Volume 90, Issue 88

Wednesday, March 12, 1997



Gazette editorial not factual

Re: Monkey see, monkey do, Mar. 5

To the Editor:

The editorial "Monkey see, monkey do" is another in a long line of poorly argued, misguided editorials presented by The Gazette. The Gazette takes the stand that sit-ins to petition tuition increases are intolerable, ineffective and embarrassing. Unfortunately, The Gazette presents this message without the aid of a single fact. Editorials are supposed to express an opinion, but by the time one has reached university, one generally learns that a viewpoint without a basis of fact is usually referred to as ignorance, not opinion.

Among other things, the editorial states, "In fact, the majority of protesters have become objects of derision." Is this indeed a fact? I applaud these protesters and do not deride them in any way. Does this mean that I am in contradiction with the facts? Or, does it simply mean that The Gazette is making a blanket statement regarding an issue that cannot be easily quantified?

The conclusion of this article states that students should "stay the current course because the results are plain to see." The results are plain to see, this is true. The Gazette has recently reported on the 10 to 20 per cent tuition increases students face next year, the move towards a yearly tuition of $18,000 for an MBA, and the decision not to reopen the University of Western Ontario Act. Does The Gazette believe the current course is the proper one?

While in this case the results of protesting in an aggressive manner are yet to be evaluated, the results of respectful silence and meek debate are non-existent. The editorial claims "might doesn't always make right," but in today's political climate, "might" is the only language the government speaks. When thousands of people speak out against the provincial government, the government, with lots of might, always replies that it will not listen to special interest groups. Rather than criticize sit-in tactics, respect the fact that there are many examples in history where an exchange of words and ideas was a poor substitute for civil disobedience.

Simply put, the editorial in question is worded in such a way that the casual reader may be swayed by what appears to be an unassailable opinion supported by facts. Upon closer examination, however, it becomes clear that this editorial simply states that "civil disobedience is wrong because The Gazette thinks it is." Let me conclude by quoting the final line of the editorial itself: "Logic, not volume, is the most effective tool." There is little logic found in "Monkey see, monkey do" and far too much volume.

Ormonde Benson
M.E. Science

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Copyright The Gazette 1997