Free advice to CUSA president and Carleton students (and other students as well)


I’ve covered a lot of student union embarrassments during my university career and my time with Maclean’s. The CUSA racist motion controversy is by far the worst. Most scandals only stain the students’ union and maybe, to a limited extent, the university. This one is completely destroying the reputation of Carleton and its students.

I was riding on the Hamilton city bus earlier tonight and the topic of discussion was “how stupid Carleton students are.” I went to Tim Horton’s, and the topic of discussion was “how stupid Carleton students are.” I was at an arcade tonight and even gamers knew of CUSA’s stupidity. (Of course, they are not blaming CUSA, they are blaming you, the Carleton student and your university.)

I was reading my morning feeds from influential US blogs and the topic was “how stupid Carleton students are.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education blogged about the situation yesterday. Even Australian sites are picking up on the story. The reality is this story will be helping fill US 24hr cable news airtime today. The question is if the story will change or continue to get worse.

Here’s my free advice to the CUSA president. Please be quiet, stop talking, stop the doublespeak and resign. You’re making it worse.

Carleton students, please save yourselves. It’s time for a purge of CUSA. For too long, CUSA has been allowed to bunker themselves in the university centre and create an echo chamber of extreme viewpoints. Normally, their words stay inside the star chamber. This time, their words got out and you’re paying the price.

I’d hate to be a Carleton student planning a career in the United States.

Reputation is, unfortunately, a major factor in your degree getting you a job. By the time the cable news channels are done with this story in the early afternoon, Carleton degrees will be severely tarnished. I’ve been to Carleton a few times in recent years, I know your degrees don’t deserve this and I know CUSA is a radical minority that does not reflect the student population. The problem is that potential employers don’t know this. By 2 p.m. they will have learned from sources like FOXnews that your university is a hotbed of “radicial uninformed out-of-control liberal political correctness.”

The only way to put a stop to this is for people to hear one of two things. The CUSA president should resign after students collect enough signatures to impeach her or the CUSA president will soon find herself out of a job as Carleton students begin the process to fire her.

It can’t be that hard to gather the necessary signatures in time for the noon news cycle. Imagine how quickly the public sentiment about Carleton students will change if they show that CUSA doesn’t represent them.

At the very least, would somebody cut the microphone on the CUSA president. Listening to her talk about Robert’s Rules of Order, it’s clear she has no idea of what Robert’s Rules actually say.

The CUSA president’s doublespeak and spin is worse than Baghdad Bob’s. At least we could tell he didn’t believe what he was saying; the scary thing is CUSA actually believes their own BS.

Most importantly, after you clear out the current CUSA politicians, you must elect responsible mature students to represent you. The first order of business is implementing a proper culture and proper governance procedures. This problem could have been avoided if CUSA functioned properly in the first place. It was a train wreck waiting to happen, but nobody expected it would be this bad.

There is a message here for other universities with similarly disconnected-from-reality students’ unions: you may ignore them in the hopes they don’t interfere with you getting your degree. However, as CUSA as shown, your students’ union is very capable of ruining that degree while you’re busying studying in the library.

UPDATE: Just when I thought it could get any worse. Here’s CUSA councillor Donnie Northrup reportedly telling friends on Facebook that “I see no moral or cultural reasons to stick with Shinerama, to say because we’re been doing it for years, is the same mentality that kept slavery legal, and prevented the women’s vote.”


Free advice to CUSA president and Carleton students (and other students as well)

  1. Posted as a comment on the Chronicle of Higher Education blog…

    …I sincerely hope it’s someone pretending to be him, but I’m pretty sure it’s not.


    Hey to all the haters –

    You are all bigots! Until you know what it’s like to suffer discrimination, you do not deserve to speak. White people get all of the best medical attention and certainly if there were a couple of dollars more to be spent on medicine that helps minorities, I won’t lose sleep over it.

    If you still want to debate what I have done, add me on facebook:


    I have an essay to write and can’t read this stuff anymore.

    — Donnie Northrup Nov 26, 03:25 AM #

  2. This morning I have been reading of the most recent controversy at Carleton U – hmmmm… tommorrows leaders in action. Thankfully an archeological dig wasn’t neccessary for Nick Bergamini to locate his backbone. Aside from the inane PC issues, student councillors should realize some hard cold facts as they approach the “real work world”. Actively supporting charities is a two prong effort – 1) to give freely of your time and raise money for worthwhile causes; 2) and to develop a sense of citizenship and volunteerism in our community. When you do enter the workforce, your employer may be a big supporter of the United Way, Wheel Chair Basketball, SPCA or any of the myriad of worthwhile causes out there. If you intend to loudly trumpet your own PC spin and Roberts Rules of Order on these charities, you best be self employed.

    My wife and I both participate in the “Run for the Cure” although my chance of contracting breast cancer is statistically small. We also support prostate cancer research although my wife will never have this disease. As my father faces his final stage with prostate cancer, he will no doubt be comforted and amused by the continual small mindedness of the Left/Wacko/PC crowd. Since 100% of the worlds men, women and children are going to die at some point, perhaps we should abandon all support of medical research and devote all of our time and money towards better managing our RSP investments in these turbulent times.

    Perhaps an overwhelming “Draft Nick Bergamini for President” should be considered after the current crowd of “sheeple” are shown the door.

  3. Funny how you didn’t say a damn thing when Mantle shot his mouth off.

  4. While I agree with all the points you’ve made, I cringed each time I saw you use ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’.

    “Your (sic) making it worse.”

    “This time, their words got out and your (sic) paying the price.”

    Here’s a simple way to make sure you’re using the word correctly.

    Read it out breaking up the word into ‘you’ and ‘are’. If it makes sense, it’s the contraction “you’re.”

    If it doesn’t make sense, use “your.”

    For example, “You are making it worse” sounds fine so use “you’re.”

    “That’s you are coffee” doesn’t make sense, so you would use “your.”

  5. This is by far a “politically correct” idea gone horribly wrong. Brittany did not stop to think of the potential impacts of this action, nor did CUSA research their topic/disease carefully.

    My brother passed at the age of 17 from CF in 1980. Back then, he was considered one of the oldest living patients with CF. I have steadily and happilly given of my time, money and professional expertise to further the cause of CF reasearch.

    I cannot fathom the irresponsible regurgitations of a student association so far out of touch with the facts and reality that they would actually come out with a statement like that. CF affects boys & girls, white, black, hispanic… it plays no preference. Simple anecdotle research should have informed them of at least that much.

    My oldest son is in his 3rd year at Bishops university and you’d better believe that he is aware of the Carleton’s student body blunder since his uncle died from it. He plays on their rugby team and many times has given alot of his time for other causes sponsored by the students, faculty, athletics and administration without thinking if the cause was “…diverse enough” to merit his time and effort.

  6. The CUSA president’s misunderstanding of Robert’s Rules is the topic of my blog post for today, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed it.

  7. @Jason

    Thanks. I cringe reading it this morning.

    It was a late night.

    – Joey

  8. Joey,

    It was a message to me in which Donnie compared continuing support for cystic fibrosis to slavery and women’s suffrage. I want to make it clear that he DOES NOT represent the will of the students. Since news of this broke yesterday morning, over 2,000 students have joined a Facebook group condemning CUSA’s actions. We are actively fighting to reinstate Shinerama as our frosh week charity, and to remove from office Donnie Northrup and Brittany Smyth. I hope you will continue to follow this story – it should have a successful conclusion within days.


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

  10. I doubt removing just two of them will be enough. As I wrote, CFS Local 1 (as they prefer to brand themselves nationally) has been on course for this train wreck for a long time.

    This motion should have never even been considered, let alone passed. The fact it passed overwhelmingly indicates a large problem with the organizations itself. The entire executive needs to be replaced and a even a few staff members as well.

    CUSA needs to stop being a branch operation of the CFS and to start representing actual students again.

  11. Joey,

    In my humble opinion your blog post is just as inappropriate as the CUSA motion. If I was you I would retract a lot of what you’ve said, and avoid politicizing the question of Shinerama and Cystic Fibrosis.

    Your unproven claims that the Carleton degree is tarnished seem more like scaremongering than anything else.

    All we should hope for right now is that the motion is reversed and support for Shinerama is reaffirmed.

    The suffering of CF victims should not be used politically by anyone, whether supporters or opponents of the current CUSA executive.

    This whole episode reminded me that life is too short for petty student politics.

  12. Here’s one Carleton student that is proud to be such, and the comments and misdoings of a few have little effect on my pride. Please don’t pontificate to me how I should react. Is it regrettable? Yes. Is it indicative of greater corruption, a lower quality of institution or a lower standard of education? No.

    PS… Your first 3 sentences have two grammatical mistakes, so please spend more time on campus.

  13. To clarify – I think the issue with Roberts Rules of Order is that you can’t amend the “whereas” clauses which I think is absurd because it allows people to propose totally reasonable motions with unreasonable whereas clauses. The whereas clause in this case is totally and completely insane and unnecessary. What a train wreck.

  14. What a great mind….Donnie should run for the NDP…He’s a shoe-in….Look out Jack Layton

  15. Pingback: BelchSpeak » Post Topic » Racist Carleton University Student Council Ditches Charity

  16. Dan,

    Fair enough – I misunderstood the rules and the whereas can be amended. I found an online version of the rules and it is pretty clear that it can be ammended: “The preamble is always amended last, as changes in the resolution may require changes the preamble.” http://www.rulesonline.com/rror-01.htm#4 I suppose the claim that you can’t amend whereas clauses is an urban legend.

    Even if you could not amend the whereas clause the CUSA council should have voted down the resolution and had a new resolution, without the inflammatory pre-amble served for the next meeting. Or better yet, the person who served it should never have included those statements in the pre-amble. Student unions do, and should, take stands on issues that effect only a fraction of the student body.

    I’m not trying to deflect blame here. As I said – this is a train wreck or a situation.

  17. Pingback: Carleton cancels Shinerama; says disease only affects “white people” : Macleans OnCampus

  18. Pingback: White Man’s Disease: UPDATE! : Macleans OnCampus

  19. Coleman, it seems quite obvious that you hate progressive student leaders, so you’ll look for anything to blow out of proportion in order to smear them.

    Your blog postings about this… YAWN!

    In a few days, everyone will forget about this. By then, I imagine you’ll have targeted your next progressive.

    You should probably go launder your PJs, though. You’ve been exploiting this issue around the clock!

  20. At the very least, I’m glad in a way this has happened: it’s brought an otherwise fairly silent issue – casual, knowing discrimination against white men on the basis of smug and self-serving PC radicalism – to the fore. People are finally talking about it on a large scale. I read recently a comment from Donnie Northrup saying something to the effect of “don’t judge until you know what it’s like to be discriminated against!” I’m afraid I do, in a way, Donnie: it’s called the Employment Equity Act (and similar legislation), which passively defines me, as a white male, as not only not contributing to diversity, but as a threat to it. I’d rather not base a contentious argument on a sense of personal grievance, but I’ve had the completely unthrilling experience of being looked in the eye and told I’m not a viable candidate for a job because I’m not “diverse” enough. Rather than get a lawyer, I just rolled with it: I asked them if they thought it would be preferable if white men all ended up digging ditches (not to demean ditch-diggers, of course, honorable work for sure), and if they would regard that as a victory. Long silence. See a problem here?

    Time for this stuff to be brought to light and ended.

  21. I expect that what’s at the bottom of this is that modern educators are teaching that Affirmative Action is natural and good and that no counter-arguments are tolerated. The students are just going the next step.

    The university should be held accountable if its teachings are at the root of this.

  22. The decision that CUSA made can be right or wrong, it is under discussion and everyone is entitled to raise their concerned voice regarding this issue. The title indicates that this is an advice to the CUSA president, and the article should be based on that. Your claim that the degree is tarnished is foolish. You must be in kindergarten to make such a rubbish statement. I believe that your degree is tarnished by writing this article. The Carleton University students elected the president, but the students did not vote for this motion. I am aware that the president represents the student body, they will question her and proper decision will be made afterwards regarding this issue. The employers will understand that actions of CUSA does not represent all the students, since the people holding high positions in employment firms are aware of the situation. The leaders are successful because of their ability to understand how things work. I believe you do not posses that ability , thats why you wrote this article with false statements. This is not the first time that the Carleton University was attacked by media, yet I wonder why a lot of the graduates from Carleton University are very successful in their careers, and they play very crucial leadership roles in the Canadian and international societies. If the degrees could withstand the previous media attacks, it can survive this too, since all the students cannot be blamed for the action of few.

    All the students of Carleton University are not responsible for the actions of CUSA, and it will be dealt by them accordingly. The degree is not tarnished, because the situation is understandable. If you have anything personal against Carleton University please keep it to your self. As an employer I would not punish all the students for the blunder of CUSA. Also everyone that you see on the blogs are not employers. Educate your self before making stupid statements.

    Thank you.

  23. This is an unfortunate turn for Carleton and its student politics. However, I have the same admin leading me on Sunday as I do today, I have the same profs sculpting my independant thinking as I did Sunday and I have the same grades and work ethic as I had on Sunday. Really the only thing that has changed since the Sunday before all this happend is that a student polition exercized poor judgement. I’m hoping that the greater Canadian and the international attention that is being given to this mistake will see how outraged the whole Carleton population is at this. I’m hoping that the students will come together so we can be proud of how we over come this. I for one don’t think that my degree should suffer because of less then 1% of the current student population screwed up.

  24. Hey Rick,

    What on earth is progressive about a ‘student leader’ who claims that a disease is not diverse enough to warrant focused fundraising? Perhaps you’re too busy trying to find people who dislike the general agenda that you seem to favour instead of seeing the sheer ludicrous nature of the motion that was passed by CUSA. Not only was it completely ignorant, but it was a total miscarriage of the students’ will.

    It is perfectly fair to assume that Brittany Smyth and Donnie Northrup resign over this, especially given their lack of desire to demonstrate to the student body that they have even an ounce of integrity by admitting that they made a mistake. They instead choose to shift blame and further propagate the idiocy that they themselves created…

    I can’t even wrap my mind around how incredibly asinine the CUSA council must be (with the exception of the two that voted against this motion). If that is the calibre of student leadership that you would deem to be progressive, maybe we should be targeting them.

    Punt the dimwits and get on with it, CUSA!

  25. I really wish someone would issue a gag order on CUSA. The organization has no perception of the impact of their stupidity upon the students of Carleton.

  26. A colleague made a comment of limitted intelligence during a meeting this morning and the question that was put to him was, “Did you graduate from Carleton?” Everyone in the meeting got the reference. It helps that we’re in Ottawa.

    Whether you accept it or not, the academic reputation of Carleton and, by extension, the degrees conferred by that institution are taking a kicking over this.

    Right or wrong, a high profile display of public idiocy will tarnish anything associated with the perpetrator. Ask anyone associated with Sarah Palin. And that stink sticks around for a long time. Ask anyone associated with Dan Qualye.

  27. I am a Carleton student and I can say for a fact that CUSA is the furthest thing from an accurate representation of the Carleton student body. Ironically, CUSA is something universally despised by almost all of the political science students and political parties on campus. Most students are too discouraged about CUSA to even care. Just look at the voter turnout for their elections, it’s abysmal. I know a good many people who have been trying to change the organization for years, against an organization that is not really made up of normal students (never seen any of them in class and they make something like $26 000 a year), and can bring in the CFS with their money and people (who aren’t Carleton students) to quash any opposition that may be present on campus that may have the support of the students but no lobbies or unions behind them. I don’t know why the University of Ottawa voted to join the CFS. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more incompetent lobby group. Ironic how the people who say the advocate the most for rights are the ones who understand them the least. Carleton is an under-rated university and it has policy, engineering, and journalism programs that are second to none. Opposition is already being organized to get the president and the responsible councillors to resign.

  28. I too am a Carleton student and agree with Tristan CUSA does not represent the student population at Carleton anymore then George Bush currently represents the opinions of Americans. For all who read this and hopefully read the comments I’d like them to know there are bodies of students using regulations within the CUSA constitution to force the resignation of those responsible for this. We as a student population need to show Carleton University is not what was represented in the media and show that we ourselves will not tolerate a radical and poorly educated group to represent us.

    The motion was handled poorly and the response was handled even worse. I will not and I hope the rest of those at Carleton will not tolerate this. Our representatives have made a mess and it’s time for Carleton students to clean it up as our representatives certainly are not.

  29. Thank you for your “free advice” Joey. As an undergraduate student at Carleton, I’m deeply saddened by how ill-informed the CUSA executive is, and how poorly CUSA runs on a regular basis. It’s true, Carleton students are *not* represented by this student group. We have had enough, Brittany Smyth has done enough damage as has everyone else directly involved in this mess.

    I wish something productive had been done sooner before we were slandered further in national and international news, but I suppose it was bound to happen with such stupidity claiming to run the student government.

  30. here’s some updates, Donnie’s 2nd posting to the article at chronicle.com:

    “I took down my facebook to protect it from all the spam you have been sending me. This doesn’t mean that I am afraid. I stand by my motion, because white people still get the vast majority of support from this, and I doubt that any money is being sent to the middle east or india.
    Please take a minute (or several hours) to step outside your small conservative boxes and understand what racism is really like.

    — Donnie Northrup Nov 26, 07:36 PM # ”

    So as much as there are protests over what this meant, it shows that his words were not taken out of context.

  31. I love that Donnie came on here to express himself. Remember donnie your hatred of white people has become evident more through later actions then through your proposal. If you had any brains you wouldn’t have worded the proposal the way your council did. It just shows stupidty. Enjoy the rest of your life… oh wait you cant racists are always the most unhappy people. Stop blaming your problems on white people and get over yourself

  32. It would be fantastic if Donnie were to get run over by a car and have his lungs donated for transplant to someone unfortunate to have been afflicted with this devastating disease. Then his pathetic waste of a body would finally serve a useful purpose.

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