York student paper Excalibur has the right priorities - Macleans.ca

York student paper Excalibur has the right priorities

Senior staff pass on trip to Saskatoon in order to serve York students


As many of you might know, most student journalists in the country are presently in Saskatoon attending the general conference of the Canadian University Press.

There is one paper that is a notable exception, which has only a small delegation and is without its editor-in-chief and senior news staff. The Excalibur, York University’s student newspaper, has left its key staff in Toronto in order to provide timely information to York students as the CUPE 3903 strike drags on.

The Excalibur has remembered who foots the bill for their operation and salaries. This can be contrasted to great affect with another organization (with a much larger budget) who took advantage of the strike to abandon York students for a junket to Ottawa.


York student paper Excalibur has the right priorities

  1. Why don’t you say what you mean, Joey? That is, “YFS” is the name of the “other organization” you refer to.

    Of course, then you might have to argue why they had any obligation to stick around campus when no one was there. So, I do see why you let that one go.

  2. ADHR – there are 4,246 member of a York University Anti-Strike group on facebook that could perhaps give you some suggestions on what the YFS could have been doing to support York Students during this strike.

    This group is clearly too large to be simply cast off as a vocal minority of students who are not representative of the general York population. Had the YFS been acutally doing their job to represent York students, then an independent group such as this wouldn’t have ever been born. It’s funny how you can create your own opposition sometimes.

    Hey Joey, any idea what will happen to the YFS exectuive elections if the strike continues?

  3. Stunned,

    I don’t follow at all. 4246, even if we assume they all support the group (and aren’t joining just to read along for their own amusement), works out to less than 10% of the undergraduate population. I don’t follow how 10% is in any sense not a minority, nor how 10% is representative, given that they are self-selecting as members.

    Independent groups opposing any level of government are a good thing, but they’re not a substitute for elected representatives.

  4. ADHR, according to the Excal the current YFS president was elected last spring by an election in which their were a whopping 1,524 votes cast. By your logic he wouldn’t be representative of the student population?

    You can split hairs on the actual number of group members, but I think it’s difficult to deny that the presence of such a large protest group clearly indicates that there are a significant number of students who don’t beleive the YFS is adequately representing them.

    I’m not sure what your comment about protest groups being a substitute for elected officials is supposed to me, but that’s exactly why the elected YFS should have been loudly advocating for an end to the strike and a resumption of classes right from the onset of the strike. Sure, picking sides in the dispute would be difficult and dangerous – but demanding a resumption of classes is a no brainer for a student federation.

  5. It’s simple, the YFS had 3 choices;

    1) Support the administration
    2) Support CUPE
    3) Remain neutral

    They chose the wrong one and should now pay the price.

  6. My position on this strike is becoming complicated, but I 100% agree with the essential point that Joey is making. York students are hurting right now. We can argue until the cows come home over who is most responsible for the problems that York students are experiencing and why, but the essential fact remains. The student population at York is under a lot of stress right now.

    Anyone who has assumed a responsibility to that population of students should bloody well do the jobs they’ve agreed to do, and not wander off during the crisis. How much power do these various players have? Debatable, for sure, but that’s never been the question. Students at York already feel they’ve been ignored and abandoned by both sides at the bargaining table. They have a right to at least expect the people they pay with their student fees will stick around and do anything they can – even if it’s absolutely nothing.

    If you’ve ever understood why someone might sit at the side of a hospital bed just to hold an unconscious patient’s hand, you should understand why elected and hired figures in York’s student organizations should not be away from campus right now. And that’s ignoring the fact that the YFS absolutely does have some power, and that the Excalibur obviously has a responsibility to keep its readers informed.

    Damn good observation, Joey, and I’ll keep it in mind in the future when I deal with the Excalibur. Good to know they’ve got professionals there.

  7. Contrary to the perception, there are actually thousands of students who live on the York campus. Many of these are international students who might have appreciated any help that was available particularly over the long-er holiday period. If it is true that the YFS shut down its food bank because of the strike that is doubly reprehensible.

    Either way, crossing a picket line is either a principle or it’s not. It can’t be a principle in December but not in January.

  8. Anyone citing facebook figures to bolster their argument is a fool. Facebook groups are always “global” – thus allowing anyone to join (I can join the anti-strike group even though my networks aren’t York U or Toronto).

    Everyone should know by now that facebook numbers never represent real forces on the ground – students who are actively campaigning *on the ground*, turnouts at rallies and other events, and so on.

    That journalists and even mainstream newspapers are citing facebook groups as at all representative of any concrete sentiment is a joke and a disgrace. Here’s an example:

    For all the thousands of “students” who joined various anti-CUSA facebook groups over the Shinerama fiasco, the anti-CUSA forces on the ground at Carleton couldn’t even muster up an effective petition to oust the CUSA President – a story, by the way, I’ve noticed is completely absent from this blog, along with the rest of the fall-out from the scandal that didn’t turn out the way the anti-CUSA, anti-CFS crowd wanted.