Volume 90, Issue 74

Wednesday, February 05, 1997



Campaign censored

By Joshua Budd
Gazette Staff

The communications committee of the University Students' Council pulled a page from Scott Graham's presidential campaign website yesterday after several students complained about a quiz featured on the site.

The committee decided Graham's web page violated sections of the council's Internet policy which forbid "material or links to material considered by the communications committee to be offensive, sexually explicit or vulgar."

The website featured a quiz entitled "Am I fit to be the USC President?"

Questions such as, have you ever "laughed at a physically or mentally handicapped person," and have you ever "taken advantage of someone while they were stoned or drunk," appeared on the quiz and each question had points assigned to it.

Graham apologized for the questions and said he did not want to offend anyone.

"The quiz was not to be taken seriously," Graham said. "I wanted to gauge a response to those who say Western is a party school. By showing the image does exist I can combat it."

He added the quiz was intended to be a joke and said he has received many responses from students who thought it was funny.

However, Kelly Guitard, co-ordinator of the Women's Issues Network, said she did not find the quiz funny.

"A lot of the 'jokes' are real issues for people. Especially number 28 which talks about getting someone stoned or drunk to obtain sexual favours," Guitard said. "It's potential for rape. That's a real issue for women on this campus. It's not a joke.

"Does Graham think this is the criteria for the job?"

She said the quiz contradicted Graham's past experience as the alcohol awareness commissioner and his participation in the men against violence against women campaign.

Council president Dave Tompkins said the quiz was totally inappropriate but defended the elections committee's decision to post the quiz on the elections website.

He said it is not the committee's job to censor everything a candidate says.

James Deans, the USC's chief returning officer, said the elections committee has the power to censor material on the elections website only if it is libelous or slanderous.

Graham made a formal request to remove the quiz last Monday, but Deans said in fairness to the other candidates he could not make changes to the page until the next scheduled date – Monday.

"It was the candidate's option to post it," Deans said. "We granted him the latitude to do it."

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Copyright The Gazette 1997