Monday, December 11, 2006

Carleton & Abortion

I would just like to comment on the whole Carleton and Anti-Abortion group thing.

In case you haven't heard, this is what it's about:

Student groups at Ottawa's Carleton University that want to question abortion rights will not be able to receive money or recognition from the students council.

The Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA) voted in favour of a controversial change to its discrimination policy that requires that "no CUSA resources, space, recognition or funding" be allocated for anti-abortion activities or displays.

Right now I'm considering grad school. One of the most important things when considering going to post-secondary, whether at the undergraduate or the graduate level is can you fit in with the school.

I actually just bumped into some old friends yesterday and when I told them about my endeavors, my one friend, Jen cautioned when you write your statement of interest, have a look at the school's mission statement. She told me that one of her friends was not accepted because her values did not fit into the school. I'm not sure of the details, but what Carleton is doing does not make me think that my values will fit in. My values include considering everyone's opinions critically and not shutting a person or group out because of their opinions and having the opportunity to debate, consider and evaluate all sides of an issue. I've demonstrated this with my pro-stance on same-sex marriage.

But is the Master in Public Administration program at Carleton really the best in the country? I want to go there because I'm bilingual, and because I've always wanted to go back to Ottawa. But will I really want to go there because it's in the nation's capital with numerous opportunities to get my foot in with any organization.

I'm at Trent now and I hate it. Sure I love the small class sizes and getting to know my profs, but I hate the school. There is zero school spirit, the politics of student life is very one sided. If you don't believe in fair-trade, anti-globalization, same-sex marriage, anti-war, and global warming you are ostracized by professors, peers, and yes, student organizations.

Although for many of these issues like globalization, I truly don't know enough about them to take a stance. The problem I have, is that the arguments presented are always one-sided and no one is allowed to even offer an argument for the other side.

I remember I was in my social policy class and I was completely ostracized for questioning whether the government is at all responsible for raising our children.

If you know me, you know that I love getting involved in the school. I was valedictorian of my grade 8 graduation, I was involved in numerous extra-curricular groups in high school. When I started at Trent I kind of started getting involved, but I just found there were no groups that suited me.

There is no Outdoor Club (or it was killed because of lack of student involvement). There is no debate team (and I don't have the time to start one). There is no university-wide formal or even semi-formal. There is no football or hockey team. The closest thing to school spirit here is drinking cheap beer in a parking lot for what Trent people call, Head of the Trent (homecoming).

I can't wait to get out of here, and one of the reasons I will not do my Master's at Trent is because I need a change of scenery.

Can I see myself at Carleton?

Why, so I can look forward to more one-sided debates like this one? So that I can be reminded that tolerance and diversity means "think like me". I'm just so sick and tired of the student or academia side of society telling me there is only one way to think about an issue.

Sadly, critical thinking in academia just means, 'let's just cut up the right-wing argument with emotionally-loaded language and faulty arguments'.

On the other hand, I'm not saying that the Right does any better.

Especially with this whole abortion thing. Threats of using arms and violence is actually a tactic that the Left use in globalization protests (read: riots). Can't people show that they are different sides of the debate and offer words?

What upsets me about the Carleton thing is not that an anti-abortion group is not getting money, it's that one side of a controversial subject is . There is no free flow of opinions or ideas. It's my way or the highway? Is that why we built democracy? rights of free-speech? Have we progressed at all?

Just look at the approved CUSA motion: "CUSA further affirms that actions such as campaigns, distributions, solicitations, lobbying efforts, displays, events, etc. that seek to limit or remove a woman's options in the event of pregnancy will not be supported."

The option of NOT having an abortion is NOT an option. Yup, this is tolerance, diversity and equality AT ITS BEST!

In all honesty, no student money should go towards either side.

As for graduate school and fitting in, will I fit in anywhere?


Blogger Jordan Alcock said...

As a current citizen of Ottawa and soon-to-be Carleton student, this really hit home hard. The whole debate was a slap in the face for anyone who values free speech. Although I am significantly pro-choice, I see this as an attack on some extremely canadian values. The fact that the leftists(and our peers in particular) seem to feel that it is acceptable to completely ban a side of the argument because it happens to differ from theirs is an incredibly terrifying prospect. Its nice to see more people out there who are concerned about this.

as for this:

"As for graduate school and fitting in, will I fit in anywhere?"

I have a lot of friends in Alberta going to school who have expressed their distaste for the left-wing propoganda in their classes. I think you're S.O.L either way you slice it ;)

Good luck!

Tue Dec 12, 09:12:00 PM EST  
Blogger The Tiger said...

"As for graduate school and fitting in, will I fit in anywhere?"

Grad school is different from college -- there's more independence and more expected in your papers. As for fitting in... well, it can be fun being the one iconoclast in the room, but I do choose to keep my mouth shut sometimes. That said, there are more sympathizers than you think, and if you happen to raise a question or make a point, it might help them feel more comfortable, too...

Tue Dec 26, 01:41:00 AM EST  
Blogger SUZANNE said...

I recommend Queen's University for an MPA. My husband went there. He was hired straight out of school. It was a great program.

Thu Dec 28, 09:28:00 PM EST  

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