Letters to the Editors

Ceci should defend fellow students, not trustees

Dear Editors,

It seems that our esteemed student trustee Michael Ceci has taken issue with my characterization, in a pro-CFS opinion piece published in your paper, of the Board of Trustees being dominated by corporate types—bank executives to be specific—who have a vested interest in seeing our tuition and our debt continue to rise.

I must admit, Ceci drives a hard bargain. He rubs elbows and schmoozes quite regularly with these folks and if anyone truly can judge their character it should be him. More importantly, his numbers do prove his point: there simply aren’t enough TD bank executives on the Queen’s board to “dominate,” as I seem to suggest.

However, I still find Ceci’s remarks to be indicative of the larger problem of student representation I was trying to articulate in my piece. The point about bank executives was really more of a minor gloss in support of my argument. What Ceci proves in his vigorous defense of the people who recently jacked up your tuition, and who will do so again before most of us graduate, is that our current system of student representation is broken. Despite filling a role on the board that can be described as “token” at best, shouldn’t Ceci be using his position to further the interests of students, not to defend those who, whatever their intentions may be, send us and our classmates to fellow board members’ banks seeking student loans?

I found it admirable when, upon election, Michael Ceci made known his wish to seek five more student spots on the Board of Trustees—a modest request considering we’re asked to foot most of the bill around here. It seemed a breath of fresh air after his predecessor Kingsley Chak so boldly proclaimed his abstention from a vote to raise tuition. Sadly, it seems, the interests of the common student have once again fallen to the wayside.

Chris Horkins
ArtSci ’08
Queen’s New Democrats President

Less popular varsity sports also deserve funding

Dear Editors,

On Nov. 6, I voted in the AMS referendum.  While I did not vote “yes” to all of the proposed changes, all seemed to be reasonable; all except for one.  Upon reading the second last item on the referendum I was caught off-guard and had to read it a second time.  The item proposed from the Athletics Review 2007 suggested that the number of varsity teams should be reduced to allow more funding for a smaller number of sports.  After ensuring that I had read it correctly, I was disappointed and disgusted.  In a school where I assumed equality was an important quality, this form of discrimination was appalling. 

How can the review put some varsity sports above others?  How can they say that some athletes deserve funding and others don’t?   Is the message they are intending to send that if your sport isn’t popular, if it isn’t mainstream, then it doesn’t deserve funding?  Were the members of the football team worried that their sport may be placed on the chopping block? I think not.  The athletes of smaller varsity sports read the message loud and clear: if your sport doesn’t have an end zone or a set of goal posts, it’s not worth a dollar of Queen’s money.

Adam DiSimine
ArtSci ’11
Member of Queen’s Fencing

Other extracurriculars keep students as busy as varsity athletics

Dear Editors,

After reading your article concerning the proposal that student-athletes should be afforded early registration so that they may plan their academic career around their practice schedules, I began to think about the message that this proposal sends the rest of the Queen’s University community. 

This conjecture is based around the concept that student-athletes are somehow more important than other members of the University community. To state that athletic extracurriculars are more important than the extracurriculars of other Queen’s students is elitist, ignorant, and offensive.

I’m a second-year drama student and am currently involved as a Queen’s Musical Theatre board member, a Vogt producer, a member of two production teams, a crew member for Lear and the assistant head electrician of the Queen’s Drama Department. As such, I must schedule my time very carefully to ensure that my non-academic activities do not overshadow my education, which is the reason for being enrolled in a university.

Why should a volleyball player gain special treatment over a student who has to work in order to pay tuition, or a member of EQuIP, or any other student with a busy schedule? Queen’s should be very careful before it entertains the notion that athletes deserve better treatment than the rest of us.

Alex Powell
ConEd ’10

Video of Taser death reveals ‘lack of forethought’ by RCMP toward unarmed man

Dear Editors,   

  I would like to share with you and your readers my outrage after watching the nearly 10 minute video clip posted on Nov. 15th on the CBC News website. The video demonstrates a disgusting lack of forethought by the officers involved, who clearly demonstrated their belief that Tasers are purely “non-lethal” when they electrocuted Mr. Robert Dziekanski three or four times until he died.  That four heavily armed officers who clearly had both a physical and tactical advantage in any physical struggle would resort to using Tasers is ridiculous. The officers can be heard mentioning the use of a Taser before they even approach the scene, which I cynically believe sounds like a child wanting to test out his new toy. 

They were aware Mr. Dziekanski did not speak English and could not communicate with them, and yet they proceeded to attempt to communicate with him in English anyway, instead of awaiting the arrival of a translator who had already been requested by airport security. Mr. Dziekanski made no threatening motion towards officers or airport security.

 I won’t even get into my issue with the RCMP attempting to withhold this video from its owner and the public. It seems to me that after such an occurrence as this the RCMP leadership should voluntarily suspend issuing Tasers to its rank and file until they can learn a little something about “non-lethal” enforcement.  If you’re as concerned about this incident as I am, I would recommend writing a letter to the B.C. Solicitor General and signing up for Amnesty International, which has opposed the use of Tasers by police officers since November 2004.

Kyle Abrey
ArtSci ’07

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