David Gilmour, a University of Toronto literature professor, sparked controversy with remarks he made during a recent interview with a literary magazine. Gilmour said that he only teaches books by “serious heterosexual guys” and that none of his favorite authors happened to be “Chinese, or women.” Gilmour’s comments are misguided because he has a responsibility to teach students using diverse sources and materials. The class in question, “Love, Sex and Death in Modern Short Fiction”, is a general course and therefore, calls for the inclusion of female authors. However, while Gilmour’s comments were regrettable, the backlash he’s been subjected to is far from perfect. The current tendency on university campuses is to scrutinize those who aren’t strictly politically correct, and in this situation, unfortunately, criticism has been overblown. Gilmour should continue to exercise his freedom as an academic but should be wary of potential repercussions. He should take more discretion with his comments and have a greater consideration of his responsibility to students.
Migrant workers in Qatar have been subject to horrendous labour practices and conditions in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup, which they will be hosting. Many workers have died thus far, with reports of forced work in extreme heat and other egregious abuses. The fact that the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) would give the World Cup hosting duties to a country with such terrible labour practices is a testament to that organization’s deep-seated corruption. FIFA should take significant action in light of how labourers are treated in Qatar, but no one should hold their breath. What is supposed to be global celebration of athletic meritocracy will now be a very political symbol of exploitation and misery.
The AMS’s failure to see its promise of a “campus safety audit” to fruition is another reminder of the tendency that political representatives have to overreach. The audit ended up being completed by campus security after two student volunteers did not make much progress. What’s worse is that the current and former Municipal Affairs Commissioners only revealed publically that the project would not be fully completed when they were asked 11 months later by the Journal. Why was there no public announcement that plans had changed? Student governments, like all governments, should be actively transparent.
A recent fashion show run by designer Rick Owens was intended to push boundaries, and it succeeded. The designer hired “step-dancers” from American colleges to perform and walk the runway in his new line. The overall presentation was theatrical and expressive as the dancers put on facial expressions and did movements that aren’t seen at an typical fashion show. The models themselves undermined the racist beauty ideal expected in the fashion industry as they were a racially diverse group, a large percentage being African-American. This type of exciting performance, which incorporates new elements and new performers, probably won’t catch on in the fashion world, and that’s a shame. It’s likely that Rick Owens felt comfortable differing from the norm because he’s such a prominent designer ― others likely won’t take similar risks.
The AMS’s enrolment policy paper is a positive addition to the discussion of this very important topic. Among other things, the paper recommends that new residences should deal with the overflow from overburdened old residences. This is a critical recommendation and it’s to the AMS’s credit that they called a special Assembly so that the paper could be discussed at length. The AMS should continue to be proactive on the issue going forward. Increased enrolment is to be expected, but it should be sustainable. Queen’s will have difficulty maintaining its high reputation if it ceases to be a mid-size school. Solving our financial problems by simply increasing enrolment isn’t an effective long-term strategy.
The City of Kingston has received funding for a two-year “physical literacy project”. The funding will be used to host programs where children will learn about “developing the ability to perform basic movements such as running, jumping and throwing.” This initiative is a good development as it will set the foundation for a greater overall level of fitness and a “more equal playing field” among children. It’s sad that we live in an age where many children live sedentary lifestyles; this program may not have been necessary 50 years ago. Regardless, it’s good that the government is aware of the need to emphasize physical fitness at an early age. Because these programs will be available to both girls and boys, girls who might shy away from physical activity or have parents who attempt to deter their participation in sports will now have an early opportunity to get physically active.
– Journal Editorial Board
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