Students respond to the latest edition of the Lance

The organizing students of the awareness campaign of the systemic discrimination in the Lance, have written a response to the latest edition of the paper, including their current efforts to hold the Lance accountable for it’s content. Please note that this is the efforts of the students directly involved with the campaign, not the efforts of the WSSA.

Discrimination is not a Spoof.

It would seem that the spoof edition of the Lance has come early this year and with it, of course, are the familiar trivializations of violence against women and inappropriate ethnic-based quips. Unique to this edition, however, is not only their acknowledgement of student outrage of the content, and subsequent mockery of it, but that it is done so amidst the very same material the concerns were – and remain – founded.

Despite their defence that this is a spoof edition, it is imperative that we remain critical of what the punch line is. A sexist joke is still sexist, and a racist joke is still racist. In fact, regardless of intention, a spoofed Lance is still offensive.

On March 1st 2011, several months after the initial protest to raise awareness of the problematic content, the Lance has made its first public acknowledgement of student concerns, in their feature article, Last Call (http://www.pastthepages.ca/110301/feature.html). Mocking student initiatives meant to ensure adequate representation on campus seems to be more important than not only addressing these concerns, but also reporting on them. The Lance’s response is a clear indication of how students should expect to be represented; unfairly and inaccurately.

Accused, among other things, of not being “scientific,” having previous “prejudice against the publication,” and “holding a publication hostage” all for the sole purpose of grades demonstrates the Lance’s clear defensiveness toward the concerns raised by the students. Considering that this is not the first time in recent years students at the University of Windsor have voiced their concerns, it is surprising that the Lance would respond in such a hostile and purposeful malicious way.

Despite explaining to the editors that such things as sexism, racism, and heteronormativity can be perpetuated by inappropriate or false representation, spoofs, and/or by excluding certain groups of students by not reporting on news relevant to them – the Lance has claimed ignorance; that the students failed to explain “or even divulge any clear criteria for what makes a newspaper racist.” We would like to remind the editors of the Lance that we gave them a folder containing many examples of problematic content – with notes explaining how the content was interpreted. Perhaps, however, two of the editors’ – including the author to which this article is in response to – failure to attend any of the meetings with the students explains their lack of knowledge in this matter. Their decision to ignore this folder and disregard student concerns should not translate into our failure to inform them of the issues.

 

Perhaps the editors should examine the folder we provided for their records before making accusations that we did not provide “figures and stats.”In fact, among the evidence enclosed in this folder, was the “Jeepers Peepers” article which reported on the voyeur who broke into Electa Hall. We explained that using language such as “Jeepers Peepers” belittled women’s experiences of violence. As if to send a strong message to students – especially those who were victimized during the Electa Hall events – that violence against women is amusing, the Lance writes in another spoof article:

A man in a trench coat was allegedly seen fleeing in the direction of Electa Hall moments after the shots were fired. According to Winter, the gunman is likely the same suspect involved in the Peeping Tom incidents of at Electa Hall.

“Electa Hall is obviously the epicentre of CIA behavioural experiements. I mean, he ran in that direction. What more proof do you need?”

Winter alleges the CIA is peeping on women at their most vulnerable state to study how they behave.

‘They will use this information to win their hearts and minds and better market the US government’s brand of democracy.”

Making violence against women a farce was not enough; the Lance also found it necessary to remind victims that the suspect remains unknown, and at large.

The Lance’s decision to make its first public acknowledgement of student concerns a spoof, demonstrates the lack of respect it has for the people it claims to represent. In fact, the Lance has yet to make any significant changes to its content, for which the writers continue to remain unaccountable for. Moreover, despite requirements for annual sensitivity training mandated by the Canadian University Press Ethics Policy, to which the Lance follows, in addition to assurances from the editor-in-chief that it would be implemented, sensitivity training has yet to take place – and hasn’t for the last two years.

It’s important for the Lance to understand that as a university newspaper, they have journalistic obligations to report on relevant news. For example, in order for the Lance to publish this spoof edition news coverage on the elections for our student government had to be discluded. Additionally, The Lance has taken advantage of its position and power on campus to unfairly attack students –who are not only represented by it, but who also fund the newspaper. This specific Lance article is not only an attempt to seriously undermine legitimate student initiatives, but also works to prevent students from speaking out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17 responses to “Students respond to the latest edition of the Lance

  1. This letter is even more ridiculous than the spoof edition. Despite its shortfalls, the lance made no jokes of violence against women or ethnic groups. Claimng they did makes us all look bad. I would like to see changes made at the lance but lying to get a point across is no better than what we are accusing them of doing.

    • You are wrong, Clara. Please read the article “Uwindsor to admit students based on physical appearance” by Leanna Roy
      and see this quote:


      Students who receive an appearance rating of six or lower will not be admitted unless they are international students.
      “We can’t hold international students to our Western standards of appearance and hygiene,” said Wildeman, “They deserve every opportunity to succeed and c’mon, they’re a cash cow. So if the applicant doesn’t measure up physically but has the potential to win grant money, they will be given the option to undergo extensive plastic surgery–on their dime, of course.” ”
      The made up quote is particularly outrageous. It insults International students and calls them dirty. I don’t know about you but I see that as a joke on not only women(not violence against women though), ethnic groups, but primarily international students themselves. I am forwarding this quote to the international student centre, the international students society, and to the canadian civil liberties union to make sure it is handled properly. the time for discussing these issues with the lance is over. It is time for some form of authority to step in.

  2. As one of the Students involved in the actions against the Lance in 2008, this is not only representative of the immaturity of the editors and writers themselves, but even more haunting, reflexive of broader systemic pressures that marginalized groups face in their daily lives (which, according to the Lance, serves as comedic relief for the Windsor student body). It is really unfortunate that we see the ways in which violence against women, racism, and heteronormativity is trivialized on campus, is reflected in our elected governments policies. And, whether, in the context of this paper, or not these jokes appear as jokes they have REAL impacts on people’s lives. Barring the rhetoric coming from the Tories in Ottawa, women do NOT have equality. Women still make less than men, are less likely to obtain MA and PhDs when compared to men, and let us not forget the feminization of poverty and the hundreds of fallen sisters missing from the Landscape of Western Canada, the majority of whom are indigenous Canadians. I am not trying to argue that all men are oppressors and all women are oppressed- gendered binaries are not useful for describing the complex and intersectional nature of our identities- However, it is important to note that one’s class, gender, sexuality and “race” is affected by a dominant heteronormative white masculinity that creates marginalization, poverty and violence. These experiences are NOT funny. And, as students, we have a responsibility to engage and respond to this, quite frankly, disgusting abusive of power.

    University campuses are supposed to be hotbeds for political debate and engagement where multiple knowledge is produced and negotiated within and between students. This is nearly impossible when the information that is being produced by the primary media source of campus is failing to engage in the critical thinking skills we are being taught to use in our classrooms. And, at the risk of sounding crass, if Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck took a look at the kinds of “knowledge” being produced on this campus through the Lance, I am sure they would be proud.

    As students we need to recognize that all of us are facing very particular but similar oppressions at this time. Tuition fees are rising, political engagement is being silenced,. There are alternatives being offered on campus- how we can engage with these alternatives to enable a broader based participation by our campus at large is at sitting on the horizon.

    Hey D’arcy- The Joke is on you- REAL and REPRESENTATIVE Student News is being published on campus through “The Student Movement”.

    Maybe by this time next year, your “spoof article” will become a reality. Maybe the Lance will be overthrown by a “coup” of ideas.

  3. Carol,

    I’m not sure what you mean by suggesting we lied:

    #1
    ”Students who receive an appearance rating of six or lower will not be admitted unless they are international students.”

    “We can’t hold international students to our Western standards of appearance and hyg…iene,” said Wildeman, “They deserve every opportunity to succeed and c’mon, they’re a cash cow. So if the applicant doesn’t measure up physically but has the potential to win grant money, they will be given the option to undergo extensive plastic surgery–on their dime, of course.”

    Is clearly meant to be a joke – and is racist.

    #2
    “Electa Hall is obviously the epicentre of CIA behavioural experiements. I mean, he ran in that direction. What more proof do you need?”

    Winter alleges the CIA is peeping on women at their most vulnerable state to study how they behave.

    ‘They will use this information to win their hearts and minds and better market the US government’s brand of democracy.”

    Is meant to be a joke – voyeurism is clearly violence.

  4. I cannot with good conscious see this statement as racist. International students come from every country except Canada. This includes Australia, England, Russia, China, India. What race is being defamed? It’s racist to think the lance is singling out one particular group of students. Maybe the joke is on people who hear “international student-hygiene” and think of a particular group. This can be called many things but racist is not one them.

    Yes voyeurism is a serious crime, but not a violent one. It can lead to violence but it is not violent. That’s what i was trying to say. If a point is to be made it should made correctly or it won’t be taken seriously. I will support your movement if I think you have a strong case but it doesn’t appear so right now. The racism point is moot and the crimes against women argument is speculative.
    One thing that cannot be questioned is your passion. Good luck.

    • Thank you Carol. I’m glad I’m not the only one that has these agrees about WSSA’s recent claims on the Lance. I can’t claim to be an expert on the Lance and I’m sure they’re not Saints, but I’ve read all of the same articles in that editions of the newspaper and don’t see any of the “racism” or “violence against women” that they are speaking of.

      • views* not agrees…what was I typing there?

      • The WSSA supports the initiatives by these students for fairer representation in the Lance, but is not leading the initiative.

      • Mr. Feminist

        I think the problem here is there is a difference between the definition of “racism.”
        I for one do not believe that there is more than one race in humanity – it’s homo sapiens. Now there are many racialized groups. I use racism to define the singling out of any one group, ethnic or not, though in some ways foreign to those reacting to it.

        Therefore, though international students are not a racialized group, they are a group that the line I quoted attacks. It also incorrectly assumes all international students are rich.

        I particularly object to this bit Carol,
        “International students come from every country except Canada. This includes Australia, England, Russia, China, India. What race is being defamed? It’s racist to think the lance is singling out one particular group of students.”
        Like I said, there is only one race – humanity itself. And the one particular group that the Lance IS singling out is international students, from wherever part of the world they come from.

        But that’s just my interpretation.

  5. So, Mr. Feminist: The Lance is singling out International students? Just to show how silly this is, let’s define the term “international student”, shall we?

    International student: a student originating from any other country in the world other than Canada.

    Are you really saying that you’re upset becasue the Lance is insulting the student population of every country except Canada? How can you take this seriously?

  6. Yes, Mark and Carol you are right – while “international students” may refer to any other country than Canada, I think it is important that we think a little more critically than relying on a very simplistic definition of “international.”

    So here it goes. The article reads:

    “Students who receive an appearance rating of six or lower will not be admitted unless they are international students.

    “We can’t hold international students to our Western standards of appearance and hygiene,” said Wildeman, “They deserve every opportunity to succeed and c’mon, they’re a cash cow. So if the applicant doesn’t measure up physically but has the potential to win grant money, they will be given the option to undergo extensive plastic surgery–on their dime, of course.”

    Now lets examine the University of Windsor’s international students “countries of origins”

    “The countries with the most students currently studying at the University of Windsor include China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, United States, United Arab Ermirates and Saudi Arabia.”
    (http://www.uwindsor.ca/internationalization/international-student-country-of-origin)

    25% of international students – South Asia
    15% of international students – Africa
    6% of international students – Americas
    15% of international students – the Middle East
    34% of international students- Asia
    6% of international students – Europe

    These statistics are specific to the University of Windsor. So, it is not “racist” to assume that when the article says “international students” one presumes it is referring to one or several of the above listed countries of origin – it would only make sense.

    Please visit this site to see these figures for yourself:
    http://www.uwindsor.ca/internationalization/international-student-country-of-origin

    As for your comment, Carol, that you do not believe voyeurism to be violent…

    I would consider a person, in this case, a man, who breaks into a residence, sneaks into a washroom unbeknown to the residents to spy on women showering for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification to be violent. Violence does not have to be physical for it to be considered violent.

  7. Meghan

    Yes, violence does need to be physical. That’s what violence is. I know you may consider voyeurism a violent crime but the rest of us don’t follow your train of thought. Lumping voyeurism in the same category as murder or a physical assault is misleading at best.

    Ask yourself what a Canadian looks like. Do you automatically think of a white person or do you imagine somebody whose family came from one of the countries listed above? The problem here is people are filling in the blanks based on personal biases and blaming the lance for what they envision.

  8. Carol,
    I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at by asking me what a Canadian looks like. “Canadian” is an arbitrary identifier – with the exception of Indigenous peoples – “Canadians” have immigrated here, and thanks to colonialism – the term “Canadian” was coined. So, again, not sure why you brought that up.

    “the problem here is people are filling in the blanks based on personal biases and blaming the lance for what they envision”

    No. That’s not what the problem is. The problem is that students who have interpreted the content of the Lance as “offensive,” and who have brought it forward to the Lance have not only been mocked, told their experiences are incorrect, and essentially, denied, but the Lance has further marginalized these groups by taking the very content deemed “offensive” and have placed it within a spoof edition, in order for them to justify the things they would otherwise not be allowed to say – using the defense “it was a joke.”

    Your definition of violence – again, I would have to argue is limited, at the very least. Perhaps we should just agree to disagree?

    Before that, however, I would like to ask yourself and “the rest of you”
    what you would consider such things bullying? verbal abuse? neglect? emotional abuse? sexual harrassment? racism? sexism? classism? threats? ageism? ableism? etc, if not forms of violence?

  9. “I would consider a person, in this case, a man, who breaks into a residence, sneaks into a washroom unbeknown to the residents to spy on women showering for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification to be violent.”
    Okay, I don’t know where you’re getting your information from but I lived in residence when that whole thing went down. No body broke in, Electa Hall is locked 24 Hours a day. The peeper had to be a resident there. That is what we were told. Sounds like a totally different story than what I’m hearing here. No one broke into anything.

    “Your definition of violence – again, I would have to argue is limited, at the very least. ”
    If you’d look into a dictionary, you’d find (according to a Merriem-Webster dictionary) that Violence is ” exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house).” Therefore what you claim to be violent is in all actuality, not violent.

    “No. That’s not what the problem is. ”
    That’s exactly what the problem is, this envisioning is certainly helped along and fanned by people who want there to be an issue with the Lance in order to bring up their grades in their women in protest class, which I find is absolutely disgusting. If you’re one of the instigators, your actions are deplorable and if you’re one of the many being misleaded, I seriously hope you’ll see the truth one day and humbly face the consequences for lying in order to get the Lance punished.

    I agree the Lance may need to be more accountable for their actions BUT ONLY WHEN THEY ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WRONG.

  10. Jessica,

    Your definition of violence, as I have said, is not necessarily wrong – it is limited. Could you perhaps enlighten upon me what you would categorize the aforementioned examples of how violence is not always physical, if they are in fact not violence?

    You seem to be getting quite upset that students take issue with the Lance. I hope you can come to the meeting on Monday, perhaps hearing the perspectives of more than just Mr. Feminist and I will be prove to be helpful.

    As for being the lying, deplorable, disgusting instigator of a conspiracy to have the editors of the Lance undergo the grueling torture of sensitivity training all in an attempt to make them slightly more accountable to their published content? Yes. I am.

    See you on Monday.

  11. Also, “women in protest” is a study of women in protest – it is not a description of the students who take the course. The class was not entirely women, so please make sure you make that distinction in the future.

    Thank you.

  12. “Could you perhaps enlighten upon me what you would categorize the aforementioned examples of how violence is not always physical, if they are in fact not violence?”
    Well in my opinion, that is called abuse, not violence. Violence is more like beating someone up or murdering someone. Abuse covers what violence does not. There can be violent abuse, but abuse doesn’t have to be violent.

    “….grueling torture of sensitivity training all in an attempt to make them slightly more accountable to their published content? Yes. I am.”
    No, I’m calling your actions deplorable because you’re calling the whistle on a company that’s done nothing wrong. I fail to see how they need ‘sensitivity training’ and if it’s required, then they should do it. I can’t claim to say whether they participate in it or not, but everything seems fine to me.

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