Gazette quips undermine moral issues

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

To the editor:
On Tuesday, March 18, I attended a discussion panel on the topic of campus militarization. The next day, I was reading the latest issue of The Gazette and I saw the line “How to: Smoke a cig like a Frenchman.”

I expected a clever humour piece, so I was stunned when I realized it was a quip in response to the printed photo of Tony Weiss, one of the panelists at the discussion. The text accompanying the photo led off with another title: “You shouldn’t bomb this test, because you’re sniping this concept.”

My impression from the panel discussion was there are people on this campus who strongly support Western’s commitment to ethical responsibility, in this case concerning ethical research. This currently involves a mandatory ethical review of all research proposals involving human or animal subjects to be assessed and potentially approved by either the Health Sciences Research Ethics Board or the Social or Behavioral Sciences/Humanities Research Ethics Board.

The image used as fodder, as well as the target of the off-colour warfare pun “Sounds like a blast,” devalued an event organized around the sustention of these commitments.

I’m curious to know whether the author of this text is pissing over Western’s image as a community-leading institution committed to ethical practices with the explicit support of the editors or if this nonchalant trivialization of Western’s integrity is isolated.

I believe every part of this institution should be bound by the same ethical expectations, and the ignorance displayed in the March 19 issue suggests The Gazette does not care to take Western’s ethical policies seriously and is fueling its critics’ popular belief that The Gazette is a medium devoid of substance.
"Adam Mantha
Philosophy & MIT II

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