Letters

Apologetically addicted

Re: “U of O is not a smoke-free environment” (Letters, Oct. 6) 

AFTER GLANCING THROUGH the letters to the editor, I came across the “proposition” to have a campus-wide ban on smoking. Really?

I’m not by any means advocating the act—the side effects of smoking are well known and even advertised on the packages they come in, but as a smoker myself, I do what I can to try and keep those with pink lungs that way: Never lighting up when children or pregnant women are around or large groups of people waiting (the bus stop, for instance, which is protected against the evils of smoking already by our city bylaws). But I couldn’t help but voice my three-point platform on the concept of a campus-wide ban of smoking.

Firstly, our diverse campus is right in the middle of downtown Ottawa; eradicating cigarettes from an area that stretches from Lees Avenue to Stewart Street would be a juvenile and red tape-ridden nightmare.

Secondly, taking away outside from smokers could lead to a smoking, coughing, wheezing revolution! The front has been won by the white teethed in restaurants, shopping centres, and all manners of businesses—stepping into the fresh air for a nic-fix is the last (or so I thought) safe haven from the harassment of the non-smoking.

If only one thing is taken from this satirical rant, I hope it’s this last point. Of all the things that should be protested, smoking falls very low on that list. Natural disasters, wars, greenhouse gases—take your pick from all of the above and many more—I’m sure it would better our society if more opinions were voiced about acting against these atrocities and misfortunes instead of taking shots at how bad smokers smell.

If none of what I’ve written has resounded with you, take solace in knowing with each puff we take, we’re closer to not being around to infringe on the freedom of your noses.

Apologetically addicted,

—Shawn Hartwick, Fourth-year social sciences student

 

Show some respect

Re: “I don’t get no respect” (Editorial, Oct. 6)

I COULDN’T HELP but notice the doctored photo of the women’s varsity soccer players in last week’s editorial section. The original image, which appeared one week prior in another issue of the paper, was edited by erasing the women’s ponytails and hiding their jersey numbers to appear as though they were part of the men’s competitive squad.

Does anybody else think that altering the women to look like men is offensive, disrespectful, and just plain strange? Considering the whole article was screaming for more promotion of competitive teams, why didn’t someone from the paper go take a photo of the men’s team to accompany the article? (How’s that for being considered amateurs, boys?) Was it really necessary to alter the gender of female players?

I find the whole ruse quite ironic really, as the doctored image only further proves the author’s point that many athletes on campus really do vanish amidst all the varsity pomp—even some varsity athletes and their ponytails to boot!

I also couldn’t help but be struck by the author’s claim that those same athletes “are probably even more dedicated to their team than most varsity athletes.” It is simply ludicrous to assume that one group trains harder, has more heart, or wants it more than the other. Honestly, does the Fulcrum’s promotion of competitive club athletes really have to come at the expense—or defamation—of varsity athletes? Show a little respect.

—Dylan Barnabe, Third-year English student

 

At the Oct. 3, 2011 meeting of the senate, I protested the chair’s unilateral decision to turn off the senate’s camera, in violation of the senate policy on video recording. Students of this university suffered a harsh struggle in order to obtain filming of the senate, and as a representative of all graduate students in the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Medicine, it was my responsibility to stand by the policy and argue on a point of order for the chair to reverse his decision to turn off the camera.
Near the end of the meeting, you were seated at the front row of the gallery section in the senate meeting room, at the closest proximity to my position at the senate table. As part of my point of order, I stated that a senate member was leaving the room in protest over the disrespectful atmosphere created by the chair’s disregard for senate policy. At this time, in response to my statement, you yelled at me in a hateful tone of voice. Your face was red and you had an angry grimace. You yelled: “Mr. Hickey, you have been expulsed. Why are you still here?!” and then, “What, are you sick in the head?!”
As a result of your outburst, I was intimidated and demeaned. I was made to feel like a lesser member of the assembly by your verbal aggression. I was afraid and taken aback by the violence of your tone of voice and the fact that you were surrounded by other senate members who appeared to support your hostility. It is wrong for a vice-dean and professor to make such a baseless and violent attack on a student in any public space on campus, let alone at a session of the University Senate for other senators, university employees, and community members to witness.
I demand an unqualified written apology from you for aggressing me and defaming me as such at the Oct. 3 meeting of the senate, and to state that you will not act this way at future senate meetings. I also demand that this be followed by a verbal apology at the next senate meeting. I wish to receive the written apology by Monday or I will consider other forms of redress.
I hope to help ensure that no other student will be treated this way by you ever again.
Joseph Hickey
Student senator, Faculty of Graduate Studies, sciences section

DEAR PRESIDENT ALLAN Rock,
Before the agenda of the Oct. 3, 2011 meeting of the senate was adopted, interim chair François Houle ordered the senate’s official camera turned off.
This was the first time since students won filming of the senate in the winter 2009 semester that the senate’s camera was turned off. The Senate’s Policy on Video Recording, Broadcasting, and Picture Taking during the Senate Meetings, available here.

, states:
“Be it resolved: 1) In the present policy, the expression “recording device” includes any equipment that can be used to record either through photography, videotaping, or audio recording, an image, a sound or a conversation and includes cellular
phones and cameras;
2) Meetings of the senate are fully recorded by equipment installed and operated by university personnel. The complete recording can be accessed on the university website.”
Mr. Houle’s unilateral decision to end filming of the Oct. 3 meeting was in violation of the senate’s policy, and I protested this breach of policy on a point of order that was not resolved.
I felt compelled to stand up for this policy, which was won by students who wanted complete public transparency of this public institution’s senate meetings, and I was disappointed by the unruly behaviour of senate that the chair’s disregard generated and that he was not able to solve.
Not only was Mr. Houle’s action unwarranted, but it was also unnecessary, since I had already made my point about your continued refusal to attend senate. The invalid business of the senate following the chair’s disregard of my point of order included Mr. Houle overseeing an unfounded exclusion order against me that a majority of students opposed.
At this stage, I ask that you grant the members of the senate the collegial courtesy of informing them of your reasons for being absent from senate, particularly from the last two meetings.
Let’s go back to senate business, and let’s do it in the transparent way that was initiated at the University of Ottawa and that Canada’s university can be proud of.
Joseph Hickey
Student senator, Faculty of Graduate Studies, sciences section