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October 11, 2001 Letters


CSU agenda betrays ideal of tolerance

The following is an open letter to the Concordia Student Union:

While most students are trying to obtain an education, the CSU seems focused on protesting against everything mainstream in sight. I have nothing against protesting, but you shouldn’t be wasting students’ money on “causes” they do not support.

Whoever wrote the rant on page 79 (“Hints for Heterosexuals”) is a very angry person and I hope they get help dealing with their issues. I don’t think articles fueled by hate belong in an agenda produced by members of a student union who supposedly “condemn all forms of hatred.”

Pages 160 to 161 deal with “Steal Something Day.” The article supports stealing from landlords, small-business owners, “yuppies,” media, cops, etc. Basically, the article tells people to steal from those of us who actually work for a living.

Let me get this straight: Your union opposes all forms of discrimination and hatred, yet you advocate singling out stereotypes and committing crimes against them?

Some articles are simply strange, such as “Resources for Radical Researchers” on page 59. It tells the reader how to avoid leaving a paper trail when planning and carrying out an illegal radical act, and lists Internet sites that explain how to set fires and destroy property.

What bothered me the most about your little agenda was that in the July 1 section of the calendar on page 303, it reads “Anti-Canada Day: Burn the flag.” Here’s some advice: the great thing about living in a free, capitalist society is that if you don’t like the country, you can always move.

Another great thing is that we have the right to vote, and you can be guaranteed that the next CSU (if it still exists) will consist of competent members who reflect the true feelings of the student body.

Dennis Bell

Congestion clogs Hall Building escalators

I am not an alarmist by nature, but I am sure that I am not the only person who is worried about overcrowding in the Hall Building.

To give but one example of how potentially dangerous the situation is, the areas at the top of the escalators are so congested at peak hours that it is impossible to get off a moving escalator without literally pushing the people who are ahead out of the way. (Pushing them where? They don’t have anywhere to go either.)

I have expressed my concerns to our Fire and Public Safety Officer, Mr [Normand] Lanthier, who wrote back and said that the matter was already brought to the attention of the Central Advisory Health and Safety Committee of the university. There was no indication of what actions this committee was proposing.

I have several suggestions:

1. Users of the building should be made aware that there are several stairways that provide relatively easy access to the floors where most of the classrooms are. I use the stairways all the time, and I seldom see anyone else there. The small icons that indicate where the stairways are are not enough, and they don’t make it clear that these are not just emergency stairways. (To make matters worse, the stairway on the Bishop St. side of the building which provides the best access to the upper floors is often impossible to reach from the mezzanine because the area in front of it is constantly blocked by exhibits and other activities.)

2. There are too many obstacles (tables, chairs, stands, booths, etc.) in areas where people want or need to circulate. What possible logic will allow a newspaper stand and a stand for flyers to be placed just on top of the escalator from the ground floor to the mezzanine? A lot of this clutter should be removed or placed elsewhere.

3. I would like fire marshals invited to the Hall Building at a peak hour, and see if they give it a clean bill of health.

Professor J. Hillel, Mathematics and Statistics

Health Services critical of handbook advice

An open letter to Sabrina Stea, president of the CSU:

I am writing to you today to express my concern about health information contained in the current issue of the CSU agenda. In particular, the section entitled “Contraceptives.”

I appreciate that you (the CSU) are trying to provide useful and current information to the student body. However, it is not obvious that you are indeed providing accurate information because of the absence of data and the inclusion of opinion (i.e., “We do not recommend this. Do not use! They are dangerous!”)

Stating that abortion “is a simple medical procedure” is absolutely erroneous. First of all, in almost all cases, it is a surgical procedure than can only be performed in a surgical suite. It is definitely an option that a woman can explore but in my experience in working with women who have undergone this procedure, I would find it unethical to advise a woman that it is simple.

One of our goals at Health Services is to assist students in becoming good health consumers. This entails questioning, researching and examining options based on risks, benefits and personal beliefs. At the end of the section, you cite Our Bodies, Our Selves, indeed a very valuable and credible resource.

However, even this publication does not denounce any particular contraceptive option, but provides the reader with the advantages, disadvantages, cost, responsibility of the individual, etc. As well, they articulate the long- and short-term effects, some of which are actually beneficial.

A basic underpinning of being a conscientious health provider is ensuring that you are providing unbiased and complete information to the health consumer so that they can make an informed decision about their health choices. Unfortunately, I believe that you have led down the students in this respect. For this reason, our next issue of Health Notes will focus on contraception and provide the most recent research results.

We are appreciative of the fact that you refer to Health Services as a health resource. However, it is misleading to include our name within the text, as it implies that we may have been involved in the actual writing or endorsement of the text.

Melanie Drew, Director, Health Services