January 23, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 63  

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He without sin cast the first dart

To the Editor:
Over the semester, I have found your weekly feature “Celebrity Dartboard” amusing at first. Unfortunately, any amusement that existed has faded, and the only thing left is a weekly feature as predictable as Britney Spears’ new album. Every week one “lucky” celebrity is chosen to be a part of your ruthless banter and subjected to a tried and tested formula: make fun of their physical features, point out their failures and disregard any positive work they have done.

When Barbra Streisand was chosen as one your targets, nothing was mentioned about her accomplishments. Streisand has not only won countless awards, but also started The Streisand Foundation. Her foundation is committed to providing equality for women, protection of human and civil rights, needs of children at risk in society and preservation of the environment. I believe these efforts are well worth noting, and less comments should be made about the size of her nose which is apparently “the size of Manhattan.”

I understand celebrities are in the spotlight and for this reason are more prone to be judged. But what does The Gazette or any of its readers achieve by reading continual comments made about the lows these stars fall to? Does hanging up a picture of Halle Berry and throwing darts at her make us feel better? I do not feel any better; in fact, I feel about as low as you make you her sound in this past week’s Celebrity Dartboard section.

Amanda Martin
Media, information and technoculture III

IAC shunned?

Re: “Mid-East flyer causes uproar,” Jan. 21, 2004

To the Editor:
The Israel Action Committee is in the cross-hairs of students and the University Students’ Council for distributing provocative posters and leaflets around campus. Normally, there would be no fault in this (provided the criticisms are truly valid), but opponents of Israel and opponents of the IAC do not seem to be subjected to the same criticisms.

I have seen propaganda portraying Israel as a vile, heartless nation that is building an “Apartheid Wall” pass on campus with no interjection from students or the USC.

If the USC is going to censor their clubs, then they should be consistent across all clubs.

Jacob Gilman
Administrative and commercial studies III

Nobody WINs with stereotypes

Re: “If we had $20 million to spend,” Jan. 21, 2004

To the Editor:
Apparently the editors of The Gazette missed the large walking, talking and picture- taking vagina walking around the University Community Centre atrium on Tuesday afternoon. If they had, they might not be so quick to feel inclined to “run out and buy those feminists a sense of humour.”

While I am inclined to dismiss this misinformed statement as the ignorance of one quick-to-stereotype and grossly simple-minded individual, personal experience with the stigma attached to the Women’s Issues Network and feminism in general tells me that this is a view held by more than one on Western’s campus. The statement that feminists are humourless represents a deeply misguided and ignorant view of feminism, and as a Western student, I am repulsed The Gazette would propagate such a stereotype. Not only does it paint an inaccurate portrait of feminists, perhaps most dangerously it implies that feminist issues should not be taken seriously (“come on ladies? can’t you take a joke?”).

Feminist’s issues are EVERYONE’S issues, and until people look beyond their own biases, there is still a lot of work to be done through raising awareness.

Ironically, this statement was published a day before WIN’s informal discussion panel “Ask A WINner,” designed to disquiet myths that surround this largely misunderstood term. A personal invitation was extended to the Editor-in-Chief to come to the UCC atrium Thursday at noon with questions, comments and criticisms.

Jen Wheatley
Media, information and technoculture III

VPs defend tuition freeze

Re: “The Liberals’ quick fix,” Jan. 15, 2004

To the Editor:
We have a friend in engineering. She’s young, but married with an unemployed husband who’s also an engineer. The Ontario Student Assistance Plan, along with the University of Waterloo’s bursary program, expects her to live with $1,500 in assistance. Luckily, right now, by working part-time, she’s been able to make ends meet as a student. Sometimes it’s a stretch, like when she almost got evicted for paying rent two weeks late or when she finally broke down and hit the food bank, but she’s been able to make do.

She was thrilled when she heard about the tuition freeze because, simply put, she wouldn’t be able to afford registering in courses next fall if tuition had again gone up by 15 per cent. The freeze has saved her over $1,000 in tuition next year. Of course, in your editorial, you characterized her plight as “petty” and said her support of the tuition freeze was a “slap in the face of students.”

Over the past decade, tuition has gone up 137 per cent over inflation. All students have had to share those costs. It’s also true, as your editorial suggested, that neither provincial nor institutional financial aid has been able to keep up. Keep this in mind: in the same time, both federal and provincial funding has decreased. Across the country, the feds have now cut over $2.5 billion from university funding. Ontario’s per-student funding has gone down by 10 per cent.

The problem isn’t, as you claim, that the Liberals are following through on their promise to freeze tuition, a promise we can only hope will lead to real change in the way universities and students are financed. The problem is another promise the Liberals broke — the one to increase per-student funding to the national average. Keeping that promise would pay for the tuition freeze for the next eight years.

It is scary to imagine the Liberals might use the two-year freeze to shift blame for university under-funding onto students. But it’s scarier that The Gazette is already doing so and calling students petty for wanting to stay out of the poor house and avoid unmanageable debts.

David Ford
University Students’ Council

Liam McHugh-Russell
University of Waterloo
Federation of Students

Students question the “ideal” USC prez

Re: “Wanted: a USC prez,” Jan. 20, 2004

To the Editor:
I would like to thank Myron Belej for expressing so eloquently what, for so long, I was afraid to express.
Yes, I too, would like a leader that divides the student body on hotly debated polemics not relevant to academic life and student politics, and who alienates large portions of the student body through his pro-active approach. Certainly I do not want a president that is willing to make practical compromises when the need arises. What Western needs is a divisive leader that drives council by his own hard-line moral whip and compass.

With stipulating the exact criteria of an appropriate president, Mr. Belej hit the nail on the head. For too long students in Saugeen-Maitland Hall have been using contraception. For too long, pro-peer-to-peer-file-sharing students have drained the bandwidth of campus residences. For too long, has the University Students’ Council been complacent with pornography. For too long, have we been united, instead of divided, by our differences of faith and stance on abortion.

It is time for a candidate of Mr. Belej’s approval to take office as the USC president. Or perhaps Mr. Belej should again run for president (and lose), and hopefully learn this time that the bigotry which he has uttered forth is not supported by more than a handful of his zombies.

James Bone
King’s College History II

To the Editor:
Anti-contraceptives? Now that’s an item on the agenda I hope our University Students’ Council president addresses in their campaign. What better way to help students out than by removing the free condoms available in Student Health Services? On the same note, remove ’em from the campus residences too. And naturally, why not just remove the sexual education programs in residences, because they hand out condoms too. At least this way the “you’ll find out when you’re older” routine, with a side order of “you play, you pay” is a sure-fire way to educate. No questions, problems, pregnancies or STDs can be too big or small to hide under the carpet!
Pro-abstinence? Maybe. Pro sex-ed? Hopefully. Anti-contraceptive? What the fuck?

Josh Nosflow
Electrical Engineering II



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