Letters to the editors

Career Services responds to opinion piece

Dear Editors,

Re: “Career Services not working” (Journal, Oct. 21, 2008)

One of our challenges in Career Services is to excite and inform students about what we offer to Queen’s students. Stephanie St. Clair’s opinion piece tells me that we have failed to reach her. I have invited Stephanie to come by and talk with me and I offer the same to any Queen’s student. In the meantime, I offer this response as a start. The Journal requires brevity in the Letters to the Editor, so this will be only a partial reply. To see my full response please visit our website at http://careers.queensu.ca.

Stephanie has raised a number of important questions, and I welcome this opportunity to respond in a public forum. In particular, I would like to address her assertion that Queen’s should vet the employers who visit our campus to recruit. Career Services will not unreasonably bar employers from coming to our campus; it would not be correct for us to do so.

Three years ago I was asked by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) to chair a committee that would review the ethics of on-campus recruiting. We consulted with colleagues from across the country and developed a list of ethical guidelines for on-campus recruiting. Underlying our work was the notion that none of us had the right to deny students the broadest possible range of career options. In university you are taught to think critically, to conduct research and to analyze problems. My colleagues came to the conclusion that students are capable of applying those skills in their job search as well as in their academic life. I agree with them. I applaud Stephanie’s research into EnCana’s business practices in Ecuador. I encourage students to ask questions about the employers who come to campus, and that includes tough questions. A university should be a place of dialogue, and that can’t happen when one party is shut out.

Stephanie was right about each individual student’s responsibility for his or her own job search. The recruiters we bring to campus are but a small sample of the range of opportunity that is out there. And we encourage you to think more expansively about your options. The title of your degree alone does not define you, and we invite you to think about the skills you offer, in addition to the degree you hold.

Career Services offers a broad range of textured programming for all students, including those who are looking for more non-traditional employment paths, to help all Queen’s students find rewarding, important work. If there is something you would like to see and we don’t offer it, please let us know. And if there is an organization you would like us to invite to campus, let us know about that, too.

Paul D. Smith

Director of Career Services

Carreer Services complaint hypocritical

Dear Editors,

Re: “Career Services not working” (Journal, Oct. 21, 2008)

I woke on the morning of October 21 and walked to campus in a bit of a hurry to get to a job interview with EnCana Corporation. I picked up a copy of the Journal on my way and, flipping to the opinions section, I began to read Stephanie St.Clair’s piece discussing the ineffectiveness of the recent Career Services events. Ms. St.Clair states that she opposes the decision to allow companies such as EnCana Corporation to attend these events, due to their “less-than-stellar record” on social responsibility.

Turning the page, I noticed that the Journal had chosen to place an ad for Cameco Corporation in this issue. Cameco is one of the world’s largest uranium producing and processing companies in the world and they consequently field a great deal of controversy due to the nature of the commodity that they deal with. Recently, the company has come under fire for possible soil contamination at several of their Ontario uranium processing plants which put hundreds of workers out of work, endangering the surrounding communities in the process.

Our vice-president (university affairs) at the AMS saw fit to protest EnCana’s invitation to Queen’s in the Journal, an organization which does advertising business with the equally controversial Cameco Corporation. If Ms. St.Clair wishes to complain about the organizations that Queen’s University chooses to associate itself with, I suggest that she first take a close look at the organizations that she herself chooses to associate with.

Jared Shivak
Sci ’10

CFS portrayed inaccurately

Dear Editors,

Re: “AMS seeks out new alliance” (Journal, Oct. 17, 2008)

I’m writing to dispel a few of the inaccuracies found in Zach Churchill’s comments regarding the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) (Journal Oct. 17). First, the CFS, of which the SGPS is a proud member, has been and remains committed to the principles of democracy and co-operation. Disagreement and diversity in viewpoint are encouraged and respected at the local as well as provincial and national levels. As the Queen’s SGPS representative to the CFS provincial and national meetings, I can attest to this fact. No CFS member local is ‘forced’ to take any position of the larger organization­—threatening local autonomy would undermine the reason students across Canada nearly thirty years ago felt that they should organize the CFS. Second, the CFS ensures those democratic principles are put into practice. Any university local wishing to join or exit the CFS must put the question to their members. No local can simply have the executive of the organization vote them in or out, but rather it must be a decision on the part of the students themselves. Our commitment to respecting the will of students means that we have enshrined this democratic principle in our constitution and bylaws.

Finally, as proof of the CFS’s foundational commitment to educational issues, it has organized a province-wide Day of Action for Nov. 5 to bring attention to the state of funding

of post-secondary education in Ontario. Ontario students are ranked last for per-student funding in Canada. With annual tuition fee hikes and growing class and tutorial sizes, the CFS is calling upon the provincial government to reduce tuition and ancillary fees and to properly fund a high-quality public system of post-secondary education in Ontario. For more information on this campaign and the CFS, I encourage you to visit www.cfsontario.ca

Mark Rosner
Vice-President (External), SGPS

Going green more than lightbulbs, recycling

Dear Editors, Re: “It’s easy being green” (Journal, Oct. 21, 2008)

Last issue’s signed editorial “It’s easy being green,” while certainly well-intentioned, illustrates the depths of the misconception that the general public has about how we’re going to have to modify our lifestyles in order to combat climate change. While it’s true that recycling, insulating and using compact fluorescent light bulbs are steps that we can, and should all take, it is most definitely not true that it’s going to be easy to prevent and/or halt climate change.

Even if all carbon emissions stopped tomorrow, enough carbon has been released into the atmosphere for warming to continue for at least the next 50 years. In addition, unfortunately for us, the fossil fuels that we rely on for almost everything, from transportation to manufacturing (in plastics) to food production (for farm equipment and fertilizers) are going to run out sometime in the (very) near future. So we’re looking at twin disasters—a warming of the planet that may cause a violent readjustment of our current climate and a scarcity of the fossil fuels that caused the warming that is going to make our current way of life untenable (ironic isn’t it?). About the only good news in all of this is for the rest of the biosphere—in that humans may end up consuming ourselves to extinction.

So yes, we should be recycling and caulking our windows and we want there to be simple, concrete steps that people can take that will make them feel like they’re making a difference. But we don’t want to become complacent and feel that because we’re using compact fluorescent bulbs we’re “green” and we don’t have to worry about the rest of our lives, because we absolutely do. We’re going to have to make huge adjustments to our current way of life—from driving less, to buying local, to above all consuming much, much less. So start small but for goodness sakes don’t stop there.

P.S. Although you implied otherwise in your editorial “Ban ignores heart of the issue,” all organs considered for donation in Canada undergo screening for disease. Please see Health Canada’s fact sheet on the safety of cells, tissues and organs for transplantation (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/_2008/2008_11-eng.php or the corresponding regulations). The problem is that HIV, or hepatitis B or C may not appear in a screening test if the infection has been aquired recently (e.g. in the past six weeks), and there is a much higher rate of these infections in men who have sex with men than in men who do not.

Tory Dickinson
ArtSci ’09

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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