Volume 91, Issue 90

Thursday, March 19, 1998

Howe 'bout it


McGill prez butt of engineer jokes

By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Gazette Staff

When the president of the Students' Society of McGill University posed naked for a feature article in the student paper The McGill Daily, she had no idea what engineers at the university were planning to do.

SSMU President Tara Newell, a London native, is shown in the March 9 special edition of the paper for International Women's Week seated on a chair with her legs hugging her chest – completely nude.

Accompanying the picture is a statement by Newell whose underlying point regards the issue of body image. The importance of gender and politics were also touched on by the self-proclaimed feminist. "Be comfortable in your body, have confidence in who you are and never be afraid to offer a handshake" is what reads next to the photo.

But in a recent edition of The Plumber's Fawcett, the engineering newspaper at McGill, the picture was reprinted, accompanied by an article on the upcoming SSMU presidential elections without Newell's knowledge or consent.

Added to the picture by the editors of the engineering paper was a blurb by Newell's mouth which said "Come on boys – come and get me" referring to the three male presidential candidates shown in the picture as faceless men with stuffed boxer shorts.

Jay Fothergill, a third-year engineering student and writer of the article, said the picture was used because it fit nicely with the article which was about how people vote in elections based on looks.

"We were obviously having fun with the picture and I don't believe it undermined the original purpose," he said.

Newell said she was concerned because the use of the picture was sexist and taken out of context. "Jay is a good guy but this is about more than whether he is a good person. It was poor journalism and just went too far."

Fothergill apologized to Newell after the event but said Engineering Council President Taryn Tomlinson is planning to put forward a motion at the SSMU council meeting tonight to ban the paper.

The motion is being made on the grounds of defamatory use of the picture and a copyright infringement. "I think this is the most heinous form of censorship," Fothergill said.

The picture featured in the article was one of two taken of Newell and the other featured complete frontal nudity. McGill Daily coordinating culture editor Jessica Lim said the picture published was used because it showed Newell as much stronger.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998