Student who caused Shinerama-gate back in office

Northrup claimed cystic fibrosis only affects “white people, and primarily men”


According to the Ottawa Sun, a group of Carleton University students is trying to get a controversial student politician removed from office. Again.

Last November, Donnie Northrup came under fire when the Carleton University Students Assocation approved his motion to withdraw support from the annual cystic fibrosis fundraiser Shinerama. In the motion, Northrup said the disease only affected “white people, and primarily men,” which isn’t true.

Those five words caused a national uproar. Representatives from the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, along with parents whose white daughters had the disease, spoke out against the motion.

Jeff Rybak: Why Dumb Things Happen Around Smart Students

The council’s decision was ultimately reversed, and Northrup later admitted he was mistaken and resigned his council seat. However, this summer, the group acclaimed him, and two other students, to vacant council seats.

Students say they will launch a petition to have Northrup recalled in September if he isn’t removed before then.

CUSA president Erik Halliwell says council was just following procedure, and that no one on council had objections to the three candidates at the time. He says students who object to their appointments can petition for a recall.


Student who caused Shinerama-gate back in office

  1. Ohhhhh and the humiliation continues for Carleton students everywhere….

  2. I wonder if this was a deal that was in the cards from the start. He resigns so the council can try and salvage their reputation, and they in turn agree to sneak him back in (sneak in the sense of him not having to face an embarrassed student body.)

  3. I don’t think Rybak actually explains why a motion, based on falsifiable claims, could actually be approved by a board of people with access to Google. He puts too much emphasis on groupthink and marginalization, which are not unique to people in power.

    I think a better explanation, given the recent news, is cronyism.

  4. One of the main characteristics of groupthink is that people forget the need to verify the word of the group against objective, external evidence.

  5. As someone who was there when the original motion was passed, I can state that:

    – We had Wikipedia, and verified that the offending Whereas clause was false (which a number of us suspected immediately)
    – Having determined that, many people voted for the motion because it was thought a good idea to “cycle” the charity around, rather than focus just on one
    [Example: My father died from complications related to diabetes; I now have it]
    – We assumed (incorrectly) that the “whereas clauses” (a.k.a. preamble clauses) were not part of the motion, and were merely the reasons the mover brought the motion forward. As an example, I note that the person who looked up the Wikipedia reference voted for the motion.

    For that last one, as the senior person around the table, I chose to resign. (I’m “the other one” who resigned)

    I laid this out in much more detail in my resignation speech. Why CUSA didn’t think to provide this immediately, forcefully and apologetically when asked afterwards is beyond me….

  6. As for Donnie Northrup:

    – The seats had been vacant since the last election (and obviously would not have been had someone run for them at the time), so it’s hard to imagine that it was some sort of set-up to get Donnie back on Council, at least from the get-go.

    – Politically, this can only hurt CUSA again, since, as suggested in the original article, the focus of at least some people will be to remove him, which will require a recall petition, and then a recall vote. All that will keep things focused on last year’s events for *months*, and *not* on anything positive that CUSA might actually be doing this year….

    – I cannot for the life of me understand why he would even want to go back and sit on CUSA Council again.

  7. Thanks Sean, for the explanations. I, for one, have no trouble believing that version of what happened. Although the conspiracy theories are always hard to disprove (they are theories about what we don’t know, after all) I have no trouble at all believing the official version of events which means I have no need to delve into less likely scenarios.

    I sincerely encourage everyone (and I mean everyone) to take some opportunity to get involved with at least one student organization on campus while you can. There’s almost no substitute for that experience. I won’t claim that it will necessarily be a positive and fulfilling experience. In fact, it may suck a whole lot. But I guarantee it’ll be educational.

    From the outside, it’s very easy to see bad intentions, hidden agendas, and the like. From the inside you quickly realize that you’re dealing mainly with inexperienced people, who likely got to their “lofty” positions of authority mainly because they were the only ones to step forward, and while you can agree, disagree, or even think their ideas are idiotic (sometimes they are) you don’t really need elaborate theories to explain why dumb things happen.

    To use a very classic phrase – never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence. Words to live by.

  8. I understand perhaps the idea of cycling charities, but why not celebrate many charities throughout the whole year. Shinerama has been developed as an Orientation fundraiser, so keep it at Orientation time …. Fundraise for Breast Cancer in October, Diabetes in November, etc. etc. etc.

    At my institution (University of New Brunswick) there are SO many charities and organizations, each residence as a charity they support, most societies do as well, and we support Shinerama during Orientation Week.

    If any of these council members knew how much the CCFF does for its Shinerama schools, they’d be amazed, they pay for 2 weekends in the summer of training, bring in speakers, medical staff, teach you how to effectively run a charitable campaign, pay for SO many supplies and know how to teach student leaders how to run a campaign. Take your Shinerama Coordinators at your school, ask them what Shinerama has taught them and during the school year get them to help you with other campaigns … it is a campaign that afterall ends at the beginning of September … you have from September to May to help many other people.