Thursday, September 30, 2010

RE: Image


I am writing in regards to the image available on your website at

This image is very troubling. As an organizer for the Canadian Federation of Students' "No Means No" campaign that is also organized around themes of consent and ending gender based and sexual violence, I was deeply offended by your allusion that only some women deserve respect. The rhetoric you employed creates a dichotomy that many (uninformed) people use to justify actions against people who aren't 'respectable'. An effective campaign would reiterate that all people deserve respect and that their consent is valued and mandated.

A great example of this being expressed comes from the Scottish "Not Ever" ad, available at The dress, speech, and actions of a person in no way mean that they have any less right to their security. No one asks to be raped, not even those touted 'sluts', or 'whores'.

I would also like to note how I have opted to used the term person rather than woman in my writings. I have done so to address the universal nature of issues surrounding consent. Sexual violence happens in queer as well as straight communities. A heteronormative approach to a consent campaign only further marginalizes queer persons experiencing sexual violence.

The "No Means No" campaigns I was involved with made these points abundantly clear as to have to most impact on people's actual behaviour. I strongly suggest you adopt similar strategies and retract the problematic image from your campaign.

In solidarity,

(Updates in commentary)

Friday, September 3, 2010

RE: Work-Study Program Restructuring.

Dear Board of governors, 

I am writing as concerned alumni; I recently and proudly graduated from Carleton, but I have become aware of shocking news concerning the restructuring of the work-study student assistance/employment program.

I have interacted in many personal and professional levels with the work-study program. As an approved work-study applicant, an administrator with Carleton’s Foot Patrol, and a friend to many employed outside academic departments. These employments serve many as useful, practical, and meaningful opportunities for a diverse pool of talented students in financial need.  

My experience with work-study program has seen the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) do amazing work through their 9 service centres (BECAMPS, ISC, ASC, Womyn’s Centre, Foot Patrol, CDAC, GLBTQ, Rec Hall, and Food Centre). At Foot Patrol, we hired for work-study dispatchers who were an integral aspect of keeping consistent service. This contributes to campus safety and helps many students feel safe on Carleton's camups in light of acts of sexual violence that stain Carleton's history and present. The Food Center was open longer to students in need of emergency assistance because of a work-study position, and the advocacy efforts of all centres were advanced by student leaders who sought experience. 

CUSA is not alone in feeling this loss; Carleton Academic Student Government (CASG), the Rideau River Residence Association (RRRA), and the Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) have been unfairly disadvantaged by the decision to restrict work-study positions to academic departments. Best for students and the university as a whole, I urge you to review this practice and reinstate work-study eligibility to non-academic departments.