I am very disappointed that the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) has decided to cancel the upcoming Winnipeg South federal candidates’ debate. The rationale given to my campaign by vice-president external Astitwa Thapa was “the Local Candidate’s Debate has been cancelled because of [Conservative candidate Gordon] Giesbrecht’s refusal to attend the debate. We have heard from a lot of students that they just aren’t interested in attending if there won’t be a debate with the Conservative representation.”
I want to commend UMSU Council and vice-president external Astitwa Thapa for their trailblazing work towards divesting the University Investment Trust from the fossil fuel sector. I agree wholeheartedly with Thapa when he says “the University of Manitoba prides itself in being a leader in the 21st century – then be a leader by divesting from fossil fuels.”
When I learned that Bison Sports is dismayed that their best-attended football games draw a mere quarter of the student body out to Investors Group Field, it brought tears to my eyes. The sky became suddenly overcast, and out of nowhere I heard the plaintive strains of the slow movement from Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto ringing out from the world’s tiniest violin.
In an article in the Sept. 30 issue of the Manitoban, Mike Still wrote, “while Bison Sports is working hard to create an optimal fan experience, it’s still up to the students and fans to do their part and actually show up.”
He expressed a similar view in an editorial back in March, describing attendance at Bisons home games as “abysmal” and “pathetic.”
There was a time when you could call something evil and people knew what you meant. They understood that you were not speaking in hyperbole. They understood that evil is one of the central players in the human drama, a thing that will not perish from the earth. Nowadays, to call something evil is to invite scorn and a sniggering assumption of provincialism. To be labelled as “religious” or “spiritual,” words which have of late gained a patina of ironic contempt.
The slow-motion disaster that has been our culture’s embrace of post-modernism, in which no viewpoint enjoys special privilege or validity, has robbed us of the language needed to discuss even the concept of evil, which presumes certain immutable truths. What we do not discuss, we are prone to forget exists. Men who do not believe in evil cannot believe that they (or anyone) serve it. They are perhaps the most likely to do evil.
Like any regular rider of buses in this city, I’ve come to hold a constant low level of loathing for the form of transit that I’m dependent on. The perennial lateness, overcrowding, and poor service to many areas of the city is just a fact of life that I’ve made my peace with.
When I heard that service was going to be reduced on several routes due to maintenance issues with the bus fleet my reaction was a study in indifference. It’s still nice out (warmest year on record, folks!), and I can still avoid buses by biking or walking. Come winter all bets for anything resembling regular service are off in a normal year, so I figured this year couldn’t possibly be worse.
But then I read that our mayor had said of the reduction in service that “The service level expectation needs to be more realistic than they were,” and my reaction was considerably more colourful than indifference.
By highlighting MSM as an exposure category, current data collection and reporting methods support Canadian Blood Services’ screening practices. If UMSU wants screening practices to focus on specific high-risk behaviours, it needs data collection to also focus on specific high-risk behaviours.
The Syrian civil war has been raging for four years. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, surely including many toddlers. Certainly no shortage of refugees meeting tragic ends. But we weren’t confronted with the image of their lifeless bodies; the thought of these innocent deaths was not in our collective mind.
Games are not art. Games are not sports. Games are games. They’re their own thing, and all this arguing over what else they might be betrays a secret anxiety as to whether they’re a pursuit worth spending time on. Private inferiority complexes don’t make a good foundation for aesthetic debates.
It seems to be something of a trend with people my age to confuse their own interests with the common good. The idea that it is somehow unfair for us to not have all our desires (and a lot of what we call needs are really just desires) met is not a healthy mindset, though it is increasingly widespread. Seeing unfairness as a state of discontent is a big part of why we live in such an unjust society: we are willing to put up with a lot, so long as things seem “fair” for number one.
It’s not just young people, of course – though I think that as digital technology permeates more and more of our lives, we are more likely to be susceptible to it. The social media we use is designed to show us the things we like to see; algorithms track what we click on and deliver more of the same. We get a false idea of how much the world agrees with us and of how important we are in the grand scheme of things.
Welcome to the University of Manitoba: a campus that “thrives” and “grows” by disengaging from the student population via the brick walls of bureaucracy and oppressive ideology. Please do not be fooled by our school’s glittery and distracting advertisements that announce “I am a trailblazer” or “I am a rebel.” In fact, you are not a trailblazer or rebel, as a student of this university.
Instead, you are expected to pay your dues and enter into a submissive relationship with both the university administration and student union. This was shown during the 2014-15 school year when several student, faculty, and staff groups protested the austerity budget that would see four per cent cuts to most faculties and some non-academic units. Here are some – certainly not all – things to consider should you decide to continue your academic journey through this treacherous campus.