Friday, February 10, 2006

The Ultimatum

The administration for UPEI has given the Cadre an ultimatum to hand over the outstanding 1700 copies of the controversial paper distributed on Wednesday. This explains why Wade lobbied so hard to get the Student Union on his side. As to whether the papers are handed over now is a moot point.

What I think is very relevant is that when the Student Union did something the administration didn't agree with they had two choices. The administration could take responsibility for it, as they did, but they also could have distanced themselves from it. If Wade got any calls he could have said "The Student Union does its thing and you can take it up with them. Here is Ryan Gallants number." What does it say that say that Wade didn't do that? I think it says that the Student Union is essentially not a union of students but and extension of the administration. This obviously limits the power of the student in the Union and so in the policies of the University at large. I wonder if that could cause any problems.

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UPDATE: 10 Feb 2006 14:03

I just got an email from Ryan Gallant in response to this article. "It was actually the Student Union that has asked for the papers to be returned to the SU offices." While this may be true it comes off as a technicality if the SU called for the recall at the urging of the administration.

Ryan continued, "We also feel that a paper that purports to represent the student body should do just that, and the overwhelming response from students, including Cadre staff and Muslim students, is that the original decision to print these is in no way an accurate depiction of the attitudes of UPEI students."

Really? The Cadre staff? Then how did it get in there in the first place? If the Cadre wants to back peddle this one the rolling heads may just be starting. The Cadre may have to separate one of its member from the body to localize the decision to print the 'toons. I really hope it doesn't come to that. I think following the Danish example may be a good strategy: to apologize for the turmoil but not the spirit. I would be eternally grateful to anybody who is willing to show they are separable from the UPEI administration's ideology.

Ryan's email continued, "While Wade and I have had many discussions on this topic, our views, while not fundamentally in opposition, do have some small divergences. These actions were taken after careful consideration of the Student Union Executive, and were in no way influenced by the UPEI Administration (although they were happy to hear it I think)."

"[I]n no way"? Then what was the point of the meetings? If you want to express an opinion or want to show concern you have one meeting. Four meetings sounds like a consensus is trying to be reached. And the very fact that there has to be a consensus is what concerns me.

2 comments:

  1. For an excellent piece that discusses the censorship of the UPEI Cadre, see, "Needed: A Refresher Course in Freedom of Speech":
    http://sixthcolumn.blogspot.com/2006/02/fitzgerald-needed-refresher-course-in.html

    Here's an excerpt:

    In seizing issues of a student publication containing those cartoons, Wade MacLauchlan, President of the University of Prince Edward Island, explained: "We see it [the publication of the cartoons] as a reckless invitation to public disorder and humiliation." Wade MacLauchlan needs a refresher course in freedom of speech. He needs to read Milton's Areopagitica. He needs to learn about John Peter Zenger. He needs to read "Freedom of the Mind in Human History." He needs to understand that a recognized right which can no longer be exercised out of fear of a violent response by those who not only claim to be offended, but do not recognize such a general right in their own, quite different world -- a world where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has no place -- is a right that no longer exists.

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  2. Thank you Pat. I found this an insightful article. It has been added to my link roll. Hope to hear from you again.

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