Letters to the Editor

Re: “Spending Request.”

An article called “The Joys of Approving Your Own Spending Request” was recently published as the cover story in your Jan. 30 publication. As the two Q Centre (SU Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity) co-ordinators who were interviewed in this article, we were disturbed to see the inaccuracies that were reported.

The Gauntlet article essentially accuses the Students’ Union of approving Quality Money proposals that would benefit themselves, however the QM committee has a long history of not approving SU-proposed projects. The proposal for the move of the MacEwan Conference & Event Centre offices so that the Q Centre can move and expand could not have been “rubber-stamped,” as the Gauntlet reported, because it has not even been voted on yet by the QM committee!

What the Students’ Legislative Council actually did, was vote on an “extra-budgetary motion”, which means that the renovations will be funded by existing SU money, but needed approval because it wasn’t planned for in last year’s budget. The actual QM proposal is in the lengthy approval process and the results will not be known until March. The extra-budgetary motion was required so construction can begin now.

This Q Centre expansion is necessary to the ever-growing community that uses the space, and allows us to improve the services we provide to the student body. By focusing on the move of the MCEC offices and ignoring the Q Centre, the article provided painfully incomplete information to the students. During our interview, we told the Gauntlet reporter the details of the Q Centre’s involvement, but the interviewer chose to focus narrowly on sources of funding instead of the reasons the expansion is necessary for our community and our campus.

We think this article was based upon false information, solely for the sake of creating controversy. We would hope that any publication, whether its reach is campus-wide or nationwide, would have the journalistic integrity to provide unbiased reporting and perform basic fact-checking before publishing any article.

Katie LeBlanc and Leah Schmidt

Co-Coordinators, Q Centre: SU Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity

Re: “Spending Request.”

As an elected member of Student Legislative Council and a Quality Money Committee member, I found the Gauntlet’s cover story to be misleading and uninformed.

Firstly, no Quality Money funds have been approved for the moving of the Conference and Events offices, so the claim the proposal has been or will be “rubber stamped” by the Quality Money Committee is misleading. While Quality Money conducts its business in camera, every
proposal is judged on its merits and evaluated against the three pillars and the guidelines for the fund.

The $240,000 SLC approved to fund the project was from a separate pool of funds, the Students’ Union general revenues. So the conference offices will be moving and the Q Centre will be expanding regardless of the outcome Quality Money proposal. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the elected representatives on SLC unanimously supported a project that will help students.

Yes, MacEwan Conference and Events is expanding and requires more space, but let’s not forget that its primary role is as a student service. The majority of room bookings in the conference centre are student clubs and organizations, including the Gauntlet. When students aren’t using the space, the SU rents it out to generate thousands of dollars to pour back into student programs and services, all while keeping your SU fees low.

SLC members serving on the Quality Money Committee will continue to determine which proposals are in the best interests of students; that’s their job as elected representatives. If the Gauntlet doesn’t like the decisions, there’s still time for them to pick up nomination packages
and run in the election.

Shahir Mishriki

Engineering Representative on SLC, Quality Money Committee Member

Re: “Attack of the Flak.”

Your editorial states: “If someone in a media story acts incredibly indignant and repeatedly stress their status as a victim, it’s probably flak. If their arguments rest on emotional bosh, more flak. And if they’re quick to condemn opponents’ arguments as part of a ‘disturbing, growing trend,’ again, likely flak. Flak seeps into the media all the time. Take the effort to recognize it.”

Okay, Gauntlet readers. Reread the editorial itself, and decide for yourselves whether it meets all of the above criteria, indignation, sense of victimhood, wallowing in emotion, and conflating the influence of an off-campus pro-Israeli organization. There’s your “flak.”

David Busheikin

U of C Alumnus

Re: “Attack of the Flak.”

I wanted to write this letter a few weeks ago, but I didn’t because I honestly thought that this would blow over by now. Whether or not Ala’a Hamdan’s comments were warranted, or even right, is not the matter I would like to discuss. Rather, I want to know why people from Toronto are emailing the Gauntlet about an article that they ran. Do they honestly wish to ‘express’ their views on the article? What would they get out of ‘expressing’ their views? Clearly, if they want to reach a greater audience, they’d be better off sending letters to national or provincial newspapers, instead of a university newspaper. So, it would seem that their motives are to try and shame our Gauntlet staff into never printing something like this again. And from what Riley Hill said in his “Attack of the Flak” article, it seems like they’re trying to do this with the Students’ Union as well.

To this, I want to tell the Gauntlet that you guys are our newspaper, and we, normal, everyday students, read your newspaper, and I genuinely enjoy reading another copy every week. Ignore any destructive comments made by a few people who would prefer it if you didn’t push for real and free journalism by covering controversial topics, the people writing those letters aren’t us.

I also want to tell the SU that your responsibilities lie with us, the students. That means that if a student makes certain remarks that are neither racist nor hateful, the SU should support their right to free speech. As long as the SU’s actions are supporting the students, the students will always stand with the SU, no matter which organization is ‘frothing at the mouth.’

Finally, while I’m here, I’d like to ask the SU to extend the McKimmie library hours to 12, or just keep the link between Taylor Family Digital Library and McKimmie open until then.

Bilal Sher

U of C student

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