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Volume 91, Issue 32

Friday, October 24, 1997

cliff hanger


“Institutional ridiculous” is present

Re: Orientation week changes.

To the Editor:
Frosh... gasp! Uh oh, I can almost hear the alarm bells ringing, for I just uttered Western's infamous "F" word! Allow me to enjoy my last precious moments before Western's "Thought Police" home in on me and come barreling through the door, intent on suppressing my horrendous violation of this year's Frosh-week rules. Whoops, there I go again, for it isn't to be called "Frosh week," but orientation-week, only it isn't really a week, so we are left with "orientation." And hang on, I wasn't an Essex "Soph," for that implies some sort of inherent power and superiority; rather, I was an "orientation leader," gently guiding my first-year students through the happy-happy, fluffy-land we call Western.

Yes, fellow students, the ever-present forces of political correctness finally brought their weight to bear on Western's O-week this year. Initiated by our administration, and meekly accepted and promoted by our students' council, this year's O-week rules took definitive steps towards rendering all but guttural grunting as offensive and unacceptable. The word "Frosh" was labeled as demeaning, insulting and unacceptable and it was ordered replaced by "first-year-student." The word "Soph" met a similar fate. Even the Western olympics couldn't escape this holier-than-thou attack from the forces of political correctness.

Now, at a practical level, I would like to challenge both our purveyors of political correctness, the USC and administration to come up with decent chants incorporating "first-year-student." Sorry, but "Hey, first-year-students, how do you feel?" is too pathetically clinical to serve as an inspiration for incoming Western students. As for the olympics, where were the students competing for the glory of their beloved residences, while engaged in friendly competition for the coveted Purple Helmet? Sadly, with inter-residence competition deemed inappropriate by Western's "Thought Police," spirit was hard to find and the coveted Purple Helmet simply wasn't.

Yet, if such extensive measures have been taken to stamp out "offensive" words and "unhealthy" competition among students, perhaps we should carry this whole notion even further. Why not slap a sign down in front of Stevenson-Lawson reading "Ministry of Truth" and let the administration regulate all vocabulary used on campus? What about Mustang athletics? Should we really be involved in the sickening practice of actually competing with other universities? Shouldn't we feel ashamed that our football team was, heaven forbid, superior to Guelph's team this past weekend? Maybe such games should be cancelled and instead we can all go to the stadium and hold hands while Comrade Davenport and his "Thought Police" lead us in a rousing rendition of the Barney Song. You know the one: "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family..."

Seriously though, we can no longer stand idle while such institutionalized ridiculousness is present at our university. Indeed, perhaps the ultimate plan is to make orientation so cumbersome, regulated and absurd, that students will completely refuse to participate and the administration will have the reason they are looking for to cancel it once and for all. It is up to all those who care about Western to speak out and stop this from happening.

Ray Novak
Director-at-large UWO Reform Club

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997