March 31st, 2014

Commentary | February 9th, 2012
McGill is progressive
A response to "Is McGill really progressive"

A recent commentary piece, written by Davide Masctracci for his column, Balaclava Discourse, criticized McGill’s diverse student body for conforming to society’s status quo and for being the proud owners of vastly inflated egos. The author continued to state that the only reason most students are at McGill is due to our privileged backgrounds, and that our being here has nothing to do with our academic or extracurricular involvements. Never mind the multiple jobs, student clubs, and rigorous coursework we are juggling to remain at McGill; the only reason we are here is because our parents bought into an evil capitalist system and could afford to pay our tuition.

The degree of close mindedness and irrationality that this author displays in this sub-par blog-like piece is frightening. Moreover, Mastracci somehow begins his piece with the above mentioned topics and (as is common in student left-wing discourse) concludes that McGill students are not radical enough. To him, the ideal university student must be one who partakes in ‘radical’ behavior such as sitting in on controversial meetings, or skipping classes to attend tuition hike protests. To him, being a true McGill student seems to mean joining the Mob Squad and disrupting Board of Governor meetings whilst dressed in pirate suits. Forget reforming capitalism, he states, lets just replace it completely (presumably after voting for Karl Marx’s portrait to be hung on campus and calling for a radical switch to communism). If we can’t fix the system, might as well run away and abandon it like children.

Finally, the author criticizes The Daily for not encouraging this rising up of radicalism on campus. He ridicules the paper for publishing stories that defend tuition hikes and the capitalist system we live in. In doing so, he seems to be blatantly disregarding the concept of free speech and is asking our campus publications to ignore a large number of students who would be uncomfortable sharing his opinion. He seems to have already forgotten the opening line of his piece, in which he prides the university setting as being a place for debate and honest discourse.

The true definition of the labels “progressive” and “student radical” are lost upon this columnist. Being progressive at McGill does not mean that you have to introduce radical ideas into our community or attend tuition hike protests. You do not need to buy into radical left wing rhetoric to change the system. As university students, we can be progressive by gaining an education and having unique opinions on tuition hikes and on any inefficiencies we perceive to be existent in society today. And, most importantly, we can be progressive while attending prestigious universities such as McGill – and not have to defend how or why we got here.

Murtaza Shambhoora is a U2 Political Science and Economics student. He can be reached at murtaza.shambhoora@mail.mcgill.ca

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