Debate heats up over Diesel ad
By Sara Marett
The controversy that was sparked last fall over an advertisement in the University Students' Council Westernizer may soon break into flames as one student plans to take her complaint about the ad to the Human Rights Commission.
Julie Glanville, a first-year social science student at Huron College, said she is offended by the ad, which in her opinion sexually exploits and demeans the intelligence of females. The full-page colour advertisement is for Diesel jeans and depicts a young woman revealing cleavage and her brassiere, posing as a teacher in a classroom of young children.
Last October, concerns over the ad were brought to the attention of the USC and a motion was put forth for council to apologize for the ad. Council voted 23-9 against an apology.
In January, Glanville wrote a letter to USC President Ryan Parks, expressing her continuing concern about the ad and her desire to meet with him to attempt to solve the problem. She also requested that the USC make a formal apology for the ad.
Parks said in response to Glanville's letter, he immediately set up a meeting with her. He added during the time since the initial controversy over the ad occurred, USC equity officer Diana Reynolds set up an ad-hoc committee to make guideline recommendations to assist the USC in regulating advertising content in their publications.
"Once our proposal is drafted up, it will be presented to the USC board," Reynolds said.
Parks and other members of the USC met with Glanville in early January and invited her to make a presentation to council. "I thought there was serious merit to the topic she wanted to discuss and the floor should be open if council wants to revisit this issue," Parks said.
It was decided that Glanville would make a 25-minute presentation to council at the Feb. 18 meeting.
On Feb. 16, Parks said he received a letter from Glanville stating she would not be able to make the presentation to council. She also outlined in her letter that she wanted the USC to comply with three conditions by Feb. 20 or she would take her complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
She requested that the USC adopt Reynolds' ad-hoc committee's advertising guidelines, that a formal policy on gender discrimination be adopted by the USC and that they apologize for the ad.
Glanville said her decision not to speak at the Feb. 18 meeting was the result of a misunderstanding of the terms of her presentation.
Because she has not yet received a reply from Parks, Glanville said she is now taking her complaint to the Human Rights Commission. "I'm not doing this to threaten [the USC]. I just think someone should be accountable for this ad."
Parks said he contacted Glanville in February to get her address and told her a response was forthcoming. "I would also invite her again to speak to council so we can get this issue solved," he said.
Glanville said although she is not interested in making a presentation to council she is still willing to try to come to an agreement with the USC.
Maureen Brown, information officer for the Ontario office of the Human Rights Commission said Glanville would not be out of place bringing her complaint to the commission.