Volume 93, Issue 78

Thursday, February 17, 2000


Endorsing the use of free thought

Cover photo same as pornography

Endorsing the use of free thought

Re: "Opinion not warranted in campaign" Feb. 15

To the Editor:

Well, it happens every year. I'm not talking about The Gazette's endorsement of one of the presidential candidates. I'm talking about the angry letter from someone who's upset over that endorsement and who blame it as the sole reason that their favourite candidate or they themselves didn't win.

First off, I can't really grasp why people get so upset about it every year. Anyone who has been on campus for at least a year KNOWS that The Gazette endorses a candidate before an election. It should be expected by now and not come as a surprise when it happens. It's as inevitable as the presidential forums and The Gazette quiz.

Secondly, a newspaper's opinion is just that. An opinion. It doesn't reside on the front page in bold letters for everyone to see. It's the main column in a section marked clearly with the title OPINIONS. No one at The Gazette forces any student to vote the way they choose. If someone decides to vote for the candidate endorsed by the paper, they do it under their own volition.

Thirdly, as for Mike Lawless' comment that The Gazette's endorsement results in that candidate's victory, I'd be interested in his explanation as to why it didn't occur this year. Sure, Dave Braun was mentioned in their column as a good candidate, but he was not deemed the best. Perhaps The Gazette's endorsement stems from the candidate being the most deserving of the election victory and not the other way around, as some would suggest.

Finally, as for The Gazette being a "journalistic institution" that should remain unbiased in their reporting, I have just one thing to say. Don't make me laugh. There are two reasons why The Gazette has a right to publish their opinion. First, they have a veiled interest in the election to begin with. The Gazette is owned and published by the University Students' Council. Secondly, if the candidates are going to treat the election like a farce, why can't The Gazette?

What do I mean by putting the blame on the candidates? Allow me to explain. In the days leading up to the election, I'm sure it became quite clear to some of the candidates that they were in hot water. Gazette polls had been released and some candidates didn't even garner a fraction of a per cent.

Then came the blatant pandering. Free hot chocolate in front of the University Community Centre. Free candy in the UCC. All we want in exchange is your support. What is this? High school? To imply that the student body of Western is stupid enough to be swayed through gifts is a slap in the face to that same student body that you hope to represent! Is that how you plan to solve problems when faced with them in office? Tuition's on the rise? No problem! Just take Western president Paul Davenport out for dinner and talk about it there.

What's more, the "free" gifts weren't even free! What the candidates neglected to mention was that if they got 10 per cent of the vote, a feat which I'm sure each felt they would accomplish, they would be reimbursed the cost of their campaign by the USC. This means the money students paid to the USC as part of their tuition would go to a candidate to pay for "free" gifts he gave to students. You want to lower tuition costs? I think we can start by making people buy their own snacks.

I guess the point here is that all the candidates knew what they were getting into when they started campaigning. If they didn't, then they weren't qualified for the position of president to begin with.

Being upset with the unprofessionalism of The Gazette while ignoring the grade school political practices of the candidates is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Bevan Earhart
Honours Computer Science IV

To Contact The Opinions Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000