Lazy Young People & Getting an Education

By Calvin Eady

[Editor’s note: In mid-December, Calvin Eady made a series of comments on his Facebook page which I asked him to turn into an article.
Eady is currently a BUSAC councillor who recently ran for president – SL ]

When you think of young people what adjectives come to mind? Apathetic? Lazy? Often when someone says, “Young people are…” it usually isn’t followed by something positive. If you’ve ever worked in a minimum wage job in which you have had to deal with the public a lot, such as a job in sales or the service industry, you’ve probably heard someone say something along the lines of “Get a real job!” or “Go back to school!” These sayings can often be hurtful and come from a place of misunderstanding or ignorance.

What a lot of people don’t realize is how difficult it is to get an education and a well-paying job when you are in your 20s. Yes, we have all heard about the increasing price of tuition and the youth unemployment rates; but do we really know how bad it actually is? If we really did know how bad it actually is then why would you have one of the major political parties in Ontario (The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario) propose to cut the 30% off tuition grant and to tie OSAP funding to your grades? Not only did Tim Hudak (their former leader) and the party propose these ideas, but they were popular ideas for many Ontario residents which is one of the reasons you saw an increase in youth voter turnout in the last Ontario General Election. If I was a betting man I would put money on the fact that most of those youth voters didn’t vote Conservative.

For those of you that aren’t in school anymore I want you to think about what a student does with their time. No, I don’t mean every little second of their day; but the major things that most (if not every) student does on a regular basis. Students go to class, do homework, study, participate in extra-curricular activities, eat, sleep, and socialize. Most people would argue that each of these things is essential for getting a good and solid education. To be successful in life you need a balance between work and play and your basic needs of food, water and rest need to be met. If you don’t meet and balance all of these needs you are likely to get burnt out or suffer physical or physiological problems. But can students ‘afford’ to do all of these things?

In the 1990/1991 school year the average cost of tuition in Ontario was around $1653 and the minimum wage was increased from $5/hour to $5.40/hour. A student working a minimum wage job (at $5/hour) would have to work about 331 hours in a year to be able to afford their tuition and a student working a minimum wage job (at $5.40/hour) would have to work about 307 hours in a year to be able to afford their tuition.

In the 1995/1996 school year the average cost of tuition in Ontario was around $2458 and the minimum wage was $6.85/hour. A student working a minimum wage job would have to work about 359 hours in a year to be able to afford their tuition.

In the 2014/2015 school year the average cost of tuition in Ontario is $7539 and the minimum wage is $11/hour. A student working a minimum wage job would have to work about 686 hours in a year to be able to afford their tuition. The number of hours worked to be able to afford tuition has increased by over 91% in just 19 years, and over 107%-123% in 24 years. That is also not taking into consideration the rising cost of living, higher unemployment rate among University graduates, and other factors.

When you force students to work more than twice the hours for the same education, you take away time from other areas of their life, namely, sleep, studying and socializing. Students that sleep less are more likely to be unhealthy, students that study less are more likely to do worse in school and students that socialize less are more likely to suffer from mental illness. Yet people wonder why young people are so frustrated with the system?

If you tie OSAP funding to students’ grades, you put extra pressure on students to do better in school. In theory this sounds like a good idea. In reality it can be devastating to students. Imagine a student who works a part-time job (20 hours a week), goes to school full time, does homework and studies everyday but also is involved with a club and volunteers for the local Food Bank (or other charity) and only gets to socialize on weekends. If you tell this student that from now on they will only receive OSAP money based on their grades, they are more likely to cut back on their socialization and volunteer work so that they can afford to keep going to school. But then the student starts getting burnt out, only hanging out with friends every other weekends and spending their evenings and weekends in the library. Soon they start feeling stressed and depressed. Their marks begin to slip, which causes them to study more and socialize less, which makes them feel more burnt out, and this nasty cycle appears until they crash altogether.

I have seen this situation happen more than I would care to admit. So much pressure is placed on young people these days; they have to work harder and harder for an education that is worth less and less. Not only are students struggling to afford to stay in school but they have to worry about if they have enough volunteer work and field experience to pad their resume for when they graduate, or that part-time job that they are working through school might end up becoming their full-time job once they get their degree.

You have people who went through post-secondary education when it was the most affordable telling students to work harder, stop complaining, and in some cases (Tim Hudak and his supporters) wanting to claw back tuition grants (30% off tuition for students from lower income homes). If we want our society to be successful we need to set our young people up for success and that means not burdening them with massive amounts of debt and stress at such an early age that they are unable to recover from until age 40. Can you blame students for their apathy? The system doesn’t seem to work in their favour.

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/000828/dq000828b-eng.htm
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/951108/dq951108-eng.htm
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/140911/dq140911b-eng.htm
http://srv116.services.gc.ca/rpt2.aspx?lang=eng&dec=3
http://srv116.services.gc.ca/rpt2.aspx?lang=eng&dec=5

Calvin Eady is a 20 year old student at Brock University. He currently sits on the Brock University Students’ Administrative Council as the Extra Faculty Councillor and sits on the Governance Committee, at the time of authoring. 

 

BUSU video repudiated for evoking virginity in voter push

First timers seduced to vote by sexual innuendo?

By Sandor Ligetfalvy | The Brock University Gadfly

During the 2015 #BUSUElections the students’ union released a short video called ‘My First Time.’ Beginning on the title graphic ‘Losing it’, it features BUSU staff and executives making a series of double-entendres that directly equivocates the act of voting with sex which devolves into masturbation jokes. The background music is a seductive saxphone. “I remember my first time…” a young woman begins…

“It was short, quick, painless.”
“Everybody said it was going to hurt, and be really hard…”
“She was a firey red with a gorgeous smile…”
“I was so scared I was going to be late.”
“I was sitting in my dorm room in Valley, just really bored, looking for something fun to do.”
“I just couldn’t wait until I was 18″, says BUSU CRO Jimmy Norman.
“I was really worried about making sure it went in the right … ballot box.”

These last two bad jokes are also incorrect information, as BUSU elections are conducted through Brock Email and there are no ballot boxes. And voters simply need to be valid students, not necessarily 18 years old. But, whatever, right?

“I lost it for myself over and over and over”, says BUSU president Roland Erman.
“Lose it for your first time Feb 10th, 11th, and 12th”
“I’ve actually never lost mine” says VPEA Drew Ursacki, presumably joking.
Norman says, “If you want to lose yours. make sure you vote”


BUSU Chief Returing Officer Jimmy Norman tweeted that the video is “a fantastic way to make voting fun.”

I responded by questioning if students are being seduced by this? I wrote, “Instead of being grown ups and treating election process with respect, BUSU once again flaunts their own moral code in face a plural public.”


Four voices on why this is a problem

1 Brock University fourth year Dramatic Arts major Hayley Malouin responded to the issue by first commenting, “Ummm, can someone explain to me why we’re mobilizing the concept of virginity here? Well done, BUSU, shoddy and inconsiderate blabbering as always. Disgraceful.”

When asked for more, she wrote to @BrockBUG on Twitter, “[the ‘Losing it’ campaign] is offensive because it uses a tradition that minoritizes women thru economics of ‘purity’ … it reminds students that sex is something to be used as a status symbol.”

“It also profits off a heteronormative view of sex that denies the experiences of LGBTQetc. & asexual folks,” she writes. After all, what if “putting it in the ballot box” isn’t how it’s done, for some?

Further reading
 Brock University professor Karen Hoffman, who has spoken to me in the past as a member of B.L.A.S.T. (Brock Labour and Students Together), offered these comments to me via Facebook message:

“There are three things to be considered:
I. Sexual allegory – inappropriate for reasons of gendered and often quite oppressive relations especially on campuses, and for trivializing sexual experience that could be quite traumatic, or at least not so easy to recall for some.
II. There is an utter under-representation of diversity on campus – all the folks featuring in the video are white.
III. trivializing voting (that unfortunately is paralleled with trivializing sexual experience. What are the issues in these elections? It matters to have informed electorate. What should students prioritize? Without asking these questions casting a ballot is a matter of routine, your civic patriotic responsibility. [It’s] pure ideological propaganda to reproduce obedient and complacent population who believes they have a democratic say in how their institutions are run.”

3 Mehmet Emin “Memin” Boyacioglu , MA in Critical Sociology and prior BUG contributor writes:

“This campaign is disrespectful to the students as it implies that they would not show interest in politics/governance unless the elections were sexualized. It is also ironic that this is coming from BUSU, a student union which keeps students away from actually becoming politicized – by spending most of its time, funds, and energy to promote meaningless entertainment. The campaign also brings to mind how capitalist corporations sexualize their products and services in their ads to make profits. This similar strategy hints at how fast Brock University is becoming corporatized. Also, it is ironic (again) because the more students are encouraged to vote with these dumbed down campaigns, the more legitimacy will be acquired to justify the actions by the elected, which will likely serve the corporatization of Brock University and the apoliticization of Brock students.”

4 Former Brock University English major Ken Brennan became aware of the video after The BUG drew attention to it last week. He said he was disturbed by it and inspired to write a poem, which The BUG published on Sunday.

When Brennan shared the link, he wrote “[the ‘Losing It’ video] is so shocking I actually thought it was a joke made up to defame the school, and not an advertisement released by a student funded organization.”

A key passage of his poem reads:

Harassing attitudes/creating a culture of abuse/ where shame is being used to get students into voting booths/ Focusing on the virginity of freshmen students/ instead of asking first time voters who they believe in/ why they are interested/ or why they don’t give a shit/ or if they understand/ it is students like them/ who can influence the institutions politics


 And then, there’s BUSU…

I sent the video to Kelsey Craig, who was just elected to the BUSU Board of Directors, to ask for her opinion. She asked to see what other people had said, to which I responded “feminist critiques”, but I hadn’t sent anyone else each other’s comments, so couldn’t allow that, but she did send me this:

“I personally don’t find anything wrong with this video, I think they used an interesting concept, but perhaps they could have addressed the issue of voting more clearly or executed it differently, so that it wouldn’t upset those individuals with certain ideological standpoints.”

The project was developed by The BUSU Advocacy department, which is overseen by VP External Affairs Drew Ursacki. I have reached out to Ursacki through Facebook and Email, but have not yet heard a response.

In lieu of speaking with Ursacki, I reached out to Jimmy Norman who told me, “I cannot speak on [BUSU Advocacy’s] behalf but what I understand about it was we were trying to create a promotional material that was more ‘fun,’ rather than the more serious tone.”

Norman said the video was influenced by an MTV series, MTV Impact: Losing It, which is an eight-episode interview series where “MTV viewers share their experiences of having sex for the first time”, according to MTV’s website.

Separately, a tipster sent me a link to a 2012 Obama campaign video titled ‘Your First Time’ which is similar to BUSU’s ‘My First Time’ video, and uses essentially the same gag: “You want your first time to be with a great guy…. Lose it to Barack Obama.”

@BrockBUG
Facebook.com/BrockBUG
brockbug@gmail.com

Research: Virginity rates among university students

Reader’s poem turns phrase on “Losing it” voting promo

From a reader:

Hey. I saw some of the “Losing It” coverage and I was thinking about it a lot today. I have written something that I would like to share with you concerning the campaign and also the importance of community involvement.

/People have power as someone listens to their inquiry/ask the gadfly anything and he’ll find and answer promptly/professing through the archives the intention of bureaucracy, code of conduct, politicians twitter feeds/Keeping busy keeps enrollees paying tuition (not attention) / Media like Brock TV just keeps the payers guessing/ Not even one employee to cover the election?

Results:

Student voters courted by a “handsome” rose selection/playing to the tune of love and affection/ BUSU shaming voting “virgins” to “lose it” this election, like politics and small closed rooms aren’t meant to find consent in/ but instead to be molested by the BUSU suggestion that voting is just like sex is and you have to do it because BUSU(they) said/”It didn’t hurt” like they expected/ or it was with “a hot redhead”, dropping name of past presidents,/ did you even ask for her consent?/

Connecting sex and politics/ as a diversion of interest/ from asking of platform intent/ to pandering to the perverted/ encouragement/ of bureaucratic /student funded/ confused and without purpose/ non-consensual/ one dimensional/ direction from the admins/ Telling people to participate to go ahead and “lose it”/ instead of asking voters to show up and exercise their usefulness/a chance to find a candidate whose views geared towards improvement/ with policies of interest/ and opinions on this year’s events/ a racist exhibition on the same stage as the results of the election/ signs of threats to parents/ that their daughters are not safe on campus/

Harassing attitudes/creating a culture of abuse/ where shame is being used to get students into voting booths/ Focusing on the virginity of freshmen students/ instead of asking first time voters who they believe in/ why they are interested/ or why they don’t give a shit/ or if they understand/ it is students like them/ who can influence the institutions politics

A fly on the wall has the best jumping point to a room that is boarded in conference/Compound eyes of the fly made by community involvement/ and genuine interest in the payoff of investments/ While watching the arts center speed gentrification/the city and university building a stronger partnership/ Mixing up politics of civilians and students/constructing demonstrations of the commitment to the project/

Visual receptors intercepting communication/ each person catching a glimpse to add to the mosaic/ full site of the structure of the university community/ means eyes everywhere must be reporting and repeating what they see/ Many opinions of the populous/ make popular opinion when the survey results are in/ Are you looking around the community you’re involved in? Are you asking questions where injustice is prevalent? Write to the bug if you need an outlet/

By Ken Brennan

“Bobsled blackface BUSU” elects black president , “racist” VPFA

Not racist enough to not love Kyle Rose

Written by Sandor Ligetfalvy | The Brock University Gadfly 

Well, the whoops-we-were-racist-again party culture that was scandalized briefly last November after a group of students uproariously won the Isaac’s Halloween costume contest walking away with $500, perhaps can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they have proven (?) they are actually not really that racist, by electing in a massive popular majority the “philosopher king” Kyle Rose. Yet, triumphant though that story of race relation redemption may be, some niggling accusation made by an anonymous email containing screencaptures of Tweets that the VPFA candidate “takes racism, homophobia and harassment to a whole nother level” have now begun circulating wildly — days after the race is over.

Two weeks ago, The BUG’s 2015 #BUSUelections coverage began with receiving these tweets before the debates. When the tweets were confirmed as authentic, I posted the images. I also made an observation of my own — that photographing a random man at a gas station and posting “hey its little wayne” is a “racist gem”. I was actually less offended by the other ones — which might be excused as irony or friends-among-friends, problematic though that actually is — I was particularly concerned about obnoxiousness of the photographing-a-stranger-and-posting-to-twitter-just-because-they’re-a-black-guy-in-a-hat-is-Lil-Wayne. To me that was the red flag that justified publication of the original email and the package of images.

Despite that, there was no immediate reaction from the people who were prior directly responsive to the issue of #blackfaceatbrock. The founder of Edu-action at Brock said he wanted to hear a statement from Dawson, but was tepid about the tweets being three years old. Tulloch told me he believed if he brought it up in the debates, would be seen as a personal attack and he would be given a Class A infraction. With no feedback from the adequate allies, I decided to withdraw the post from social media; I began to wonder if it did indeed proved nothing, and it meant nothing. Even if it was just distasteful Twitter behaviour from three years ago, did it have political significance now?

I followed up with an editorial stating my position that I didn’t think it would be fair to judge Spencer Dawson on these tweets, basically because both young white men are probably kind of jerks, throwing Steven Tulloch under the bus “if for no other reason than to even the score” in a piece that asked people to judge candidates “On their platforms, not their flaws.” Some BUSU insiders thanked me for this move, while Tulloch felt betrayed and unfriended me for the rest of the election period

Despite having posted his old Tweets to my website, Dawson himself had accepted my friend request — and my implied apology — as I told him I did not mean to be unfair to him in posting the Tweets. He told me he would respond to the issue of CASA as soon as he gets a chance to investigate it some more, and thanked me for my question.

Later, at elections night, Dawson approached me, introduced himself and asked me how to properly pronounce my name as we shook hands. It’s “Shandor.”

Meanwhile, all week sources have been feeding me information about coordination between campaign teams and possible unfair infractions. We can show that Rose and Dawson worked closely together (to which some people may say, so what?). Regardless of everything: If Dawson is “a racist” well that didn’t prevent him from teaming up with Rose, did it? Is not the perception of his own race-relation-redemption — like BUSU’s — entwined with his rapport with Kyle Rose? What do three year old Tweet prove more than who he the ally he works with right now? What does a group of drunk Halloween partiers prove more than 75% of 5000 voters electing a black man?

Just as the Jamaican bobsled team required deconstruction these Tweets certainly can be unpacked for their white privilege, implied and explicit hetro-white-centric norms, etc. But none of that was included in the original post; just some of my own smartass comments like “we’re probably missing the irony here.”

I’m told — perhaps only by rumour — that CRO said Dawson received no infractions — like, a free ride — because the Tweet story had been published. Now that would be some phenomenal — and perhaps phenomenally bad — influence on the BUSU elections.

After the election, this “racism” tinderbox went alight. Tulloch posted that “BUSU elects a racist and a homophobe” and Dawson obtusely replied “students elect, not BUSU.” Then the link to the article with the Tweets started getting shared. The post itself uses a link which points at the tag “racism” — it’s just a tag, not meant to be a judgement of anyone’s character — it this is the link that has been shared by defenders of Dawson on pages such as Brock Spotted, earning me and The BUG some strongly worded denouncements. Despite the flood of traffic this has caused, Dawson himself doesn’t seem to hold a grudge; there was no intonation I had done anything wrong.

After recovering from election excitement, he took the time to write out his policy for CASA (which was the position VPEA-elected Antonio Sergi took). More significantly to this story is what he wrote: “I must also admit, I’ve taken time to go through your website and read a lot of your articles. I’ll be completely honest and say that I did not know you existed until I got involved with student politics. As an outsider looking in I think that your opinion matters as it challenges the execs and administration at Brock. ”

I thanked him for keeping an open mind and promised him the same in return. I’ll ask that the readers also keep an open mind, too, about either Dawson, or me. Because none of us are perfect, and we only get better as we are held to account.

brockbug@gmail.com

“Just watch me” says Tulloch as BUG prods at “website” platform, “I don’t kiss and tell”, says Tulloch as Marshall asks for “survey” details

Opinion: I think it’s crazy how candidates think they can go outside of their portfolio. Doesn’t the VP of Finance and Administration — defined by Bylaw 440 — have everything to do with fiduciary responsibility — and nothing to do with public communications such as websites. So, if he gets elected, will the other three executives — one of whom is the president, whose toes he’s stepping on right now with this promise of “a more user friendly website”  — have to deal with his belief he has a mandate from the public? Get real. Shouldn’t the VPFA be taking up his time handling the books, not pushing his unrealistic platform promises on to the rest of the team?

As for making improvements to the site, there’s a staffer who does that. Who will continue to do that regardless of which VPFA is elected.

– Sandor

 

 

tulloch-1

I’m sure he’s been waiting his entire life for the right moment to say that line — I know I have — and he blew it on his lousy idea for a VPFA platform.

tulloch-2

 

 

Concerns raised in similarities between campaigns

An anonymous email was sent yesterday to brockbug@gmail.com which raises concerns about similarities between the campaigns of presidential candidate Kyle Rose and VPFA candidate Spencer Dawson. The author claims “a slate is operating”, believing that is illegal under BUSU rules, but “no one in BUSU is doing anything about it.”

A “slate” — which is understood to be when a group of candidates run for election using shared campaign materials and resources — is known not to be allowed under BUSU’s rules. Although not clearly defined in Bylaw 650, which governs election rules, everybody knows that “slates” are not allowed at BUSU elections.

The anonymous emailer (who has since revealed their identity to me but which I will not disclose) makes notes of the platform points of Rose and Dawson that have very striking similarities. That said, based only on the provided information, The BUG can not declare the same conclusion, because there could be other reasons why platform points are the same, such as lack of imagination, platform plagarism, or simply candidates awareness of what voters might be asking for, what admin has already planned, or what promises might be viable. Nevertheless,  the anonymous author claims, “[Rose and Dawson] have the exact same ideas, making this a slate.”

“There is no way two people agree THIS MUCH on everything,” the source writes in the email.

Chief Returning Officer Jimmy Norman told The BUG via email:

“This has already been brought up, and I have addressed it with those that have complained, and with Dawson and Rose themselves. In any given election cycle and/or race, a variety of student issues and initiatives are brought to the forefront. Due to the fact that each position being elected will work for the Brock students, these issues and initiatives are not owned by any specific candidate. Therefore, it is very possible that campaign points or ideas can be shared among people in the same race or in a different race. With respect to the Exhibits provided, the perspective to be put in place here is Mr. Rose is the current VPFA, and is probably in the mindset of VPFA responsibilities, thus the apparent VPFA focus in his Presidential campaign. According to Dawson’s platform, these are issues that were brought to him by students, clearly, as they are in his platform.

Therefore, I do not see this as a slate activity. If I did, it would have been my responsibility to respond accordingly. I would recommend those that have issues with the happenings of the election to email me directly, as it is my job.” [ cro@busu.net ]

Prior to the response from Norman, BUSU Manager, Marketing and Communications Chris Green, said this when reaching out for background on slates, “Ideas and platform points do not make a slate in my opinion. By that logic, [two VPSS candidates] are in a slate because they want microwaves, everyone is in a slate because they all want affordable food on campus, all the Board members want student feedback and financial accountability. Every year candidates that were or are friends naturally have similar points and ideas.” Adding, “‘Slates’ was in the old Election By-Law, this new by-law does not speak to them. We do not allow slates in that you are not voting for a slate of candidates, you picking individuals on each ballot and we do not allowed shared campaign materials.”

The author of the anonymous email argued in their original email,

“Some might ask ‘how do we know its a slate and not just, say Dawson doing research with Rose on an issue?’ with the simple answer being, that sure, maybe on one or two issues someone would have similar ideas, or further what someone else has done in office, but when these campaign platform points are THIS similar (over 5 issues are the exact same solution), its no longer just someone continuing on someone elses’ job. Its a slate.”

If that wasn’t enough, the hearts are the dead give-away. Both Rose and Dawson have used hearts as symbols in their election, with Dawson having them at his table, and Rose actively taking pictures with others holding his heart in the previous years elections (attached).

Think about it: why is the Presidents job, which is much more broad in scope than the FA portfolio, the exact same as the FA spot? It has to be a slate.

Seriously, this is no longer independents running anymore, this is a political slate. Both work smart start together, both work senate together, both have smart start people helping their campaigns, both have the exact same platforms together (either slate or plagiarism take your pick) and the consequences of which could be disastrous.

Dawson is running for VPFA which is the position that Rose currently has at BUSU. Is he following Rose’s winning formula, or did he work with Rose directly? We don’t know.

Similarities between campaigns (copied directly from the email I was sent):

Exhibit 1
Exhibit 2
Exhibit 3
Exhibit 4
Exhibit 5
Exhibit 6

 

What a Brock University Degree Doesn’t Teach You (and Really Should)

Lack of student media means politically uninformed and apathetic graduates.

By Adam Marshall | The Brock University Gadfly

speakseehear

Last month, I was let go from my position at BrockTV.ca. I had spent three and a half years there building a reputation as a voice in the realm of student politics by writing articles, video reports, and, with the encouragement and support of Ryan Moccia, we introduced livestreaming of BUSU Elections debates, elections results, Annual General Meetings, and BUSAC meetings. My coverage was sporadic, varied in intensity and quality, and was decidedly critical most of the time of BUSU and the University. Despite bearing all the hallmarks of an untrained student journalist, my work was not ignored, and I felt I had earned the respect and attention of many when I decided to start a news blog or ask a pointed question at a council meeting.

This month, I watched my first BUSU Executive election in 3 years where I was not employed at BrockTV and thus not covering the campaign. I was truly oblivious to the lack of media coverage on BUSU until I was (conveniently, I admit) no longer a part of the problem. As an employee of BrockTV (a division of BUSU), I was privy to information on a regular basis that could have, at the very least, caught students attention. I could’ve ran much further with stories on the questionable attitude with which the BUSU Board of Directors handled Fed Up The Affordable Food Project’s business proposals. I could have made more of a stink about the increase in ATM fees at Isaac’s for no apparent reason other than to match those charged by Scotiabank (the only other ATM provider on campus). I could have followed up on the surprise apology to council by VPEA Drew Ursacki at the first winter meeting of BUSAC for his “repressive, unfriendly, and unapproachable” attitude in first semester. Hell, I even had a crystal clear photo and first hand account from a BTV staffer of the Isaac’s Halloween Costume Contest featuring the blackface bobsled team, reported to me as it happened, and I didn’t publish it. That story made national news days later. I take pride in most of the work I did at BrockTV, but hold a certain amount of shame for bitching about the lack of coverage when I myself sat on golden opportunities to break news time and time again.

University students can’t be expected to regularly consume campus news until quality reporting is delivered consistently and made easily accessible through multiple platforms. BrockTV, The Brock Press, CFBU, and BUSU itself have failed as institutions to address this need. The Brock University Gadfly has soldiered on for many a semester now but struggles to gain traction without support from BUSU and the “mainstream” campus media. Consider for a moment that The Brock Press has blocked The Brock Bug on Twitter. Just let that sink in for a minute. The lack of media coverage and the distrust between the existing organizations creates a vacuum that sucks dry any potential for real student engagement and enlightenment.

Because of this, candidates have argued back and forth, year after year, in BUSU Elections debates about the direction of our student union to an audience of mostly under-informed ears. I know it. BUSU staff and management know it. The candidates who have already served in an elected position at BUSU are well aware of it. I talked to a few current candidates on Facebook and asked what it’s like campaigning to a student body that doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about most of the time:

Erin Kelly (VPEA Candidate): “Since the position I’m running for is relatively new and incredibly unknown for students, the first thing I ask is “do you know what the Vice President of External Affairs does?” And I have only had one person say yes :(. I want to campaign for myself but also tell people what I’m running for so they’re not blindly voting. For VPEA it’s an added challenge when no one knows what [the topics being discussed] are.”

Stephen Tulloch (VPFA Candidate): “I don’t think that voters are irrational at all, I think that they are fully capable of gathering information and making an informed choice. That’s the purpose of university after-all. As such, I think its more the fact that the information that voters need is sometimes difficult to obtain for various reasons. I just think that the problem is more about being busy as a student, rather than students not knowing whats going on and wanting to do something about it.”

Istafa Sufi (VPSS Candidate):It is completely fair to say that a majority of Brock voters are under informed about various topics that have been debated so far. I usually ask people what they know about BUSU and the VPSS role and go from there.”

Kyle Rose (Presidential Candidate): “I don’t think my supporters are uninformed. Of course there will be the people who vote for me because they know me on a personal level or because elections can sometimes boil down to a popularity contest but that demographic is small in my view. The whole campaign strategy I put out focuses on generating excitement around the campaign, excitement around positive change and education of why I feel I am best qualified to lead the Students’ Union.”

Calvin Eady (Presidential Candidate): “Most students just don’t have the time to get informed about every issue in an election campaign which makes it essential to give background knowledge about the issues that are being debated in an election and that you have incorporated into your platform.”

The candidates I spoke to seemed to connect with my question and identified the problem I was trying to get at, but none of them mentioned better media coverage as a possible solution.

I don’t claim to know the whole solution either. I had my chance at BrockTV and I only took it half way. The media coverage I long to see at Brock depends on recruiting students with a genuine interest in journalism to BrockTV and the Brock Press and providing the proper resources to train them. The fact that our school doesn’t have a journalism program hinders us greatly, but an honourable mention goes out to WRIT 2P18, a great intro course on writing for journalism. Writing news is not that hard, but it’s also not the same as writing essays or short stories. It requires a nose for bullshit and the somewhat twisted desire to ruthlessly expose it. The writing style and approach to news gathering can be learned, but the personality traits that would make for a good Internal News editor at The Brock Press or News Producer at BrockTV can not.

Please, let there be students at Brock who have those personality traits. Let them come out of the woodwork this year and find jobs at our student media outlets. When they do, read their content and vote to continue to fund BrockTV and the Brock Press so they can use some of their money to hire professional journalists with real world experience to work as consultants and mentors. Maybe the right bunch of students wouldn’t even need that outside guidance, but it’s an idea.

The student newspaper, radio station, and television station used to be hallmarks of the classic North American University experience. For the student-journalist who gets the chance to work there, they exist to give valuable hands on experience and training for careers in the media industry. But to the student-reader, they exist to teach you the concepts of informed citizenship, how to keep tabs on the elected officials you voted in, and how to look at the institutions around you with a critical eye. These are exactly the kind of critical thinking skills that a University degree is supposed to signify that you have. But without a productive student media and consistent discourse and discussion about campus politics, Brock University is graduating thousands of kids each year who have missed out on that.

Editorial: The Kyle Rose I know and love

By Sandor Ligetfalvy | The Brock University Gadfly

Source: BUSU

Source: BUSU

The first time I learned the name Kyle Rose, it was because he clicked like on The BUG’s Facebook page the only time I spent $20 in advertising to Brock students in the first few weeks of publishing in May 2013. What I knew about Rose then was that he was a young, black, wrestler, majoring in philosophy, who had written on my page on my Facebook page in 2013, “This seems cool.” I friended him on Facebook and we chatted a few times. He posted uplifting, law-of-attraction, be-the-change type memes and quotes. I remember when he announced he was leaving wrestling to focus on building his business. I met him in person when I called to him in the halls on campus near Tim Hortons and introduced myself and said hello to someone I thought was a reader of my website, but was he would be far more significant than that.

He had aimed his destiny on the BUSU executive and that means inevitably developing a public relations plan that incorporates a good rapport with The BUG, but I can’t say that about Rose in a cynical tone. I believe he just wanted to learn everything from everyone. When it comes to BUSU politics and memory, he has always made me feel like a someone. When he began to research and prepare for his race to become VP Finance and Administration he made efforts to reach out to me and meet with me to gain whatever insights possible from hearing directly from the gadfly himself.

I didn’t want to be involved in the executive race last year, with my focus being on the radio show, covering the Programming Fee referendum, Fed Up Hold Up, and other stuff. I was also emotionally over-invested in the politics I was involved in and became highly stressed when I was banned from council under a confidential, in camera motion, while no one seemed interested in developing any sort of plan to save Brock Radio, not in BUSU and not at the station. At the Winter 2014 BUSU Annual General Meeting, Rose was there, gathering intel for his soon-to-be announced VPFA race. He saw me at my psychologically worst gadfly then when I had a (yet another) micromeltdown in a confrontation, this time with Millard and Yendt about explanations for being banned and the real story of the radio referendum, while Chris Green was standing nearby. Having just watched the executive team present another set of PowerPoint slides to a room that would be empty if not for the BUSU governance staff, and BUSAC people who are most involved in their own efforts at becoming executive, I practically folded to how much bullshit it was. The encounter was another Sandor embarrassment, but Rose didn’t dismiss me because of it. If anything, he was more interested in the passion of my views.  Earlier that day, I had a meeting scheduled with Rose but I couldn’t make it — too busy being stressed out. The campaign came and went with him winning against BUSAC veteran Harish Aggarwal and some random person I don’t even remember. I was kind of sad for veteran Aggarwal, and went about my life sniping at the usual suspects based on information being provided to me. Rose as an outsider meant he was perceived as somewhat immune to the sociopolitical entanglements of the BUSU/BUSAC ladder climbers.

Rose was replacing in the VPFA office Christopher Yendt whose legislative brilliance, social power tripping, and whatever else his deal is, had gained him a certain infamy on the gadfly’s pedestal as the most influential figure at BUSU, and not without cause. I love the political story that exists here. My role, Calvin Eady’s role, Yendt’s role, and others such as Millard, Kemble, Hunter, Marshall, Cartmer, Doan, Ventura, and others whose influence is unknown. It’s another one of God’s master-works of intrigue for those in-the-know. But I sometimes wonder if that’s not enough of a reason to be president of BUSU. Characters such as myself, Evans, and Nardone daydream about at least being in the debates. Eady at least has the follow through to step up to the plate as the only legitimate change candidate BUSU has seen.

But none of this has anything to do with Kyle Rose, who stepped into BUSU without climbing the BUSAC or Smart Start ladders. Our politics didn’t involve him, and he won the race by building sincere connections with people. Well, and playing up the valentine’s day aspect of voting week by handing out roses. By any other name would he be just as electable? Sure, and it’s a winning gimmick. As an executive, his presentations have usually consisted of how far along he is at accomplishing his platform points. As a Facebook friend, he has been welcoming and generally interested in what is new, what is up, and what is happening. I liked him and the last thing I wanted was for my rapport with the next VPFA of BUSU to be anything like the last. In the summer, he invited me to meet on-campus with his group called G.R.O.E. (Growth, Respect, Opportunities, Excellence), where I attended two Sundays in a row in what was practically a religious experience of self-transcendence. Among these fresh upstarts I felt more frumpy, weathered, dirty, and negatronic than I’m usually self-aware of as I grub around doing graphic design jobs from the downtown cafe or whatever. Explaining who I am to these entrepreneur university students — one of whom is the new BUSU VPFA — was a sort of out of body experience of self-realization. These are business and comm. majors in a meeting on a Sunday in the Cairns building, talking about the specifics of their lives’ ambitions. Philosopher king Rose lead the meetings which consisted of a short slideshow of inspirational, thoughtful memes, and discussion about the themes therein. Then, each person shared from their lives “Rose, thorn, and bud: something good, something challenging, and a new opportunity.” As I heard from each of the others, I took them seriously, taking brief notes. The first week was so interesting, that I went back a second week, where this time I met Rose’s mom, who spoke about the spiritual difficulties of her nursing job as an end-of-life caregiver in pious Christian language, which Rose deftly reiterated using the signifiers of “The Secret: The Law of Attraction”. The “Rose/Thorn/Bud” model of reviewing one’s own life is something I adopted personally when my friend Julian Anderson heard about it and started using it to basically say what’s up. This is how I ended up getting to know, and getting to love, Kyle Rose.

He drove me back downtown and we had a long chat in the car, sharing from our lives: I was preparing to appear as an artist at Hamilton Comic Con, and he has a patent on a window cleaning invention that has just gone into production. Always coy but never disingenuous, he dodged the specifics about how the transition went between his role as VPFA and his predecessor, my infamous Yendt, who himself had once or twice driven me back downtown from campus in years prior. I gathered from Rose that he sought to define himself on his own terms and had little interest in being puppeted, influenced, or otherwise boxed-in by his predecessor Yendt who had moved from VPFA to chairing the Board of Directors of BUSU. During the first few meetings of BUSAC in this year, Yendt stepped in and spoke where Rose felt he should have been, but he admitted his newness might have made it necessary. I began to wonder, perhaps only in paranoia or cynicism, if Rose’s rapport with me was built up to ensure he wouldn’t come under the same scrutiny that Yendt did. Soon after, I met with Rose, Steven Tulloch, and Matt Campbell at Gord’s one afternoon during Brock’s 50th. When I asked him if he planned to run for president, he said he would prefer focusing on the job at hand, and that if he does run for president, his track record of success will be what he relies on.

As the year went on, Yendt found himself being told to cool off after various displays of arrogance and hostility to others (so I’m told), I presented to council and was interrogated in a long question period, the gadfly sniped at Drew Ursacki’s advocacy team for thinking Vladmir Putin was “funny”, then took a hiatus to let BUSU-be-BUSU in the wake of Blackface 2014 and the realization I wouldn’t be getting my radio show back. Meanwhile, Rose proceeded forward, as we all knew he was headed, directly to a presidency campaign. He didn’t do very much to get anyone’s ire; or at least, no one fed me information against him, and I have had very little reason to publish much during his term of office.

This past weekend, I published an editorial which explained why Eady is “The gadfly’s president”, but what if — fuck the gadfly? I’m an insect with an eyeball who often lacks depth perception, I’m not the all seeing eye of all knowledge and truth. It seems my BUSU opinions can sometimes be based on how well the people who are in it maintain a rapport with me. My reasons for being unsurprisingly and by default in Eady’s camp are spelled out in the previous editorial. I want to see my number one of information source, the guy I call a people’s champion, win the presidency, a bias I have readily admitted. But my rationale is my own and includes the battlescars of Yendt’s year, being banned from student council, radio station fiascos, and general isolation if not for Eady feeding me information, and gossip, and encouraging me when I feel like giving up gadflying. But Brock students don’t give a shit about any of that. They don’t really care about CASA, or the Board of Directors, or BUSU — they know it’s all part of the total bullshit that is their fees. They just can’t wait to graduate and leave to foggily remember the greatest years of their lives from the office towers of whatever high-paying job they believe they’ll have thanks to their degree at Brock University.

Eady has banked his campaign on promises to run referendums, thereby potentially making his campaign itself the referendum — not that anyone out there is paying close attention. I like that his change agenda is based in readily remembered context: he aims to solve lingering issues such as there being a CASA referendum, as well as wants to establish clarity of the roles of power between BUSAC and the Board of Directors, presumably addressing the very issue that he brought to me with what I called Bylawgate. I don’t know if corrective reform policies are not what’s going to win this election, but I’m glad to see that’s what is central to Eady’s agenda. Clearly, Rose does not represent the political substance that I want to see at BUSU in the same way that Calvin Eady does. Rose’s story isn’t mixed up with my own; he isn’t my dog in the fight. He wasn’t there for the Oct-2013 constitutional amendment, Oct-2013 radio referendum, Dec-2013 video ban, Jan-2014 Sandor ban, Feb-2014 Fed Up Hold Up, Feb-2014 programming fee, etc, etc. But the thought occurs to me that these matters are in the past, and, more significantly, they shouldn’t matter very much to students who have never prioritized managing the ethical construct of collective governance structures.

There are other reasons than politics to be elected president of a students union, as much as it pains me to admit. One such reason is personal strengths of interpersonal skills, time and stress management, and other habits of success that are possessed more so by Rose.  He is often on-campus as early as 5 a.m. He is an inventor, businesness person, and guru to many of his colleagues. He has a talent for building others up. It has been easy and enjoyable to maintain a rapport with him, and he has entirely dodged my typical BUSU sniping because he just doesn’t earn it, or he’s that good that he’s flown under the controversy radar. I can’t even lump him in with the conventions of the BUSU politick, despite his blatant dress-to-success persona. Two very different cultures and value systems are being represented with the race between Rose and Eady. I am much more so part of Eady’s culture of rebels and outsiders than I am part of Rose’s culture of players and winners.

I love Kyle Rose and he has taught me how to love the potential of this university culture. But I’m afraid I still don’t really know him. I’m afraid that his ability to build a rapport with me has blinded me to the obviously concerning fact that his campaign photos are taken in a Brock University administrators office. Does this mean he’s another BUSU president who will work for Brock’s administration? As Ursacki once chided to me, “just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right.” With eight or so years in wrestling, Rose learned to keeps opponents very, very close. I don’t know he isn’t the best possible person to engage in the struggle of maintaining access to important Brock admins while also rebutting new fees, unfair omnibus re-negotiations, or the potential of BUSU policies mysteriously aligning with admin’s interests instead of the students. After all, in the photo his feet are on that administrator’s desk.

Eady is the gadfly’s president, but Rose will be BUSU’s. Eady is the president of my fears and tragedies and Rose is the president of Brock’s hopes and dreams. Eady satisfies my desire to see a political policy-based campaign at Brock, but Rose is undeniably “presidential.” I wouldn’t for a second blame the Brock undergrads for electing him. I can’t expect them to vote based on the priorities of my own political lens. I don’t expect my issues and priorities to be the same as the undergraduate voters. Voters can, and should, base their decision on the content of the platforms and impressions of watching the debates. I only hope to provide additional context and nuance to the understanding of the candidates and the world we are co-habitating.

Editorial: Eady is “The Gadfly’s President”

Adapted from this Facebook post:

I’ve had the good fortune to get to know both Calvin Eady and Kyle Denzel Rose over the past year. They have very different approaches to Student Representation, and a different set of values which guide them. Neither of them are part of the old guard of BUSU corporatism. Eady cut his political teeth in resisting the Yendt/Millard-style BUSU old guard, while Rose has offered a sincere — although still corporate — alternative to BUSU’s business as usual.

I have a lot of reasons to praise, admire, and respect Mr. Rose, but not as many political reasons to endorse him as I do Mr. Eady.

The Brock University Gadfly has a clear preference based on political history that unsurprisingly places me in Eady’s camp. Off the top of my head: Eady made the motion to bump the constitutional amendment Quorum increase from 10% to 5% (it ended up being 7% after negotiations); It was Eady who fought the video ban, and then got it repealed. It was he who fought the Sandor ban, and then later had it repealed as well.

Eady spent significant personal time attempting to build Student Representation bridges with Brock Radio, and was vocal against the Fed Up Hold Up. When he believed that BUSAC’s powers had been undermined by Yendt’s Board of Directors, he worked with me to publish a report that exposed it (in what I called “bylawgate”).

He’s always on the right side of a political debate, and always kind and respectful to his opponents. Always a stalwart supporter of the alternative perspective I have provided, yet deft in spending his political capital, Mr. Eady has positioned himself in BUSU as someone I have come to call “the people’s champion.” Without him, much of what we’ve accomplished in these past 18 months would have been impossible. With an exceptional track record and a platform based in political progress, Mr Eady is clearly the gadfly’s president.

By Sandor Ligetfalvy