Volume 94, Issue 34

Tuesday, October 31, 2000


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Letter about Sue takes reader aback

Re: Sex with Sue encourages deviance, Oct 26.

To the Editor:

I was taken aback with Ms. DesRivieres' opinion on having Sue Johanson speak at our campus. This kind of opinion would be better received in 19th century Victorian England, as it seems to promote the very ignorance, fear and isolation that people in ensuing generations have fought hard to eradicate.

It was for this very reason that Sue Johanson entered the field of sex education. Having experienced first-hand the fear and all-out depression of women who saw nowhere to turn with their problems, in a society where sexuality could not be discussed in an intellectual, educational setting. Johanson has worked hard to bring the subject out into the open.

In today's sexually liberated society, it is of vital importance for men and women alike to speak freely and not feel isolated about their issues with sexuality.

Though Queen Victoria may well have turned over in her grave, the fact is that pre-marital sex and promuscuity have become the norm and there are important implications here. If nothing else, today's youth must be aware of the risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and possess the knowledge to avoid such life-changing or indeed life-ending tragedies.

Renee DesRivieres seems to think that such open, intellectual forums promote criminal sexual deviancy with the "if it feels good, do it" philosophy. In such forums, this statement does not stand alone – it is well understood that it applies to situations involving two (or more) people, who both desire and have consented to intimate relations. If DesRivieres were to attend such a forum, she might understand this, as the atmosphere created is one of well-being, enlightenment and confidence and not of sinister malice.

DesRivieres closed with a statement that "sex needs not to be cheapened" and I agree wholeheartedly. In order to ensure this, I encourage all of you to discuss problems, attend forums and speak freely of sexuality. Such actions can only serve to avoid needless isolation and fear, while encouraging healthy, creative practices that can only enrich (not cheapen) our sex lives.

Mark Jenkins
Biology III

Sexual deviants don't follow Sexy Sue

Re: Sex with Sue encourages deviance, Oct 26.

To the Editor:

I would like to point out to Renee DesRivieres that the caption that appeared under Sue Johanson's photo was a sarcastic comment by the Gazette staff. Perhaps the humour of this year's staff isn't appreciated by everyone, but I'm sure most students recognized the caption as a joke. Having seen many episodes of the Sunday Night Sex Show, hosted by Sue Johanson, I know her position is one of helping people deal with a subject that some, like yourself, choose to hide inside a "respectful arena."

What DesRivieres proposes leads to a "behind closed doors" mentality, where impressionable children grow up learning nothing about sex except what they see on television and what they hear from older kids boasting at school. This breeds young men with little or no respect for women and young women who feel threatened by sex and intimidated by their partners. When the time finally comes for couples to talk about sex, the subject is so alien to them that the bedroom "arena" becomes the site of a male against female power struggle. It's too late at this stage – a sexual user and possible sexual predator has been created.

We all know that parents are sometimes negligent when it comes to talking to their kids about sex, drugs and violence. Why would we prevent sex educators like Sue Johanson from trying to reach students in university at their last impressionable age, as they move from teenagers to young adults? The lessons that we receive in our homes must be relayed at this stage by someone knowledgeable, comfortable and funny enough to get through to people.

To anyone who can't tolerate what Sue Johanson has to say, I offer my sympathy, not kudos. You just may be setting yourself up for a disappointing surprise when you learn that your current or next sexual partner isn't someone with the same romantic ideals as you.

Hopefully a surprise is the only negative outcome, because I guarantee you that the rapists and pedophiles that Renee DesRivieres speaks of are NOT listeners of Sue. They were the ones that taught themselves about sex in a very empty "arena."

Evan Joanette
Masters Physiology I

Caption not the word of Sue

Re: Sex with Sue encourages deviance, Oct 26.

To the Editor:

Let's get a few things straight about Sue Johanson's visit to Western. First of all, the "It's O.K. perverts. You're all normal" caption, was not a direct reflection of anything Johanson said during her visit, rather it was a joke (perhaps made tastelessly in the opinion of some) by a member of The Gazette staff. Sue Johanson was not in any way advocating "rapists and pedophiles" as Renee DesRivieres so hastily concluded.

Rather, she was trying to encourage people to become more comfortable with their own sexualities. For many people have been told from a young age that this is not acceptable.

As a student who attended the two hour presentation, I have nothing but positive things to say about Sue Johanson. The fact remains, despite the outcries of some, that people are going to have premarital sex. We could simply tell people that this is not O.K., or we could provide them with the proper information to make an informed decision about sex.

Johanson was not advocating the "if it feels good do it" mentality. Rather, she was encouraging safe sex, open communication and most importantly, enough comfort with one's own sexuality to make important decisions.

Please explain to me how this is cheapening sex?

While Renee DesRivieres never stated whether or not she attended the presentation, her accusations and evaluation of the presentation indicate that she was not present at the event. The several hundred people who did attend are extremely lucky to have had such a humorous, well-educated woman talk so bluntly about things we are too often told to keep to ourselves.

You don't have to agree with me or with Sue Johanson. Just get your facts straight before you start jumping to conclusions.

Carolyn James
Honours Psychology II

Senator gets an "A" for effort

Re: New senator better deliver, Oct 26.

To the Editor:

Mr.Yeoman's dissertation on the "unfortunate" rise of Senator Luke Petrykowski was disappointing to say the least. Petrykowski has never claimed to be the Messiah or as Yeoman put it "the saviour of Western students." He is merely a student who is trying to make a difference.

Candidates, successful or not in their electoral ventures, should be commended and not condemned for their efforts. These candidates devote their time, energy and money in the hopes of making Western a better place.

We need more students with the courage and determination of Petrykowski and less like Mr. Yeoman who insult the intellect and credibility of the students at large. Mr. Yeoman's assumption that Petrykowski's support stemmed from convincing "enough apathetic voters to buy into his rhetoric" is ludicrous. If these students were apathetic, as the definition applies, they would not have voted for anyone.

Instead, they decided to vote for someone, they belived would put up a better fight for the their interests than the other candidates. If Mr. Yeoman, in using his tactics of insult and injury, feels he is qualified to be student politician then he should join the ranks of the status quo.

Aslan Ghandforoush
Honours Biology III

Election debacle embarassing for council

Re: Rubinoff in hot water, Oct 27.

To the Editor:

As a member of the University Students' Council for the past two years, I can honestly say that I have never been as embarrassed to be a part of such an organization as I was during last week's meeting.

While listening to a non-elected official explain his so-called "facts," in regards to Michael Rubinoff's alleged actions, I was shocked and insulted when Mike Schecter decided to criticize Rubinoff without even affording him the right to defend himself. What was even more disturbing to myself was that while Rubinoff was being lambasted in front of a council that he has been a valuable member of for the past five years, our speaker without considering the wishes of the council at large, decided that Mr. Rubinoff's integrity was not being questioned. And therefore decided to let Schecter continue with his presentation.

Not affording Rubinoff with an opportunity to voice his own side of the story goes against everything that the democratic process represents – something that I take great pride in. While Rubinoff will have to wait until our next meeting to explain his side of the story, Schecter, the Elections Committee, as well as the Board of Directors will have their own opportunity to ponder their approach to this situation.

It is my sincere hope that other councilors and students of this university will join me in helping to restore Michael Rubinoff's reputation as a greatly respected member of the UWO community and ultimately make those who have, I feel, acted against the principles of democracy accountable for their mistakes.

Shawn Pulver
Media, Information, Technoculture IV
President, MIT Students' Council

Reader's comment insulting

Re: New senator better deliver, Oct 26.

To the Editor:

I feel I must respond after reading Paul Yeoman's comments on Thursday.

Paul Yeoman was quick to dish out his feelings and opinions regarding the election of Mr. Petrykowski, but in doing so I think he screwed up some facts and just plain ignored a few others.

Regarding Mr. Yeoman's comment that Petrykowski shouldn't be that impressed with 580 votes out of a student body of over 20,000, let me remind him that he managed to receive 580 votes out of just over 2100 ballots. Although we would love to have candidates chosen through an election where all students vote, it just isn't going to happen.

Second, and even more insulting, was Yeoman's comment about Luke managing to convince "580 apathetic voters" to vote for him. These 580 people were part of a mere 10 per cent of this school's population which took the time and the effort to make their voices heard.

For Yeoman to call them apathetic simply because they did not vote to his liking is ridiculous. I truly believe that every student who votes, regardless of their choice, is doing themselves and their fellow students a great service.

Yeoman may disagree with decisions all he wants and disagree with those who made them. But I won't tolerate the "apathetic" labelling of students who actually voted. To all those who cast their ballot, I'm sure I speak for all candidates when I say that your time, consideration and caring was greatly appreciated.

Jon Santos
USC Councillor
Senate At-Large Elect

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