Administration shuts down U of O luddite group
Jesse Colautti | Fulcrum Staff
THE UNIVERSITY OF Ottawa Luddite Club has officially been shut down by the administration after a lack of participation could no longer warrant the amount of funding they were receiving. The club, whose mandate was “promotion of outdated and more genuine technologies on campus and among students,” had gained notoriety for their unique advertising campaign. The club released a series of hand-drawn posters, with taglines like “Improving lives, one mix tape at a time,” and “Bringing people together like it’s 1989.” Despite their wit, the club had only been able to attract eight members, which was not a high enough enrolment to justify its $1,000 monthly budget.
Sonny Cherdon, chief club facilitator for the U of O, defended the decision to pull the plug on the club.
“Their services just weren’t sustainable. They went out and bought a mahogany record player chest from Value Village, which we allowed because it only cost 25 bucks—but the thing used up the same amount of energy it takes to light the new FSS building,” said Cherdon.
“I’d say the final straw was the Nintendo 64 controller replacement program. It was costing them over $100 each to ship in replacement controllers for students from a novelty store in Japan. Inefficient and redundant technology is expensive,” continued Cherdon.
Jordan Vandeschamp, head of the Luddite Club, says what the university is losing can’t be measured in dollars.
“The club was a safe space for genuine people who rejected the superficial and fragmented technologies of today’s world. Instead of looking at photos of a party on Facebook, each week we’d bring in our parents’ photo albums and look at our toddler photos,” said Vandeschamp in a handwritten letter to the Fulcrum.
“Plus we vetoed reading distorted and simplified pieces of news from Twitter, instead choosing to spend our whole second meeting reading stacks of old newspapers that we got from the library. It was a very substantial experience,” he added.
Samantha Perkins, a third-year English student who attended one of the club’s meetings, believes their limited promotional ability ultimately led to their demise.
“I loved their workshop on creating the perfect mix tape,” she said.
“I was probably the biggest supporter of their low-resolution and chunky TV, but it was just impossible to keep up with what was going on each week. They resolved to avoid new technology entirely, shunning the idea of creating a group on Facebook or texting details of weekly events out to members in favour of more genuine forms of communication, like mailed letters and notes carved in tree trunks.”
The club’s closure has not put an end to luddites on campus. The former group’s members have put up posters this week saying “We’ll be back, just like eight tracks,” and have begun to cold-call the entire student population in hopes of garnering enough support for a petition. However, in the foreseeable future, the only place these luddites will be meeting is at the thrift store.