EDITORIAL & OPINIONS
Patronizing not the way
Re: "Speaker not an academic scholar," Oct.
To the Editor:
The type of opinions set forward in this piece are precisely
the reason "the cloud of anti-Israel attitudes" (as
Paul Rakowski put it in a recent memo to Jewish Students' Union
students) are rising on campus. Unfortunately for Mr. Rakowski
and the other leaders of this "Israel Action Committee," the
method they are using to address these rising attitudes is
exactly what is causing the cloud to grow.
The goal of the IAC seems to be to tell everyone how great
Israel is and how wrong they are when they dare criticize Israel's
domestic policies in any way (Gazette cartoons of the last
few days captured this point perfectly). By creating an isolationist
policy where they take it upon themselves to educate the apparently
misinformed university students around them, they put themselves
in an unpopular paternal position. Instead of realizing the
people around them are for the most part very educated and
are in university to gain knowledge, they seem to think Western
students don't watch the news or keep up with current events
enough to have a valid opinion on the topic.
The IAC needs to get their act together and open up dialogue
with the very students they are treating like children. Find
out why students are angry at Israel instead of telling them
how they should feel. Mr. Rakowski, you do not "strongly
support academic debate," but seem only concerned with
the spread of religiously biased attitudes - sounds to me you
are seeking higher education for the wrong reasons. Your attitude
isn't welcome at a free-minded institution - it only stagnates
the learning of the rest of us.
To the Editor:
The editorial comic on Oct. 1 proved to me The Gazette has
not only reduced itself to the status of mere tabloid, but
it is proud of that dubious distinction. I'm not sure when
you crossed the line from objective to biased reporting, but
rest assured, you have offended many readers.
It is clear to me you published the comics to just get a rise
from the student body - but in doing so you completely compromised
your journalistic integrity. I have grown accustomed to curling
up with The Gazette and my morning coffee; but I will not be
doing that anymore. I'd rather spend my time reading something
that does not make me sick.
Finkelstein should take Speech 020
To the Editor:
I attended Norman Finkelstein's lecture knowing my views on
the Middle East would be challenged. Despite this, I was still
shocked when I heard what he had to say. I was especially taken
aback by the positive responses he received from most members
of the audience.
Many acclaimed anti-Israel orators present their rhetoric
so succinctly one finds counter-attacks difficult. Finkelstein
was not this type of speaker. He was rude, crass and childish.
When a lecturer insults those listening to him, he is surely
insecure and does not command respect.
I will admit I felt threatened by Finkelstein's presentation
- how could I not when a room full of people jeered at the
mention of the Jewish Holocaust which all four of my grandparents
survived? - but mostly I was amused. Could anyone really take
this guy seriously? I know other self-hating Jews who are far
more eloquent and are better at spewing forth anti-Israel propaganda
than Finkelstein. The organizers of last week's event should
just ask me for their names next time.
To the Editor:
After Norman Finkelstein came to speak at Western, there was
an inordinate amount of controversy regarding what was said.
To try and get a better understanding of what he could have
possibly been trying to accomplish in his speech, I purchased
his book The Holocaust Industry.
After paying my $18.58, I knew something was not right; if
there really is such a thing as a Holocaust Industry,? that
would make him a hypocrite for obvious reasons. So what is
the underlying meaning of all this?
I started reading the book and then I saw it: Apart from my
parents, every family member on both sides was exterminated
by the Nazis... there is a personal motive as well; I do care
about the memory of my family?s persecution.?
Finkelstein, you sly SOB, I finally understand! If a Holocaust
survivor had come to speak, the attendance at the speech would
have been minimal, having only members of the Jewish Students?
Union and the Israel Action Committee there. By introducing
the topic of the Holocaust in such a controversial manner,
the speech drew an enormous and diverse crowd. Above all, the
amount of publication the horrors of the Holocaust has received
because of this is enormous. People who may have known slim
to nothing about the Holocaust are now being forced to learn
and read about it.
The most important message every Holocaust survivor gives
is to never forget. Mr. Finkelstein has chosen the road less
travelled, using controversy to stir a broad awareness and
for this I give him three cheers. I'm sorry if I spoiled his
Living with cancer
To the Editor:
Last year I was a first-year student living at Saugeen-Maitland
Hall, but this year I can not go back to school until January.
Why, one might wonder? Well to start off, in early February
I was diagnosed with cancer after five months of going
to Student Health Services and the University Hospital.
I was put on many medications, diagnosed with many problems
(including getting my wisdom teeth removed) and told nothing
could be done, many times. My room looked like a pharmacy.
I personally felt I was looked at as “a young student,
first time away from home with the stress of having to deal
with a new way of life.” I never felt I was properly
taken care of, especially when the symptoms I had were a perfect
match to my type of cancer. I was always sick, to the point
I couldn’t even attend my classes in the last couple
weeks. Finally my mom decided to take some action and arranged
for me to see a doctor immediately, who only days later diagnosed
Now I am not saying both of these services should not be
used because I know they do work and help many students everyday.
But keep pushing when you know something is wrong and don’t
stop until something is done. Right now I have been cleared
cancer-free, but I still have a long way to go until I can
see the words “in remission” placed on my file.
It’s just sad to know that on my 47th day of being in
the hospital, I got a call from Student Health Services saying
they had me booked for an MRI on Jun. 5. By then it probably
would have been too late.
No USC onus
Re: “Wet/Dry a USC must,” Oct. 3, 2003
To the Editor:
I strongly agree “It is incumbent on the USC to show
leadership and ensure all students have access to a full range
of student programs on campus.” I do not believe, however,
it is the USC’s responsibility to ensure first-year students
have access to bars after 9 p.m. on campus.
Let’s make it clear first year students can and do enjoy
the use of The Wave and The Spoke right now, as long as it
is before 9 p.m.. Anyone can hold meetings there or programming,
as long as it’s before 9 p.m. if they want to include
minors. Underage frosh subsidy fees do not go to waste. As
students we all subsidize our varsity teams, but how many non-varsity
athletes have access to the equipment in Thames Hall, where
varsity athletes have exclusive use?
The real issue here is first-year students don’t get
to enjoy the on-campus bars at night. I believe the USC does
not have an ”onus,” as Mr. Dyson says, to ensure
these two facilities can be used by all. They already are,
even by minors before 9 p.m.. The Wave and The Spoke are bars
and it sucks, but the USC can’t re-write the law books
for the sake of a minority of the student body.
Prez calrifies OSPG recommendations
To the Editor:
While I welcome The Gazette’s coverage of the Orientation
Strategic Planning Group (OSPG) report to the University Students’ Council
(Sep. 24, 2003), I would like to clarify a few statements made
in a recent editorial:
OSPG does not recommend the elimination of charity or info
team sophs: The OSPG report, however, does recommend the role
of all sophs be examined in relation to their dissemination
of information to first-year students. As a result, in future
years there will be an enhancement of the role of charity and
info sophs in the Orientation program.
Wording of the report: In certain places, the wording of the
report is vague as the committee wished to leave room for future
Orientation leaders to interpret recommendations based upon
the context in which they will be planning.
A great deal of the report has already been implemented: Fantasy
has in fact become reality. A large portion of the OSPG report
paralleled Orientation Week 2003 and will continue to be implemented
in the coming year. There need be no fear about whether or
not the recommendations in the report “will ever see
fruition” — most of them already have.
The OSPG report charts a strong direction for Orientation at
Western for the years to come. With the impressive success
of O-Week 2003, future Western first-years can look forward
to the best Orientation program in the country. I invite any
and all students with questions or comments regarding this
report to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to stop by the
University Students’ Council
Re: “Older Folks don’t get gays,” Oct. 2,
To the Editor:
For once the right questions are being asked.
It is true older folks don’t understand homosexuality
or trans issues. I had to listen to my own father making cracks
at court decisions (“oh, I wonder who the bride would
be”) during my closeted years. Thankfully, now that I’m
out, his attitudes, at least outwardly, have seemed to change.
And therein lies the solution. In older generations, not many
people came out for fear of the consequences of homophobia
in the world. A lot of older straight people, therefore, did
not know a whole lot of gay people. And without knowing anyone
well, and knowing they were gay, people became misinformed.
Hence the importance of Coming Out Week (Oct. 6-10). By making
people aware of homosexuality and the issues surrounding it,
people can develop a comfort level with the sexuality of others
and therefore eliminate homophobia.
Grab a Coming Out Week booklet and find out what’s happening!
We’d love to have you!
Math Education II
USC Pride Commissioner