Volume 94, Issue 78

Friday, February 9, 2001


OPINIONS

Letters to the Editor

There's gun-toting Yanks in them thar hills

Letters to the Editor

Western is girl-friendly


Re: USC need Girl Power ASAP! Feb. 6.

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to Nicole Nelson's outrageous claim that this campus does not promote "an environment that's friendly for female leadership."

Just take a look at the composition of student organizations throughout this campus. Many University Students' Council councillors, commissioners, and Board members are female, and have been for years.

Student clubs and residence councils have females on their executives – including in their presidential positions. These women have been elected, selected or acclaimed to these positions.

Are you suggesting that they are not functioning in a "female-friendly" environment? If not, why do they keep filling these positions, year after year?

Nicole Nelson, being a Senator-at-Large, has obviously found "an environment that's friendly for female leadership" or she would not have run. Or would she have struggled against this supposed "adversity" to achieve her goal to represent ALL students on Senate?

How can the environment created by Western's student government be so "anti-friendly" to women? I do recall an election this fall for an undergraduate Board of Governors representative.

BoG is the highest governing body of this university and we elected Melissa Parker – a female no less – to represent us. Funny, she found a friendly enough environment in which to run a campaign, win and serve her constituents.

This is the third presidential election I have witnessed. Every year, the same point regarding a lack of female presidential candidates is brought up. The answer?

The answer is simple: we ("the female race", as stated by Nelson) choose not to run.

But that does not stop women from obtaining other positions on this campus and being successful and contributing members of our university community.

I would argue that women are not "conspicuously absent from the most powerful positions," but are indeed at the forefront of leadership. Yes, 1995 was the last year we saw a female president of the USC, but I believe it is only a matter of time before the tide turns again.

Sabrina Anzini
Honours Business Administration I




Got any fluff scissors?


Re: USC presidential elections

To the Editor:

As a councillor and person who enjoys politics, frustration sets in while watching the University Students' Council presidential election and the non-issues surrounding it. These non-issues are repeatedly rearing their ugly heads in every forum, as well as in The Gazette opinion pages.

Non-issues, such as the lack of female candidates and whether one thinks the USC is an "insider boys club" aid in averting the focus from real issues.

Instead of discussing the lowering of students fees, lobbying for tuition freezes in deregulated programs, lowering "outside" costs to students, and running an effective, efficient council, the discussion turns toward personal complaints one has against the USC and its operation.

This is the corporation of the undergraduates of Western. This is our corporation and we have the opportunity to help direct it. Don't be deceived by the smoke and mirrors strategically placed as stumbling blocks by those wishing to promote their own agendas through piggybacking the election.

Cut through the fluff, discuss the issues, ask the pertinent questions and find out the truth for yourself.

Mel Groendyk
Environmental Science II




Tribal Council disappoints


Re: USC presidential elections



To the Editor:

I commend The Gazette for their increased and unique coverage of the upcoming USC presidential elections. However, I feel I must voice concern over the Tribal Council.

I first heard this idea before the campaign period began and I was ecstatic to hear the thoughts of five experienced and respected councillors.

However, having attended all forums, with the exception of one, I am utterly disappointed the Tribal Council members have attended only a handful of them. Given that your opinion is so respected, please make an attempt to attend all of the remaining forums.

I hope the Tribal Council members provide the community with the most informed feedback. In my opinion, this makes at least in part, their appearance at a substantial number of forums a necessity. Western students are often criticized for casting uninformed votes. I submit that this rivals making inadequately informed public opinions.

Jaime Notman
USC Communications Officer




Corporate influence abounds in race


Re: USC presidential election

To the Editor:

I just wanted to comment on this year's USC election and the campaigns. I don't know what is up with the shameless trend of corporate endorsement and disgraceful advertising on behalf of the candidates and the entire election itself.

The USC election seems to me as a promo for a booming reality based TV show. Then I can't tell the difference between the "survivors" and their corporate identities.

We have [Josh] Morgan, that equates himself with Nortel Networks, (a company that suffered the biggest crash over the past year – good omen.) We also have Dave Braun, or do we have Braun shavers? And then Lawless that puts his face on the poster of a hit movie that examines the life of a crazy and disliked comedian.

My point is, that these candidates have no person of their own. It just shows how the corporate agenda is manipulating and taking over even the educated student environment, and if elected, these students will carry the corporate influence with them and bring these corporate monopolies into the university.

There are candidates that do propose good things, but to resolve my apathy towards student politics, you have to show what you stand for and not what the corporation wants you to stand for.

Matthew Ferguson
English III




Cheating expert feels cheated by story


Re: Cheating: Getting caught in the act while trying to find the easy way out, Jan. 30.

To the Editor:

I was delighted when contacted by The Gazette to comment on cheating. However, I was dismayed to read opinions attributed to me in the article which appeared on Jan. 30.

Cheating is a serious matter. It is important for students to understand why academic honesty is critical to a university, and to the value of their own education. Anyone tempted to cheat also needs to be aware that, at Western, the consequences of cheating can be very serious.

I am quoted as saying, "Most students try cheating at least once." I did not say this and I do not believe it, and I apologize to Western students for having said anything that would have given the interviewer that impression. It was probably a study (University of Delaware, 1983) I mentioned during the interview, which reported that 78 percent of students responding to an anonymous questionnaire had done one of a list of acts at least once.

The list included acts which some respondents did not consider cheating. More typical findings are those of a Gazette study some years ago which reported that 20 percent of anonymous respondents admitted to having copied or plagiarized an essay and 29 percent to having cheated on an exam.

I am also quoted as saying "[But the numbers of] those accused of cheating are much higher than those who actually do."

This is exactly the reverse of the truth.

If we are to believe the studies, far more cheating takes place than is detected. When I was asked which students cheated most, I quoted findings from studies at other institutions.

The graduate students, visual arts students and honor code school students among whom cheating was less prevalent are not Western students, and we should be careful about generalizing from the data in those studies.

Later in The Gazette article, we learn that a student who feels wrongly accused of plagiarism "can do the assignment again." It sounds as if this is routine, and the student's own choice. Under very specific circumstances, some instructors have allowed some students to redo work which was not clearly plagiarized, but showed deficiencies.

For a discussion of which penalties typically follow which offences, see the Ombuds Office guide; Cheating, Plagiarism, Fraud and Computer Mischief. This is available as a handout or on the Office Web site, www.uwo.ca/ombuds/. For a discussion of cheating cases reviewed by the Ombuds Office, see the 1999-2000 Annual Report, now posted on the Office Web site.

Frances Bauer
Ombudsperson



To Contact The Opinions Department:
gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2000