Letters to the editor – Feb. 10, 2011
After reading the last edition of the Carillon [Vol. 53, Iss. 15; Feb. 3-9; “Letters”], I decided to investigate Kyle Addison’s online antics a little further – I was appalled by what I found. First of all, most students agree that he shouldn’t be using his URSU president blog to personally attack Kent Peterson and to lob allegations at our student newspaper. I took a moment to re-read Kent Peterson’s article that Addison alludes to, and it is completely harmless – perhaps even a little humorous.
But back to Addison’s online antics – his Twitter account is ripe with hideous sentiment; he even attacks professors who have a native language other than English. “Seriously… What is with the University of Regina hiring prof’s that can hardly speak english?! [sic],” Addison tweeted on Jan. 11 of this year. Normally I would leave personal Twitter accounts out of the equation, but I found that one a little ironic given that Addison was alleging that Kent Peterson had been disrespectful to U of R faculty and staff. Addison’s other tweets attack the NDP, hail Brad Wall, and bash unions. That is correct: Addison bashes unions while being the president of the University of Regina Students’ Union.
Perhaps Addison should take some of his own golden Twitter advice: “Find a more + way to live."
Recently there have been many examples of URSU executives abusing privileges – privileges they shouldn’t have in the first place. The latest instance is Kyle Addison‘s mudslinging against the Carillon on his student-funded blog. Not only that, but Addison has been using this blog as a launching pad for horrible accusations and personal attacks against Kent Peterson. Now, Kyle Addison is wont to do these sorts of things – but doing it on students’ dime is unacceptable.
Other privileges include free classes that URSU executives enjoy each and every semester. Free classes, by the way, that aren’t free at all – we, the students, pay for them. The classes that Kyle Addison gets to take are in addition to his student-funded salary. I have nothing against fair compensation for our student leaders, but tacking on free classes, free trips, and even a phone expense is getting a bit ridiculous.
The last concern I have regarding URSU executive privilege is their free meals at the Owl. There are many options on and near campus for Kyle and his friends to eat. I don’t think it is appropriate to give them free meals at URSU’s pub, because it effectively comes out of my wallet.
It is time to, at the very least, review the privileges allotted to URSU executives and, if necessary, cut them.
I read with great interest Kent Peterson’s opinion piece entitled “Ivory Tower Award Nominations” which appeared in the Jan. 6-12 issue of the Carillon. Because the article questioned the value of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) “Presidents’ Mission to India” in which I participated in Nov. 2010, I thought I would provide a bit of context for your readers.
India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies – something that is providing a great deal of opportunity for Canada as a whole, and for Saskatchewan in particular. A report last year by the Government of Canada’s International Affairs Trade and Finance Division showed that in 2009, Canadian exports to India totalled $2.1 billion. Of that total, close to half – $976 million – originated in Saskatchewan. By comparison, Ontario was the next largest provincial exporter of products to India, with sales totalling $423 million. Given that Saskatchewan’s exports to India have increased an average of 39 per cent per year since 2004, the province’s trade with India shows no sign of slowing down.
This is important for the University of Regina. We already have a number of academic agreements in India, most notably with Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University in Mumbai – an agreement that has been in place since 1999. These academic partnerships, coupled with Saskatchewan’s strong trade relationship with India, are opening doors for the U of R in India.
Having worked in India for eight years, I have seen first-hand how that country is transforming itself into an economic, academic and cultural superpower. Indian universities have much to offer Canadian universities – and vice versa – in terms of joint academic agreements. My objective in participating along with 14 other Canadian university presidents in the AUCC mission was to facilitate the development of additional academic agreements that will provide new opportunities for Indian students to study at the U of R, and for U of R students to study in India.
The results have already been positive. Research collaborations are being pursued, and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies has developed a “2+2” agreement that will bring Indian students here for the third and fourth years of their undergraduate programs. Agreements like this will bring students from India to the University, enriching our campus culture and adding to the diversity of thought that makes it such a wonderful place to study.
In my opinion, the timing couldn’t be better. In 2011, we are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the U of R’s relationship with China – a relationship that has brought thousands of Chinese students and visiting scholars to our campus, and taken many domestic students and faculty members to China. But as we
look back, we are also looking forward. The governments of Canada and India have designated 2011 to be the “Year of India in Canada,” with Regina being one of the cities chosen to host events. This is the perfect time to strengthen our academic ties to India, and the AUCC mission in which I participated was an effective way to do so.
U of R President and Vice-Chancellor