March 4, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 80  

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Bling for wingdings

Re: “MIT-buttal,” Feb. 18, 2004

To the Editor:
Put the Kleenex away, Jody, and calm down. Ol’ Mikey here doesn’t hate you wacky kids in MIT. In fact, I think you’ll find that my proposal really meshes with everything that media, information and technoculture stands for: irony and a seething hatred of the establishment.

What could be more ironic than a guy with no interest in technoculture having the MIT building named after him? Second, if some lowly arts student with limited funds isn’t the direct opposite of a wealthy corporate donor, what is?

And, to Dr. Davenport: you drive a hard bargain, my friend, but perhaps an extra $500 on top of my initial offer might change your mind. I’ll even let you choose the font that the letters will be in! Pick Wingdings for all I care. Pretty generous offer by any standard, I’d say.

Better act now, because I’m getting offered the University of Toronto’s new building on top of the Bata Shoe Museum.

Mike Smith
Visual Art III

Martin must pay the price

To the Editor:
Imagine the uproar that would ensue if University Students’ Council politicos were found to have funnelled student fees to friends and cronies who assisted their election campaigns. Such a scenario is still unfolding in the federal government, and students, who will eventually have to pay the bills, should be outraged.

Thanks to the sponsorship scandal, in which over $100 million of taxpayers’ money was wasted, the public is beginning to recognize the true sleaziness with which the Liberals have mismanaged the nation over the past 10 years.

Despite having been minister of finance and a senior minister from Quebec, Prime Minister Paul Martin pleads ignorance as to what was going on. Oh, please. Canadians deserve a government of integrity and transparency, and the Liberals have proven themselves incapable of providing it.

If a sponsorship scandal played out in the USC, there would be firings, resignations and students would demand their money back. In the next federal election, let’s throw the Liberals out and demand our government back.

Stephen Yantzi
President, UWO Conservative Association

A double standard?

To the Editor:
Perhaps someone can explain the current state of affairs in our country. I have been reading more and more about men’s organizations and sports having to allow women onto teams. Now I completely agree with this if there are no women’s organizations/leagues, but the fact is that in many cases they do exist. My question is why are there women-only groups while men-only groups are banned?

I’ll go through a few examples:

1) Boy Scouts — they are now forced to go co-ed even though there are still Girl Guides.

2) Health clubs — all clubs cannot be men-only or even be made to prefer male patrons. After men’s clubs vanish there is “curves for women” and women-only Goodlife Fitness Clubs.

3) Golf/soccer/curling — all have leagues for men and women but women are allowed to play in the men’s leagues.

These are just a few examples of things that are happening. In terms of sports, if there is going to be a co-ed league instead of a men-only league, abolish the women’s league as well as the men-only one. Why should one sex get a league while the other is open to everyone? Why do we abolish sexism in one case but turn a blind eye in another? Isn’t unequal rights and the abuse of power what political correctness and feminism are supposed to be fighting instead of aiding to institute? If equal rights are the goal, then why are more inequalities being created?

Andrew Wallace
Master’s Engineering II

Universities need to come clean

Re: “Universities to fall under new Info Act?” Feb. 19, 2004

To the Editor:
I wanted to clarify the existing legal issues pertaining to universities falling under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Ontario universities have the power to design their own information policies by virtue of not being caught under the types of institutional bodies to which the provincial legislation applies. What this means in practical terms is that Ontario universities all have custom designed information policies governing access to information requests. In creating their information policies, the Council for Ontario Universities issued a set of guidelines for the schools to follow. These guidelines made it clear that information policies, although custom designed, needed to uphold the spirit of the provincial Freedom to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

I was dismayed upon learning that the executive director of the COU was unaware of whether or not the Ontario universities had either ratified the guidelines or drawn up similar documents for their policies. What is worse is that Ontario universities have information policies that are inconsistent, confusing and contrary to the intent and spirit of the Freedom to Information Act.

In almost all of the university policies, requests for information can be denied without a legitimate reason, and the university president, who does not play a role at any other stage of the request for access, is given ultimate decision-making power over whether or not a request for access is denied. Most of the information policies deny consideration of requests for access to information unless one is a member of the university community, going against the overall policy rationale of supporting public access to information.

The solution is simple: amendments to include universities under the breadth of the Freedom of Information Act are necessary to avoid universities making a mockery of the access to information regime. Amendments could take into account the special needs of the university setting, and are not only in the best interests of the universities, but the public at large.

Leila Rafi
Law II



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