Smear free

Image by: Alex Choi

University campuses should be places conducive to democratic discussion, not blatant attack campaigns.

The recent campaign urging students to optout of paying a student fee supporting Carleton University’s OPIRG chapter sets a scary precedent on university campuses.

The campus Love of Liberty group started a Facebook campaign called “Get a Beer on OPIRG,” encouraging students to spend the $6.84 that could go to OPIRG-Carleton on school supplies or drinks.

“OPIRG collects money off of 100 per cent of students to pay for the political dreams of one per cent of Carleton students,” states the Facebook page.

Not only is this information wrong — last year 68 full-time and five part-time students chose to optout of the fee — it provides little information on what the OPIRG-Carleton chapter actually does.

It’s a shame that they’re exercising their right to freedom of speech by unfairly smearing an organization that they disagree with.

Campuses are political places — this is a positive thing. While OPIRG chapters may advocate for given political issues, such as Israel Apartheid week and Idle No More, they have every right to do so.

A democratic and open campus environment should foster a variety of political views that can be expressed and cultivated. If anything, discussion should be encouraged among opposing political groups — not explicit political bashing.

The beauty of opt-outable fees is that students can choose for themselves whether or not they want to support a group of a political nature. It’s up to students to educate themselves on the issues that they want to invest in.

While the Love of Liberty group’s campaign may carry one message, students shouldn’t blindly accept it at face value — they should find out for themselves what projects the Carleton chapter of OPIRG really does and encourage a larger political conversation on campus about the issues at hand.

Joanna is the Editorials Editor at the Journal.


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