March 11, 2007

 

The pathetic joke that is university student government... What do these groups even do these days?

From: The Charlatan
http://charlatan.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18514&Itemid=27

Student association under fire for politcal attack buttons
Written by Ciara O'Shea
Thursday, 01 March 2007

A conservative student group is in uproar at Trent University about buttons sold on campus that portray Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the devil.

The Trent Central Students' Association (TCSA) has been selling the controversial buttons on campus. One button reads "Fuck Harper," and another adds devil horns to Harper's image. A third button shows the middle finger and the word "Harper."

The Trent Progressive Conservative Association claims the buttons are hurtful, especially because the student government is selling them.

The TCSA believes it has the right to express its opinion even though the conservative club has a problem with it.

"We are an non-partisan political organisation that should be able to make to make comments about governments," said Scott Dempsey, president of the TCSA.

"We are an non-partisan political organisation that should be able to make to make comments about governments," said Scott Dempsey, president of the TCSA.

"We [...] expressed our fears that [the buttons] might reinforce the existing anti-conservative sentiments in Trent University," said Erwin James Casareno, the secretary of the conservative club. "Because of our right-leaning beliefs we already experience quite a [lot] of prejudice and hostility within the seminar rooms and lecture halls."

"The opinion of the board was that it wasn't a hateful statement but that it was a political statement," said Dempsey.

But the conservative club claims the buttons are aimed specifically against Harper. Casareo said they could be considered hate speech since the buttons could be seen as inciting hatred on campus.

"If you're going to criticize someone's policies then one must talk policy," said Casareo. "To depict an individual sporting horns and the use of profanity and other profane symbols to depict him is not criticism, it is demonizing an individual."

"The hate crime provisions of the Criminal Code only applies to an identifiable group distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin," not political affiliation, said University of Ottawa professor Errol Mendes, an expert in law.

Trent administration declined to comment, only saying that the TSCA is an autonomous group outside their jurisdiction.

Copyright 2007 - The Charlatan

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