September 25: Letter to the editor

Re: How not to talk to students: an administrator’s guide

It should come as no surprise that I completely disagree with the Journal’s assessment of the email I sent to the student body on Sept. 10. The many supportive and appreciative comments I have received from students, community members and city partners in response to the email would suggest there are several others out there who would also disagree.

As the leader of this university, it is my responsibility to speak out when the actions of some of our students are inappropriate, disrespectful and — as was the case in this instance — downright dangerous. Apart from my official responsibility for this, as a father of three recent university graduates, I also happen to share the concern of every parent with the health and safety of their child’s environment.

An email to the entire student body is, in essence, an open letter. I wanted to ensure as many students as possible read or heard about its contents. I wish again to thank the many students who have chosen to contribute in positive and constructive ways in order to improve this situation; you are to be commended for your maturity and your leadership. You know who you are and my letter, far from condescension, recognizes that you are in the responsible majority. 

Two further points: the editorial referenced the Commerce Society’s orientation being placed on probation; that was at the hands not of “administration” but of the Senate Orientation Activities Review Board, of which students make up the majority and a student serves as co-chair.

Secondly, I agree that many of our first years (and our community members) were exposed to some of the worst of university behaviour. Am I blaming the student body as a whole? Of course not. Am I blaming those who had illegal keggers that spilled into street parties, forcing the closure of a city road? Indeed I am.

As long as activities such as these continue, I will continue to speak out against them. 

Sincerely,
Daniel Woolf
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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