the MSU president for 2015-2016, the rest of the BoD members of that year either went on to pursue graduate degrees or finish their undergraduate degrees. Daniel D’Angela, VP (Finance), never intended to go into the public sector, choosing instead to do an MBA related to his undergraduate degree in economics. Similarily, Giuliana Guarna joined the BoD with the intention to go to medical school after her term. Guarna’s degree was in biology with a minor in music, so her term as VP (Administration) diverged from these interests. “I ran for the position because I thought I was the best person for the job,” said Guarna, who felt she learnt a lot from the position even though it wasn’t directly related to her career. Spencer Nestico-Semianiw, VP (Education), is finishing his undergraduate degree in the Bachelor of Arts and Science program. He hasn’t yet decided on a career, but would pursue a career in education either in government or as a stakeholder over continuing in student government or politics. Unlike the others, Osazuwa remained in the university structure and is currently working for the Brock University Students’ Union as the director of government operations. Osazuwa completed his engineering undergraduate degree at McMaster before his term as MSU president, but as of right now does not plan to pursue a career in that field. Osazu-


wa credits his term as MSU president for allowing him to appreciate working in education and public service.

2014-2015 Unlike the years before and after, all of the BoD members during the 2015-2016 year have gone on to work for McMaster University. Former MSU president Teddy Saull currently holds a position as assistant to the president, institutional initiatives, a position created the year Saull was hired. Details of how the position was created were not shared in time to be included. Saull originally planned to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and is still uncertain about where his career will take him, but his term as MSU president likely will play a large role in the outcome. Jacob Brodka, VP (Administration) and Rodrigo Narro Perez, VP (Education), both went on to run a summer course at McMaster. “The year prior to working on the course,

“I ran for the position because I thought I was the best person for the job.”

Giuliana Guarna, VP (Admin) 2015-2016

Rodrigo and I ran an experiential institute for the McMaster Perspectives on Peace initiative. The following year, working on the course offering was a natural fit as it closely aligned with the institute and our other past experiences,” said Brodka. Brodka also worked at McMaster as a senior assistant to the vice president (Faculty) and recently started a job at the MacPherson Institute. Scott Mallon, the 20142015 vice president (Finance), is currently working for McMaster University in the Office of Alumni Advancement as the alumni officer, student relations. More details are known about his application process. “I found out the position was open by talking to the person who had the role before me [who] had moved into a different role,” said Mallon. Such application processes for university positions are essential for ensuring equal opportunity for both former students and those with no ties to McMaster. The trend for all BoD members of one year to be hired in university positions raises some questions about the role the university has in where the BoD members go after their term. Ultimately, not enough is


www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017

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“I didn’t intend to pursue... finance, but I knew by that point that I was interested in law.”

Jeff Wyngaarden, VP (Finance) 2012-2013

known about the hiring process at this point to make any sort of call. Perhaps the success of previous BoD members in these roles is simply due to the fact that they are well versed in the ins and outs of the university and know where to look. If so, increased promotion of university positions can increase awareness for these roles.

2013-2014 The trend seen in the 2014-2015 year is not seen in either of the previous two years, with all BoD members going on to pursue jobs outside of the university structure. Anna D’Angela, VP (Administration) 2013-2014, went on to finish her MBA at the DeGroote School of Business while Jeffrey Doucet has run a software startup for the past three years. Jeff Wyngaarden, VP (Finance) 2012-2013, plans to pursue a career in criminal law, which doesn’t directly relate to either his BoD position nor his undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“Working on the course offering was a natural fit as it closely aligned with the institute and our other past experiences.”

Jacob Brodka, VP (Admin) 2014-2015

Interestingly, he found there were some aspects of a career in law within his BoD position. “I joined the MSU BoD because I thought that I could do some meaningful work within the VP (Finance) portfolio. I didn’t intend to pursue anything in finance, but I knew by that point that I was interested in law and so I took on some of the more law-related work that the BoD as a group had to deal with. So in a sense, I did join with the intention of pursuing something related afterwards, but only because there was some flexibility in the role that allowed me to work on projects that interested me, on top of my regular duties. The finance portfolio can be and is much broader than most people think it is.” All of the current 20162017 BoD members have plans to return to school. Over the last four years, returning to school or pursuing a graduate program has been popular among the BoD alumni. However, the BoD do not usually end up working in the same field at the end of their education. Working for a university is the only common trend that has surfaced, and even then it is only prevalent in the most recent two years. In the future, increasing the

transparency of how these roles within the university are earned will ensure equality and help give people coming from a less familiar background a shot at the role. Ultimately, all of the past BoD agree that their work taught them skills and qualities that are applicable to any career afterwards. @AlexxFlorescu


March 30, 2017 | thesil.ca

have the opportunity to partake in two practices of participatory budgeting: one here on campus, and one in the surrounding neighbourhood.

This April, you have the opportunity to partake in two practices of participatory budgeting. BLAKE OLIVER

Vice President (Education) vped@msu.mcmaster.ca 905.525.9140 x24017

In many ways, this year on campus has been the year of the vote. Back in October there were four referenda, and we asked you to vote. Then in January there were six MSU presidential candidates and three referenda, and we asked you to vote. Then in March, with 50 SRA candidates and yet another referendum, we asked you to vote. I know what you’re probably thinking; it’s been a lot of voting. And today, I’m going to ask you to exercise your democratic rights for one last time this academic year. These last two votes are a little bit different than the examples I alluded to earlier. Instead of electing a candidate or setting a binding political decision, these votes are based on the principle of participatory budgeting: the process of engaging citizens or constituents in how to allocate part of a budget. This April, you

For the former, let’s talk about the Student Life Enhancement Fund (SLEF). In January, students submitted their ideas for improving student life on campus to SLEF, and we received over 60 ideas. A short list of the most popular and feasible projects is available, including multipurpose sports courts, a permanent bandshell in Faculty

Hollow, and upgraded furniture on the second floor of MUSC. Students can rank options on a scale of 1–5, with first place votes being weighted the highest. Following voting, the most popular idea will be funded. Students can vote by Friday April 17 at enhance.mcmaster.ca. The other way that students can engage in participatory budgeting is through forWard One – the process used to allocate $1.5M annually for local infrastructure in Ward 1. This ward consists of four neighbourhoods: Westdale, Ainslie Wood, Strathcona, and Kirkendall. Westdale and Ainslie Wood surround campus and house many students, so we want to ensure that infrastructure projects will benefit us and the overall community. This year, students have already been more involved in

the project than ever before. In December, when forWard One was collecting submissions, students submitted over 40 ideas just through a pop-up event. Now, it’s time to vote. There is a shortlist of 24 proposals, and voters can pick their top 5. Some projects that may particularly interest students include: repairing roads and sidewalks throughout Ward 1, installing water-bottle refilling stations throughout Ward 1, traffic calming in Ainslie Wood, improving crosswalks in Westdale Village, and contributing to the renovation of the Westdale Theatre Voting is really easy and only takes a few minutes. See the entire list and vote online at forward1.ca, or in person at Union Market. The voting closes on Thursday, April 20, so be sure to vote before then!





TEXT ‘MSU’ TO 71441

The President’s Page is a space sponsored and used by the McMaster Students Union (MSU) Board of Directors (BoD) to communicate with the student body. It functions to highlight the Board’s projects, goals, and agenda for the year, as well as the general happenings of the MSU.

www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017


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Editorial Standing up for ourselves City council ignores students because we don’t vote. Let’s change that in 2018 Scott Hastie Editor-in-Chief

As the school year winds down, so does this volume of the Silhouette. The end of something usually begs for some kind of retrospect to think about what we did, how it could have been done better, or what we need to continue to do. When I flip through the editorials and the news pages, I see a noticeable difference in our news and opinion coverage. There were more stories this year about the greater Hamilton community instead of simply focusing on McMaster and McMaster Students Union issues. Hamilton city politics has been equally entertaining and frustrating to follow, as I’ve written for reasons before. If there’s one takeaway I hope our readers have from this year, it’s that students need to make their voices heard in the Hamilton community. In 2018, we have to go out and vote for the councillor we want to represent us, because we haven’t done that in the past and that’s why students are consistently forgotten by Hamilton city council as a whole. Last week provided a great example. Hamilton Street Railway proposed two cuts to LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Mr. Hastie: The anti-intellectual frenzy around Professor Peterson’s insistence that he must be allowed to address his trans- and genderqueer students in phobic ways is not about free speech on campus. It’s about how the charge of “attacking” free speech--the phantom “threat”


The Silhouette

bussing routes that directly serve the McMaster campus. The proposal, which council voted against, was to eliminate the extra busses provided at peak times. The MSU was never consulted on this, and if it wasn’t for the reporting of Joey Coleman of the Public Record, it never would have been on the Sil’s radar. The HSR was proposing to cut service less than two months after McMaster students agreed via referendum to keep the same service levels at a higher cost. We would have been paying more to get less. Instead, students spoke up. They tweeted about it, maybe some emailed the Ward 1 councillor Aidan Johnson. Within the day, the proposal was dead. Students won, right? No. The cuts really never should have been on the table. But its par for the course, and McMaster students have done it to themselves. Our voices can be ignored because we don’t vote in municipal elections. I’ve written about this before, but I’m writing about it in the final days of this volume because I think it’s that important that students actually go vote in 2018. City council will not ignore us if we vote and show up to the meetings. The trans rights prothat free speech is under siege--is used to suppress the affirmation of equality rights. I’m deeply proud of McMaster students for giving Professor Peterson such an effective tutorial in doing justice to others. And I am happy to have declined the invitation to join him on a panel. I’m not going to debate the supposed right of a tenured professor to be as unjust and injurious as he wants to be.

tocol passed earlier this month featured a number of speakers from McMaster and I believe they made some of the best arguments for why Hamilton needed to support this. And I understand that voting in municipal politics isn’t that exciting. The stakes don’t seem as high as provincial or federal politics, and making a decision is difficult as the coverage is much lighter. Local politics gives you the opportunity to see change in action that you can’t get at the other levels. Some seem insignificant, like decisions on when to open splash pads, but the trans rights protocol mentioned above is a tangible and meaningful impact. Hamilton city council is currently working on a landlord registry too. City hall talks about much more than zoning changes and parking rates. We need to be proactive rather than just reactive. As the media landscape continues to change in Hamilton, it is less likely that we will be able to rely on journalists to shine a spotlight on changes that will impact student life. McMaster students can and should make themselves a political player in 2018. We are not an afterthought. @Scott1Hastie

Let’s not let the hyped up worry about ensuring the safety of one man’s unfounded and prejudicial opinions keep us from our obligations to build ever more inclusive communities. With best wishes, David Clark Professor English & Cultural Studies

We are hiring! All of our jobs are paid part-time gigs for McMaster students taking 18 units or more. Jobs close soon! Visit msumcmaster.ca/jobs to find job descriptions!

to Big Plans. to influential content.

to Big Football. The Las Vegas Raiders are going to be a disaster.

to brothers getting into university.

to finding out via Snapchat.

to fellowships.

to late assignments, but not late assignments.

to 4.20 GPA. to no dress code.

to salad time.

to wearing a stethoscope around when you’re not working. Bad humblebrag.

to real Homesense Hours.

to 16 hours of missed class.

to the Canadian Tire catalogue.

to snail sex.

to slush puppy.

to ColourPop highlighters. to Dr. Sikkema. to father Greene. to the end of the decade of university. to the return of succulents. to CFMU’s new website, cfmu.ca It’s worth a visit. to the new James Blunt album. to yumfeed. to s’mores cake. to Momma Katz. to random Sil alum visits. Thanks for the beers, S.G.

to Schedulefly. to InDesign’s recover documents feature. to patent law. to meetings. I can’t do it anymore. to April, the month of endless hiring. to another marathon LRT debate. (or meeting? What do we call these?) to April 19. to drain flies. to shitty exam schedules. to hair straightener burns. to cats and dogs living together.

to Gary Bettman. How long is the NHL going to held back by the baby gremlin boy? Figure it out.

to avant-garde cereal references.

to Tears for Fears and Hall and Oates touring together.

to taco special lies.

to poorly-blended foundation.

to universe crossover.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017 | www.thesil.ca

Courtney Laszlo Linguistics II

What do you regret the most?

would also love to do that after my undergrad.

I don’t have many regrets, but if I could, I would participate in an exchange program. I neglected the opportunity to go on a three-month exchange to France, missing out on potentially new experiences. My sister participated in this exchange, so I witnessed first hand the amazing time she had in France. I think I didn’t go because I was scared, but after living away from home for a year, I’ve come to realize there is nothing to be scared of and there is no need to hold back. In fact, this regret has led my desire of travel and exploring to grow. I actually hope to participate in a foreign exchange to Spain in the future.

Can money buy happiness?

What are your plans for after undergrad?


How do you two know each other? M: We met here in our program in September. We are from the same city in India, but we didn’t know until we came here at met in one of our classes. How are your classes? Is there anything special about your program? H: It’s completely practical. We have worked in industries for three to four years back home and the program is very well suited for those with experience seeking additional practical knowledge. I think this is great because you can take this knowledge and apply it directly into the industry that you’ll be working in the future. What practical skills are you learning? H: The actual goal of our program is to solve the problems faced by industries and communities. So, we have to communicate well in order to understand the problem and find solution. Communication is extremely important. In fact,

we have a course called Leadership for Management that teaches us strategies to improve our communication skills and how to work with people. It’s quite eyeopening. How do you like McMaster University? M: It’s pretty good! We don’t like the weather here, but we’ve made some great connections here and our lectures are fantastic. It’s amazing to see people come from all countries and backgrounds studying together. H: Also, the multiculturalism and multidisciplinarity aspect of McMaster is a key highlight of this place. In our program, we don’t have just engineers, but there are lots of people with medical and architectural backgrounds as well. I appreciate this diversity very much.

Yung Lee Photo Reporter

After changing universities and programs, I have finally chosen something I love to do. I am in linguistics and hoping to be accepted into the Cognitive Science of Language program, and would like to pursue a career in speech language pathology. I have also always been interested in teaching english as second language abroad, and

Mrugensinh Gothams (L) & Himanshu Lad (R) Master’s - Engineering Design

Many people think that objects define our happiness, and although luxuries have become a necessity in our society, I truly believe that there is nothing more important than love and good health. I would need nothing more than my family and friends who love me. Even though luxuries make life convenient and can actually create happiness, there is no need for money. Creating memories and finding joy in little pleasures with the right people is crucial. Yes, I love to travel, go out with friends and enjoy buying things, but if I had to choose between my iPhone or my relationships, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. Happiness is a state of mind, so making the best with what you have and simplifying your life is what I believe leads to pure happiness.

www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Silhouette | 11

Opinion The politics of participation

Tutorials at McMaster University should try to cater to more students


As a university student, participation grades in class are something that’s been drilled into my head for years. If you want a better grade in the course, participate actively in class discussions and voice your opinions about the class material. Higher grades go to those who participate and engage with the material, and lower grades to those who don’t. Sounds fair, right? Having been a TA at McMaster for two years, I know all about being on the teaching end of this phenomenon. You raise questions and interesting points, and desperately try to raise any sort of meaningful discussion in the group. Some students, specifically social, talkative and extroverted individuals will almost always shine as they recharge their social batteries while getting their much needed participation grades. But what about the rest? What about the introverted student in the corner? What about the student who doesn’t like to talk over and interrupt

other people? What about the international student who is unconfident with their English speaking abilities? We give them low grades, if any at all. We tell them that they have not fulfilled the course criteria, and we rationalize it all to think that not speaking means not participating. We assume that these students have not done their readings. We accomplish our own self-fulfilling prophecy by discouraging quiet students to even try again as they look forward to slipping out the door right when the clock hits 20 minutes past the hour. The evaluation of students’ learning is nevertheless dependent on our ability to be constantly extroverted, talkative, loud and opinionated. We promote it as the only way that demonstrates you have learned something, and the only method of evaluating success as a student in a tutorial environment. However, more often than not, the phenomenon of tutorial and class participation reflects larger sociopolitical influences

and biases that are extremely subtle, but still underlie how participation is practiced and controlled in a classroom environment. The way that tutorials and class discussions play out reflects the complicated politics of who gets to control the conversation, who gets to voice their opinion and whose story gets told over others’. If an instructor is not careful of their biases, they will make the mistake of favouring several students or types of students over others. While giving a platform for the favoured to voice their opinions, they will also simultaneously silence others and communicate to them that, somehow, their opinions matter less. In some cases, instructors sustain a cycle of privileging specific voices that are already privileged while keeping minority voices subordinate. Think of it as the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer, but in terms of participation grades and the platforms given for specific voices over others in an academic environment.

We give them low grades, if any at all. We tell them that they have not fulfilled the course criteria, and we rationalize it all to think that not speaking means not participating. I will admit that I have made mistakes of my own as a TA in favouring only the talkative students whom I consequently saw as the only engaged ones in my tutorials. This is not right. Talkative students have had life histories that have allowed them to become the way they are. Similarly, shy and quiet students also have complex life experiences that have made them afraid to voice their opinions in public around a group of people who may not be like them. We have to understand that, and we have to take that into consideration.

It’s not okay for an educator to assume one specific mode of engagement as correct and capitalize solely on that. In fact, as an educator, our roles are to make students feel as if their voices matter at all. It’s not about sitting back and waiting for students to speak up, or come to us, but instead actively working to encourage the expression of student voices. This is especially true for those that may already be stifled. It’s never going to be perfect, but education should nonetheless be about democratizing academic discussion, and not perpetuating the very inequalities that already exist in our world. Let us finally realize that true academic participation comes not from the voicing and reception of singular and insular ideas, but instead the synthesis of ideas, relationships and conversations between all members of the whole classroom.

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Performing and learning are not synonymous Long-term retention should be a priority over the fear of failing

C/O FREEPIK Owen Angus-Yamada Contributor

Exams are one of the most stressful times for students because so much of a class rides on the result of one test. Students are constantly told that performances on these tests are crucial to getting accepted to graduate school or getting hired at a prestigious, high paying workplace. While good grades often lead to success, high marks shouldn’t necessarily be the highest priority for students. When did we start going to school to perform well instead of to learn? Now, before you say, “Performing well on a test reflects your knowledge of a subject, idiot,” ask yourself how much you remember from last semester’s classes. For the majority of people, I can almost guarantee that all those carefully crafted notes and hours of practice problems have lead to little or no long term retention. We can’t remember because we were too focused on our grade outcomes. We study for what’s going to be tested, not to develop our understanding of the subject. Some of us even go out of our way to take “bird courses” that will result in an easy A to add to our transcript. We forget that we’re here to learn about what we want to spend our lives doing.

When stress and anxiety kick in this exam season, you should take a look in the mirror and ask how important performing well on these exams actually is. Not everything rides on a single outcome. Much of McMaster’s priority, unfortunately, seems to be on this short-term performance rather than on ways to encourage long-term retention. While extending the library hours during exam periods is nice and the fall reading week helps to break the material up a bit, these don’t add enough to remembering the course material once you’re done. When it comes to aiding students with depression, anxiety and stress brought on by exams and marks, McMaster offers support in the forms of counselling and even visits from friendly therapy dogs, but these are short-term solutions that mask the larger issue. They do not deal with the issue that these negative emo-

tions are brought on university’s heavy emphasis on performance culture rather than being a learning environment. There also seems to be hesitancy to use the beneficial parts of some classes in more traditional courses. Solutions like placing less emphasis on exams and shifting the weight to more constant assessments, exploring blended learning a bit more and reducing lectures in favour of different types of learning are all possible in most courses. I am also a believer in the effectiveness of pass or fail classes. It takes the ideas of marks completely out of the picture to redirect students’ focus on content understanding and retention. These might be difficult and require more effort from professors, but should be better for students’ learning, development and long-term performance. With these suggestions and how your courses may currently be, the end-goal of learning should always be the primary objective with your grades being secondary. However, this involves not only increasing long-term retention, but not worrying too much about shortterm results. Learning and development happens only after countless failed attempts so we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. Failure should be the goal in every classroom.

Instead of bell curving tests and handing out bonus marks, professors should push every student outside their intellectual comfort zone in the hopes they fail. If you truly enjoy doing something, it doesn’t matter if you fail as long as you improve. If you’re not passionate about what you’re studying, your goal should still be constant improvement. When stress and anxiety kick in this exam season, you should take a look in the mirror

and ask how important performing well on these exams actually is. Not everything rides on a single outcome. Try your best, but don’t be afraid to fail as long as you continue to learn from the experience. Marks do not define you.


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Thursday, March 30, 2017 | www.thesil.ca


Course evaluations need to be publicized McMaster University’s lack of transparency is a disservice to its students


Professors continue to state how important and necessary course evaluations are. I don’t doubt the honesty of McMaster or its professors. I believe the staff examines the evaluations, and I believe they feel they are important. However, the student body possesses understandable cynicism regarding these notions. After all, why bother filling them in when no concrete solutions are ever reached from their completion? It’s hardly unreasonable to request transparency regarding these all-important appraisals. At any rate, one cannot shake the feeling that McMaster

If McMaster really wants more students to fill out course evaluations, it needs to allow students to better interpret the tangible effects from them. is fighting a losing battle. Since the school switched from paper to online evaluations, response rates have plummeted by almost 80 per cent. The situation has become so dire that many professors now offer incen-

tives, such as bonus marks, to complete them. These questionable ethics have an important consideration. If I’m filling in an evaluation form because I was incentivized, will my response be as forthcoming or comprehensive as those who completed it of their own volition? Will the incentive itself taint the rating in some way? Further, how far will these incentives go? How far should they go? McMaster itself is largely to blame for this course evaluation dissatisfaction. As noted in a previous Silhouette article, McMaster’s policy governs what is and is not released. Developed in 1997 and revised in 2013, it states that the only answer that’s allowed to go public is “how

would you rate your professor overall?” In these cases, professors also have to opt-in for the answer’s release. This policy is antithetical to the purpose of course evaluations. Evaluations are supposed to be “critical to future course development and instructor assessment processes”, but if that’s the case, then why do we never hear of any results stemming from their completion? If McMaster really wants more students to fill out course evaluations, it needs to allow students to better interpret the tangible effects from them. It’s understandable that students, worried about a thousand other things, will be less than enthused about filling in a survey that appears



once in a current course and is never heard from again. This need goes beyond just the students providing the feedback as well. It would be wonderful for future students to be able to read course responses on Mosaic when they are choosing classes. Not sure which elective to take? Wondering if you need to buy the textbook? Curious about the workload? This information could, and should, be readily available. This would empower the student voice. The evaluations would now be meaningful, as those students’ words may be the deciding factor in another student taking or not taking the class. Let’s publicize course evaluations.

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EVENTS CALENDAR Bridges - McMaster Free the Children & McMaster Pencils for Kids When: March 31, 2017 from 05:00PM until 08:00PM Where: Bridges Café A coffeehouse featuring a variety of performances from the McMaster student body, ranging from music, dance, and spoken word poetry. Intermission will include a volunteer trips information session by Free the Children.

Glow Party: Undergrads Move Out When: April 01, 2017 at 09:00PM Where: TwelvEighty Bar & Grill Free appetisers, ARCADE Games & a 90’s meets 2000’s music with a TON OF GLOW Paint! Presented by Technocolour Dreams, MSU First Year Council & MSU Campus Events!

Cost $6.00 plus HST and fees MAC STUDENTS ONLY EVENT Tickets: mcmaster.tickit.ca

Nominations: Vice Presidents & Speaker When: Until April 1 Elections are held by Student Representative Assembly in April. For the 2017-2018 VP Elections, they will be held over two days: April 1 and April 2. You need only make your presence known at this first meeting if you wish to be considered. Please be advised that while nominations are open until the elections occur, the SRA has adopted parameters to govern how the election will be run. To apply for any of these positions, you need not form a team or run a campaign. You must, however, attend the Student Representative Assembly meetings on April 1 and 2, 2017. If you would like to be considered, you will be nominated for the position at this meeting.

The election process gives each candidate the opportunity to speak to their qualifications and ideas and then Assembly members will have the ability to question the nominees.

Student Life Enhancement Fund project voting Where: Bridges Café McMaster students have submitted their ideas to help enhance student life and/or student services on campus, and the top nine ideas have been vetted for feasibility and cost, and are now ready to be voted on. A guarantee of one project will be actualized based on voting results, with the possibility of more. Vote for your top ideas at enhance.mcmaster.ca

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www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017

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Arts & Culture Detour’s road to Battle of the Bands 2017 McMaster band competition winners recall their high school roots and alt-rock aspirations

From left to right: Victor Zhang, Marco Goldblatt, Jaden Raso, Emman Alavata. MADELINE NEUMANN / PHOTO EDITOR Michelle Yeung A&C Reporter

When Detour played their set at the Casbah for McMaster’s Battle of the Bands finals this year, they did not expect to win. Although they had supporters in the crowd, they realized that the venue had hit maximum capacity due to the amount of people their competitors drew to the audience. Despite their pessimism, Detour earned a surprise win. Comprised of Emman Alavata, Victor Zhang, Marco Goldblatt and Jaden Raso, the fresh-faced power pop outfit is the quintessential edgy, gritty, practice-in-mom’s-garage boy band from the high school days of yesteryear. Detour started in the hallways of Westdale Secondary School, where Alavata walked into the wrong classroom in Grade 9 and ended up discussing the Foo Fighters with Zhang

for the duration of that class. Detour has credited their success as a band to the supportive atmosphere of Hamilton’s music scene, where venues like the Casbah and This Ain’t Hollywood book artists of a wide variety of styles and at varying stages of their careers. “Arkells, [Counterparts, Teenage Head, The Dirty Nil]… all of these bands have set the bar so high… but [the supportive community in Hamilton really helps]… I remember [Brodie Schwendiman] from the Casbah booking us to open for Dear Rouge when we just started out… we went up to them a year ago and they still remembered us,” said Alavata. Since the band’s inception in 2014, Detour has released 19 songs in total through several EPs and their debut full-length album. The group describes their music as happy/sad power pop, referencing their heavy power

pop influences and how their music seems happy at first but is actually quite sad in nature. Detour’s music derives from a mix of personal narratives and occasionally unconventional topics that reflect the stage of life they are at. This combination and their relatable ethos has garnered them a supportive following. “I think the most memorable moment [in our career as a band] was sometime in April of last year when we were playing our song ‘By the Fire’… everybody in the audience started to sing along and none of us [on stage] expected that at all,” said Alavata.“It felt so good.” “That was the first time I felt like everyone in the room — us on the stage and [the audience] in the crowd — was connected through song,” said Zhang. Before Detour, their band name was Mexican Fajitas Squad.

“Arkells, [Counterparts, Teenage Head, The Dirty Nil]… all of these bands have set the bar so high… but [the supportive community in Hamilton really helps].” Emman Alvata Detour All of their social media handles still contain the abbreviation, “MFS,” as an ode to their humble beginnings. The band members are all fans of artists like Bon Iver and Gorillaz. They practice and record in Zhang’s basement. Some of their members are still attend-

ing high school, but their love for making music together resonates. This air of relatable humility that gives Detour such a refreshing quality: they take their craft seriously, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. One day, they hope to sign with Dine Alone Records. But for now, they’re just kicking back and preparing to represent McMaster at the Battle of the Bands Provincials in a few short weeks. “For me, [the hope is] just for more people to hear our songs… I’m really happy when we get even the smallest positive comment about our music because [music is such a big part of all of our lives]… our goal is to just have more people hear our stuff, for more people to truly enjoy it,” said Zhang. @mich_yeung

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In a flutter for spring fashion Blackbird Studios offers an inside look at designing their new line of dresses and accessories Hafsa Sakhi Contributor

As the warm weather approaches, Patricia Lynn Bebee of Blackbird Studios is busy preparing her James Street North store for a new line of spring/ summer fashion. Their aesthetic is feminine with a bit of edginess, specializing in dresses, all of which are printed and hand-sewn. The women’s clothing store and fashion label has been running for nine years. Business partners Patricia Lynn Bebee and Kerry Wade are currently gearing up to showcase their new spring line at the Glamour in the Hammer fashion show on May 5. The new line for the spring season, Bebee noted that the design team emphasizes new fabrics and patterns. “In terms of the style lines, [the dresses] don’t change much. Once we've got a great style and a great fit, it's really the fabrication that changes,” Bebee says. When preparing for a new line, what becomes important is not only paying attention to what the new trends are, but also allowing one’s creativity and the originality to shine

through. A beautiful dress inspired by Frida Kahlo is a notable standout in the collection. “Kerry and I are madly in love with [Frida] to begin with, so she's [been] a muse from the beginning... we knew she had a garden for example, so then we created fabric prints that were floral… there's always an idea behind it,” explained Bebee. From there, the two designers decide the colors and fabrics, cultivating different dresses along a similar theme, resulting in a full collection. To prepare for this spring’s collection, the two designers chose a theme before Christmas. “We're so ahead of the seasons in fashion [that] we've already chosen colors [and fabrics]... [we look] at the different things like length changes as well, what's happening in the season… [maxis will be] really big this year so we want to make sure that's addressed," said Bebee. This season Blackbird Studios will be moving away from their traditionally darker colour choices and instead opt for floral patterns and the vibrant and light colours of summer

sunsets, which will be increasingly popular this year. “Kerry and I, we've always sort of had a real edge about our clothing but this is the first collection that we'll be putting out in sort of the ice cream colours… [all the] mint greens and soft pinks.” Their new couture collection for the upcoming fashion show features hand beaded and hand printed gala gowns. Afterwards, the one-of-a-kind pieces become duplicated, and made easier to wear so that they may be showcased in-store. Coming out with a new collection does not stop at dresses. Blackbird also focuses on adding new accessories like wallets and bags, which also reflect the pastel colors and floral patterns popular for spring 2017. As the Blackbird business expands their production, Bebee notes that the frightening part is still planning future designs while managing other aspects of their store and label. However, with these two designers at the forefront of Blackbird Studios, inspiration, as Bebee states, can come from anywhere.





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A&C | 19

www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017

McMasteroni and cheese

Treat yourself to this delicious and easy to prepare vegan recipe for the exam season Rebecca Murray Contributor

With exam season rearing its ugly head, it is easy to forget to treat ourselves to something new. Here is a must-try delicious and highly customizable vegan mac and cheese for those to help you get through those inevitable late nights. Giving up cheese was the hardest part about going vegan for me. So naturally, mac and cheese was the first recipe I learned. This recipe also has strength in that it’s really quick to make so if you’re having a long day and need fast comfort food this is a perfect go-to. I usually start the cheese sauce while I’m boiling the water for my noodles so by the time the macaroni is cooked the sauce is done. This recipe is all about the cheese sauce which is thankfully easy to make! I’ve used it with a bunch of different noodle types and they are all equally tasty so just put the sauce on any kind of noodles you like.

The sauce (on medium heat in a pot/saucepan):


-1 tbsp of Earth Balance or vegan Becel, melted -1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk -1 tbsp flour, whisked into the milk really well -6 tbsp nutritional yeast, whisked in -2 tsp dijon mustard -½ tsp salt -¼ tsp cumin -¼ tsp onion powder -¼ tsp garlic powder -Ground pepper to taste -Stir for about 5-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Once the noodles are cooked I add them to the sauce and then put in a couple small handfuls of mozzarella Daiya cheese for stretchy texture and then Frank’s Red Hot sauce to taste. If you hate Frank’s, any vinegar-based hot sauce will work, or maybe even just a little apple cider vinegar to give it some tanginess.


Another great part of this recipe is its versatility. If you want more than noodles and cheese sauce you can add things into this recipe super easily. My favourites include: -Sauteed mushrooms, or onions, or both! -Pan-fried smoked tofu -Pan-fried veggies (I’m a fan of Broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, or asparagus) -Chili (chili mac and cheese!) -Veggies ground round or textured vegetable protein My one recommendation with add-ins is to cook them in a separate pan and add them in at the very end. I’ve tried adding stuff into the sauce while it cooks with some bad results.















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Human Lizard Jason Loo's Torontonian hero explores various hardships of urban life Hess Sahlollbey Contributor

The cities that heroes defend have always been deeply connected to their mythology. Whether it was the characters of 300 hailing from Sparta or Joan d'Arc leading the French army to victory, their homes were weaved into the tapestry of the characters. Nowhere was this more prevalent than at this past Toronto ComiCon. With Toronto's burgeoning indie comics scene, there was strong pride and celebration of homegrown heroes. The hero put at the forefront of this was the Human Lizard. While Spiderman and the Avengers are known for defending New York City, Jason Loo, the creator of The Pitiful Human Lizard followed suit by situating the misadventures of Lucas Barrett, aka the Human Lizard, in Toronto. In the first volume, Loo introduces us to his protagonist as a nine to five pencil pusher. He is broke, with never enough time or resources to live up to his full potential. His life outside of super heroics is anything but super. Strained by a tight budget and piling bills, Lucas becomes a paid test subject for a pharmaceutical company's experimental drug. Despite drugs giving the Human Lizard the incredible ability to recover from any injury, the challenges of his day life continue to plague him. Written, drawn and lettered by Jason Loo, the book got its start a few years ago by blowing well past its initial Kickstarter campaign. It was then picked up and published by the Toronto-based Chapterhouse Comics. At Toronto ComiCon, Loo noted that his biggest artistic influence was Alex Toth (Hanna-Barbera, Super Friends, Space Ghost) and it more than shows in the art. Rendered in beautiful brushwork, the art has a flowing rhythm and slick flow to it. This is further amplified by the vibrant colors that serve to elevate the final product even more. In a market that is becoming increasingly dominated by DC and Marvel, this is a well polished product with an essence on par with major mainstream publications.

What the reader is treated to instead is a tale of the nuances that plague anyone living the hustle of an urban lifestyle. That essence however is not limited to only the production values of the graphic novel. Loo’s depiction of downtown Toronto is a unique, personal attempt from Loo to his city as he sees it. His representation is more than just rendering some familiar locales and orange-cyan Beck taxis. What truly resonated during The Pitiful Human Lizard were the aspects that were the parts of contemporary life in the city that Loo chose to highlight. While this may be a superhero story, the bulk of each issue is instead committed to exploring love, relationships and adult responsibilities. One stand out segment is an extended scene where Lucas attempts to date online. The reader gets to follow our protagonist as he browses profiles and starts communicating with a young lady, with expectedly mixed results. There is a charming realism to the tension created from his online match who on occasion takes hours to respond. This is less a book about a character possessing superhuman abilities. The super heroics often take place in the background. What the reader is treated to instead is a tale of the nuances that plague anyone living the hustle of an urban lifestyle. There is an old adage that states that writers should write what they know. Beset by money problems, dating issues and overbearing parents, it becomes evident that Loo mined his own life so that he could inject a unique realism it into his cast of characters to make them feel like flesh and bone. Much like the heroes of Marvel comics and their allegories for real world affairs, The Pitiful Human Lizard is a funny and heart-warming comic that never once stops feeling Canadian.

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The Silhouette | 23

Sports Proud to be a Marauder A look back at the collegiate career of veteran guard Vanessa Pickard, who stands as the model of perserverance and courage Lauren Beals Sports Reporter

If you have ever watched an award ceremony at the end of the season, you know it is not the champions that stir up the most emotion of the night. The Most Valuable Player might get the most applause, but it’s always another title that bring fans to their feet. The Tracey Macleod Award was established to recognize a university athlete displaying ‘courage overcoming adversity.’ For the first time since 2008, and the second time in the award’s history, that honour was given to a Marauder: Vanessa Pickard. Pickard actually began her career in 2011 at the St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. Originally hailing from Riverview N.B., Pickard had played two years on Canada’s U16/17 national team before signing on to play under head coach Matt Skinn. “Things looked really promising for me” said Pickard. “I was really excited” In her first season Pickard came out firing, putting up 17.2 points a game and claiming Canadian Interuniversity Sports Rookie of the Year. But in her final game of the season Pickard sustained a concussion, the first in what would be a series of head injuries to plague her

In her first game at Burridge Gym, Pickard tore her ACL, enduring one surgery to replace it and two addititonal procedures to correct complications in the coming months.

career. “[At the time] I don’t think I really understood the ramifications of a concussion,” said Pickard. “So I didn’t really take care of it and it lingered for a few months… but we were done basketball so I thought I could get over it.” In the fall of 2012 during her second year at St. F.X., another serious concussion would sideline Pickard for five more months. Pickard was also rehabbing under new leadership, as head coach Matt Skinn departed to coach the men’s team in Cape Breton and was replaced by Augy Jones. “I was stuck in a position of trying to come back from my concussion, maybe [I] came back too early,” said Pickard. “It was hard playing under a new coach, it was difficult to establish myself… and a concussion is a really difficult injury. It’s not just the physical part of it there is an emotional toll as well.” Pickard returned in the second semester of her second year, but the challenges of extensive rehab meant it would take time before she could make her presence felt on the court. By the time next season rolled around year Pickard was hit again, suffering her third concussion in as many years. “It took a big toll on me” said Pickard. “I decided that that environment wasn’t the best for me so I took off my fourth year and thought I was going to hang up the shoes forever.” While finishing her undergraduate degree, the coaching staff at McMaster caught wind that the sharp shooter they had recruited out of high school had a few years of eligibility remaining and decided to extend an offer. “I knew [at that point] if I was going to play basketball again, it would be at Mac,” said Pickard. “And that’s strictly because of the people here. The coaches are phenomenal... I


“I’ll defend my thesis in July, finish up at Mac, and head off to med school. It’s a nice little cherry on the top I think.” Vanessa Pickard Fifth-year guard McMaster women’s basketball knew they would treat me as a person. It wasn’t just about basketball… I knew I would have a good experience.” After some deliberation and a year of training, Pickard travelled to Hamilton in 2015 to pursue a Master’s degree in kinesiology. Academically driven, Pickard took up shop in the laboratory of Maureen MacDonald, conducting exercise physiology research and going on to receive an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. But she picked up where

she left off on the court too, committing to the basketball season and opening her year with four straight wins. After securing an all-star nod in the pre-season Ryerson tournament and a number one national ranking for her new team, tragedy would strike yet again. “It’s kind of funny, anytime everything is going super well I seem to have a setback. It’s like its too good to be true,” said Pickard. “The second I went down I knew it was my ACL.” In her first game at Burridge Gym, Pickard tore her ACL, enduring one surgery to replace it and two additional procedures to correct complications in the coming months. In her first practice back from rehab she sustained another concussion, followed by a sprained MCL and a battle with the flu. She questioned if she would ever play again. But still, she endured. By March of 2017 Pickard had returned to the court and was one of Mac’s leading scorers in their Ontario University Athletics playoff run. While her

team did not end up receiving an elusive U Sports championship berth, Pickard travelled to the University of Victoria where she was recognized with the national Tracey Macleod award. “It was a difficult two years, emotionally and physically, to say the least” said Pickard. “I would have liked to be there for the tournament with my team… but it was a nice consolation prize. To be recognized for that and going through that battle… it meant a lot to me.” It appears that this season will be the last for Pickard, who will be pursuing a degree in medicine in the fall. It seems fitting that someone who has endured so much will go on to support patients as they brave their own journeys, armed with her own experiences and a perseverance unique to so few. “I’ll defend my thesis in July, finish up at Mac, and head off to med school,” said Pickard. “It’s a nice little cherry on top I think.” Cue the standing ovation. @theSilhouette

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Time to change the channel?


The governing body for university sports in Canada signed a long-term contract with Sportsnet in 2013. U Sports was hoping to boost the profile of the league with expanded coverage and a refreshed approach. Instead, ratings are down, fewer events are being broadcast and questions surround what comes next for U Sports on television. The Silhouette looks at how we got here and what may lie ahead. Scott Hastie Editor-in-Chief

There are a number of problems facing university athletics – now known as U Sports after an organizational rebrand in 2016 – but none are bigger than the current television situation. In 2013, Canadian university athletics and Sportsnet joined forces, shifting the broadcast rights from TSN to the other sports channel. The agreement was met with some fanfare because of what it promised. Instead, the next four years would see significant changes, both with U Sports and Sportsnet, casting doubt on the viability and potential of Canadian university sport.

Sportsnet swoops in A reread of the May 2013 press release announcing the six-year Sportsnet television contract reveals how much has changed. The Sportsnet executive quoted in the release, Navaid Mansuri, has not been quoted about Canadian university sport since then. The CEO of U Sports, then called Canadian Interuniversity Sport, abruptly resigned in Jan. 2015. That release also boasted that the Score – a television channel bought

by Sportsnet – would “be one of the main hubs of CIS coverage”. The Score was renamed “Sportsnet 360” later that year and ditched their coverage of Ontario University Athletics football and basketball in the following year. The release ends with a bold claim: “by the end of the six-year partnership in 2018-19, as many as 27 CIS events could air annually on Sportsnet.” Some new sports could get a national spotlight. For athletes and coaches competing in sports like volleyball, rugby and soccer, it felt like their accomplishments would finally be recognized. To date, this has not materialized. Four years into the agreement and Sportsnet continues to broadcast the national championships and semifinals for football along with both men’s and women’s basketball – the same slate listed on that initial press release. Men’s hockey was broadcasted this year, but women’s hockey was not. Money is at the heart of the television rights issue. In the current age of cord cutting and piracy, television networks are constantly trying to secure the rights for products that will capture a live audience. While sports is not iron-clad, it is

one of the few programming options that has retained an audience. That is why you see massive contracts being handed out for the sports broadcast rights. However, U Sports is the anomaly here. In 2013, the Globe and Mail said that U Sports was receiving $100,000 in the first year of the contract from Sportsnet. Neither U Sports nor Sportsnet would confirm that number to the Globe and Mail. This number pales in comparison to the billions of dollars brought in by other sports organizations. The rights to the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s men’s basketball tournament cost CBS-Turner $10.8 billion. The difference speaks volumes.

Sportsnet U Super Championship Weekend For the 2015 winter championship season, Sportsnet reimagined their coverage approach. Instead of having the hockey and basketball tournaments spread over a few weekends, the tournaments would be put on one weekend and all covered on the specialty channels Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet One. This meant 20 hours of U Sports

“We’re very supportive of university sports in Canada, but at the end of the day we’re in the business of generating the largest viewership and using that to generate revenue,” Scott Moore President, Sportsnet

programming over a Saturday and Sunday in mid-March. Sportsnet was attempting to compete with Hockey Night in Canada during the National Hockey League’s playoff race. At the 2015 U Sports Annual General Meeting, a “Year 1 Review” report framed the reformatted weekend as a success, though time has exposed some issues. Sportsnet said “atmosphere and general attendance in venue still needs to be addressed”. U Sports members echoed this sentiment, saying, “Due to small crowds, it didn’t look good on TV… This hurts the brand.” These issues persist. Attendance at the men’s basketball tournament was extremely low in 2016, though this is hard to quantify because of a lack of attendance numbers from the organizers at the University of British Columbia. Other sports struggle to capture a live audience, reaffirming the complaints from the year before. U Sports departments are often small shops with limited resources. This makes it difficult for schools with multiple teams competing in championships to get the logistics taken care of. Some teams have to find more therapists for the athletes; other


www.thesil.ca | Thursday, March 30, 2017

schools need to contract out for help building media guides. The 2016 tournament also went up against the opening weekend of the NCAA March Madness tournament, even though Sportsnet recommended they change the dates to avoid this issue. None of these events rated in the top 30 sports broadcasts for their week, getting beaten out by events like a non-major golf tournament and the World Indoor Athletics Championships. Despite being billed as a success in 2015, this format was abandoned in 2017.

Hockey casts a long shadow Six months after Sportsnet inked a deal with U Sports, the Rogers-owned company signed a 12-year $5.2-billion contract for the National Hockey League broadcast rights. Initially seen as a watershed moment for Sportsnet, the company appears to have overpaid for the product. According to the Globe and Mail, ratings fell by 16 per cent in both the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 season. This led to a decline in advertising revenue. Rogers Media laid off 200 employees in January 2016 and said all areas were affected except for the Toronto Blue Jays. What does this have to do with U Sports? It limits the resources available to grow the league, which is what the Canadian university sports organization was looking for when it signed with Sportsnet. The agreement was framed as a partnership between the two parties, with Sportsnet providing coverage and airtime for a league looking to break out of the local communities and create a stir nationally. The two parties have a reason to believe in that. ESPN built its empire on college athletics. In the early 1980s, ESPN picked up the early rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and essentially created March Madness. A court ruling later that decade allowed ESPN to broadcast multiple college football games, creating a television product that other networks refused to. But the NHL hockey deal appears to have put an end to that. In 2015, U Sports members complained about a lack of “lead-in” to Super Championship Weekend, meaning there wasn’t enough pre-coverage or

hype for the event In 2015, Sportsnet had some writers writing weekly power ranking articles about men’s basketball. They also hosted Sportsnet U Recruited, a competition aimed at university students to submit their U Sports content for the chance at a scholarship. (Full disclosure: I was nominated for this scholarship in 2015.) Now, Sportsnet will mostly repost U Sports press releases or wire stories. They have some original video content, but the U Sports page still has a story about a soccer championship from November featured on it. The Sportsnet U Recruited competition does not appear to be running this year. However, Sportsnet did broadcast regular-season football games in 2016. According to the Toronto Star, ratings for this were poor. With cuts to the Rogers media departments, it is no surprise to see U Sports coverage fall to the wayside. Ratings and advertising revenue could improve as Canadian NHL franchises become more competitive, though it is unclear if this will improve anything for U Sports.

What comes next? Sportsnet and U Sports are locked in to a deal until 20182019, and public comments show some hesitation on the broadcaster’s end. In a Toronto Star article from Sept. 2016, Sportsnet president Scott Moore spoke about the future of their relationship. “We’re very supportive of university sports in Canada, but at the end of the day we’re in the business of generating the largest viewership and using that to generate revenue,” Moore said. “If we were 100 per cent we probably would have renewed already. We want to see how things go with this experiment.” And if viewership and revenue are what Sportsnet is chasing, that paints a bleak picture for U Sports. Viewership for the Vanier Cup has fallen over the past three years to 243,000 viewers. The Vanier is the crown jewel of the U Sports package and interest is waning. The winter championships don’t draw well either (number five). U Sports could be forced to look elsewhere, but Canada’s small media landscape leaves a few options. Naturally, TSN is

the other option, and this partnership could be a good one. TSN needs content after losing the NHL contract. They have the rights to some regional hockey games but have not filled the gap with original programming. TSN is also the sole broadcaster of the Canadian Football League and a partnership between TSN and U Sports could create more meaning for university football. Currently, the CFL Draft comes and goes without much fanfare, though the league is trying to address that. The main obstacle is that the draftees are just names on a list. Only diehard fans of Canadian football will have seen the players before. In theory, TSN could pick up the rights for a small fee and broadcast one U Sports football game a week. This creates live Canadian programming and could drive interest in the CFL too. The Sportsnet deal was met with cautious optimism by most followers of the league. That optimism has faded. Instead of galvanizing a league and putting it in the national spotlight, U Sports’ relevance has faded through the contract. Viewership is down, Sportsnet has not broadcasted more events even though that was advertised in the original press release, and the total visibility has been limited to three weekends a year. What, if anything, comes next for U Sports on TV will provide more detail on the property’s long-term viability.

Total number of events Sportsnet proposed to broadcast each year compared to what they actually broadcast in the 2016-2017 season

Vanier Cup Television Ratings Over the Years 502,000 TSN Sportsnet



320,000 311,000 301,000 243,000







$1,100,000,000 Average annual revenue for NCAA men’s basketball tournament rights


Total revenue for all U Sports broadcast rights in 2014-2015

26 |


Thursday, March 30, 2017 | www.thesil.ca

Alcohol and university sports Examining the benefits and drawbacks of selling alcohol at varsity games Justin Parker Contributor

Alcohol and sports have a longstanding relationship. Whether it’s watching a game on TV at a bar or waiting in line at the concession stand, many spectators enjoy a drink while watching the game. This relationship gets a little bit more complicated for collegiate sports. At a venue where a significant percentage of attendees are likely underage, it is much tougher to ensure a safe and legal drinking environment for everyone watching the game. Ultimately, everyone wants to have a good time, relax and cheer on their team. Uncontrolled alcohol use can ruin that, but a total lack of alcohol can also lessen the experience. Currently, you can buy beer at every Marauders football game, but it must be consumed in the beer garden in the north end zone. In addition to this, there are occasional volleyball and basketball games that will offer beer to be consumed in the mezzanine while watching the games. The selling of alcohol at all events hosted by McMaster is under limitations set by the campus-wide liquor license held by the university. A four-page administration policy for alcohol can be found online. Gord Arbeau, director of communications at McMaster University, sums up the view of the policy. “McMaster prioritizes community safety and ensuring campus and our events are welcoming and inclusive,” Arbeau said. “The alcohol policy reflects that priority and supports this approach. Certainly, when alcohol sales are permitted by

Being able to sell beer to fans in the stands might raise sales, but this would give the university less control over who is exactly drinking beer after it has been purchased. the policy, the university fully expects those permitted to sell alcohol follow our rules and the laws of Ontario.” While these regulations are meant to ensure a safe environment for drinking, there is also an administrative recognition that some spectators want to drink alcohol and have fun. It is a constant balancing act to ensure alcohol is not consumed in excess at events held on campus, but it is better to have spectators drinking in a controlled environment rather than an off-campus party pre-game. “It’s just trying to balance things in terms of giving fans what they want, but also making sure we have a safe environment while trying to encourage the appropriate behaviours,” said Glen Grunwald, the director of athletics at McMaster. Beyond ensuring a safe environment, the university also has financial considerations for these events. As it stands now, the university isn’t selling a lot of alcohol at the moment. “We think it helps football, but when we do have it at basketball and volleyball we don’t have a lot of sales,” said Grunwald. “We’ve talked about


it, but again, the cost of setting up the beer garden and hiring staff, doesn’t really justify the amount of money we make in terms of revenue and sales we have for beer.” Being able to sell beer to fans in the stands might raise sales, but this would give the university less control over who is exactly drinking the beer after it has been purchased, so it is limited by the liquor license.

Would more alcohol lead to a higher attendance rate? For the 2016-2017 season, McMaster ranked second in Ontario University Athletics conference for football attendance. Basketball and volleyball recorded less attendance than football, but all rank in the top ten in the OUA in their respective sports (men’s basketball ranking the highest at fourth). Offering more alcohol


available wouldn’t hurt attendance, but it likely won’t significantly increase the average attendance. Having some alcohol in a controlled environment is better than nothing, and as long as fans can cheer on their team in a safe space, there is no need to increase availability. @theSilhouette

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WE STOPPED BELIEVING Hamilton by-law bans Journey ’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at k araoke S5





MARCH 30, 2017

A new way to cut costs

Meet the student who plans to live completely on campus in April


THE EDITORIAL TEAM We regret to announce the loss of Shit Hastings. After filing what would be his final story, which can be found to the left of this obituary, Hastings went on a camping vacation in British Columbia. During a hiking trip, Hastings was attacked by a grizzly bear and did not survive. Given Hastings’ appreciation for bears, we are sure that seeing a bear in real life was a thrill for him. We like to think this is how he would have wanted to go. Sometimes, you just have to tell yourself things to make it easier to move on. We intend to carry on his legacy with intrepid reporting and a heavy reliance on puns, alliteration and a liberal use of quotes. Hastings left a mark on the Speculator, one we will not soon forget.

In Memoriam Shit Hastings 1993-2017 SHIT HASTINGS I knew the lore...

With the school year wrapping up, students are feeling a financial squeeze as they look forward to making stacks in the summer. One student, Nikola Brokaw, has reinvented April savings. Brokaw is moving out of his student house, where he lives with seven other people, and plans to live on the McMaster campus. From April 1-7, Brokaw will live in the student centre before moving to Thode library when it becomes 24 hours. “I pay $500 to live in a room that pre-Hogwarts Harry Potter would say is small,” said Brokaw. “I’m done with this shit and I’m going to try and live

on campus. I have it all figured out.” For meals, Brokaw will rely on using residence kitchens. He says his younger sister will let him in whenever he needs. University officials are aware of the plans, and they will not take action. “Trying to police this sends a bad message. We’re just wondering how he’s going to pass his classes. Three weeks of #ThodeLife? Will he even remember when his exams are?” said Datrick Peane, university president. Brokaw will be documenting his experiences through Snapchat, Instagram stories, and — for fuck’s sake, another one of these things? — Facebook Messenger’s story platform.

If you want to donate to Brokaw’s campaign, don’t. He doesn’t need the attention, or the money. He just wants to go viral.

Disclaimer: The Hamilton Speculator is a work of satire and fiction and should not under any circumstances be taken seriously. Thanks for all the laughs.

Will Nikola Brokaw resort to sleeping on top of the cubicles or below them? Tune in to find out!


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The Silhouette - March 30, 2017  

Meet Detour, the group of first years who won battle of the bands! Plus, where do MSU Board of Directors go when their terms are over? Sport...

The Silhouette - March 30, 2017  

Meet Detour, the group of first years who won battle of the bands! Plus, where do MSU Board of Directors go when their terms are over? Sport...

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