Letters to the Editors

An open letter to students regarding deregulation

Dear Queen’s Students,

RE: “Hitchcock reflects on year” (Journal, Oct. 28, 2005).

“‘Deregulation’ is a word that bothers me,” said Principal Hitchcock in a recent Journal article. As a student who attended Queen’s during the deregulation debates of 2000-2003, and as a current grad student at York, I can honestly say that tuition deregulation does more than bother me—it scares the hell out of me. What I hope Principal Hitchcock really means is that the word “deregulation” bothers her—as well as the concept.

Former principal William Leggett certainly had trouble enough with that word “deregulation” but loved the concept during his tenure at Queen’s. He learned in a 2000 referendum that 91 per cent of Queen’s students oppose deregulation. He learned that students were willing to occupy his office for a week to oppose deregulation and he knew that students lobbied the government to blockade his proposal.

Principal Leggett knew so well what the word “deregulation” meant to students that he tried to sell the concept under the code word “The Pathfinder Report.” Principal Hitchcock apparently prefers the term “local decisions.” I hope she means something different than what Principal Leggett meant when he implied he preferred to the term “Pathfinder” to “deregulation.” Now, Principal Hitchcock says we shouldn’t assume that “local decisions” will bring “massive increases in tuition levels.” She’s right—there’s no need to assume they will. We know, on the other hand, that some “local decisions,” err ... deregulation, err ... excuse me, “Pathfinder” causes “massive increases.” Queen’s Law Students paid $4,648 in a regulated program in 1999-2000. The tuition in their deregulated program is $8,961 in 2005-2006. The decision to nearly double tuition in five years was, of course, a “local decision.” “Deregulation,” “Pathfinder,” “local decisions.” Get the picture? Students must speak out on this issue.

Principal Hitchcock also said “there’s no body that knows its student body better than the administration and trustees of a particular institution.”

She’s wrong on this point. The student body knows the student body far better than the administration and the trustees do. Queen’s students are Queen’s University. This is your school, your education and your money. Like 91 per cent of students in 2000, make your own “local decision” on this issue—no deregulation.

Jason Ellis
ArtSci ’04, MA ’05 (York)

Vulgar house signs should go

Dear Editors,

RE: “So-called ‘graffiti’ a hallmark of Queen’s Ghetto culture” (Journal, Nov. 1, 2005).

It is a shame that houses such as the “Beaver Dam” and “G-Spot” will soon be losing their “distinctive titles” during the crack down on the Queen’s Ghetto. Excuse the use of a popular music reference, but cry me a river. The real shame in this situation is that the signage and the so-called culture in the student Ghetto have escalated to take on such vulgar terms like “Beaver Dam” and “G-Spot,” and infamous displays such as the reindeer scene on University Avenue of last year. Distinction is the last word I would use to describe these things. Better words would be along the lines of disgusting, degrading and just plain rude.

The students who live in “The Lodge” are not exactly being subjected to extreme hardship by the City although they are getting the short end of the stick. Their time and anger is more productively targeted at their fellow Ghetto-mates who let the situation stoop to such a low level. The City is simply fulfilling its role, whether we like it or not. A key take-away from kindergarten is that we don’t always get exactly what we want. There are laws and standards in society against things such as signage, jaywalking, public intoxication and vandalizing private property. It’s unfortunate that we, as Queen’s students, do not have the liberty to pick and choose which laws we would like to be subjected to at any given time.

A key take-away from university should be a sense of responsibility and more generally, an education. If people feel that sexually degrading signs are the hallmark of the Queen’s Ghetto culture, I suggest those same people might want to spend a little more time focusing on their education to learn about the implications of having such a culture. Your valiant efforts for free speech in house-naming are misguided, petty, lacking perspective and are surely detracting from more important things.

Catherine Shea
Comm ’05, MSc ’06

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