Carleton shelves Shinerama on faulty facts

CUSA has shown itself to be the least-intelligent student union in the country


The Carleton University Students’ Association, Local 1 of the Canadian Federation of Students, has decided to stop fundraising as part of the national Shinerama program.

Shinerama is a national event involving students from almost every Canadian university. During the beginning of September, as part of orientation activities, students leave their campuses and shine things to raise funds which are used by the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for treatment and research to defeat the disease.

Cystic fibrosis is a terrible fatal lung disease which kills most of its victims in their 20s and 30s. It is diagnosed in both men and women at an equal rate and affects people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. However, it is more common in those of white European and Askhenazi Jewish descent than other groups.

Last night, CUSA decided to stop participating in Shinerama because “Cystic fibrosis has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men” and it was therefore not “[as] inclusive as possible.” (Read the exact motion here)

The vote was 17 in favour of the motion and only 2 opposed. With this, CUSA has officially declared that any disease which strikes down only white males is not inclusive enough to be worthy of resources to combat it.

(It is unclear which of the two demographic details is more important in the decision; the “whiteness” of the disease or the “maleness” of the disease.)

I’m at a lost where to start with my critique of this decision, so I’ll begin with the procedural aspects.

The motion was presented at the CUSA meeting with no prior notice. However, according to CUSA councilor Nick Bergamini, the executive were prepared for the discussion and argued in favour of the ban claiming that a former student felt hurt by the non-inclusive nature of CF.

While this may be the normal operating practice of CUSA, it is not the proper way to operate a deliberative governing council.

Councilors should be aware of motions well in advance. The time between the announcement of a motion and the vote on that motion is to be used for research and consultation. CUSA councilors were negligent in allowing a motion to appear on their agenda without prior notice. They neglected to research the motion, they neglected to consult the student body and that neglect resulted in the passage of a poorly written motion, supported by false information.

A simple visit to Wikipedia would have resulted in the death of this motion. Sadly, CUSA councilors acted recklessly in their pursuit of political correctness.

Then there is the question of why was this motion brought to Council?

The choice of charity is an operational decision. The motion as written was an operational directive. A legislative body should be focused on policy and pass motions which offer broad policy direction.

For example, a motion creating a charity policy with a statement to the effect that CUSA donates to charities which impact diverse backgrounds within the Ottawa community is proper policy. Saying CUSA only gives to the United Way is an operational directive.

The fact that CUSA council is micromanaging individual events indicating a problem within their system of governance. With the largest executive of any student union in Canada, these types of day-to-day details should not be in front of the entire council. This event should be the purview of either the VP student life or Carleton spirit committee. Why do Carleton students pay for a bloated executive if Council is micromanaging anyway?

This brings us to the facts of the motion.

They were wrong. Nothing more to be said there.

What’s next?

CUSA has been rushing to backtrack tonight and engaging in the exercise of doublespeak. First, the motion was a way of starting a dialogue. Then it was that if the motion was voted down, the discussion could not occur. Later it became, we voted to change the charity and the motion had nothing to do with the whereas clauses. By the time you read this, the doublespeak will have changed. (You can follow the doublespeak on Facebook by following this link.)

The real question moving forward is how are Carleton students going to react? Clearly, they need to do something. Today, years of effort by Carleton to remove its reputation as “Last Chance U” have been erased. CUSA has shown itself to be the least-intelligent student union in the country and that says a lot, since they are in league with the censorship-loving York Federation of Students. How students react will determine if the damage can be undone.

If students only complain about the decision, but do nothing to remove the incompetent student politicians who passed it, Carleton’s poor reputation will be re-entrenched. However, if students do remove those responsible for this outrage, it will go a long way to remove the stigma they are all wearing today.



Carleton shelves Shinerama on faulty facts

  1. This would come as something of a shock to my childhood neighbor. If the cystic fibrosis hadn’t already killed her, that is.

  2. Pingback: White Man’s Disease : Macleans OnCampus

  3. It is too bad for Carlton because they have recently been showing improvements in performance, have been coming up with some innovative new programs (like Industrial Design) and appeared to be successfully getting rid of the bad rep they had. This takes them back a long way. I won’t be considering them for my daughter when she goes away to university in a couple of years now, and up until today, I would say they were the front runner.

  4. What a short-sighted and misguided reason for canceling Shinerama. I don’t know how anybody could defend a decision with this magnitude of stupidity. CUSA must now deal with a public relation nightmare. They brought it on themselves.

  5. Ignorance and stupidity emanating from Carleton University?

    NO WAY!

    Those of African and Hispanic decent are twice as likely to get diabetes, so does that make it ok to drop charitable actions for those groups?

    Somehow I doubt it, somehow I think the only reason this decision was even considered is because the group in question (though incorrectly) was white males.

    Diseases don’t discriminate and neither should we, CUSA should be ashamed an embarrassed for falling victim to such ignorance.

  6. Pingback: Carleton U dumps fundraiser claiming it’s too white and too male « Ogling Uganda

  7. I currently attend Carleton, and am very proud to boast that I go there. I love my school. THIS, however, is a complete disgrace. It makes the entire University and student body look horrible. I assure you that the majority of Carleton students do not agree with CUSA’s decision. I’m extremely embarrassed of our student’s union.

  8. Great. What kind of moron votes against supporting a charity? If this is the kind of “progessive” thinking our youth are being taught in University, it should be more expensive. Any normal person would know better than to vote for something like this.

  9. As a homosexual woman close to forty, all I can say is, “I remember when the same kind of bigots said that AIDS funding and charities shouldn’t be supported because “it only kills Gay Men.”

    It saddens me that Diversity and Inclusion politics have come to this. Left wing Bigotry is STILL…bigotry. Bigotry knows no politics.

    As a woman with disabilities this brought me to tears. Don’t they KNOW the term “Inclusion” and concepts of Inclusion are from Disability Rights, that’s where it’s root is based? Which is about allowing all people of all abilities, ALL people with disabilities, irregardless of whether it’s illness, physical disability or otherwise, access to the wider community.

    If they’d BOTHERED to do some basic research they’d have “gotten” that Cystic Fibrosis kills, ONLY…YOUNG people. Off both sexes, of all skin colors and orientations. The latest a person will live is to around 37. THAT is why universities support the charity, because it kills YOUNG PEOPLE. Many won’t even make it till their thirtieth birthday. *tears in eyes*

    I suggest that the media and the students of Carleton University start a campaign demanding that all the students who voted for this stupid motion, without bothering to research anything about this disease be FORCED, as discipline, to take a Critical Thinking class.

    “STepford Political Activists,” are no different from STepford Wives.

    A disgusted and appalled white, gay, female with disabilities.

  10. I’m really quite stunned by this – the motion is appallingly ignorant, whatever the motivation of rotating charities. Since when was a charity fundraiser a zero-sum game, anyhow?

    Also, as a med student, that such a deliberately misleading and mean spirited motion was passed by erstwhile student representatives is profoundly disturbing. Group membership – of whatever sort – has no relevance to an individual’s deserving of respect, treatment for the condition, and, yes, support for research related to it. Are prostate cancer fundraisers not “diverse” enough too?

  11. What’s worse, and what is not getting included in many of the articles, is the exact wording of the motion that was put forward. And the fact that the guy who put it forward is in his 4th year of a science degree (I have had class with him, unfortunately). But apparently he does not know how to check his facts, and/or do research. This scares me more and more about my school and the class of education I am supposedly getting.

  12. Pingback: I lost money on an investment today…. « mattroberts.com

  13. This is Last Chance U for crying out loud or also Known as Cartoon U.

    This school shouldn’t be criticized. After all, Carleton accepts students with very low averages. It is essentially a school that accepts people that have been denied by the more prestigious schools. So, its essentially full of dummies. Whats the point in criticizing the acts of people who are dumb?

  14. Perhaps the many, many students at Carleton not involved in this decision could organize Shinerama independently of the student union?

    I’m sure the university would provide space on campus.

    I’m also sure they would receive record donations.

  15. Pingback: White Man’s Disease : Macleans OnCampus

  16. This is incredible.

    First of all, CUSA does not adequately represent the opinions and views of the student body. If asked, most students at Carleton University are unimpressed with the status that CUSA has as a “representative” student governing body, and would prefer to opt-out of paying for their ridiculous budget decisions.

    Secondly – and this is directed primarily at Mikey – the theory behind Carleton’s low-average admission is that individuals should not be penalized for holding a set of scores that, based on the difficulty/ease of your high school, will determine whether or not you receive a higher education. This does widen the net to include those that would not succeed in a university setting, but the ratio between catching high-performance individuals and low-performance individuals is exponentially greater in favour of high-performance individuals.

    Everyone gets a fair shot, but that doesn’t mean it’s tolerated beyond the first year. For example, individuals require a 10.0 CGPA to get into the graduate level clinical psychology program. Journalism? You’re in rough waters if you don’t maintain at least an A- average. Engineering? Sciences? Ditto. Etc., etc.. Sure, you can get in easy enough, but staying is just as difficult as it is anywhere.

    (I really would have thought that someone from such an intellectual institution – e.g. wherever Mikey is from – would have been able to figure this out without having a “dummy” point it out for them.)

  17. I hope Mcleans keeps this story in mind when they do their next ranking of Canadian universities.

  18. How should they include this in their rankings.???…Most all Universities encourage self-righteous, pious, politically correct thought…The professors like this and encourage this…The more liberal ….the better…The ranking should just include a quotient to give the prospective scholar how much left-wing liberal fascism they have to regurgitate to be successful at the University..It appears that Carleton encourages lots of liberal fascism…

  19. Wish that I had proposed this type of stupid motion….Toxic Marketing Organizations like PETA would be following me around with Job Offers !!!

  20. The consitution for the Carleton Unversity Student Association has four principal aims. The aims of the organization are:

    a. To facilitate co-operation among students in organizing services which supplement the learning
    experience, provide for human needs, and which develop a sense of community with our peers and with
    other members of society.
    b. To represent the students of Carleton University to the University Administration, to the public and
    public officials, to other Centres of learning, and to other organizations.
    c. To advance the cause of higher learning at Carleton University, and in the Province of Ontario, and the
    Dominion of Canada, and,
    d. To promote and assist in maintaining an academic and social environment free from prejudice,
    exploitation, abuse or violence on the basis of, but not limited to, sex, race, language, religion, age,
    national or social status, political affiliation or belief, sexual orientation or marital status.

    Upon a quick review it would appear that they really missed the boat on the first and last one.

    Morons lead by morons. Donnie Northrup the fourth year integrated science student who tabled the motion, is quoted as saying that writing is not something he’s focusing his degree on. Somebody tell Donnie, before he starts looking for work, even scientists need to be able to communicate.

    The Council members should resign

  21. I’ve noticed that the CUSA representatives haven’t appologized for their blatant bigotry.I’m concerned about what I’m NOT seeing on the comments and discussion about this incident. And that is an understanding that people with cystic fibrosis ARE STUDENTS at Carleton University.

    There’s an assumption that people with CF are NOT Carleton University students. NOT part of the student body. That they are off stashed in a hospital somewhere, not part of the general citizenship, ‘other” and “out there” somewhere else, NOT “in here with us.” Not studying at the university like the “normal” people of CU.

    There’s a lie implicit in their bigotry that people with CF are not ALSO: people of color, LGBT people, poor people…citizens deserving to be viewed as equal, not second class student citizens.

    Imagine how a young white male student with CF must feel. The message of “we dont’ want you here,” and even more implicit, “we don’t want you TO LIVE.”

    Imagine how all the students with CF who are people of color, who are LGBT, who are young women must feel reading the very clear message,

    ” We don’t see you. We don’t consider you to study here, we don’t see you as part of our student body, we don’t see you as citizens of this province or country and we don’t even recognize your pain, your suffering, your struggles and triumphs with this disease known as CF. Because, we don’t believe you get this disease. You are 100% INVISIBLE to us. You don’t EXIST as members of OUR student body.”

    Yes dammit. They DO exist. We DO exist at Carleton University. Not just students with CF, but students with AIDS, and Students with Psych Disabilities, and mobility disabilities, all sorts of illnesses and disabilities. And to use the language of INCLUSION as a weapon to make LGBT students with CF, to make invisible women students with CF, to make invisible students of color with CF, to erase them all and to say that white male students with CFs lives aren’t worthy of fighting for, a weapon of ABLISM against a whole sector of the student body is absolutely APPALING.

    To spell it out, none of the people who supported this motion, for one second stopped to ask themselves, “I wonder what a student with CF would feel like, reading that we supported this motion? I wonder what message the students with CF and students with other Illnesses and Disabilities would take, reading this message?”

    THAT’S what is so appaling. None of them even considered that the people they do these fundraising events for…are sitting beside them in the classes are members of the Student Body. None of them paused to consider the shocking possibility that *gasp* CRIPS…go to University.

    A suggestion? How about folks stop with the left and right political BS of, “I’m more superior to you, No, I’m more superior to YOU,” and take a lead from Obama, stand up as ONE group, as the student body of Carleton University (and of canadian Universities in general) and say,

    “Our Student Body Includes people with Disabilities and Illnesses. Our Student Body Includes people with CF.”

  22. As an alumna of Carleton Univerity, I find this incident very embarrassing, but unsurprising considering the way I have seen CUSA operate during my time at Carleton. There is a real diversity of opinion on the Carleton campus, people on the left, centre, and right, Grits, Tories, Dippers, and Greens, but you’d never know it they way that CUSA hold this hegemony of opinion. Their support of striking university support staff in the fall of 2007, as well as their current support for the striking transit runs counter to the beliefs and opinions of the majority of Carleton student. It displays a juvenile kind of partisanship which CUSA has no buiness participating in. Does the premier say that he supports the City of Ottawa in the current transit strike? Of course not. It’s none of his business to publicly state his or his government’s opinions on the strike. It is his business to encourage both sides to reach an agreement in order to safeguard the interest of his constituents and other Ottawans. CUSA likes to pick their political battles without thinking about the consequences or even the student body which they purported represent.

    As such, the study body is largely alienated from CUSA, because their radical, left-wing political bias is, at this point, seen as institutionally ingrained. Their continuing support of the Canadian Federation of Students and their specific political agenda angers many students who resent that their tuition is paid to support the CFS. Other universitie such as the University of Ottawa don’t belong to the CFS. In this context, it’s easy to understand why only 10% of students vote in CUSA elections. This most recent “Shineramagate” is just another example of typically juvenile CUSA politicking

  23. Pingback: Political Correctness has finally gone too far.. - Paintball Forum - Paintball guns and gear forums

  24. Pingback: UNBSU lets military contractor keep booth at job fair : Macleans OnCampus

  25. What a lovely day for a 548458! SCK was here

Sign in to comment.