December 2 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 52  

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An aerial error

To the Editor:
The aerial photo that appeared in the Thursday, Nov. 27 Gazette, illustrating the sparse campus could not have been taken as late as 1937. In 1934, the Lawson Memorial Library (which is now part of the administrative complex) was built behind University College.

Alan Noon
Media Specialist, Faculty of Science

OCAP biased?

Re: “Clashing U of T protests end with arrest,” Nov. 28, 2003

To the Editor:
It always seems strange to me that so many of these left wing groups like the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, with any liberal leaning toward sociopolitical problems like poverty, immediately come to the aid of “Palestinian” groups on campuses. Why is it that these groups are so quick to judge Israel, the most forward-thinking, liberal country in the Middle East, without even a mention of the horrible atrocities carried out daily in the countries surrounding it? Perhaps OCAP should organize a protest against Yasser Arafat hoarding millions of dollars he’s given monthly by the United Nations or against the Saudi princes controlling 99 per cent of that country’s wealth?

The truth is, criticizing Israel has become the new agenda of the left. It’s ironic that OCAP, a staunch supporter of social programs, is so quick to attack the only country in the Middle East that has any. In fact, if OCAP wants to see the promotion of these programs so badly, they should be criticizing terrorism by Palestinians that force Israel to divert funds from social programs and move them to ensuring its security. Left wing groups like this one are always concerned with equality and Israel promotes equality of women, gays and any ethnic group residing there.

I just can’t pinpoint the reason for OCAP’s support of Al-Adwa, as it has nothing to do with Ontario or poverty. If an individual or a group wants to criticize the policies of Israel or any other country, all the more power to them. But it should be done after careful research and not just be a jump on the bandwagon.

Adam Fisch
Psychology II

School doesn't make you sick

Re: “Education funding falls behind health,” Nov. 27, 2003

To the Editor:
In 2001, when the Progressive Conservative provincial government passed a proposal to award a tax break to parents sending their children to private schools (planned to be up to $7,000 per student) I found myself questioning the government’s commitment to the public education system. As a health advocate, I would rather see money go towards improving the public school system in areas of low socioeconomic status (SES).

I am pleased to learn that scrapping this incentive is a priority for the new Liberal government leadership. A strong public school system is equally valuable to the health of a population as is a well-funded health-care system. Researched and published is the fact that low SES is strongly related to a higher disease incidence. Strong public schooling is the best way to bring families out of a pattern of low SES.

Health professionals, although aware of low SES as a risk factor for ill health, fail to do their fair share of advocating for a strong public education system as a means of significantly improving the health of our population. While shorter wait times for specialists, more MRI machines and better life-saving interventions are important to improving the health of a small number of high-risk individuals, expending money on these initiatives does little to improve the health of the population.

While it is easy to see the health benefits of technology to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment, and difficult to envision how a strong public school system also improves health, the fact remains that breaking the cycle of low SES through improved public schooling will decrease disease. I am not implying that we should cut funding to programs that target high risk groups, I just want to draw attention to the fact that good public schools should also be on the agendas of those promoting health.

Shirra Cremer
Nursing IV

Housing hard on rez soph

Re: “Not in our house,” Nov. 20, 2003

To the Editor:
While Mr. Vanpee refutes the claim that “orientation is on a downward slide” and insists that “great strides have been made on improving relations with Housing,” he doesn’t explain how last year’s stunt of barring faculty sophs at the last minute from residences was an improvement. He also fails to address the people who were removed from the orientation program altogether this year under the controversial new appeals system.

No other team (faculty, affiliate, charity, etc.) had a higher number of appeals shot down by their constituency than the residence teams. Perhaps Mr. Vanpee, or another member of this year’s O-Staff, can explain why the committee that judged these appeals did not have a single representative from the University Students’ Council or the orientation program.

Mr. Vanpee touts the Orientation Strategic Planning Group (OSPG) as a major accomplishment. For who? Numerous items in the report are very questionable, such as veiled references to disciplining sophs that don’t volunteer enough of their time after O-Week.

Mr. Vanpee may feel great strides have been taken, but when such strides come at the expense of our hardworking student volunteers, and our integrity, the only steps we have taken are backward.

Arzie Chant
University Students’ Council
Science Councillor
Elgin Hall Soph 2002-2003



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