National day of actionand remembrance
A vigil for women
CSA ﬁnishes internal review into purchasing practices
When asked what she hopedpeople would take away from the vigil, Zhaleh Afshar, the vigil’sorganizer and a community educator at the Women in Crisisorganization, explained, “everyonehas their own feeling in response,but hopefully they will support afriend [who has been abused] andbelieve her.”Sometimes, no matter how much you read and how hard youtry, you still can’t put yourself inanother person’s shoes and feel what they are feeling.Surprisingly, it wasn’t the vigilthat made the issue of violenceagainst women come to life for me,but an unexpected and unsolicitedinterview immediately after thefact.Upon stepping outside, I foundmyself speaking with Mary Heyens,for whom the vigil and its messagecarry a lot of personal signiﬁcance.Heyens told me of her experience with harassment and bullying by male coworkers and her fruitlessattempts to blow the whistle. Aftershe left work on medical sick leave from debilitating stress, she was not allowed to return to her job because her employer did notrecognize the validity of her claim.“Tey acted like I made the wholething up,” Heynes said.Just like that, the meaning of the vigil ceased to be an abstractidea and became reality, literally
On Nov. 5, the Ontarion rana feature called “Fair rade, FairGame”, an investigation intothe purchasing practices of on-campus groups and organizations. Te investigation was fueled by concerns raised by several studentsover the Central Student Association’s(CSA) purchasing of blue -Shirtsused for Orientation Week from aKitchener based company that used theapparel company Gildan. Te claims were that the shirts were sweatshopmade. Tere were also concerns thatthe shirts were not purchased fromthe El Salvador Women’s Cooperative,
UoG Profs inthe News
Biology professor Paul Herbert andeconomics professor Ross McKitrick are in the news this week. Herbert,the director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, appeared in a Wall Street Journal article. Te articleoutlines the iBOL, the InternationalBarcode of Life project. Herbertspearheaded this eﬀort to create theﬁrst library of DNA barcodes to aideidentifying species. McKitrick hasbeen in media in Britain, where heis on sabbatical. He was interviewedby V stations, radio programs, andpublications about an e-mail hackingincident at a British university.
Leaders and representatives from192 countries are in Denmark for a12-day summit on climate change. Te goal of the summit is to comeup with a climate agreement toreplace the Kyoto Protocol when itcomes due in 2012. Te Conferenceof Parties, the highest decision-making body in the United NationsFramework Convention on ClimateChange (UNFCCC), held thisconference every year for the pastdecade and a half, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissionsand maintaining Kyoto goals.Prime Minister Harper will be inattendance, even after stating thathe wouldn’t go.
NHL considering renaming trophies
Te NHL is considering renamingsome of its award trophies to bearthe names of some of hockey’sgreats. Hockey analyst and formerMaple Leafs goalie Glen Healy suggests that trophies with potentialname changes include: the Hart rophy (Gordie Howe), the ArtRoss rophy (Wayne Gretzky), theCalder Cup (Mario Lemieux), theNorris rophy (Bobby Orr), theLady Byng rophy (Jean Beliveau),and the Jack Adams Award(Scotty Bowman). Tere has beenopposition to the proposed namechanges. Tose opposed includeRon MacLean and Mike Milbury,two of hockey’s biggest names. Tere are no plans to rename theStanley Cup.
Iran threatens Israelinuclear sites
Tis week, Iran’s defense ministerthreatened to target Israeli nuclearsites. Te threat comes in responseto Saudi Arabia’s decision to handover a missing nuclear scientist tothe US.Recent talks between Iran and theinternational community concerningits nuclear program have reached astand still, raising concerns aboutIran’s nuclear intentions. Te UNSecurity Council accuses Iran of trying to produce nuclear weapons while Iran insists its nuclear programis for peaceful purposes. Washington has stated that Iran willface more sanctions if it does notagree to resume negotiations by theend of this year.
looking at me square in the eye.Te vigil was held at GuelphCity Hall this past Sunday night.Its purpose was twofold: toremember the fourteen women who were heinously murderedin their classroom at Montreal’sd’Ecole Polytechnique on thesame day in 1989, and to call foraction against the ongoing crisis of violence against women. Te Montreal massacre is astory you have surely heard of before. Perhaps that is why themessage of action that accompaniesits legacy is so relevant; all toooften we fail to recognize physical violence and violent attitudesagainst women even though they are commonplace, until it eruptsin such shocking proportion it isimpossible to ignore.Seventeen other women wereremembered at the vigil. Tose were the seventeen women who were killed in Ontario in 2009, whose partners were eithercharged with the murder or took their own lives. Te women andtheir deaths are testimony to thecontinuing violence women face. When people try to downplay the evidence of violence against women in Canada, it is this kindof information that quickly putsthings in perspective. We are quick to think of ourselves as modern,civilized people who have leftgendered violence behind us. Teseseventeen murder suggest need forreconsideration.Te truth of the matter is that violence against women is globally pervasive. Whether it is sanctionedby the state or not doesn’t seemto matter; women face the reality of violence and oppressioneverywhere. In Canada, it doesn’tconfront us as openly, but is muchmore likely to hide in private.Amazingly, Canadian women aremore likely to be murdered by theirpartner than by a stranger. Abuserscan hide behind privacy rights, andoften victims have diﬃculty doinganything to call attention to theirsituation.Guest speaker Stefanie Elsey shared her own story at the vigil.Ms. Elsey was abused physically and emotionally by her partner. When she became pregnant, hedemanded she have an abortionand threatened her when sherefused. She had to escape toher parents’ home, and thoughher partner was arrested andcharged, he was subsequently acquitted. Tough Ms. Elsey hascourageously persevered, her story is still a sad one, all the more sobecause of how many women havesimilar stories that go unheard.“One thing people don’t realizeis that it happens a lot... not justphysical but emotional abuse,” Ms.Afshar explained. Often womendo not leave abusive relationshipsor tell anyone about the abusethey are suﬀering. Sometimes they feel safer staying with an abusivepartner than defying their controland escaping, or notifying others.A woman can easily ﬁnd herself “in more danger once she leaves anabusive relationship,” according toMs. Afshar.It seems as though we all havea part to play in ﬁghting violenceagainst women.“We have a tendency to blame victims, to ask them ‘why didn’t youleave the relationship? Why didn’t you call the police? Instead of believing their story,” Ms. Afsharsaid. Tat sort of disbelievingresponse is inextricably part of what deters women from exposing violent relationships.For those of us who have notexperienced abusive relationships,it is hard to really grasp what thatmust feel like. I was reﬂectingon it myself when Heyens askedfor my thoughts on the serviceand introduced herself. By thetime I was home I realized my conversation with her, more than
an organization the students said was promoted by a CanadianFederation of Students’ policy. Te CSA subsequently did aninternal review and the ﬁndingshave now been made pubic.According to the review, thereis no policy requiring the CSAto purchase promotional itemsfrom a CFS endorsed company.Gavin Armstrong,communications commissioner forthe CSA, did say that at the recentCFS AGM it was discovered thatCFS does sell promotional items asone of its services for the locals. Teseshirts were not purchased because thedeadline to order was in mid May, only a few weeks after he began his role asthe communications commissioner.At the time he had not yet establisheda ﬁnal plan for orientation week.Both Brenda Whiteside, vice-president, student aﬀairs, and Patrick Case, director of the Human Rightsand Equity oﬃce, re-aﬃrmedin the CSA investigation thatGildan was on the list of acceptablecompanies to purchase from. Te CSA does not currently have an ethical purchasing policy of their own, and only in practicedo they follow the University of Guelph’s Ethical Purchasing Policy. Tey also have a newly createdmedia and promotions assistantposition, a position tasked withordering CSA promotional material. Te CSA said that it willbe critical that the media andpromotions assistant be educatedand aware of ethical issues andpolicies when ordering material. Te CSA has asked their board tolook into this matter and draft a moreaggressive policy than that of theuniversity. Tis policy could include alist of recommended suppliers (a list theCSA media and promotions assistanthas already begun to compile) andrepercussions if the policy is violated.
One thing peopledon’t realize isthat it happensa lot... not just physical but emotional abuse.
any other part of the ceremony,shed light on the reality andimportance of the vigil.Sadly, these stories are toocommon.