Letters to the Editors

Who represents international students’ interests?

Re: “International student fees increase” (Journal, Mar. 19, 2004)

I would like to add to this article that international undergraduate students in Applied Science were also contacted about a presentation and a discussion about the international student fees on March 16, the same day as the forum for Arts and Science.

An e-mail was sent out to inform us of the forum on March 5, which was ironically the same day as the Board of Trustees’ meeting, which, according to Ms. Knitter in this article, is where the fee increase was approved.

I would also like to point out that figures represented in percentages may not necessarily represent the impact of these international student fee increases. For instance, international fees for Applied Science students are increasing by $1,332, or eight per cent of $16,650.

This increase of $1,332 seems to be more than what you may be able to earn in a school year by working on campus. International students on student permits cannot work off campus.

Regulated programs, such as Arts and Science, are increasing by $520, or four per cent, but Arts and Science increased their international student fees by $2,330, or 20 per cent, last year.

In contrast, domestic fees for Applied Science students were originally proposed to increase by $540, or eight per cent, which will most likely be frozen. So, I have come to wonder why international students were not consulted regarding the tuition increase way before the time that it occurred.

I believe that the University needs to provide a clear long-term fee schedule for international students.

But more importantly, the concerns of international students, which are so different from those of Canadian students, should be handled within the student government first.

I am more concerned that the AMS does not have anyone appointed to represent the international students and deal with international student issues.

Some universities across Canada, such as McGill and the University of British Columbia, have international students representing their voices in their student governments.

Even though the total enrolment of international students in undergraduate programs is about four to five per cent, we are the ones who bring diversity, multiculturalism and internationalism to Kingston, something clearly stated in the Queen’s missionary phrase, “preparing leaders and citizens for a global society.”

We, the international students, love Queen’s and we love being here.

So why not share some concerns and respect for those who have made a huge commitment to be here from all over the world?

Yuki Yamashita
Sci ’07

Postering laws stifle free speech

On Saturday, Mar. 20, I, like millions across the globe, marched against the occupation of Iraq. I learned of this public demonstration from posters on utility poles along University Avenue.

On Sunday, I was incensed to find student volunteers stripping posters from these same poles, while a utility worker put up signs warning of a $5,000 fine for postering. This apparently was undertaken with the approval of City Hall and members of Queen’s AMS. It stinks and it must be stopped!

About 10 years ago, Peterborough artist Ken Ramsden was fined under an anti-postering by-law for advertising his band’s shows. Ramsden fought his case to the Supreme Court and eventually secured the right to poster on publicly-owned utility poles.

The Supreme Court stated that a complete ban on postering was an unnecessarily gross restriction of Ramsden’s freedom of expression.

Returning to Kingston, the utility that owns the poles in the student ghetto is owned by the City of Kingston, hence those poles are publicly-owned.

Moreover, the City will enforce the utility’s ban on postering, but it has not offered alternative public places of similar worth in attracting people’s attention where individuals and groups can freely poster and publicize their political, religious, moral or aesthetic interests and activities.

One might be inclined to ask: who cares? You can always write a letter to a paper, advertise on one of Queen’s notice boards or put up a web page.

Possibly, but each of these venues come with their own little censor, who can filter out any views or opinions which he or she doesn’t fancy. And none of these alternatives offer unfettered access to the citizens of Kingston the way postering does.

Ramsden apparently secured a part of the commons—utility poles-for public speech. City Hall disagrees and is intent on privatizing this public space.

Ask yourself: if this is not stopped, what will be privatized next? The library? The parks? The sidewalks? The schools? How much space will be left for public speech or thought?

Freedom, whether for Canadians or Iraqis, is not free. It is only gained and maintained by struggle against those who would steal it from us.

Leo Butler
PhD ’00

Surpreme Court supports freedom to poster

Re: “City Threatens to Fine for Postering” (Journal, March 26, 2003)

I was informed by your article that the City of Kingston has a by-law prohibiting postering within the Queen’s vicinity. I would like to draw attention to the 1993 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Ramsden v. Peterborough.

Please note that section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states everyone is entitled to the fundamental freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.

In the case, a local musician group attempted to advertise their performances by affixing posters to utility poles, which was contrary to a city by-law banning posters on public property.

In that decision, the majority of the Supreme Court held that “postering conveys or attempts to convey a meaning, regardless of whether it constitutes advertising, political speech or art.” The court found that, “the first part of the s. 2(b) test is satisfied.” Furthermore, the Supreme Court considered the prohibition as preventing the communication of political, cultural and artistic messages and therefore, infringed upon section 2(b).

Finally, the Supreme Court recognized the importance of keeping utility poles and other areas clear of such material. However, they noted, “while the legislative goals were important, they did not warrant the complete denial of access to a historically and politically significant form of expression.”

The situation in Kingston can be described as similar to this case. Judging by the decision, the content of the posters placed on utility poles by students would be accorded the highest degree of protection.

Similar to this case, these posters not only advertise local musician groups but also alert students as to various other events around campus. For example, anti-war demonstrations, guest speakers, study tips, local gatherings, charitable fundraisers and a host of other events. Thus, this type of communication would be considered to be at the core of freedom of expression.

Turath Khalil
Law ’05

“Bennifer” more important than dance recital?

After wrapping up Queen’s Dance Club’s annual recital, “Dance Xposed,” we awaited the publication of the Journal to see how the show had been reviewed. Although the March 26 edition of the Journal contained a lovely full page spread of photos, there was no review to accompany the pictures. Nothing, no words other than “Dance Xposed.” Without knowledge of the show, one would not have even known what the photos were for.

The Journal’s failure to cover the recital was even more frustrating in light of the fact that the club contacted the paper well in advance to inform them of the event, even inviting them to our dress rehearsal so that the show might have been covered in the Friday, March 19 paper, published during the show’s run.

In total, we made one phone call and sent two emails giving details about the show. One of us also, in her own time, had casual conversations with three different Journal staff members about it.

To our knowledge, three different Journal writers attended. So why didn’t they write anything? One of these writers, upon his arrival, asked us if we knew “where the photographer was.” We replied that we didn’t know who the photographer was, or whether one was coming at all, since we hadn’t heard anything from the Journal about the matter.

With over 600 students involved, QDC is one of the largest recreational clubs on campus and the largest club of its kind in Canada. Our four shows, almost all of which were sold out to capacity of 700, involved many members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities alike.

What does the Journal consider newsworthy if not an event involving so much time and effort and attracting so much attention from so many students? Evidently, a one-and-a-half-page spread on “Bennifer” was deemed to warrant greater attention.

In order for news to be printed, must Journal staffers be escorted to events with someone standing over their shoulder ensuring they have a pen in hand? We, as presidents of the club and therefore as representatives of the students involved, could not have done more to attempt to assist the Journal in the pursuit of a local and relevant news story. Seemingly, the Journal itself could not have done less.

Tiiu Hanemann and Kerry McKibbin
ConEd ’04 and ArtSci ’04

QEA Battle of the Bands an event to remember

QEA's Battle of the Bands was the best event to hit Queen's all year. For those of you who were there, cherish the memories. And for those who weren't, I feel sorry for you suckers.

Anastasia Reid
ConEd '05

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