Volume 96, Issue 94
Thursday, March 27, 2003

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World works in mysterious ways

It's truly unbelievable.

How else can you account for a Western student applying for summer research jobs in the department of physiology at the University of Toronto and U of T affiliate, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, only to receive an anonymous response essentially stating, for her own good, she should not mention her position as a member of the executive with Queer Western Organization?

What kind of gall does it take for a person to type the words, "A word of advice with regard (to) your mention of involvement as secretary of a 'Queer Club; ' this could preclude your involvement in some areas of work"? The letter goes on to address "schools and children's faculties" as specific areas where the student's involvement with QWO may negate any opportunities for employment.


Many people are of the opinion that personal information has no place on a resumé. Fair enough. However, what should be featured on a resumé are things that demonstrate you have accumulated the skills to do a job well – like organizing events, managing money and the other responsibilities that go along with being an executive member of a club. Apparently, those skills are irrelevant if the club you provided those services for is QWO.

Two weeks ago The Gazette ran a feature about hate-filled slogans etched in bathroom stalls at Western. Nobody could have guessed that mere days later there would be another case of discrimination that is even more disturbing.

Hate inspired rants on bathroom walls are appalling, but easy to identify and debate. An anonymous discriminatory letter sent to a student that, had they not come forward, would have gone unnoticed by the masses, goes beyond the realm of disturbing. It indicates how deeply ingrained ignorance is in our world. Of course, both transgressions share the common cowardly trait of anonymity.

The terrible truth of the matter is that incidents like this don't exist in a vacuum and they speak to the state of a society that likes to consider itself progressive.


Only slightly less offensive than the content of the letter is its "I'm doing you a favour by telling you this" tone. Somebody suggesting they're helping a student by letting them know how the world works according to their view is wretched. People should not have to alter who they are to fit a mold and should not feel pressured to exclude relevant aspects of their life.

To the person who wrote this letter, and will likely remain anonymous, let us do you a favour. Wake up and accept that the world you think you know is changing, and will continue to do so, provided people such as this brave Western student keep refusing to censor who they are for the sake of a job.

Believe that.




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