August 2012

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The August 2012 edition of The Omega

Transcript of August 2012

  • FILE PHOTO

    Qubec students teach strike methods 2

    Wait until its out of the theatre. 5

    THEMEGA

    VOLUME 21ISSUE 32

    AUGUST 2012

    TRUs Independent Student Newspaper

    Get ready folks!Were about to gear up for fall

    Golf team finally has a woman 6

  • August, 20122

    WINDSOR (CUP) Ontario students are training to match Que-bec student protesters successes in engaging and mobilizing students against tuition hikes.

    Post-secondary students in Quebec went on strike in February to oppose a $1,778 tuition increase over seven years. Students gained public sup-port after Quebec passed Bill 78, an emergency law that limits protests and punishes violations with severe fines.

    The University of Toronto Grad-uate Students Union hosted an Ontario Student Strike Training Camp from July 27 to 29. The conference con-sisted of a series of discussion groups and work-shops designed to teach students how to hold gen-eral assemblies and organize strikes.

    Workshops covered topics such as holding general assemblies, differ-entiating strikes from other actions, enforcing strikes, working with me-dia and dealing with police responses. About 260 students from across the political spectrum attended, mostly from Ontario, but some came from as far away as British Columbia, New Brunswick and Minnesota. Student strikers came from Quebec led the workshops.

    Theres a lot of interest right now in moving towards direct democratic structures, said Ashleigh Ingle, UTGSUs civics and environment commissioner, in reference to mecha-nisms such as Quebecs general as-semblies.

    At Quebec universities, students have the right to bring forward mo-tions, vote and speak in regular gen-eral assemblies which are organized by departments and faculties. Quebec students started their strike through motions put forward at these assem-blies.

    Right now in Ontario we dont have these structures set up, Ingle said. A lot of focus is on student union executives and not on actual member engagement. I think the first step is to make that transition.

    Quebec organizers consistently em-phasized the dif-ference between their strike and other actions such as boycotts, walkouts or demonstrations.

    Where most of those actions are voluntary, the student strike has often been enforced through picket lines much like labour strikes.

    Par t icipants simulated en-

    forcing a strike by blocking access to classrooms and buildings. Students linked arms in front of a classrooms doors and used waste disposal recep-tacles and couches as barricades.

    You have no right to keep us out! shouted camp organizers pretending to be students opposed to the strike as they attempted to enter the classroom by force.

    Are you proud of yourself right now? another organizer from Que-bec asked as he shoved a cellphone camera in students faces to take their photographs.

    After failing to gain entry by force, subterfuge, pleading and reason they marched outside to hold their class outside.

    The goal of a campus strike is to prevent any academic activity that could lead to accreditation, includ-ing classes, assignments and exams. In order to achieve this objective, the camps participants marched outside and interrupted the class by chant-ing too loudly for it to continue.

    Jihong Kim supports the concept of general assemblies and attended the training camp to learn more about what students are doing at other uni-versities.

    It is something that should be built from the bottom up because student representatives are supposed to repre-sent the students, said Kim, a gradu-ate student in communication studies and social justice at the University of Windsor.

    You dont have to be a leader in an organization to build a student move-ment, he added.

    Ingle, who organized the training camp, said that tactics used by On-tario students in their struggles arent working.

    We need to show them that theres a better way to do this. Hopefully we can bring people into collective deci-sion-making and talk to them about different forms of collective direct ac-tion that we could take.

    Even a one-day student strike thats actually voted on by students is a lot more powerful than a one-day protest where theres no actual man-date from students to do it.

    Soft strikes vs. hard strikes

    Strikes can be voluntary or soft, where students choose to walk out and boycott their classes, assignments and exams.

    In a soft picket, youre not blocking people from going to class, explained a strike organizer from Quebec, who did not wish to be named.

    You gather outside of the class, hand them information and try to con-vince them to join you.

    Soft strikes are voluntary. Students who wish to continue

    learning and faculty and staff who want to continue running the univer-sity are allowed to do so.

    Pickets can also be hard or enforced, where student strikers act to ensure that no academic activity that would lead to a diploma is allowed to happen, includ-ing classes and assignments.

    Frank Levesque-Nicol, from the Student Association Faculty of Hu-manities at the University of Quebec at Montreal, explained to participants, If you are going to have an effective strike, and you let people have their courses, then you endanger everyone elses ability to have the strike protect-ed from negative consequences.

    We realized soft pickets are futile, the Quebec organizer said, adding that the negative consequences for strikers could include failing the semester.

    Solidarity and repression

    Quebec students have been on strike since February, and the long-term action has taken its toll. The response from police has especially affected strikers.

    It takes a psychological toll when

    targeted arrests are closing in on your close friends or even the experi-ence of having a rubber bullet shot at you, it can be traumatizing, said Brad Vaughan, who gave a session on po-lice repression at the camp. We need to develop strategies of self-care and community care that deal with the re-alities of repression and how it affects people.

    During his workshop, Vaughan raised theoretical questions about what repression does to movements, and what movements do to themselves in response to repression. He pointed out how a social movement can be-come divided when protestors are cat-egorized as good or bad, which drives a wedge between radical and moder-ate protestors.

    This repression will induce self-policing within movements it will also induce paranoia and fear that pre-vents militant tactics from spreading, Vaughan warned.

    Practical measures like legal sup-port are used to deal with polices responses, said Vaughan. But more important is Standing publicly and firmly against repression and tak-ing a public stance supporting a diver-sity of tactics.

    The Lance (University of Windsor)Darryl Gallinger

    Feature

    PHOTO COURTESY NICOLAS QUIAZUA / LE DELIT (COVER PHOTO COURTESY HERA CHAN / MCGILL DAILY)We need to

    show them that theres a better way to do this.

    Ashleigh Ingle

    Ontario students get schooled in how to strike

    ON THE COVER:Much merriment was had at the 2011 orientation and back-to-school barbeque, held the first week of each fall semester. Take advantage of all the free swag, meet some new people, find out what there is to do on and around campus, and get fed of free! This years orientation happens Sept. 4 and the barbeque

    is scheduled for Sept. 7.

    Summer Contest!Design an Omega () symbol that we can call our own!

    Email your designs to editorofomega@gmail.comand be a part of TRU history by having your design

    featured in the paper. Great Prizes, too!

    UBC researcher hopes to take the stigma out of HIV testing

    VANCOUVER (CUP) A new HIV prevention initiative pioneered by a UBC researcher seeks to expand HIV testing beyond only at-risk communities, focusing instead on those who are at a low risk of infection or believe that they are HIV-negative.

    Were trying to take the stigma out of the equation, explains Dr. Julio Mon-taner, director of the B.C. Centre for Ex-cellence and head of the AIDS division in the UBC Faculty of Medicine. We no longer want to target HIV testing to people who are at risk, because weve done that already. We want to confirm that 99 plus per cent of society is nega-tive, but help those who dont know their status or are unsuspecting and help them get access to proper treatment.

    Montaner intends to test the general public on a strictly voluntary basis. The

    program uses a rapid-result test that takes only 60 seconds to determine a patients status; if the result is positive, this is con-firmed by a second test run in a full lab. Anyone who has been sexually active in the last five decades could be at risk for the disease, he said.

    Various rapid-testing clinics have spo-radically offered the 60-second test on UBC campus, but UBC Student Health Services currently only offers the full lab HIV test with a longer wait.

    Reactions across UBC varied; many students had no qualms about taking or retaking an HIV test. Angus Chak, a third-year Commerce student, was unsure whether he would take the test: I dont know if I would take the test. Maybe, probably. Probably would. I dont [know] for sure.

    Testing costs would be subsidized by Vancouver Coastal Health. Montaner ar-gues that the cost of testing should pay for itself in the future by making sure HIV-positive people begin treatment early.

    An earlier program involved giving the rapid HIV test to 20,000 patients at St. Pauls Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital and other Vancouver clinics. Patients visiting for a non-HIV/AIDS re-lated complaint were offered a rapid HIV test, and 9