Letters to the editor
I’m writing to decry the lack of action by the University of Regina Students’ Union with regards to tuition increases. The current provincial government has recklessly thawed a tuition freeze, and since then the price we pay to go to school has skyrocketed. This irresponsible policy by the provincial government negatively affects students and parents of students, and further raises barriers to post-secondary education for those who cannot afford it in the first place.
Even in face of these facts, our students’ union has done virtually nothing to stop tuition increases. The current URSU executive has made a mockery of what the organization they represent is mandated to do. During the Canadian Federation of Students referendum, they denounced the effectiveness of federal lobbying, and yet I fail to see any effort on their part to effect change, provincially or otherwise. Why are they not lobbying politicians to freeze tuition?
URSU President Kyle Addison describes URSU as “an organization … which effectively advocates student needs and interests to the university and all forms of government.” Did I miss the part where they advocated my need for lower tuition? At best the current URSU executive is incompetent; at worst I fear partisanship may be the real reason they sit idly by.
I found Kyle Addison's most recent blog post, in response to the Carillon article “Ivory Tower Awards” (Vol. 53, Issue 12, Jan. 6-12, 2011), quite interesting.
From what I can tell, he accuses your own Kent Peterson of not wanting "improvement or progress" in the University of Regina. Mr. Addison completely ignores that the piece is clearly a work of satire, but that is besides the point.
The point is that if Mr. Addison is so intent on accusing Mr. Peterson of being motivated by his allegiance to the New Democratic Party, perhaps he should first consider another analogy, one that is relevant, perhaps not as trendy or modern as Kid Cudi, but important nonetheless: "Let he without sin cast the first stone."
Now, I am not a religious person by any means, but even I recognize that this passage should be considered in almost any situation when criticism comes into play.
Perhaps, Mr. Addison, you should take a look in the mirror, or your own Twitter account, before you accuse anyone of political motivations. At one point last year, Mr. Addison's Twitter feed was primarily messages to, messages from, or retweets about members of the Saskatchewan Party. Some of Mr. Addison's more recent posts seem to be more directed at insulting or arguing with NDP candidates.
If Mr. Addison wishes to begin a Joe McCarthy-esque hunt on all potentially politically motivated criticism of himself, Mrs. Timmons, or the administration in general, perhaps he should put himself on trial first.
If not, then Mr. Addison needs to accept that there is now a vocal contingent of students that miss having a University of Regina Students’ Union administration who, while possibly motivated by support of the NDP or any other party, managed to still remain critical of decisions their political party of choice made concerning our education.
I am writing in response to University of Regina Students’ Union president Kyle Addison’s most recent URSU blog post, specifically regarding his apparent distrust of our newspaper.
I am pleased to see that Mr. Addison reads the Carillon. Not nearly enough students read our student newspaper, and whatever the reason for that may be, every student reading our newspaper counts. And it is, in fact, our newspaper. It’s run by students, for students.
Mr. Addison being a student himself, and recognizing that students’ education are indeed of utmost importance to Dr. Timmons and the administration, I’m sure he – and our newspaper – wouldn’t begrudge me a simple question:
Does Mr. Addison know what satire is?
The reason I ask this question is because he doesn’t seem to recognize it in Kent E. Peterson’s “Ivory Tower Awards”. He claims they were written to spread “negativity”. Missing the satire, he responded to it exactly as he should have as someone in his position: angrily.
Mr. Peterson is writing in a satirical tradition dating back to Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. Note his description of Dr. Timmons’ trip to India: “She could have went all the way to China, like she did last year, but opted instead for the relative thriftiness of India.” Indeed, Mr. Peterson’s criticism may be filled with some malice, but therein lies the point of this literary device: it is meant to convey personal invective and indignation. An apology, as Mr. Addison calls for in his blog post, would lessen the impact of the satire and undermine its purpose of taking a critical look at its subjects.
Mr. Peterson makes an excellent point: why is Dr. Timmons travelling to India and China on the university’s dollar while tuition is on the rise? I could ask the same of Mr. Addison: why is he spending nearly $100,000 of the students’ dollars on the executive honoraria, tuition, and benefits while tuition and fees are on the rise?
[It’s probably important to give our readers some context – URSU president Kyle Addison’s latest blog post as of this writing, titled "Gotta Terminate The Hate, Spread The Positive”, takes Carillon business manager Kent E. Peterson’s Jan. 6 article, “Ivory Tower Award nominations”, to task. Addison originally sent his article to us last week, and some organizational problems on our end led to us not publishing it. We take full responsibility for the oversight, and we further feel the need to be honest about that; Addison did want to publish his letter through us, and we appreciate that.
We should also point out that we don’t mind – though some members of our readership certainly seem to – that Addison was critical of the piece. In fact, it’s good that he is. The op-ed section exists primarily to start conversations, and those conversations will not and should not necessarily be about how right we are.
We do, however, take exception to some of his claims. With all due respect to Addison, URSU, and the U of R’s administration, we’re not mandated to publish articles on a basis of whether or not they’re critical. We’re mandated to publish articles in the students’ interest. Sometimes, the editorial staff feels that includes publishing critical pieces.
For a slightly longer piece, check out the Carillon’s blog; otherwise, we’d like to thank Addison for his opinion, and we’d also like to thank everyone who wrote in a letter this week on our behalf. ––Ed.]