Volume 95, Issue 62

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
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Taking action

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Taking action

Heads and butts were a hot topic in the University Community Centre atrium Tuesday, as students debated the artistic value of pornography.

However, as the two sides smashed heads, it was clear that neither side would win the war. Too many factors blurred the battlefield – what is art? What is pornography? What is the point?

This cyclical dance around social issues has been at the forefront of campus news of late and students are sick of it.

Debates about pornography, smoking rights and the ever-popular 'W'-boys and 'W'-girls provide a safe way for students to speak their minds as there are no definitive answers and no retribution for their actions.

For those who have grown tired of the same old jabber and yearn for a forum to express their deepest views and values, the time is almost upon us.

February 6 has been deemed a day for students to express their concerns over astronomical tuition rates and a lack of government funding for post-secondary institutions. A large number of people feel education is something that should be made available for all those eligible – regardless of financial status.

With all the hype and promotion, Feb. 6 appears to be offering something Western's population so badly needs – action.

The Day of Action, as it has appropriately been dubbed, may finally free us of our chains of apathy and pseudo-concern and launch us into an age of involvement.

True to the course of their hippie ancestors, proponents of freezing tuition will march downtown, defying all who cross their path.

However, some of those who plan to act on Feb. 6 recently attempted to secure a safety net.

Western's Senate refused to provide academic relief for students planning to take part in the protest, despite the fact that other universities have done so.

Senators should be applauded for the level-headed decision and while this decision may have disappointed some, it may separate the truly concerned students from those who pretend to care.

It is highly unlikely that a student looking to speak their mind will be discouraged by the possibility of losing a few participation points for cutting class on Feb. 6 and it is even more unlikely that missing a single day will destroy an academic career. With protests occurring on our own campus it is foolish to think any excuse to miss the protest will suffice for the most ardent of believers.

If a student is honestly concerned about the future of the education system, they should be willing to risk a penalty for their actions. The time has come to show commitment to a cause that affects us all, rather than merely chatting about dead issues in the safety of the UCC atrium.

Perhaps the Day of Action will come and go with little fanfare and campus will return to its usual static state – but maybe, just maybe, it will be the excitement that this school is sorely lacking.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001