Student, townie split made worse by councillor

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “Poor reporting furthers the divide”
Jan. 30, 2007

To the Editor:
I agree the London Free Press' coverage of the recent fatal stabbing on Ambleside Drive was very biased. However, the real culprit isn’t the newspaper, but city councillor Nancy Branscombe. Branscombe, who represents the ward in which Western is located, ran on a platform of defending local residents from the perils of student housing. Now, she is blatantly electioneering this tragic incident.

Councillor Branscombe was quoted in the Free Press saying: “I’m not blaming students. But when you allow these concentrations [of them] in your neighbourhood, they turn into student ghettos.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like she is precisely blaming this incident on students.

A former candidate for the far right-wing Canadian Alliance, Branscombe called for Londoners to “take back the streets” and claims “people are fearful living in their homes and now they are afraid to go out of their house.”

This dangerous rhetoric is unproductive and an unfair characterization of students. Sadly, Branscombe won the Ward 6 election against paramedic Stephen Turner, who ran on the platform of building strong communities that integrate students and permanent residents in ways that benefit the community. As residents of Ward 6, students should be outraged at their lack of representation on city council.
"Megan Mattos
Psychology II, Brescia

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