Page 1

Mar. 3 - Apr. 6 / V. 35, i. 07

TH E

UNDE RGROUND UTSC’S OFFICIAL STUDENT PUBLICATION SINCE 1982


DO YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR VISUAL ART PUBLISHED in TH E

U ND ERGROUN D?

If your submitted work is approved, it will be credited in an official print magazine!

The Underground is looking for digital visual artists or illustrators who are interested in contributing to creative aspects in the Features Issue of The Underground.

Do you love reading The Underground but just keep seeing too many editing errors? Now’s your chance to prove your grammar skills and anti-typo vigilante strength!

Your work can either be featured as a photospread series or in conjunction with a submitted article. For more information, please email editor@the-underground.ca

Contact editor@the-underground. ca for a chance to take part in our Features Issue’s copy-editing blitz! There will be pizza, lattes, and your name will appear in the issue as part of the masthead. (Not to mention, you will be monetarily compensated for your efforts!) Moreover, you’ll be one of the first people to read the Features Issue of The Underground!


CONTENTS

NEWS 6 FIXING THE SCARBOROUGH TRANSIT PLAN 7 UNITSC: POST-VICTORY SIT-DOWN 10 TEXTBOOKS FOR CHANGE 12 THE NEW DIVA ON THE BLOCK FEATURE 14 LIVING IN THE GRAY 18 I’M NOT A DRUG DEALER, I’M A HUSTLER ARTS & LIFE 22 ART AS A WEAPON OF CHANGE 24 MATERIAL GIRLS IN A MATERIAL WORLD 26 TO BURN BRAS OR NOT TO BURN BRAS 28 THE TRUTH OF THE DOC SCIENCE & HEALTH 30 CONFIDENCE IN SCIENCE AND THE MEDIA 33 SUSTAINABILE LIVING 34 UNDERSTANDING EPILEPSY OPINION 36 ARE PROGRESSIVES BEING TOO LENIENT ON BERNIE SANDERS?


“O PI NI ON S A R E J U S T LI KE A SS H O L E S , EV ER YO NE H A S O N E ! ”

CONTACT THE UNDERGROUND 1265 MILITARY TRAIL, ROOM SL-234 SCARBOROUGH, ONTARIO M1C 1A4 (416) 287-7054 EDITOR@THE-UNDERGROUND.CA

ISSUE/ 07 M A R - C H

As my year at The Underground approaches its final stages, I am excited by the possibilities that are emerging for our future. The Social Justice Issue was introduced to The Underground by Kosan Shafaque, editor-in-chief 2014-2015, because of its relevance to conversations around campus. This year, those conversations still hold up. The domination of the social justice rhetoric shows that our campus celebrates the questioning of existing hegemonic patriarchal, racist, sexist, and xenophobic systems in place in Canadian society. Yet The Underground’s Social Justice issue is more than that. Just because these conversations are commonplace in our digital media culture doesn’t mean that we should boil issues down to a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’. Additionally, not contributing to the popular conversations is still an option. Nevertheless, as the campus’ official student publication, the thoughts of the student body need to be represented on our pages. This issue also marks my last editorial for The Underground, and so it also makes me contemplate the future. In my September 2015 editorial I was challenging the notion of university being the only avenue for success. Now, while my beliefs still echo these sentiments, I would like to add that sometimes the greatest rewards come from following the most rigid, structured pathways which can ironically force oneself to conjure up the most creative solutions. Some of the best poems are sonnets; some of my best work has come from calculated pressures. I think I’m going to miss UTSC.


MAS T HE A D EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ROSS VERNON DIAS FINANCE & OPERATIONS OFFICER PAVITURA KANAGASABAI CREATIVE DIRECTOR MASOOMA ALI PRODUCTION EDITOR RACHEL CHIN MANAGING EDITOR REEM AYAD NEWS EDITOR SAJJAD JAFFERY

PU B L ICA T I O N DA T E S SEPT.3 OCT. 1 NOV. 5 DEC. 3 JAN. 7 FEB. 4 MAR. 3 APR. 7

2015 2015 2015 2015 2016 2016 2016 2016

FOLLOW US FACEBOOK THE UNDERGROUND AT UTSC TWITTER @UTSCUNDERGROUND INSTAGRAM @UTSCUNDERGROUND SNAPCHAT @UTSCUNDERGROUND LINKEDIN THE UNDERGROUND AT UTSC

ARTS & LIFE EDITOR SHARINE TAYLOR SCIENCE & HEALTH EDITOR LAABIAH WASIM PHOTO EDITOR NOOR AQIL ADVERTISING MANAGER DAOUD TABIBZADA WEB EDITOR TEJAS PANCHAL ONLINE EDITOR NANA FRIMPONG DISTRIBUTION MANAGER MATTHEW DIAZ

STAFF WRITERS SAM NATALE, DANIEL XIE CONTRIBUTORS NIDA ZAFAR, ZUJAJAH ISLAM, SUMAIYA ZAHOOR, MICHAEL CHACHURA, CAROLINE MANALO, ERIN KELLY, PRIYANKA CHALIA COVER BY: NOOR AQIL

BACK COVER BY: RACHEL CHIN


6

NE W S

NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND

FIXING THE SCARBOROUGH TRANSIT PLAN Nida Zafar, Contributor The city of Toronto has proposed a new transit plan which will extend the BloorDanforth to Scarborough Centre, as well as a crosstown LRT that will go throughout Scarborough with one of the major stops being UTSC. This plan, which is being welcomed with open, hopeful arms, has been created to better serve the residents of Scarborough. “Having high quality public transit is really important, particularly for students. Right now, a lot of our students do come by transit and most trips [entail] at least one or two transfers. The goal of the the proposed transit plans between the subway extensions and LRT [is that] a lot more trips will be possible with just a single transfer,” says Andre Sorensen, associate professor of urban geography at UTSC. “There’s a time saving [element] but also the frustration saving [element]. www. the-underground.ca

It’s the waiting between two vehicles which is really costly in terms of time. The [idea of the] LRT is that it will be fast because it won’t be in traffic and will have its own right of way.” Sorensen also adds that “UTSC [will] become a much more significant transit hub. We already have the Durham transit that comes into UTSC as well as the GO bus and quite a few city buses. However, with the LRT as an addition, [there will be] better connections to all of the other transit services because this becomes the place in Eastern Toronto where everything connects, [which] certainly is going to benefit our students.” With any new and ambitious project, however, comes multiple concerns. Sorensen’s biggest concern is that this plan isn’t set in stone. “It’s looking good, but the Toronto City Council has reversed its decision several times [in the past] and until, it’s actually operational, you have to continue to hold your breath.” MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

To serve as a reminder: a while back, UTSC students contributed $30 million dollars towards the creation of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, expecting an LRT in return. This dream was short lived. Many students have blamed Toronto City Council for not holding up their part of the deal. However, according to Sorensen, “You can’t really blame the Council. It was Rob Ford who was wrong. He did it before he was signed in as mayor. He went and visited the general manger of the TTC and said ‘Transit city is dead, I’m not going to build this.’ He had no authority to do that. “I think it was irresponsible of him to take a plan that was [publicly] funded, [where] all of the detailed engineering and environmental assessments had been done, and [where] about eight years of other people’s work [was used] to get it in place and cancel it. “We’re now 10 years behind where we should have been because the LRT to UTSC would have been built by now.” VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


NEWS

7

UNITSC:

POST-VICTORY SIT-DOWN Sajjad Jaffery, News Editor As the academic year winds down, the SCSU is transitioning into a newly elected executive team. We sat down with the newly elected team that ran as UniTSC. The new team started off by introducing who they are: TW: My name is Thomas Wood; I’m in my third-year as a political science specialist. I am going to be the Vice President of Academic Affairs. JK: My name is Jessica Kirk, and I am in my fourth year. I’m doing a double major in political science and french. I served as the VP Equity and I am now entering as the President of the SCSU. NM: I’m Nafisa Mohammed, I am studying international development studies and gender studies and I am the incoming VP Equity. SS: My name is Sitharsana Srithas, I am a fourth year doing a double major in psychology and political science, and I will be the new VP External. The Underground (UG): This issue of The Underground focuses on social justice topics at UTSC. It’s great how the timing worked out for the election. The SCSU has always been vocal with their social stances for student issues and beyond. Do you feel that in the coming year we can expect the same? JK: The most important thing when it comes to what type of work we want to pursue next year is dependent on the feedback we receive. If students do want to see more social justice being addressed then that is the direction we will be taking. If there is a need for more attention on transit issues, then that will be the direction we will be taking. UG:

www. the-underground.ca

You spoke about receiving feed-

back from students. I understand there are already measures in place to make that happen. How does your team plan on improving this? TW: I’m not sure if I can speak about more efficiency but I can speak for another strong venue. SCSU currently holds academic forums - though they are not very often. We held one last semester [but I am] not sure about this semester. But, just like we do for campaigns and equity, we should also have a large focus on academics for our members. We are not sure how we will formulate that right now. It could be a new event, or it could take the place of something already existing. For example, we could have a DSA meeting where, for an hour, the topic of discussion would be about the DSAs’ activity and then another hour for academic topics. I think that would be a great way to communicate with the DSAs and students. JK: Also, if I may add, consulting with the DSAs along the way as well would make things very efficient. UG: The needs and wants of students tend to be similar for students in similar departments of studies. Our school is expanding and this makes reaching out to students in all areas of the school a challenge. How do you feel about this? JK: Our outreach strategies are always in the need of constant reassessing. In our campaign, we definitely took it upon ourselves to speak to students at the Environmental Science building and the IC building. As social science students, we tend to be in the south side of campus, which is very comfortable for us, but I think as the campus expands we have to do the extra mile to go beyond here. UG: How much experience do you have working with the SCSU? SS: I was connected with the SCSU in a different way. I was President of the Tamil Students’ Association. A lot of the work I did required some SCSU collaboration. I also

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


8

NE W S

NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


NEWS

have seen the SCSU from an outside perspective as a campus organizer. I feel like to be part of the SCSU you don’t have to be directly involved. You can also be a part through participation in campus clubs or sub-committees. I am definitely the example of someone who is on the SCSU but wasn’t on it previously. UG: I wanted to just throw some topics at you folks that I frequently hear on campus and maybe get some thoughts. The first one is transportation. SS: That’s something we have been working on during our campaign. We will be working more closely with the Durham Region Transit, TTC and GO Transit. Another goal of ours is to bring the St. George campus and Scarborough campus closer through the shuttle bus. We do give a fee from our tuition to student services downtown. It would be amazing to have that become more accessible. UG:

Study Space.

JK: We will be advocating for more study spaces. For example, there are study rooms in the Environmental Science building that have restricted access. We will be requesting to have those open up for students to use as study space. UG:

Disgusting food.

TW: I personally don’t mind the food here [Laughs]. I know it’s not a super popular opinion. JK: I’m a vegetarian so meat is disgusting for me. I think that since Paramount has opened up, different food options are important. It’s important to have more conversations with administration about bringing healthier and more accessible food options onto campus. UG: Social justice. Can I direct this one at Nafisa? NM: As VP Equity, I want us to always be talking about social justice. We are always open to students coming to us with their ideas or concerns. Our goal is to help

www. the-underground.ca

9

students advocate. UG: How do you deal with a student with a radically different social stance than you? NM: I haven’t exactly dealt with such a situation. If a student did approach me about something we support, I would reason with them about the importance of their opinions and the opinion held by a majority of the students. We won’t work in a way to push them to the side, but if there is an issue that the majority of the students want, then we will focus on that. JK: Just bouncing off of Nafisa’s comments, we are here to open up avenues for students. We have many outlets for students to plug into and work from there for whatever their campaign may be. UG: Alright, so this is the last word: parties. JK: We definitely do have a fruitful past of throwing parties. As mentioned before, we do focus more on social issues due to the climate on campus. It’s all about continuing to consult with students about what they want from us. The fact that our campus has so many racialized students and so many first-generation Canadians means that a lot of students live at home. That sometimes may mean that they live with stricter parents. Not every student is able to go to late night parties. So allowing for alternative programming helps to maintain the sense of community. Before we finish, we all ran on amazing campaign points. They are made to help this campus grow and be more accessible. I want to address that we are open to student engagement. NM: Students should not be scared to come up to us and tell us they are feeling a certain type of way about something. SS: Our work is supposed to cater to the needs of the students. The upcoming year is dependent on what the students want. TW: If you don’t think I’m doing my job, you should come and tell me.

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


10 NE W S NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


N E W S 11

TEXTBOOKS FOR CHANGE Zujajah Islam, Contributor In academic circles and in the entrepreneurial world, a buzz is growing on a fairly new creative business model— the social enterprise. Textbooks for Change, a B-corp start-up that launched in 2014, has embraced the social enterprise model and has delved into expanding the depth of social impact that for-profits are capable of engaging in. Textbooks for Change’s core mission is to provide affordable educational materials and to increase students’ access to said materials. Currently, they accomplish this through donating used textbooks to universities in sub-Saharan African countries and selling used textbooks at an affordable price to students in North America. The process begins by collecting post-secondary textbooks from Canadian university and college campuses where campus ambassadors encourage students to donate their unused, old textbooks. Once those textbooks are collected, Textbooks for Change sorts through them to determine which ones match up to the needs of students in African countries, particularly in East Africa. About 50 per cent of the textbooks are donated, 30 per cent are recycled efficiently, avoiding landfill sites, and 20 per cent are sold at about half the price to North American students. The proceeds of those sales are used to maintain a sustainable model, and a portion of the revenue is donated to clubs and charities on North American campuses. Chris Janssen, founder of Textbooks for Change, stresses the importance of sustainability, and, remarking on the revenue aspect of Textbooks for Change, says, “Ultimately, the sale of textbooks helps us to optimize the impact of those textbooks on the ground in East Africa, the impact on the student clubs we work with, and helps us to continue to be sustainable.” www. the-underground.ca

Janssen mentions that one of the main challenges Textbooks for Change faced in its early years was explaining to partners how the social enterprise model was one that successfully combined forprofit with social good. “So much of doing a social good is tied to being a nonprofit,” he says. In the initial years, a lot of their work included educating people and having discussions on what a social enterprise truly means. Janssen explains, “By being a forprofit model, ultimately, we’re able to scale a lot faster than a nonprofit could. We don’t have to be reliant on grants [for growth], and as we grow faster in scale, we can make more of an impact in the long run.” He admits that “Being a for-profit model does ruffle feathers.” But he emphasizes the importance of profit, saying, “Profit equals scale, and with scale we can create more impact.” Janssen then continues the discussion on the doubt around for-profits’ capacity for social good. “There are a lot of organizations out there that say they’re doing good but when you delve deep into the whole supply chain and look at the other end of it, at times, they’re creating more harm than good.” Making that observation, Janssen says, “I really saw the importance of having a hand in that whole supply chain and making sure what you’re doing is effective and efficient and is actually making an impact. It’s very important, being a social enterprise, to take ownership of every single step along that chain.” Having generated a sufficient amount of funds and resources, Textbooks for Change has now begun to evaluate their impact. Janssen mentions that their team is visiting the universities that they’re donating to and looking into hiring campus ambassadors to assist them with data collection to see how the donated textbooks are being used and sorted. Describing the significant monMARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

etary impact that some of their previous donations have had, he says, “If a university were to purchase a textbook for their library, it could range anywhere from between $30 to $200 in US currency to purchase those textbooks. But when universities are just starting to pay the costs of shipping, they can acquire these textbooks for about 50 cents to one dollar.” Thus far, in the two years they’ve been operating, Textbooks for Change has donated about 52,000 textbooks to African universities, given $131,500 in donations and microloans, and efficiently recycled more than 71,000 textbooks. Looking into the future, Textbooks for Change hopes to expand their impact by exploring avenues for creating a digital platform that students around the world can use to interact with each other and maximize their educational pursuits. Textbooks for Change has also found its way to UTSC by placing their first dropbox on campus (outside the SCSU office in the Student Centre) where they encourage students to donate their textbooks. Commenting on why he chose education as the target for social impact, Janssen says, “I really believe that education is the cornerstone for creating a better future — a better country, a better society, and a better community. We want to be the medium [that helps] that along. We want to be that channel that provides educational material that is the connection between students here and students across the world in developing countries, and that creates collaboration across the board.” The social enterprise model remains a relatively new territory, but Janssen is hopeful about its future. “We’re really starting to create that conversation where you can combine business with doing good. We really believe that social enterprise is going to change the world and it’s great that it’s starting to catch on. Our team has started to play a movement in the importance of social enterprise.” VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


1 2 NE W S MASOOMA ALI / THE UNDERGROUND RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND

THE NEW

D IVA

ON THE BLOCK

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


N E W S 13 Sumaiya Zahoor, Contributor On Oct. 3, 2015, Buzzfeed Yellow posted a video called “Women Try Menstrual Cups” which exposed the Diva Cup, the choice menstrual cup to a massive platform. As a homegrown product, the Diva Cup has placed Canada in the right flanks and has done a fantastic job paying homage to menstruation dialogue. The Diva Cup is a silicone-based menstrual cup that acts as a basket to collect all the shedding from the uterus wall. Once the Diva Cup is inserted into the uterus opening, it expands into the cup formation and collects the blood and shredded tissue. Unlike regular tampons and pads, menstrual cups collect the blood, as opposed to absorbing it, and are reusable that is, the Diva Cup needs to be emptied out and washed after each use. Advertisements and social media accounts have put the Diva Cup forward as more hygienic than regular pads and tampons. As their website claims, The Diva Cup helps to “Reduce the eco-footprint of feminine hygiene by providing reusable solutions to disposable tampons and pads.” Therefore, the Diva Cup user can successfully say that they do not play a part in adding to the billions of feminine hygienic products that are disposed of in landfills and waterways each year. Why call it the Diva Cup, though? According to Diva International Inc. founders, Francine and Carinne Chambers, the name represents the inventive design of the product and the company’s mission to “Empower the everyday woman with the knowledge she needs to make the right choices for her lifestyle and period care routine.” Every soldier to brave the UTSC female washrooms will know just how much of a crime scene some of the stalls can look like. Walking into a cubicle that appears to have been set up for an upcoming Game of Thrones episode is always a harrowing experience (especially for the martyrs who have to clean it up). Not to mention that it is frustrating too, given the limited cubicles available in many of the buildings. So an increase in Diva Cup users at UTSC could either be a welcomed addition to the maintenance of our washrooms, or a terrifying one. Eager to hear the opinions at UTSC on the Diva Cup, a small panel of seven female students discussed their opinions. One first year student said, “I’m very pro[-Diva Cup]. It’s environmentally friendly, cost effective, and a great alternative.” There were also lots of reiterations of the idea that “It’s a good product if you can get used to it.” However, none of the members in the panel would wear a Diva Cup themselves. As one student said, “Having a

www. the-underground.ca

cup there getting everything makes me nervous and is probably going to make me go to the bathroom more to make sure it didn’t fall out or that I leaked.” The women were very keen to discuss the stigma around periods, and as one student quite aptly stated, “The female body is only allowed to been seen as something sexual when it comes to men and their pleasure. I’ve never heard a teacher discuss things that aren’t ‘normal’ about our periods. Thousands of girls suffer from pain or complications with their reproductive system and go undiagnosed for years because they were taught what is okay with periods and what is not. For example, things like PCOS and endometriosis are never talked about even though these diseases and irregularities are so common.” Despite the fact that all the women were very vocal on the stigma around menstruation, all save one wished to remain anonymous. This idea of distancing oneself from the dialogue around menstruation, as the students had done, is sad but not unexpected. Recently, Cosmopolitan published an article on their website that was supposed to be “A great reminder that your period is not something to be ashamed of.” Titled “These Gorgeous Photos Will Change the Way You See Your Period Forever [NSFW]” it did just the opposite. What about periods is ‘Not Safe For Work’? How does branding it NSFW help in erasing the shame around periods? Similarly, in March 2015, writer Rupi Kaur also faced barriers when she attempted to challenge the social stigma surrounding periods by posting an Instagram picture of herself with a period stain. It was removed twice off the platform because it did not follow Instagram’s ‘community guidelines’. It is belittling and insulting how an image attempting to normalize an intrinsic part of the female anatomy conflicts with community guidelines, while women who, as Kaur fittingly states, are “Objectified, pornified, and treated less than human” do not. A UN Study found that one in three girls in the South Asian continent were not informed about periods before receiving them, and 48 per cent of girls in Iran consider it a disease. Subsequently, in rural areas of Venezuela, women on their period are designated to sleep in huts during that time frame, while in rural Nepal they are banished entirely for the whole course. Plan International reports that these stigmas can have a “Detrimental effect to the girl’s’ future.” Actions are being made to readdress the dialogue on menstruation, with the creation of a Menstrual Health Day and organisations like Diva Cup attempting to reeducate people on the matter. Hopefully, someday, this monthly cycle affecting girls and women across the world will be recognised as the natural and normal process that it is.

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


14 FE AT U R E

LIVING IN THE

GRAY

www. the-underground.ca

DECEMBER 3 - JANUARY 5, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 04


F E AT U R E 15

ONLY ABSOLUTE TRUTH IS THAT THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTE TRUTHS. - SOCRATES


16 FE AT U R E

Sajjad Jaffery, News Editor Through an objective lens, society can be studied by analyzing the behavioral tendencies of both individualS and groups. By analyzing an individual, their personal motives, unconscious thought processes and other behavioural tendencies become very apparent. However, understanding the macro-complexity of a group proves to be much harder due to the extensive interconnectivity of relationships. Because of this, the human mind is forced to create efficient, smaller and more accessible conclusions about these networks, known as biases or heuristics. Our perceptions of reality are based on what information is available in our environment. It is retrieved and encoded in our minds with the help of our biases. Simultaneously, our experiences, exchanges and evaluations constantly shape our behaviour and mold our attitudes towards the world. We start to develop thoughts, beliefs, and are able hold faith in the intangible. We begin to judge things as right or wrong, good or bad, fair or unfair. At this point in time, many students have acquired massive volumes of information. We are drowning. There are so many issues the media reveals to us at every second. We are facing growing conflicts, constant financial volatility, environmental degradation amongst several other issues. At the exact same time, we are also all very vulnerable. We are all in search of some sort of truth, some purpose or a just a simple reason to exist. Living in the grey is not comfortable for most. This angst, coupled with not knowing where you stand, is corrosive. Many people choose to move to one pole of the spectrum, while only some immerse themselves in knowledge’s purgatory.

www. the-underground.ca

Everyday at UTSC there are constant efforts to advocate and campaign for many social issues. Issues such as transportation, study spaces and student debt are always on the menu and rightfully so. However, these are not the only topics that are in conversation amongst many. For example, every year, the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union holds an Annual General Meeting where motions are passed and adopted for the respective academic year. At this meeting, social issues such as the Palestinian conflict and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement are usually addressed. When it comes to both issues, there is tension between the two sides of the so-called ‘coin’. There are, however, students who do not marginalize themselves to the poles of such issues. They understand that social issues are not two sides of a coin but are, in fact, multidimensional and often ambiguous. “I grew up in an extremely religious household. I was taught that I could not trust Jewish [people] and Zionists. It was always so easy to put on my Keffiyeh and feel really good, but after I started questioning the [Palestine-Israeli] conflict, I didn’t feel true to myself because I felt different about it,” explains Hussain Ahmed, a third year sociology student. “It’s so easy to get trapped by a group and just follow their ideals. But if you want to know the truth, don’t listen to those waving flags at you about one side. Do your research and ask questions. It’s okay to be in the middle and aware of the truth,” he added. Instead of understanding the issue, it is very easy to latch onto social motives that immediately gratify us. That gratification comes with the social approval that a group’s membership gives an individual. “It is much harder to challenge issues of the masses due to pretentious attitudes,” says Sam Manner, second year student in management, when asked about

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

challenging group ideals. “When a student doesn’t know about a topic, they are often made to feel [like] they know nothing,” she added. Oftentimes students feel that their fellow students are shouting out words that are canned, shallow and which they may likely not be able to actually explain in the event that they are targeted by themselves, away from the usual comfort zone provided by their group. “What do all these words even mean? Like I don’t want to be insensitive but I think there are so many buzzwords that social activists use to appear like they know something,” says Shahroz Randhawa, a fourth year psychology student. Randhawa also commented about the emotional aspect of social justice advocacy. “There is a lot of pity involved in campaigning. I understand the importance of having an emotional connection to your socio-political stance but that shouldn’t overpower your critical mind. Poverty cannot be alleviated by simply giving - it takes understanding the challenges that surround wealth inequality, [for example].” This article has the potential to be misconstrued in a manner where activists may feel discouraged, or even attacked. However, the topic of discussion here is the questioning of the tendency for several people to champion one side of a controversial issue without understanding all the dimensions and intricacies of that issue. The mindset of a university student ought to be one that is critical. One that allows for intellectually stimulating conversations and one that welcomes playing the ‘devil’s advocate’. The purpose is not to settle for an answer, but rather to ask questions. Knowledge deserves to be disseminated via open channels. Thus, a true activist will understand their own biases and be willing to reconstruct, or adequately defend, their frame of mind.

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


F E AT U R E 17 NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


18 FE AT U R E

I’M NOT A DRUG DEALER,

DECEMBER 3 - JANUARY 5, 2016


F E AT U R E 19

I’M A HUSTLER

www. the-underground.ca

DECEMBER 3 - JANUARY 5, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 04


2 0 FE AT U R E NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

DECEMBER 3 - JANUARY 5, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 04


F E AT U R E 21

Quentin Miller, Contributor Last year, The Underground released a feature article about drugs on campus. Obviously, activity surrounding drugs has not slowed down since. Since this issue focuses on social justice, we wanted to talk to someone who could give us a deeper insight into the elusive world of drug trafficking amongst students. Luckily enough, we were able to get in contact with someone who knew a major drug dealer on campus and they agreed to conduct an interview on behalf of the publication. In order for this to happen, we had to pick up the dealer from the Student Centre on a Saturday morning. He instructed us to park in the UTSC Valley Parking Lot, and before the interview had begun, he sparked a premium rolled backwood blunt and passed it around. The Underground (UG): How long have you been dealing drugs at UTSC? John David* (JD): Well, one thing for sure is that I’m not technically a drug dealer. I’m a hustler. Hustlers can sell anything. They can sell salt to a snail, they can sell water to the sea. I’m just another one of those guys. I just try to get it how I live. UG: Your hustle is known for obvious reasons? JD: Yeah my hustle might be obvious. I’m that guy you might see in the hallways and then whisper to your friend ‘That guy has kush, lets hit him up’. Before it used to be one thing, now I’m dabbling in new things. I would say an empire is starting to grow right now. UG: If you are saying an empire is starting to grow right now, you probably had to root yourself in this game for a while. JD: Yeah, definitely deep rooted for a while now. Just to answer your question about how long I’ve been doing it at UTSC, it’s been four years now. So you can say I’m pretty solidified. UG: pus?

What’s the market like on cam-

www. the-underground.ca

JD: It’s all age groups. I’ve been dealing with everyone: first years to graduate students to people that work for the school. They don’t want people to know, but yeah. UG:

The obvious drug is marijuana?

JD: Yeah, that ‘loud’, ‘cannabis’, ‘Mary Jane’, whatever you want to call it. UG: I think most students know that this culture exists here. It’s very hard to ignore the smell when it’s being blazed around campus. Is there a market for anything else though? JD: There is a market for everything else. You just have to be careful with how you go about it. There’s always kids that come up to me and are all like, ‘Do you have edibles?’ or ‘Do you have psychedelics?’ or harder drugs like cocaine or MDMA. The market is there, it depends on who has it, how long they have it, the consistency, and the quality of the product. You can’t put yourself out there without having yourself out there. UG: Kind of like serving your market and avoiding the risk. The risks are like running into a snitch, or the police or even your competition. It is a game, but how worried are you about that? JD: It is a game. I’m not too worried about that. As far as me growing in the business sense, [competition] will always be there. They’re going to want to take me down by competing with prices or quality or whatever. UG:

How about campus police?

JD: [Laughs] Campus police, oh man. I definitely need to be anonymous for this. I feel they have better things to deal with. As 4/20 approaches and marijuana is about to be legalized they are more relaxed, but at the same time there are still people who take risks for which they may have to take consequences for. That’s when things can go left, and you end up not being able to come back to campus. UG: You probably have people who want to buy drugs for their first time often. People may want to buy a joint, buy some blow or grab an Adderall pill for their exam.

DECEMBER MARCH 3 - APRIL JANUARY 6, 2016 5, 2016

How do you treat a first time buyer? JD: To all my first buyers out there, I don’t condone drug use. If it’s your decision to grab, I feel like you should get something from who you trust. When you start to deal with someone you can’t trust that’s when good business becomes bad business. All money isn’t good money. People might be like [to me] ‘I want this’, but, if it’s not right, I will be like ‘I don’t have it’. If it’s okay I may tell them to try it where they are most comfortable. Other than that I don’t want to create druggies. UG: When you talk about good and bad, I’m thinking about you as a human with real emotions. It must be a weird feeling to think you may have had a hand in messing someone up? JD: Since the last time I came through to The Underground, which was October 2014, I started dabbling into other stuff. I started to grow more in the business. Me being a weed smoker, I don’t usually expect people to do messed up things. It really comes down to what they choose to do: are they going to be productive or are they going to do something stupid like smoke in a hallway and disturb people. I don’t really deal with people like this. I usually just feel the person out, if it works then cool, if it doesn’t, then whatever. Like I said, trust is a huge thing. At the end of the day, you can’t trust everyone whether they are your friend for 10 years or whether you just met them. Trust me there are a lot of weird characters on campus. UG: In our issue we are looking into social justice as well as unorthodox ways of doing yourself justice. As an entrepreneur in a very risky and high demanding market, people can say whatever, but are you doing yourself justice? JD: Everyone has a different motive. I have my reasons why I am doing this. At the end of the day, I use this money to help my family. It goes deeper than just ‘I’m gunna make a thousand dollars today’. I need to make this money so I can pay my mom’s bill, pay my brother’s bills and/or help my girlfriend with her bills, plus I have to live too. *Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07 04


22 A RT S & L IF E PHOTO COURTESY OF ZHAOYI KANG

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


AR T S & L I F E 23

ART AS A WEAPON OF CHANGE Michael Chachura, Contributor Remember in mid-February when you saw a man inside a well of bananas in the Meeting Place? It was also in the U of T snap story, and everyone was talking about it. Zhaoyi Kang is a fourth-year student at U of T pursuing a double major in studio and economics. Studio is a program at UTSC which empowers artists with the academic study, as well as mentorship, of art. The performance you saw was part of Kang’s curriculum. “I’m taking a time-based class with Tanya Mars. We can do basically any performance as a time based project. You can shoot photography, or draw paintings. I chose performance because I love it.” Kang spoke about some of the influences in his life. “My favorite artist is Ai Weiwei. He uses something very common - a subject - to extend a really big issue, something powerful. That’s similar to what I did with the [bananas].” He had built a well of bananas around him as high as his chest when he was sitting down. “I want to use bananas to represent my self-identity as an Asian that was born in China but who immigrated to Canada. I have yellow skin but I am white inside because I am studying everything in the western world. I’m adapting to drinking coffee everyday instead of tea. At this point, I feel I don’t belong to any culture. The people in China say I am not Chinese anymore. But people in Canada think I am from Asia or Chinese.” He was asked if this troubles him. “Yeah, it does. Every time I talk to my dad,

www. the-underground.ca

he would say ‘You’re Canadian’. What does that mean? That I don’t belong to the family? It’s a weird feeling.” Kang sat in silence until people took enough bananas from the well to create an opening. “I want to build a well to trap me [in order] to show my situation. I’m trapped because of this identity crisis.” He sat in the well for two hours. His face was cold, representing his emotions. He didn’t speak or interact with passersby. “Even my facial features [and] my face, showed the emotions I hide in myself. Without a single word, but only the visual picture, [I] stand for a big issue: the trouble immigrants to Canada face. It may not bother them, [but] it may bother their parents.” When asked about a potential solution, Kang stated, “There is no solution. People need to adapt to it. People have to suffer it, like what I am doing. Like [what] I did with the well. I’m trapped in the situation. There’s no way out. But, I’m really happy with Canadians - they are really nice and friendly. They opened their hearts and [arms] to all of the people that immigrated to Canada.” He also talked about the power of the image. He spoke about two images that made a big impact on his life. One of them is ‘Napalm Girl’, which shows a naked Vietnamese girl running in the street after her village was attacked by napalm. The other was of the drowned Syrian boy that appeared last year on social media. “I like how people use this kind of conceptual contemporary art to help war. To change the world like a battle. It’s a new weapon in our civilization. We don’t have to use the nuclear anymore. We can use something that’s alive and powerful.”

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


24 A RT S & L IF E

MATERIAL GIRLS IN A MATERIAL WORLD Caroline Manalo, Contributor The Doris McCarthy Gallery is currently hosting Material Girls, an art exhibition uniting various works by 25 Canadian and international female artists. The exhibition centers on the idea of women unapologetically taking up space, which is achieved by filling the gallery with art pieces that vary in form: new media, print, sculpture, craft, and many more. The exhibit is also resplendent in both colour and sound, which is intended to visually and audibly combat the minimalism of the austere white cube. Accompanying the exhibition are lectures by Jennifer Matotek, Raphaelle de Groot, Winnie Truong, Jaime Angelopoulos, and Georgiana Uhyarik. A visit to the exhibition is similar to entering a large-scale cabinet of curiosities. With Material Girls, the exhibit invites viewers to challenge their assumptions on femininity, and, at the same time, complement these exact assumptions. As a result, the exhibit critiques speculation while highlighting the artists’ expressions of the female body, gendered spaces, and commodity culture. One example is Morehshin Allahyari’s ‘Like Pearls’, which highlights the commodification of sex and romance using the combination of Farsi email spam and Iranian underwear advertisements. Using flashy GIFs reminiscent of Blingee. com, paired with a karaoke instrumental of the Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’, her work encourages viewers to consider how the image of the female body is commodified in the media, and how this image is both sexualized yet censored. Allahyari’s piece also insists viewers to consider how Western society mimics similar ideas of the female body as well, particularly with the as-

www. the-underground.ca

sumption that Islamic beliefs are in polarity with the West. The image of the body also functions as a method of celebrating female agency and excess. For example, Raphael de Groot’s En exercice à Venise is a 30 minute film that transforms the artist’s body into a re-imagined figure navigating the canals of Venice, remnant of the monstrous feminine. Sarah Anne Johnson’s Nipple fragments the body by photographing a sole nipple, ambiguous of gender, which ignites a visual commentary on the censorship of female nudity. Nudity, however, is not the only form of bodily expression. Amy Malbeuf, a Métis artist, uses her own pleated hair alongside pleated caribou hair to explore both unity and identity in her piece thecaribouisme/ iamthecaribou. Winnie Truong’s Transitions also utilizes hair, in which a lavish bulk of pastel coloured tresses are used to obstruct the image of the body by creating a wall of fortification. In addition, other pieces in the exhibit deviate their focus from the body. Marie Watt’s Skywalker/Skyscraper (Axis Mundi) erects a lofty tower of wool blankets atop one another, which encapsulates excess in an entirely different form. Objects of domesticity and craft are also on display, such as in works by Katherine Boyer, that highlight the meticulous commitment to skilfully accomplishing both beadwork and embroidery. The importance of having Materials Girls on campus is that it showcases artwork by female artists. It confronts viewers to engage with the artists’ work while exploring topics such as body politics, female agency, commodity culture, identity, and domesticity, especially since these topics extend beyond the campus gallery. Simultaneously, it challenges viewers to think about how the artists have accomplished communicating these topics through visual forms.

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


AR T S & L I F E 25 NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


26 A RT S & L IF E RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


AR T S & L I F E 27

To Burn Bras or Not to Burn Bras: Rejecting and Accepting the Label of Feminist Sam Natale, Staff Writer It seems like everywhere you turn, the word ‘feminist’ is either being tiptoed around as the f-word or thrown in your face as a buzzword. Every female celebrity is being asked whether or not they are a feminist, with the word being used as both an insult and a compliment. There are also a million different associations with it: white feminism, hashtag feminism, intersectionality, all the different waves, meninism - the list goes on. Every person on the Internet has their own definition of feminism, so it can be hard to figure out what ‘real’ feminism is and what it’s all about. The truth is that feminism is specific to each person and their own viewpoint. While feminism can be loosely described as equality for all genders and sexes, this definition does not bring into account the full complexity and different theories of what feminism is - or should be. Fifth-year international development studies student and feminist Katie MacGregor offers some insight on feminism by saying she is constantly exploring and understanding what it means to her. “It’s understanding that the culture in which we live is not an equal one: there are systems of oppression, such as gender, class, race, ability, and all other intersections. It’s a lens I can use to view the world and critique these systems of oppressions.” Definitions of feminism such as the ones provided above can make it seem like feminism is the perfect vehicle to advocate for equality - so why isn’t everyone a feminist? Looking at the history of feminism, many individuals and groups of people have

www. the-underground.ca

actually been shut out of feminism, while white, middle-class women, and their issues, have been given the spotlight. The first wave of feminism, from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, focused on achieving suffrage for women. The second wave of feminism, starting roughly around the end of World War II, was characterized by attempting to achieve equality in the workplace. The third wave began sometime in the 1990’s with a focus on sexuality and ending heteronormativity, and began to focus on other intersections of inequality such as race and disability. Some say that we are still in the third wave and some say we are post-feminism - a term hotly debated for its implication that feminism is over. The term post-feminism is also sometimes used by its advocates to indicate that major issues of equality have been achieved, such as the right to vote and workplace equality, so the current notion of feminism is focussing on smaller issues that are perhaps not as important. However, many people take issue with this claim and argue that these ‘smaller issues’ (such as intersections of other inequalities like race and challenges to the gender binary that contemporary feminism works towards) are not small issues at all. Fifth-year health studies student Marcella Costa says, “[People believe] that feminism happened long ago and that we don’t need feminism because we already got the vote, but there are other things that we want.” Feminism has largely been associated with white, middle class, straight, cisgender women, until the most recent wave. Even today, feminism, especially mainstream feminism, can still lean towards that bias, often called white feminism. Marginalized

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

groups that should be able to find a home within feminism often have not been able to, leading many people to reject the label of feminism. Disagreements about what feminism is and who should identify as a feminist can detract from the real issues of feminism. Many feminists can get upset when others do not publicly identify themselves as feminist, without taking into account the various experiences people can have with feminism that make them dissociate themselves from the label. As MacGregor says, “We are not supposed to be about identifying all the people who are ‘on our side’. Tearing other women down, and this idea that if you don’t identify as feminist, you are not in our club, plays into anti-feminism.” Natasha Allen, finance coordinator of the Women and Trans* Centre, is one such person, saying, “I understand the goals that feminism is trying to put forth, like the need for equality. Being black, my narratives are erased in mainstream feminism. Faith wise, my own personal convictions and beliefs, such as reading the Bible, are not always accepted in feminism.” While there are many valid critiques of feminism, such as those previously mentioned by Allen, there are also a lot of misconceptions about feminism, especially in the media, that can contribute to skewed notions of what feminism is. One misconception Costa identifies is that “Feminism is very caricaturized, as if we are angry women who burn bras.” Allen and MacGregor echo that this ‘bra burning’ misconception is a common one, with MacGregor saying, “We consistently have to debunk that we are not bra burning, but some of us are, and we are allowed to be angry.”

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


28 A RT S & L IF E RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


AR T S & L I F E 29

THE TRUTH OF THE DOC Erin Kelly, UTSC Film Club President At UTSC, it is clear that most of the student body is passionate about some social justice issue: from protecting the rights of indigenous women to providing aid for Syrian refugees (through such programs as Embrace Syria). As such, the circulation and popularity for the support of these issues is introduced visually through films and images which results in a reactive verbal discourse surrounding them. It is only through this collective conversation about an issue that we can raise awareness for it and provoke action. Alice Maurice, an English and film studies professor, scholar and filmmaker at UTSC, starts off her ENGD94 Stranger Than Fiction: The Documentary Film course by opening up the question of ‘reality culture’. Reality culture is a term she uses to describe the prominence of mediated realities in our culture. She points out that reality television is simply another branch of documentary film, and that we should not be so quick to dismiss it as a significant and influential aspect of our society. Technology has become accessible to most of us in the modern world and, in turn, has given people a new outlet to express themselves and, more importantly, tell their stories. Additionally, documentary filmmakers, regardless of whether or not they identify as one, are instrumental in enabling us to see the world from a different point of view. Amanda Todd, for example, used Youtube to tell her story of her online abuse and threats that ultimately led to her suicide in 2012. Before committing suicide, she left a video on her channel telling her story from the beginning to the end from her perspective, thereby evoking conversations around cyberbullying from

www. the-underground.ca

viewers. Although this story has an unfortunate ending for her, it has had a strongly positive influence on our society as a whole. If she had not shared her situation on social media, maybe it never would have been heard. You probably know of the common conundrum, “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Here, I propose an updated version of that question; “If people are suffering, and no one is there to mediate and make it known to the rest of the world, will it be stopped?” Popular culture can be a powerful force in terms of making an issue known to the vast majority of the population. We have seen this happen even recently, for example, when the image of Aylan Kurdi washed up on the beach. The image made its way to national news and television headlines and, after circulating the Internet, it led to an immensely stronger awareness of the war in Syria. Ultimately, this resulted in the continuous formation of organizations, international intervention at a governmental level to aid Syrian refugees, and discourse on the topic in universities and by individuals. What makes the Internet such an influential medium is that it is unnecessary for producers of popular culture to be famous, or even prominent figures in society; popular culture is the voice of the people. The truth of the reality culture we live in is that people can capture potentially viral moments wherever they go because most of them are constantly carrying cameras; whether it be a phone or a DSLR. Though this also brings up issues of privacy, it is an extremely useful feature in society for catching anything from criminals to stories. Recently, Diane Riskedahl showed a documentary film in her ANTC89 class, Anthropology of the Middle East, entitled The Square, which revolved around the 2011 revolution in Cairo, Egypt. The creators of the

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

film were not filmmakers (except for Khalid Abdalla, who is an actor from the UK), and their footage is not professional. In fact, it was dangerous for them to even bring cameras to the physical center of the revolution - they had to lie multiple times to government officials and say they weren’t filming. Regardless, they brought cameras into this sensitive territory where revolutionaries fought for freedom from the oppression imposed on them by their largely martial government. Through additionally filming interviews with people from different sides of the revolution, the documentary is a well-balanced multi-leveled film. Upon watching this film, the revolution became something more than text in a Wikipedia article. It became a story with many different perspectives that I could identify with on a personal level, thereby giving the news story an emotional component. A revolutionary, Ahmed, states in the film, “Our revolution’s weapon is our voice. For it to sound in every home.” By this he means that, in unity, the revolutionaries are able to achieve great progress for the purpose of their cause. Whether it be mediated through video or a simple tweet, viral content is instrumental in unifying us to fight for causes that we believe in. So, do not underestimate the power of discourse, or the medium by which it is recorded. Because of their collective unity, millions of revolutionaries stood together and overthrew two Egyptian rulers; demonstrating the power of the people. Viral content in popular culture, specifically through the documentary medium, allows people to tell their stories. This is not to say that without film we will not hear such stories, but film, especially documentary film, gives us a window into the everyday lives of people suffering from injustice in the world, and, most importantly, stimulates action towards positive change.

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


30 S C I E N C E & H EALT H RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND

Confidence in Science and the Media

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


SCIE NCE & H E A LT H 3 1

Laabiah Wasim, Science & Health Editor You have probably heard of the twitter debate between rapper B.o.B and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson surrounding B.o.B’s belief that the Earth is flat. As hard as that is to imagine, it raises an interesting point: Why do we have confidence in science? And is there any room for ‘beliefs’, let alone doubts, as ‘outrageous’ as contesting what shape the Earth is? Some people do not find the need to question information beyond the vague label of “Scientists have found….” Or, as in B.o.B’s case, some decide to question everything despite reputable evidence. Living in a world of information overload, we come across many claims to scientific discoveries simply by scrolling through Facebook and Twitter feeds, from cures to cancer to detections of new planets. But how much confidence should we put in the scientific results we hear on the media, and should we prove it to ourselves first before sharing the news along? The practice of science requires a systematic method of basing conclusions on empirical evidence: proof that can be tested and reproduced in multiple observations and experiments. While philosophy uses a process of logical thought to argue for and against statements, philosophical ‘hypotheses’ can neither be objectively proven nor falsified. Science goes beyond that by using logical arguments and looking for objective evidence to support or, just as importantly, reject these hypotheses. Therefore, regardless of what personal belief or viewpoint you may have on certain philosophical arguments, that is fundamentally not a practice of science. Dr. Matt Russo from the department of physics and astrophysics at UTSC explains, “Ideally, scientists are not committed to specific beliefs, but to the process of science itself, granting tentative acceptance or rejection of claims based on the best available evidence.” We have confidence in scientific facts and

www. the-underground.ca

theories simply for the reason that scientists are continuously looking for further evidence and exploring the extremes of proven and well-supported hypotheses. Russo gives the example of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which has been supported by overwhelming evidence gathered in the last century, not to mention the first detection of gravitational waves in February. “Many well-respected scientists spend their time trying to prove general relativity wrong or incomplete. [It is because] we don’t have ‘faith’ in general relativity - we simply use it because it works. If much more sensitive tests failed to find gravitational waves we would simply need to develop a better theory.” Sometimes we tend to prioritize our personal logic over proposed scientific evidence, but it is important to recognize that facts about reality do not always seem logical to us as humans, at least at first exposure. For example, our logic may tell us that time is an objective measure, that the time between two events is constant regardless of the circumstances under which it is measured. However, we know through multiple experiments that time is in fact relative, and our error lies in applying our everyday logic to extreme circumstances. We have to learn to evolve our logic with emerging evidence and that is what the sharing of scientific results hopes to accomplish. Now that we’ve have established the basis for our confidence in science, can this confidence be translated to scientific news presented in the media? Sidra Sheikh, fourth year UTSC student pursuing a major in journalism and a minor in media studies, does not believe the media always portrays scientific news and facts in an accurate way. “Many journalists don’t have any background in science they don’t always know what is required to call observations discoveries, [for example], or know whether the data presented was significant or how many times the results were observed.” Sheikh explains that journalists put

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


3 2 S C I E N C E & H EALT H

together facts that are verified, but the information is not always presented in a way that accurately represents the news. “Sometimes articles are shallow [and] miss important caveats to information presented. Headlines are exaggerated to get more clicks, especially in online media.” She agrees there is a struggle to balance the accuracy of information and its presentation to the public. This is reflected in our impulse to only be interested in scientific news that is completely bizarre, uses scare tactics, or is announced as a ‘breakthrough’. Russo agrees, saying that “Media outlets, such as I Fucking Love Science often fail to place results in their proper scientific context, sensationalizing many interesting, but preliminary, results.” He concludes, “This is ultimately misleading if their readers lack the critical thinking skills necessary to establish the relevance the results have to themselves and to the scientific community.” To counter misinformation and misinterpretation of scientific news, Sheikh believes both media outlets and the public audience have a role to play. “The problem is that the definition of media is more vast than it has ever been before. Anyone can be a journalist and post information online.” Sheikh goes on to define that good journalism requires a good relationship between the journalist and the scientists. “Journalists should get back to their sources after writing an article. They should maintain communication with the experts in the field to make sure that the presentation of facts is 100 per cent accurate.” Moreover, Sheikh emphasises that journalists should have a priority of giving the public more knowledge and not just write for the aim of making their article viral. The reader has equal responsibility when it comes to trusting and sharing scientific news. While social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow for fast distribution of headlines, posts on these sites may not be the most accurate source of information. Whatever the source may be, Russo explains that the reader should apply skepti-

www. the-underground.ca

cism when presented with new claims. “A few key questions [to ask] are: does the study presented actually support what the headline implies? Do experts in the scientific community find the evidence compelling? How consistent are the claims with well-established science? And are there clear conflicts of interest or bias?” Being able to think critically about scientific news presented not only allows readers to identify scientific claims that are less than accurate, but, just as importantly, to understand the significance of scientific results. As Dr. Russo brought to attention, there are great discrepancies between the public and scientific communities on issues that are crucial in shaping the future of our world. A survey of U.S. adults and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) scientists by the Pew Research Center in 2014 reported that there are significant differences in opinion for issues such as the use of GMOs, the use of animals in research, human activity being a cause of climate change, and whether childhood vaccines should be mandatory. The purpose of science is to solve problems in human health, food production, energy generation, and preservation of our biosphere. Differences in opinion between the public and scientists can have serious implications, as the public includes policy makers, government agencies, and investors in research. Miscommunication between scientists and the public can therefore detriment the application of scientific results to a course of action, ultimately undermining the purpose of scientific discoveries. As the reader, be aware of the sources and implications of scientific information. On an institutional level, Russo suggests universities devote more time to public outreach and to courses that develop critical thinking skills. We all have a role in the progression of scientific literacy in a world where information is not a limiting factor and the successful application of it is of utmost importance.

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


SCIE NCE & H E A LT H 3 3

sustainable living:

NOOR AQIL / THE UNDERGROUND

Consuming Sustainably on Campus Monica Iwashita and XingPing Huang, Contributors The world is a lot different from how it was when our ancestors were around, centuries ago. The waste we produce living our daily lives is much more toxic in terms of quantity and complexity. For this month’s Sustainability Corner, the UTSC Eco Team comes together to introduce ways of recycling and to raise awareness regarding the importance of preventing pollution. When you go out to buy fast food, you might think about the price, portion size or the kind of taste you’re going for. But, have you ever considered where the container goes after you’re done eating? The two biggest culprits of the recycling dilemma on campus are coffee cups and Styrofoam containers. If you happen to be a frequent coffee or tea buyer on campus, do not be fooled by the papery exterior of the cups! These belong in the garbage. Despite the fibrous material on the outside, the interior waterproof film is usually made from wax which prevents the whole cup from being recyclable. However, coffee cup lids and Styrofoam coffee cups are recyclable. Styrofoam products in general are recyclable in Toronto and belong in the recycling bin. Unfortunately, our compost bins in the Student Centre have shown otherwise: rather than organic food scraps and

www. the-underground.ca

brown tissue napkins, we have been finding Styrofoam containers in there instead! As a message from our team: please do not put your white, Styrofoam containers in the green compost bins! With this recycling mix-up in mind, our campus has incorporated an environmentally friendly alternative to purchasing beverages. The ‘Lug a Mug’ option allows you to use your reusable travel mugs to purchase beverages at a variety of On-Campus locations such as Tim Hortons, Starbucks, La Prep, Treats and vendors located in the marketplace. Not only can you keep your beverages toasty warm for longer periods of time, you can also get a discount on your overall purchase! The H-Wing’s marketplace also contributes to the use of ‘eco containers’. Eco containers are purchasable for five dollars and come with a loyalty card that allows you to receive discounts on each purchase you make in the marketplace. Not only would the initial investment pay off, an added bonus is that, when you’re done eating, you can return the eco container for cleaning. This removes the need to carry a dirty container around on campus. These containers are microwave safe, durable and leak proof so you can take your food with you on the go and reheat it whenever you want. So, rather than using those leaky Styrofoam containers, pick up an eco container instead!

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


34 A RT S & L IF E

UNDERSTANDING EPILEPSY Priyanka Chalia, Contributor The brain works every single second of your life: from its development in a fetus to death. It takes every single sensation and brings it to life in your perception. This ability to encode, store information and conduct cognitive and sensorimotor tasks is highly dependent on the coordination of its neurons. Unfortunately, anomalous changes in neural activity, such as abnormal increase neuronal firing, can be detrimental and may result in seizures. Recurrent, spontaneous seizure activity is a principal feature of epilepsy, a chronic disorder that affects over 65 million people all around the world. Each year, almost 15 500 Canadians are diagnosed with epilepsy: 44 per cent diagnosed before the age of five, 55 per cent before age 10, and 75 to 85 per cent before age 18. To put things into perspective, twice as many people are diagnosed with epilepsy than cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis combined. Epileptic seizure contrasts from other forms of seizures that may have been caused due to other diseases. These frequent seizures can occur at any age and can generate a range of behaviour, such as a complete body convulsion to a blank stare. Epileptic seizures can be divided into three categories: generalized, focal (also known as partial), and epileptic spasm. Each of these differs depending on where they are manifested. Generalized seizures are the most common form of epileptic seizure. It begins in one area of the brain and spreads across it, ultimately occurring in both hemispheres. Some of the major characteristics of this form of epileptic seizure include muscle twitches, convulsions, and loss of consciousness. It is often noted that people diagnosed with generalized seizures do not recall having an epileptic episode. A generalized seizure is further broken down into subcategories, which include absence, generalized tonic-clonic (GTC), myoclonic, and atonic. Each of these subtypes further contrasts in how they impact the body and where they start in the brain. www. the-underground.ca

Absence seizures comprise of staring blankly into space with indifference to external verbal stimuli and sometimes consist of blinking or head nodding. GTC seizures consist of bilateral symmetric convulsive movements of all extremities along with impaired consciousness. Furthermore, myoclonic seizures begin with sudden involuntary muscle contractions; however, they do not seem to impact an individual’s consciousness. These sudden movements may impact more than one muscle, thus myoclonic can be generalized or focal. Lastly, atonic seizures contain the loss of body tone, often resulting in a head drop or fall. Focal or partial seizures are limited to a part of one cerebral hemisphere. Nonetheless, on some occasions, it can spread to the brain. A seizure can initiate focally and later generalize, and may originate in the cortex or in the subcortical structure. The impact of a focal seizure is highly dependent on its point of manifestation. For instance, a focal seizure that begins from the occipital lobe may present with visual deficits or phenomena. Epileptic spasm, the third category of epileptic seizures, has an uncertain point of origin. It is expressed by abrupt extension or flexion of limbs, held in either position for several seconds and then recurring in clusters. Epileptic spasms can occur at any age. Thus, if they begin in infancy, it is known as infantile spasms. In some conditions, epilepsy is caused due to mutated genes or a result of brain injury or disease. Patients diagnosed with epilepsy are on long-term anticonvulsants drugs, which control the symptoms. Although these drugs have demonstrated a moderate level of efficacy, a real cure of epilepsy is still a long way down the road. These drugs work by decreasing the abnormal firing of cortical neurons and may alter the activity of neurotransmitters responsible for seizures. They may also modify the movement of ions in neurons. However, it is imperative to balance the effects of these drugs as anticonvulsants have severe side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. Surgery is also an option when it comes to treating epilepsy. However, this method of treatment could only be performed MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

when the seizures are restricted to one area of the brain and, in this way, only a small section of the brain tissue can be extracted safely without any extensive damage on other functions. In recent years, advanced technology has provided a deeper understanding of the complex mechanisms that maintain neuronal excitability and circuit activity. This has allowed researchers to develop novel ideas on decreasing the severe side effects of medication and increase therapy options for patients that have developed a strong resistance to the long-term medication prescribed. Studies conducted on animals and patients have revealed changes that occur in the brain before a seizure commences. Comprehension of this complex mechanism could aid in developing a device that foresees the seizure by detecting the irregular brain cell activity, and thereby inhibiting it. Long ago, it was believed that these seizures were caused due to demonic possession. Although this thought process is no longer prevalent, there is still an immense amount of misunderstanding and ignorance. Epilepsy has a multifaceted impact. The frequency of seizures is erratic and often dangerous for the patient, increasing the risk of hospitalization due to injury and, in some cases, mortality. The severity and occurrences of epileptic seizures differ for each individual; however, the social implications are constant throughout demographics. Children are often harassed, and independent, proficient adults are treated as incompetent and incapable. Recurring seizures often result in social stigmatization, prejudice, and exclusion from society. These, in turn, cause psychological implications as well, such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. These individuals are also at a higher risk of developing medical or psychiatric comorbidities than those without epilepsy. The significant increase in comorbidity is strongly associated with the negative impacts on the individual’s health status and quality of life. March is epilepsy awareness month. Changing attitudes (including your own attitude!) will aid in encouraging public funding required to support research facilities, surgical training, and access to care for those diagnosed with this disorder. VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


AR T S & L I F E 3 5 RACHEL CHIN / THE UNDERGROUND

www. the-underground.ca

MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


36 OP I N I ON NOOR PHOTO AQIL COURTESY / THE UNDERGROUND OF WIKIMEDIA

Are Progressives Being too Lenient on Bernie Sanders?

Daniel Xie, Staff Writer The 2016 American elections has seen the rise of a perceived ‘political revolution’ in the form of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. The Sanders’ campaign focuses on wealth inequality, political corruption, provision of healthcare and social services, and the consolidation of corporate power by the top one per cent in America. It has drawn support from progressive crowds, who find Sanders’ campaign to be the only meaningful one in a political arena that is otherwise dominated by money, theatrics and corporate sponsorship - examples of the fuel that drives the campaigns of Sanders’ opponents on both sides of the political spectrum, be it Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the Republican side. Yet, while looking at the Sanders’s campaign and the attitudes of his supporters, it should be questioned whether those supporters are too lenient on him simply because he is the only candidate with arguably genuinely progressive credentials. Sanders may be significantly more progressive than Clinton or any of the Republicans, but his supporters tend to over-exaggerate his progressive credentials to the point where they are willing to overlook any legitimate criticisms of him. For instance, a controversial bill supported by Sanders was Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which has been criticized for increasing mass incarceration and the expansion of the federal death penalty. Another controversial legislation was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which allowed for the deregulation of swaps and derivatives precipitating the 2000 Wall Street Crash. While Sanders and his supporters emphasize the responsibility of the Clintons in allowing these laws to be passed, Sanders’ own complicity tends to be overlooked. When confronted with these facts, common juswww. the-underground.ca

tifications by his supporters include claiming that Sanders either wanted to prevent a government shutdown or that a specific bill was an omnibus bill carrying progressive elements. However, if we are willing to hold the Clintons and ‘establishment’ politicians accountable for passing unpopular legislation, why not hold Sanders up to the same standards? The fact that he does not get called into account for any of his policies that could be perceived as somehow ‘compromising’ on his core values, in contrast to everyone else, is ultimately inconsistent and hypocritical. Foreign policy is another area of concern that Sanders’ supporters tend to overlook while simultaneously condemning opposing candidates for. While Sanders did indeed vote against the war in Iraq, and has criticized the CIA’s overthrow of democratically elected governments during the Cold War, I feel that Sanders’ perceived ‘anti-war record’ tends to be overhyped by his supporters. They tend to whitewash his support of the Drone program that had faced scrutiny for disproportionate civilian casualties in countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan despite their goal of targeting terrorism, as well as Sanders’ continuing support for Israel against Palestine in the 2014 Gaza war. Despite his criticism of the US’ historical support for propping up authoritarian governments, Sanders has expressed support for Saudi Arabia taking a key role in anti-ISIS operations in Syria. Sanders has also stated that, while he understood what Edward Snowden was trying to do with his NSA leaks, Snowden still had to be prosecuted for his actions just because he was ‘breaking the law’. These criticisms were brought up by antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan who criticized Sanders for perceived “imperialistic tendencies” due to his stances on these issues along with his support of F-35 production in Vermont. Yet, as expected, the video in which Sheehan voices her opposition to Bernie Sanders (and, by extension, everyone else involved in the race) has MARCH 3 - APRIL 6, 2016

received significant scrutiny. The problem with ignoring Sanders’ flaws is that ultimately it stifles debate on how attainable his policies are, considering the fact that some of his key policies, such as ensuring the provision of greater education and health services for the populace and reducing the military budget through a less hawkish foreign policy, could free up trillions for the progressive initiatives that he seeks to accomplish. Still, no one raises these concerns with regards to Sanders’ proposed policies. Lastly, even as Sanders calls for a political revolution, his commitment to this revolution challenging both Democrat and Republican parties and their corporate ties are arguably undermined by his decision to support the democratic establishment in the event of a Clinton victory. This has gotten anti-establishment progressives outside the Democratic party concerned about Sanders’ having little impact on de-corporatizing American politics. This concern being that, if he loses, all he would achieve is providing progressive rhetoric for Clinton to co-opt and exploit just to get votes. While one can argue the practicality of base unity against a growing far-right sentiment led by Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, the desire for a political revolution challenging a corporatized two-party system is subsequently weakened without any alternative to a Sanders victory, even if that alternative lies in a third party such as the Greens or outside the ballot box altogether in grassroots movements. Overall, I am not trying to draw people away from supporting Sanders or from voting for him if they are American citizens. The point of this article is to express that, even if Sanders has progressive intentions in contrast to his opponents in both parties, we should not hold Sanders above scrutiny. Just because he tries to raise ‘real issues’, it doesn’t mean that his supporters should blindly exonerate any problematic worldviews he may have or do less to hold him into account. VOLUME 35, ISSUE 07


T HE

UNDE R G R O U N D I S H IRING

Want to join a student organization that lets you engage with the campus? THE UNDERGROUND, the official student publication at UTSC, is hiring for ALL masthead positions for the 2016-2017 academic year.

SECTION EDITORS: NEWS (1), ARTS & LIFE (1), SCIENCE & HEALTH (1) Description: • Think of original article ideas for respective sections • Manage a group of writers to produce quality articles • Edit all articles on production weekends • Regularly contribute articles to UG Requirements: • Journalistic writing and editing experience • Leadership experience • Familiarity with Canadian Press style guidelines • Availability every other weekend for production (during academic year, excluding exam period) Application: Resume, cover letter, TWO journalistic writing samples

GRAPHICS EDITOR Description: • Create graphics for each issue of the publication; work with the photo and production editor to ensure graphics integration with issue layout Requirements: • Extensive knowledge of latest version of Adobe Photoshop (InDesign knowledge is an asset, but not a requirement) • Ability to create graphics if given a theme or idea Application: Resume, cover letter and THREE graphic samples

FINANCE & OPERATIONS OFFICER Description: • Manage/update finances of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Press (includes overseeing annual audit, developing budget, etc.) Requirements: • Previous experience in acccounting (Accounting-stream management students will be given priority) • Familiarity with Microsoft Excel Application: Resume and cover letter

ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR Description: • Take photos regularly for UG, on and off campus (including cover photo) • Manage group of photographers to ensure articles have a photo • Edit photos for each issue Requirements: • Extensive experience using a DSLR camera • (Owning a DSLR camera is an asset, but not a requirement) • Leadership experience • Knowledge of the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop (photo editing) • Ability to generate & execute original photo ideas based on article topics • Availability every other weekend for production (during academic year, excluding exam period); a flexible schedule will be helpful in this position Application: Resume and cover letter, and TEN DSLR photo samples


COPY EDITOR

ONLINE PHOTO EDITOR

Description: • Read and edit final drafts of all article content • • Requirements: • Extensive knowledge of Canadian Press style guidelines • Extensive editing expereince • Must have knowledge of journalistic ethics

Description: • Take photos regularly for UG, on and off campus (including cover photo) • Manage group of photographers to ensure articles have a photo • Edit photos for each issue

Application: Resume and cover letter, and TWO writing samples

ONLINE EDITOR Description: • Regularly update www.the-underground.ca with latest content (articles, photos, videos, etc.) and altering website design elements to provide best user experience Requirements: • Extensive knowledge of WordPress interface • Experience in web design, updating Application: Resume, cover letter and ONE website sample

ONLINE GRAPHICS EDITOR Description: Create graphics for each issue of the publication; work with the photo and production editor to ensure graphics integration with issue layout

Requirements: • Extensive experience using a DSLR camera • (Owning a DSLR camera is an asset, but not a requirement) • Leadership experience • Knowledge of the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop (photo editing) • Ability to generate & execute original photo ideas based on article topics • Availability every other weekend for production (during academic year, excluding exam period); a flexible schedule will be helpful in this position Application: Resume and cover letter, and TEN DSLR photo samples

ADVERTISING MANAGER Description: • Communicate with advertisers to book ads for each issue • Work with university press ad agency to ensure advertising Requirements: • Previous experience in marketing • Strong interpersonal skills • Experience with Adobe Photoshop is an asset, but not a requirement Application: Resume and cover letter

Requirements: • Extensive knowledge of latest version of Adobe Photoshop (InDesign knowledge is an asset, but not a requirement) • Ability to create graphics if given a theme or idea

ALL APPLICATIONS DUE ON APRIL 15 BY 11:59 p.m. to editor@the-underground.ca (include position in subject of email).

Application: Resume, cover letter and THREE graphic samples

We thank all applicants for their interest but only those who qualify for interviews will be contacted.

Questions? Email editor@the-underground.ca


The Underground - Issue 7  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you