A letter of support for #6party

COMMENTARY | FEBRUARY 9TH, 2012
(Student) party and (admin) bullshit
A letter of support for #6party
To the sixth floor partyers, and those who have supported them in the lobby and outside of the James administration building:We’re writing to stand in solidarity with you, and to offer you all of our support and love. Your actions – your parties, both inside and outside of James – are inspiring. 

They fall into a history of powerful and peaceful actions in the Quebec student movement, and the student movement more broadly: there’s a precedent for occupation, for protesting by putting yourself in spaces where you’re not “supposed” to go. It’s been done at this school, on campuses across Canada, and in institutions all over the world.

It’s a tactic used when standard methods of communication have stopped working; when there’s a broken system. A broken system requires a full-court press. A broken system requires stepping outside the bounds of “allowed” social conduct. A broken system means walking into the lion’s den, and dancing there.

McGill’s system right now is broken. The administration’s refusal to acknowledge the results of the QPIRG/CKUT referendum is just the latest in a string of actions on the part of administration that do not take into account student voices and opinions.

We’re behind you in getting what you are asking for: Mendelson’s resignation (his term was extended without student consultation), and the continued existence of QPIRG and CKUT (as voted for by the student body).

We recognize that these actions are not the end point of this movement. There are more goals to be met and issues to be worked on at McGill. But thank you for upping the ante at this school, for raising the bar, for speaking up.

Y’all throw a hell of a party.

In Solidarity,

Members of The McGill Daily editorial board: Joan Moses (Coordinating editor), Shannon Palus (Science+Technology editor), Fabien Maltais-Bayda (Culture editor), Alyssa Favreau (Production and Design editor), Victor Tangermann (Photo editor). The opinions expressed here are their own

Down but not out

COMMENTARY | MARCH 14TH, 2012
Down but not out
Reflections on the AUS General Assembly
Written by Davide Mastracci

I initially thought this article would be written for, and read by, a campus on strike. I didn’t believe that the AUS would vote to strike, but there was always hope. The AUS GA was six hours of exhausting political soul sucking that snatched that hope away from me. These are my thoughts on the AUS GA and where those who voted ‘yes’ to a strike can go from here.

1. I’m very impressed with the turnout at the AUS GA. Thanks to Mob  Squad’s ability to mobilize students for accessible education, and ModPAC’s ability to spread good old fashioned fear about the strike in the hearts of students, 1,120 voted on the strike resolution. This is approximately 15 per cent of Arts students. In comparison, just five per cent of Concordia voted to put their entire school on strike.

2. The turnout isn’t as big of a deal for me as I’m sure it will be for other commentators. I would have preferred a minimum quorum with a majority ‘yes’ vote, rather than the turnout and outcome we received. This is because I view accessible education throughout Quebec as far more important than McGill students being unusually politicized for six hours.

3. With that said, the ‘yes’ side managed to acquire 44 per cent of the votes. A supposed “radical minority” nearly steered the way for the whole faculty. Some may call that unfair; I call it impressive. 495 voters is nothing to scoff at. And it was made possible due to the efforts of the wonderful people who worked tirelessly and passionately on the ‘yes’ campaign.

4. If you voted against the strike but claim to also be against tuition increases, I look forward to seeinghow your opposition will manifest itself. McGill has never been part of an unlimited general student strike. Going on strike would have expressed solidarity with the Quebec students who have made the tuition at McGill what it is, despite the fact that McGill has historically leeched off of their efforts time and time again. McGill’s tarnished reputation amongst other Quebec universities will live on.

5. Another thing that will live on is Quebec’s anti-increase movement. History has shown that Quebec universities and CEGEP’s do not need McGill’s participation in order for strikes to be succesful, and with this strike shaping up to be one of the largest in history, there’s a good chance the government will buckle to  the student movement’s demands. This reality makes McGill’s current lack of participation less crushing than it could be.

6. Even though the chance of an AUS unlimited general student strike may be gone, the involvement of McGill students in the movement should not end. 495 Arts students indicated that they are willing to fight for accessible education, and, as such, I would encourage them to do so. How, you may ask?  Well first, by attending the province wide rally on March 22 against tuition increases. This call does not go out to just Arts students, but McGill students in general. This rally will be a show of force to the Quebec government, and more bodies equals more strength.

7. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, students within AUS can still go on symbolic or unlimited strikes. This can be done by holding GAs for departments within the Arts faculty. So, for example, Philosophy students are working toward a GA which will give them the opportunity to strike. While these organizations will not be able to harness the full power of the AUS, having certain departments on unlimited strikes is certainly better than having no departments on unlimited strikes.

So, to the 495, keep on keeping on. The GA definitely was a blow, but it’s not the end. Strikes at McGill are still possible, strikes throughout Quebec are still guaranteed, and a strong presence on March 22 is still required. The fight for accessible education does not end here.

 

Tuition Hikes Are Sexist

COMMENTARY | MARCH 16TH, 2012
Tuition hikes are sexist
Hikes would aggravate existing inequalities

This semester, students have left their classrooms and taken to the streets in opposition to the upcoming Quebec tuition hikes. The hikes have been part of our public discourse, but what’s rarely discussed is the the feminist nature of the fight for accessible education, as tuition hikes particularly affect women.

The past few decades have seen women make substantial progress in their university involvement. In 1971, women made up a mere 42 per cent of all university graduates, while, in 2006, 60 per cent of all university graduates were women. Changes like this could be reversed in Quebec if we allow the proposed tuition hike  of $1,625 over five years.

Tuition hikes disproportionately affect women, given that women earn 71 cents of every dollar earned by men. Women who are attempting to pay their own way through university have a more difficult time doing so than men because of their lower average  income. According to Concordia’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute, “A woman will earn $863,268 less than a man with the same diploma over the course of her lifetime.” Therefore, it’s also more difficult for them to pay back student debt post-graduation.

Additionally, this strain hurts single mothers attempting to finance their children’s education. According to a 2011 study, tuition fees made up 18 per cent of a single mother’s salary, whereas it made up 10 per cent of a two parent family’s income.

There is no need to aggravate existing inequalities by raising tuition – the hikes are completely unnecessary. If the Quebec government were to increase the top income bracket’s tax rate by 1.4 per cent and create a corporate capital gains tax of 2.4 per cent, the government could provide free post secondary education to all students.

The first Concordia student association to go on strike was the Women’s Studies Student Association. It is The Daily’s hope that more McGill student associations, including the Gender Sexual Diversity and Feminist Studies Student Association, will join the unlimited general student strike. Currently, the Social Work Student Association is the only McGill student association on unlimited strike.

If student groups do not actively work to prevent tuition hikes, women in Quebec and at McGill will be hit hard. It’s time for students to join the fight for accessible education and stop this sexist hike.

No news is good news

COMMENTARY | AUGUST 30TH, 2012
No news is good news
Breaking down the myth of objectivity
Written by Joan Moses | Photo by Jaqueline Brandon | The McGill Daily

It was widely reported that, on August 22, many people marched on the streets of Montreal. Most media sources also agreed that these people were demonstrating against Quebec’s proposed tuition hikes, and part of a loosely defined “Quebec Student Movement.”

Beyond that, though, media outlets’ reports did not seem to converge on many details of the march. For example, the Link, Concordia’s student newspaper, stated in an article entitled “The Last Day of Action” that “this protest was specifically focused on what Quebec’s new government should be,” while rabble.ca, an alternative news website, implied the marchers had a broader motivation, titling their article, “Tens of thousands march for social justice in Montreal.” And while the Montreal Gazette, in “Thousands of students and supporters stage peaceful demonstration,” drew focus to the fact that “numbers were far short of those seen last spring,” rabble.ca announced that this demo was yet another “monster, monthly [march].”

Even reports of the number of people marching – a fact that would seem to be objective – varied widely. A counting firm hired by Radio-Canada reported that 12,250 people had protested; a journalist writing for rabble.ca said that it “exceeded 50,000.” La Coalition large de l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASSE), a coalition that took part in organazing the march, said that 100,000 people attended.

The facts of the march, then, remain unclear, despite numerous articles. A single reality of the march remains undiscovered by journalists in anglophone Quebec media (whose coverage of the Quebec student movement, it should be noted, has been notoriously bad).

The differences between these accounts of the march illustrate a larger point about journalism. While journalists speak of attempting to attain a kind of ‘objectivity’ or ‘neutrality’ in their reporting (for example, news editors last year at The Daily refrained from wearing red squares in order to not appear biased), objective truth often isn’t attainable in reporting. Sometimes, it can be literally impossible to find. In the case of the march, for example, it wouldn’t be possible to speak to every protester in order to discover what their ‘real’ motivations are.

Further, in the case of almost every story, facts are contextualized by journalists in a subjective way. Journalists choose what background to flesh out a story with, what sources to quote, and where to put these quotes in the story. In short, they narrativize the facts they find, framing them to make sense of them and to explain them to the reader. Even the hardest of news stories contain a subjective, interpretive element.

This subjective element is crucial to the practice of journalism, and it shouldn’t be glossed over. When journalists claim to be objective, they risk offering one interpretation of reality as the only interpretation, and thus erase the voices and experiences of those who weren’t included in the account. Further, a publication’s positionality and political leanings affect its interpretation: the mainstream Gazette covered the August 22 march in a more negative light than the progressive and independent rabble.ca. 

Many alternative publications, including The Daily, recognize that journalism can’t be a neutral pursuit. This recognition needs to become more widespread. Journalists shouldn’t despair, but they should disclose their biases and understand that their social position affects how, what, and why they report. We need to give up the fallacy of objectivity and start practicing a journalism that recognizes the incompleteness of its own truths.

Joan Moses is a U3 Honours Political Science student, and a former Daily Coordinating and Design & Production Editor. She thinks most journalism is macho bullshit, but still harbours a secret love for All the President’s Men.

The Daily Jokes

WELCOME TO THE DAILY JOKES

This website was created in 2011 to showcase the hilarity that is the McGill Daily. Why is it so funny you might ask? Is it not a thoughtful, critical newspaper that challenges the status quo?

In a word, no.

The McGill Daily, were it to be taken seriously, should be considered an embarrassment to the McGill University community.

That is why, out of respect to them, we can only consider themselves comedians! The articles they post cannot be serious.

We’re here, to present the most hilarious ones.