Standing behind Horovitz
Re: An open letter to students of the University of Western Ontario, Sept. 16
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to express two things. First, I'd like to express my deepest disgust at the University Students' Council for forcing The Gazette to publish its apology yesterday. Secondly and most importantly I'd like to thank that same USC for the lessons it's teaching the student body.
As Editor-in-chief of The Gazette last year I was directly embroiled in the controversy which prompted such rash and thoughtless action by your students' council. As such, I take full responsibility for yesterday's apology and none of it should be attributed to this year's ed board. It was not their decision and they should not be made to pay so unfairly.
While I will be the first one to apologize to the students who were hurt by the publication of the comic in question, I will not apologize for The Gazette's right to publish what it chooses. The people who worked with me last year stood by me and it took a council who is more willing to save face than stand up for what's right to enforce change on a deeply-held conviction.
In the wake of the publication of the comic a protest was held in the atrium at which I, along with then-VP communications Jerry Topolski, was libelled by the then-president of the Muslim Students' Association. We tried to go through the proper channels but nothing was done. Finally, at the end of my term, Topolski and James Deans (current VP-communications) assured me that an apology from the MSA a USC-sanctioned club would come in exchange for an apology from The Gazette for the publication of the comic. It seemed fair as both parties felt they were wronged.
Yesterday's apology was the result of that comic.
Despite all the assurances I was given last year about how much council valued The Gazette and how they appreciated the work we did, despite the USC's promise to fight for editorial freedom and to protect its employees, I now know their promises, as well as their words, are empty.
I feel personally let down by council and now I understand bowing to threats is much preferable to standing up for someone who was publicly labelled as a "bigot" and "unfit to run the paper."
Maybe the threat of a human rights complaint will work for me. But I won't sink to that level. For I have learned those that profess to "fight for justice and decency" always forget to add the words "for me."
Thank you USC for teaching me that what's right doesn't matter, public pressure does. Thank you for teaching me that negotiation is a waste of time might makes right.
And to the current staffers of The Gazette, please continue trying. Push the envelope because this event, taken in context with the past, shows the USC would like you to be nothing more than The Western News fish wrapping that suckles at the teat of its master, but never bites.