Ive never found it particularly hard to come up with a topic for my editorials. This week I found the opposite: I have too many topics. I partially addressed this problem by asking Vlad Glebov, former vice-president of the Students Administrative Council, to write an op-ed (for the uninitiated, an op-ed is an opinion piece by a writer usually unaffiliated with the newspaper’s editorial board). Glebovs would also be one of very few, if not the first, op-eds to be published in these pages. I also asked Michael Di Leo, our Arts Editor, to write a commentary piece to balance Mr.Glebovs.
Mr. Di Leo believes, as do I, that tuition fees are not such a bad thing. Mr. Di Leo and I also believe that the November 5 student protests are, in the best case scenario, a waste of time and money — the two very things that free higher education would supposedly save.
Mr. Glebov, on the other hand, probably doesnt agree with either Mr. Di Leo or me. I say this not only because he is a former vice-president of the University of Torontos Student Union at UTM or because he led many protests himself. I say probably because, as I write these lines, I still havent read his piece. This is how I hope to conduct future opinion pieces: there will be one piece representing one point of view and another opposing the same view. I will not let the author of either piece read in advance what the other has written, nor will I edit or otherwise improve either piece, thus preserving The Mediums integrity as well as its respect for the beliefs and opinions of others.
The fact that Michael and I happen to agree on the topic of tuition fees is pure coincidence. Despite what some people may think, we at The Medium do not all think alike. In fact, I am quite sure that my point of view on certain topics would differ from what several of my editors think. Its therefore likely that one day I will agree with the opinion of an op-eds author rather than with my editors. And that will be fine.
The topic of the November 5 thus taken care of, I still have another very important matter to write about: the sessional instructors strike. Just this morning, before I left for the office, I checked online and learned, much to my relief, that the strike had been averted.
I suppose I should be grateful. Instead I cant help wondering what the University had to concede to. As one student that we interviewed today said, What are the Universitys concessions going to cost me?
A difficult question to answer, mostly because as of press time neither party has released much information. Im certain, however, that the cost, whatever that may be, is most likely a lot lower than the one we would have paid had there been a strike. Look what happened to York when it was shut down by its local union. For all we know, itd still be closed if it werent for the Provinces back-to-work legislation.
I also suspect many sessional instructors are relieved. Ive heard of more than one who said they didnt want to go on strike. The ones I personally know enjoy the job, and although I couldnt bring myself to ask them this question, I do wonder how much their often-touted salary of $15,000 a year really comes to on a per hour basis, especially considering that those hours are part-time, which enables sessional instructors to do other jobs. I can guess, but I dont know for sure. CUPE 3902, Unit 3 never returned my phone call about what how they thought the strike would affect us students.
At any rate, well know more this week.
The last topic I wanted to touch upon is Remembrance Day, when we commemorate the sacrifices made by civilians and soldiers alike in times of war, specifically since the First World War. I feel Remembrance Day has gotten very little attention lately. Sure, we know a lot about the November 5 protest and about the strike, but what about the men and women who died so that today we could worry about demanding more money, either in the form of a higher salary or through eliminated tuition fees?