November 18, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 44  

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Get off the shed!

To the Editor:
Here are my thoughts on the recent Tiffany’s Bracelet commentary...

Shut up. Both sides. Seriously. This is becoming plain annoying. I bet Western is not the only school where girls own expensive jewelry. I agree a blatant display of materialism is quite irritating, but there are current issues far more important.

I’ll provide a list: the illegitimate war in Iraq; the departure of our prime minister of a decade; the turmoil in the Middle East; the uniting of the political right in Canada or the sheer comedic genius of Will Ferrell.

These are just a few issues of the day. Go ahead and discuss! You’re my boy, Blue!

J. Kendall Cumming
Honors History/Political Science IV

Clarification from UWOFA

Re: “Sessionals getting shafted,” Oct. 13, 2003

To the Editor:

I was pleased to see an article and editorial on part-time faculty in The Gazette. Consideration of the plight of “sessionals” is important, especially given that as of October, more than 400 people were classified as part-time members of the bargaining unit of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association.

To really understand whether or not our sessionals are being shafted, some clarifications of the information provided in the article are in order. First, the definition of a part-time faculty member as someone “teaching one full course” is not completely correct. To be defined as a part-time member for the purposes of determining membership in the Bargaining Unit of UWOFA, one has to teach at least one full-time course in the fiscal year. Many so-called part-time faculty teach a full course load or greater and many have active research programs. As such, calling them “part-time” is a misnomer.

Second, the quotes attributed to me in the article were in reference to unhappiness expressed by those (so-called) part-time members who have been proffered full-time limited term contracts, as determined by the conditions of the Collective Agreement ratified this past May. Although the standard workload is 40 per cent teaching, 40 per cent research and 20 per cent service, most of the contracts I have seen give no credit to the research activities of many of our so-called part-timers, and have calculated the teaching component as 80 per cent of their workload. Consequently, such faculty would be asked to teach up to five full courses for a salary less than they would earn if they were paid per course as a part-time member! Also, to my surprise, the salary offered in these contracts does not appear to differ as a function of experience: your professor may have been offered the same salary after 20 years as a (so-called) part-time faculty member at Western as one who has served this Academy for seven or eight years.

Albert Katz
UWOFA President

Respect Life

Re: “The Hard Sell of Stem Cell Research,” Nov. 13, 2003

To the Editor:

Mr. Buczkowski, your comments on my stand surrounding embryonic stem cell research seem to be irrelevant. It is clear you have missed my point, so let’s try this again. I have no idea how you were able to justify Bill C-13 based on the fact that only “discarded embryos” left over from in vitro fertilization procedures would be used. Since when is “discarding embryos” morally acceptable? What a total disrespect for life!

As for the rest of your letter, what does “stringent government guidelines” mean? Absolutely nothing. Just because the bill has been tossed around for 10 years does not automatically grant it the authority to be passed. I challenge you to start asking questions instead of accepting what society says and does.

Just because these embryos were destined to be “discarded” does not validate the research.

To state “the ethical questions have been asked” and “it is time to take the next step” is an illogical deduction, especially if the ethical questions have NOT been answered properly. There is no way to regulate and license the death of thousands of humans for the sake of research. It is sad you think the benefits of embryonic stem cell research for all of humanity outweigh the cost.

Perhaps, you do not realize what the cost really is and this is why you, along with the rest of secular society, fail to see the importance of this issue. I will keep all of you in my prayers. Some day you will understand.

Melinda A. White
Physiology IV

Missed vote = wet raincoat

To the Editor:
It was great to see two Western students — Josh Morgan (running for city councillor) and Dave Forestell (running for school board trustee) — trying to provide a voice for students in the London municipal election. Josh lost his race by approximately 4,700 votes; Dave lost his race by approximately 400.

About 10,000 Western students were eligible to vote, but few did. The reason students have no voice is because they choose not to participate. The Gazette did next to nothing to cover the election and the University Students’ Council’s SmartVote campaign was abysmal in comparison to the excellent campaign they undertook during the provincial election — residence officials also prevented candidates from distributing information during the municipal election.

For the next three years, as Western students and London residents, we will be ignored by the policy makers of this city and it’s our own fault. Think about that next time a full LTC bus flies by you as you’re waiting in the rain.

Mike Wilson
Economics I



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