EDITORIAL & OPINIONS
We have the
power, like He-Man
To the Editor:
One might find it odd a debt-burdened student like myself supports
Dalton McGuinty’s decision to raise the cap on Ontario’s
hydro rates. In fact, I applaud him for having the guts to
do the right thing. Trying to make enough money to cover
my tuition on minimum wage jobs is difficult and while it
will be more of a struggle to cover my monthly bills when
the rates go up, I will be glad to pay for what I USE!
What some of us fail to realize is we shouldn’t be angry
with Mr. McGuinty for raising the rates, but rather angry with
ourselves for the amount of electricity we waste. It is my
impression there are too many people taking far more than they
need and the unfortunate reality is they do not believe they
should have to pay for it. I am ashamed of these individuals
because it is their excessive lifestyles that drive the rates
up in the first place, making it so much more difficult for
others to make a reasonable living.
Furthermore, we should be looking at the broader perspective
and asking ourselves why governments are left with these massive
deficits in the first place. Obviously it is because overspending
has occurred, but again we fail to recognize the bigger issue — that
people don’t want to pay for what they get! We forget
it costs money to run the programs, institutions and services
that benefit us as members of a democratic society. Instead
of accepting this and paying our taxes happily, we are often
more interested in “our immediate self-serving interests,” as
Mr. McGuinty has brought to light.
Change obviously comes by way of the people, not just it’s
leaders, so it’s up to each of us to make our contribution
towards a system that works. Businesses and households alike
were able to run on reduced power consumption during August’s
blackout, which should make each of us aware that we can and
must use less than we are.
Re: “CFS and CASA worlds apart,” Oct. 31, 2003
To the Editor:
The article and editorial on Canada’s student movement
were remarkably misinformed. The suggestion that any national
student organization was responsible for throwing macaroni
at politicians is complete and utter mythology.
Be careful not to confuse principles with demands. While the
Canadian Federation of Students unites 70 students’ unions
in the belief there should not be financial barriers to higher
education, rather than clumsily demanding NO tuition fees,
CFS presents well-researched recommendations for reducing tuition
fees, improving student financial assistance and increasing
Finally, you incorrectly counterpoise government meetings with
political rallies as mutually exclusive lobbying strategies.
In fact, both work together because respect is earned when
one establishes their political relevancy, not by schmoozing
over wine and cheese. Over the past 22 years, students have
worked together through CFS to produce research reports and
policy submissions that are presented to government through
regular meetings with provincial and federal politicians, bureaucrats
and legislative committees.
However, unless students can offer financial “perks” like
a major corporation can, all the meetings in the world will
not change public policy unless students can prove we enjoy
public support for our issues. To that end, CFS has been successful
in using rallies and other campaigns to apply pressure on politicians
by garnering positive media attention and galvanizing the opinions
of voters. Such tactics stopped devastating student debt increases
in 1995 and a 40 per cent tuition fee hike in 2000.
Unfortunately, such articles serve to create the illusion
of divisions that are more imaginary than real. As students,
our challenge is to work together to create the kind of
broad-based public pressure that makes it impossible for
government not to turn the tide on tuition fee increases
and reinvest in education.
Until we do that, it is students like all of us, not politicians,
whose faces will be full of macaroni.
Canadian Federation of Students
Re: “Birdwatching,” Oct. 29, 2003
To the Editor:
You would think by this stage in our lives, people would be
able to get past the extreme materialism displayed in the
letters concerning Tiffany girls. Frankly, it is disgusting
to see people automatically place others into certain classes
based on nothing more than social status. If someone does
not have a trust fund and their daddy is not a CEO, then
they are classified as a “Campus Crew girl” or
an “American Eagle junkie.”
Apparently, these are offensive terms and these girls are not
worth anyone’s time. Please forgive these people for
not being uber-rich and not being able to afford the items
necessary to be considered attractive.
Many first-year students are wary of attending Western due
to rumours that everyone here is snobby, rich and materialistic.
Personally, I have met many amazing people — some richer,
some poorer — and I have found the people who make judgments
based solely on appearance are not the majority. But it is
statements such as “Go hot or go home” that really
make you question how some people gained admission to university.
Re: “Embryo research yes, human cloning no,” Oct.
To the Editor:
This letter is in regards to Bill C-13 recently passed in the
House of Commons, allowing embryonic research. But more importantly,
this letter is to address those who have a misconception
of what the status of the human embryo is.
Many have sadly been misled into believing embryonic stem cell
research is valid research since it could lead to new developments
of treatments for neurological diseases. Embryonic stem cell
research is not and will never be justified! When the cost
of research demands merciless killing of innocent lives, there
can be no benefit great enough to justify the protocol.
To claim embryonic stem cell research would improve the quality
of life is an ignorant statement since the costs of such research
are much more destructive than the benefits to human life.
Researchers and members of our own Canadian Parliament who
can justify an assault against the human embryo must operate
with a faulty notion of what human dignity is and what human
rights are. The embryo is not just a “mass of cells” or
a “potential” human being: human embryos are 100
per cent human!
Anyone who dares to enter the academic arena must never forget
that if technology advances faster than the wisdom and understanding
of the user then it leads to uncontrolled destruction. To
stop asking ethical questions of what we are doing and
why we are doing it defies all scientific research. God
Melinda A. White
Walk on the
Re: “What would Rosa Parks do?,” Oct. 29, 2003
To the Editor:
I think it is hilarious that every year we continue this debate
about people taking the bus, when it is felt by some they
should have to walk, as opposed to utilizing public transit.
What Mr. Schell failed to remember is that these “first-year
Essexinians/Perths” students paid for a non-refundable
bus pass (the same as you) and are within full entitlement
to use this bus pass. There may be a ton of reasons as to why
they are taking the bus, none of which you know of.
The bus is going to be overcrowded whether or not a few students
board the bus outside of Thompson Arena. Also, many of the
busses, when they are overcrowded, will not stop at the bus
stop to pick up these students.
As for your comment involving “them making you late for
lecture,” if you’re so concerned, then why don’t
YOU be the one who gets up 10-15 minutes earlier and catches
the earlier bus (which by the way, will also probably be packed,
but at 9 a.m. that seems to be the norm!). Or as you so eloquently
stated, “unless there is a freak blizzard or you have
a visible disability, then WALK!.”
Overcrowded buses just seem to be the norm, especially this
year with the double cohort, so I guess we all need to “suck
No rules broken
in election e-mail, but freedoms might be
Re: “Student leaders in SPAM war,” Oct. 31, 2003
To the Editor:
I have some concerns about this particular incident as well
as the questions raised in the e-mails giving rise to it.
Since faculty and students are subject to the same university-wide “Acceptable
Use Agreement” (AUA) on e-mail use, the allegations
of inappropriate use raise concerns for faculty members as
The allegedly offending post was sent to approximately 50 recipients
indicating there is an upcoming municipal election in London,
that student turnout has been very low in the past and that
two Western students are running for office, namely Joshua
Morgan and Dave Forestell. According to the article, one of
the recipients took offense at the posting and filed a complaint
with Information Technology Services on the grounds the posting
was contrary to the Western AUA.
A careful review of the AUA shows this complaint is frivolous.
It goes well beyond the face of the policy, seeking to limit
expressive activities that are an integral part of a university
community and inviting unwarranted interference with the rights
of expression protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. AUA 4.00 states that “[t]he intentional use
of the computing resources for any purpose other than academic,
administrative, and/or incidental, non-commercial personal
use, will be considered to be unauthorized.” Section
5.00 tries to amplify this rather vague standard by providing
specific examples of unacceptable use and although the list
is neither exclusive nor the picture of clarity, the gist of
the examples points to some sort of affirmative misconduct
(i.e. sending fraudulent, harassing or obscene messages, damaging
the facility, circumventing security systems, etc.).
This reference to “incidental, non-commercial personal
use” combined with the standard of proof in section 6.00
(“That proof of a Section 4.00 offense shall be at the
upper end of the balance of probability scale on clear and
cogent evidence”) shows the drafters of the policy were
aware such standards must be carefully crafted in order to
avoid interfering with protected expressive activities. Campus
e-mail is now a significant forum for expression and should
be considered an essential public facility within the university.
Encouraging broad discussion about an upcoming election is
a legitimate expressive activity. Using e-mail to induce voter
turnout or talk about particular candidates of interest to
student voters falls well within the sort of discourse associated
with the university community, what with candidate forums held
on campus, registered clubs affiliated with political parties
and polling stations being located on university facilities.
My concern is not so much that the university will sustain
the complaint, but that this pressure could subtly produce
a chilling effect on expressive activity on the part of others.
Students have told me they are less inclined to talk about
the election on their e-mail because of such “acceptable use” concerns.
If there is even the potential for such an effect on protected expression,
the matter must be clarified immediately. The university should immediately
respond to the complaint by confirming it is groundless.
As to the merits of the reference to particular candidates,
Western students should definitely be made aware that two
of their colleagues are running for local office. Joshua
Morgan and Dave Forestell should be commended not simply
because they seek local office, but because they have done
their homework and have produced well thought-out and articulate
But don’t stop there; there are many other candidates worthy of your
support (and a few not-so-worthy). Do the research, learn about the candidates
and their positions, and go to the polls on Nov. 10. Hopefully, more students
will vote in the upcoming election and maybe even follow Joshua and Dave’s
example and become actively involved in civic affairs.
Now that’s something worth talking about, even on e-mail.
Faculty of Law / Faculty of Information & Media Studies