Commentary  Letters

Wikipedia was down….

Dear Daily,

I read in your (very thorough – props!) Education Pullout (October 29) that the United Kingdom is not a member of the European Union. I find this very interesting. The reason I find this so interesting is that it’s actually no longer true.

Oh, Daily, you’re usually so well-informed but this time you’re just a tiny bit out of date. 39 years and 11 months out of date, to be precise. The UK joined the EU, along with Ireland and Denmark, on January 1, 1973. (We can quibble about what “European Union” meant before the Maastricht Treaty’s  ratification in 1993, but in any case that was twenty years ago so the point stands.)

What I find interesting is how widespread the misconception is. I’m assuming it’s because we Britons don’t use the euro as our currency (non-EU-ites often conflate the two). But that said, Danes and Swedes don’t use the euro either, and you don’t hear people doubting their membership.

You could ask why this even matters. Who cares if The Daily misprinted something? I can understand that to Canadians the EU is largely irrelevant. So all I’ll say is that to me, personally, it matters a great deal: if the UK hadn’t been an EU member then British citizens wouldn’t have been allowed into the EU civil service, so my parents would never have been colleagues at the European Court of Justice in 1992 and I would not be here typing these words.

Anyway, Daily, I won’t press the point. Rest assured, I love you really. But do be careful in future: if you print inaccuracies, hordes of annoying know-it-alls will just write to you to point them out, so it’s in your best interest really.

—Sam Baker

U3 Honours Economics



Say what you like

Dear Daily,

The ‘Halloween Blackface Incident’ has unsurprisingly caused quite a commotion on our campus, but as with any discussion surrounding an emotionally-loaded topic, it’s important to be mindful of the particular language one chooses to employ.

One such word conjured up in the controversy is “discrimination.” Discrimination is a very real thing and it comes in many forms, all to the detriment of the marginalized group. But discrimination requires action; it implies different treatment for different groups. So when The Daily’s editorial reads, “It is their [SSMU] responsibility, however, to call out such discrimination…and this absolutely necessitates banning blackface,” I can’t help but feel that the true act of discrimination in that instance would be in actively barring entry for people donning costumes that were ‘disapproved of.’

The costume was without a doubt insensitive and inflammatory. It is ignorant more than anything else, for the blackface wearer to somehow fail to predict that people would be offended (clearly he doesn’t read The Daily). But I can’t avoid feeling that it is somewhat hypocritical to consider oneself tolerant while at the same time failing to accept the perceived intolerance of others. Freedom of speech only makes sense if it is extended to all views.

I’m coming from the perspective of a member of the “white male hegemony,” so obviously I can’t claim to understand the shock and insult felt by a person of colour witnessing a drunk 4Floorer seemingly patronizing their race. But I am Jewish, and did see an Asian guy dressed in a caricature Hassidic Orthodox Jewish outfit on Halloween, and I did have a knee-jerk reaction to be offended. But I would honestly be more offended if he were banned from campus simply because his sense of humour differed from mine.

—Eitan Blander

U4 Psychology



Much more detergent needed

Dear Daily,

I’m often reminded that the Compendium! section of The Daily is done in “good fun,” and I’m often a fan of its SSMUniverse-relevant humour, but as a female student (full disclosure, though: in Arts), I take offense to your sarcastic piece, “Physics named most misogynistic department” (Compendium, October 18, page 16). Not only does it make a tasteless joke of misogyny – a real, serious, and violent fact of society – but it also just simply doesn’t help: If those who care so passionately about these issues are ever to change the existing systemic sexism, there’s nothing that helps less than deriding already-defensive perceived perpetrators. It’s long past time to start an actual conversation with those in these often-picked-on departments instead of consistently pointing elitist Arts student fingers at them (e.g., “Hey POWE [Promoting Opportunities for Women in Engineering], what do you think about this? How can we work together?”). Further, although certain fields have well-known systemic sexist cultures, it would be interesting to look more into how these issues manifest outside McConnell and Rutherford, perhaps in more subtle but just as damaging ways.

The fact that Commentary writers such as the author of the famous “Ro-dee-no” (Commentary, September 6, page 11) piece make some solid points about the damaging effects of sexism done in “good fun” while your own (presumably) staff writers do exactly that is shocking. This blatantly defies your “anti-oppressive” statement of principles, alienates a probable majority of the student body (who could otherwise be allies), and could even be triggering to many women who actually live these realities. Seriously, guys? Please clean up your act.

—Allison Cooper

SSMU VP Clubs & Services



What he said…

Dear Daily,

“Weinstein talks Campaign McGill” (News, October 15, page 6) should be seen from a perspective of two main achievements that can be used for further PR promotion of the University.

The first success concerns “the University’s five-year, $750-million fundraising campaign” that can be easily portrayed as the best in the art of begging in Canada and Quebec. This questionable ‘education’ starts in our public primary schools, where pupils are asked to collect single dollars among close neighbours or family members. It is continued in high schools with the teenagers collecting many times more dollars in shopping centres. At McGill, students learn that the art of begging for education can reach unlimited levels of top millions with a proud conclusion that the best achievers are supposed to represent the best university or vice versa.

The second success is that such competitive fundraising on all levels can be strictly correlated with the salaries of the principals on the all mentioned above and gradually raising levels.

The point is that after accepting this perspective we should feel proud that our principal Heather Munroe-Blum has the biggest salary and even demand a raise for her.

—Slawomir Poplawski

Former McGill staff member



Errata-city up here

Dear Daily,

I wish to draw your attention to a number of errors and gaps in your partial graphic depiction of McGill’s Board of Governors contained in the edition of Monday, October 29 (Education pullout, page 7).

Your presentation of the Board neglected to include the ten representatives of students, faculty, and administrative and support staff at McGill – all of whom make an invaluable contribution to the Board  and have their own interesting profiles.

They are: Kenneth Hastings and Amir Raz, representing Academic Staff; Ron Critchley and David Kalant, representing Administrative and Support Staff; Gary Pekeles and David Harpp, representing Senate; Josh Redel, representing SSMU; Jonathan Mooney, representing PGSS; and two student observers, Nadia Houri, representing MACES; and Eric Brulé-Champagne, representing MCSS.

In addition, the graphic contained the following errors:

Neither the Principal nor the Chancellor is a member-at-large or an alumni rep. At the moment we have ten members-at-large; the two vacancies are to be filled effective January 1.

Principal Heather Munroe-Blum is not a member of Yellow Media’s Board of Directors.

The profile of Board member Peter Coughlin appears twice and the second time his info is attributed to Martine Turcotte. There is no profile on Mme. Turcotte elsewhere in the item.

Gerald Butts is no longer president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, having resigned recently to pursue other activities.

If you have further questions, please contact me.

—Stephen Strople


McGill University