Volume 92, Issue 53

Tuesday, December 8, 1998

wannabe


OPINIONS
 

Overrun by the corporate world

Re: Council members wheel 'n deal, Dec. 2

To the Editor:

How ironic that just as the University Students' Council is making deals with corporations, the Oxfam Students' Association is trying to raise awareness about the effects of consumerism and over-consumption on global society.

These so-called "deals" the USC is making are helping to reinforce the corporate-driven mentality of this university and changing an environment of academic learning into an atmosphere where vendors have the final say and student voices of opposition are silenced.

What is even more disturbing about these deals is that they are being made with corporations that are known for their human rights abuses.

The argument has been made that the USC needs the revenue in order to help pay for the costs of the University Community Centre. If this is really the case, why don't we have cooperatives and trade unions represented that have a concern for human well-being and the global environment?

Being a responsible consumer is one of the most important messages that Buy Nothing Day attempted to convey.

VP-finance Dave Small made the comment that, "there is an advantage to working with the corporate world rather than the government." Are you serious Dave? These corporations that the USC is "working" with were not democratically elected by the people and thus have no responsibility to society.

If we put all of our trust in these undemocratic corporations, we allow ourselves to become slaves to consumerism and become socialized to believe that our society of mass consumption is an acceptable lifestyle. This is not to say that democracy in Canada is perfect. Far from it. But at least we have the option of holding our political leaders accountable for their actions.

All of these issues should weigh heavily upon the minds of every student, faculty member and administrator at Western. Do we really want our university to be overrun by vendors whose voices will be stronger than our own?

At this time, I would also like to call upon the USC to re-evaluate this policy of allowing such a massive corporate presence on campus. It has created an environment of consumerism and over-consumption instead of creating an environment where education and the presentation of alternative viewpoints are welcome.

After all, what are we really here for? To get an education – or to spend $10,000 or more a year to go shopping on campus?

Amelia Peltz
Political Science IV
VP Oxfam Students' Association


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Copyright The Gazette 1998