4 The Chronicle December 19 - 25, 2017 chronicle.durhamcollege.ca PUBLISHER: Greg Murphy EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Brian Legree AD MANAGER: Dawn Salter Editorial CONTACT US NEWSROOM: firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING: email@example.com Offer more to students in wake of strike The Ontario government and college administrators should do more to make amends for the strike, and offer more to students who chose to drop out. Post-strike withdrawals are a big deal, even if colleges and government don’t think so. In the four weeks since Ontario’s college teachers were mandated back to work, thousands of college students across the province have dropped out. Durham College has lost 1,186 full-time students, about 11 per cent of enrolment, while some schools have reportedly lost 12 per cent of their population. Colleges have been ordered to offer full tuition refunds to any student who withdraws from their program due to the five-week strike.But it’s just business as usual, say the provincial government and the college administrators. Deb Matthews, the Liberal minister of advanced education, said recently, “a large number of those [students] would have withdrawn anyway.”Matthews has been consistently downplaying the effect of the strike on students. It may be comforting to hear such unwaveringly positive statements, but why is no one willing to take responsibility for their role in prolonging the strike? It’s time to make a genuine effort to make amends with students. The first week classes resumed at Durham College, students were offered the equivalent of about five dollars—a cold, prepackaged, but ultimately free lunch: a paltry offering to students who have had their lesson plans and assignments changed, holiday break condensed, and semesters extended due to the prolonged strike. College administrators and government officials should offer more to students who chose to drop out, and do more to earn back students’ trust. In the same press conference where she announced the government was delaying release of the data related to withdrawals, Matthews assured the public, “overwhelmingly, students have chosen to stay.”She then took the glass-half-full approach and made statements like, “It’s always going to be a little bumpy,” and, “the strike was tough on everybody.” College administrators have largely taken the same unapologetic position. Georgian College has lost roughly 1,100 students so far, compared to 425 this time last year. When questioned about why the dropout rate increased so drastically, Georgian College President MaryLynn West-Moynes changed the subject and told Barrie Today, “we’ve still got 10,800 still carrying on.” By the way, Georgian College started the year with about 11,000 students, which would mean they really only have 9,900 carrying on. No big deal, just 900 students unaccounted for. St. Clair College, which has seen around 100 students withdraw each business day since classes resumed, has taken the position that the colleges have been affected by the strike worse than students. Mike Silvaggi, St. Clair’s registrar and student services administrator, lamented the loss of revenue the school faces as a result of tuition refunds, extended hours for support staff, and overtime for instructors. Apparently, Silvaggi would like you to kindly disregard the (according to a report by The Windsor Star) $2.5 million the school saved from a five-week break in cutting paycheques to teachers. At Sir Sandford Fleming, where around one in every eight students dropped out as a result of the strike, Cartoon by Cassidy McMullen administrators are jumping for joy. According to their registrar, the school has lost 18 per cent of students, but that’s below the 20 per cent they usually lose between first and second semesters. Better yet, student hardship as a result of dropping out is, actually, a boon for the school. Fleming says they’re hard at work preparing for “a large number of students [who will] re-start their program in January or September.” But how many of these students will actually return to college? Why are no steps being taken, and programs being offered, to maximize re-enrolment? At Fleming, 81 per cent of withdrawals are first-year students. Such students surely feel a sense of disheartenment toward the school or toward post-secondary institutions in general. After such an unsavoury experience in their first year of college, how many would be willing to try again? Students who drop out, especially those who have recently finished high school, may be less motivated to return to studies after a break which could be as long as 10 months. Other students may secure employment, which can scuttle plans to begin the application process anew. The provincial government and the colleges should work together to create a coherent, unified program to keep students from dropping out in the future, and to try and win back the trust of those who have already dropped out. Without a unified effort, colleges are left with a patchwork of campaigns and services, many of which fall on deaf ears. Students are not aware of what their school is offering, if anything, to keep students motivated and involved. At Durham College, this is plainly obvious. The “free lunch” offered by the school was poorly advertised. While many students received a free lunch, few could say why they were getting one. The “We Missed You a Latte” event missed the mark too, with only a handful of students attending. If the provincial government and the colleges stopped passing the blame for the strike and made a genuine, organized effort to re-connect with students, perhaps there would be fewer dropouts and an increase in re-enrolment. For colleges, this situation may amount to a loss of revenue due to refunds. For the government, the strike is a convenient political football to be tossed from party to party. For students, it is our future, our education and, indeed, our livelihoods that are at stake. Don’t try to win us back with free sandwiches. John Cook EDITORS: Austin Andru, Allison Beach, Justin Benjamin, Cameron Black-Araujo, Michael Bromby, Emily Brooks, Alex Celland, John Cook, Liam David, Tiago De Oliveira, Shana Fillatrau, Nicholas Franco, Kaatje Henrick, Kirsten Jerry, Jacob Kirby, Claudia Latino, William Mcginn, Cassidy Mcmullen, Conner Mctague, Rob Paul, Ivan Radisic, Pierre Sanz, Heather Snowdon, Shanelle Somers, Kayano Waite, Tracy Wright The Chronicle is published by the Durham College School of Media, Art and Design, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario L1H 7L7, 721- 2000 Ext. 3068, as a training vehicle for students enrolled in Journalism and Advertising courses and as a campus news medium. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the college administration or the board of governors. The Chronicle is a member of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association. MEDIA REPS: Madison Anger, Kevin Baybayan, Erin Bourne, Hayden Briltz, Rachel Budd, Brendan Cane, Shannon Gill, Matthew Hiscock, Nathaniel Houseley, Samuel Huard, Emily Johnston, Sawyer Kemp, Reema Khoury, Desirea Lewis, Rob Macdougall, Adam Mayhew, Kathleen Menheere, Tayler Michaelson, Thomas Pecker, Hailey Russo, Lady Supa, Jalisa Sterling-Flemmings, Tamara Talhouk, Alex Thompson, Chris Traianovski PRODUCTION ARTISTS: Swarnika Ahuja, Bailey Ashton, Elliott Bradshaw, James Critch-Heyes, Elisabeth Dugas, Melinda Ernst, Kurtis Grant, Chad Macdonald, Matthew Meraw, Kaitlyn Millard, Sofia Mingram, Mary Richardson, Singh Sandhu, Greg Varty Publisher: Greg Murphy Editor-In-Chief: Brian Legree Features editor: Teresa Goff Ad Manager: Dawn Salter Advertising Production Manager: Kevan F. Drinkwalter Photography Editor: Al Fournier Technical Production: Keir Broadfoot
chronicle.durhamcollege.ca December 19 - 25, 2017 The Chronicle 5 Opinion People with opinions matter This year, all Ontario college faculty chose to strike in order to better the future of college employment. According to reports in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, 70 per cent of college faculty in Ontario are part-time workers. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) fought to address this issue when negotiating the college faculty contract. With the strike lasting fiveweeks, hard-worked investments by Canadian and international students, parents, guardians and/ or other family members were left to wait it out. Change.org, a website made for those who not only have opinions on pressing issues but would like Shanelle Somers to take it one step further, provides the opportunity to create online petitions. The platform was used by students to call on a reimbursement of student tuition. The petition asked for students to receive $30 a day back for everyday the strike continued. In response, the college system offered students the opportunity to drop out and receive reimbursement. They chose to reward failure rather than champion students. This was not fair. Condensing and stretching the college semester does not equal fair compensation for students who choose to push toward success. Yes, the government did acknowledge the opinions made by students but, offering the chance to drop out is not the correct solution. Although college students are technically adults, some are still straight out of high school and are experiencing decision-making and freedom for the first time. A blow like this can cause some to cave under pressure, even with support from faculty and family. Not to mention the impact a blow like this can have to those who struggle with mental illness. The level of anxiety students face is already enough. Why choose to direct them to more pain by making it easy for them to drop out after being so close to finishing their semester? We are living in a world where opinions are what most cling to: social media is flooded with opinion more than ever before. One short video can spark outrage, positive emotion, get others on board, or cause the opinion maker to be destroyed in the comments. But people with opinions can also push the thought process of those who don’t have a lot of opinions or never concern themselves with issues beyond what to have for lunch. These people call on change and impact the world for the better. Without opinions, no change would happen. Life would continue on the same and we would not have the rights we have today. History would be much different. This is why opinions matter. Ontario students deserve better than the option to drop out but that is not the option we were given. So on we go to pursue our dreams and attempt to live up to the world’s employment standards. As students, we should all have an opinion on this. Whitewashing is rampant in Hollywood With the movie, Annihilation’s release date quickly approaching, whitewashing is back in the news. Annihilation is based-off the first book from the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer. In the book, the main character is described as Asian-American decent, yet Natalie Portman was cast. Yet, this movie can’t just stop at one whitewashing controversy, it has to go for another one. An Indigenous character in the novel is being played by Jennifer Jason Leigh: an actress with no similar lineage. Arguably the biggest whitewashing scandal of the year, Actor Ed Skrein, known for his role as the villain Ajax in Deadpool, announced his exit from the upcoming film Hellboy late August. Shana Fillatrau Skrein wrote on Twitter that he was unaware of his character’s Japanese-American ancestry and felt the role of Major Ben Daimio should be recast. Though it’s doubtful Skrein was unaware of the character’s ancestry beforehand, he handled this issue responsibly. Ultimately, Daniel Dae Kim, an Asian-American actor, was recast for the role. This move added more diversity to Hollywood, corrected a wrongdoing and by doing so admitted there is a problem with whitewashing in Hollywood. Whitewashing has been an issue for decades. Statistics Canada reports that in 2011, one in every five people identified as a visible minority. Movies and TV need to reflect our diverse population. Whitewashing can be described as the casting of a white actor/actress in a non-white role. Recently, other movies and TV shows were criticized for whitewashing - particularly comic book and manga films. Most notably was the movie Ghost in the Shell. The original Ghost in the Shell was a 1995 anime movie, based on a manga that ran from 1989 to 1990. Scarlett Johansson was cast as the lead character. Instead of casting a Japanese actress, the producers decided to give Johansson a short, black wig resembling the character, Motoko Kusanagi, and hoped people wouldn’t mind. With a budget of $110 million, the movie didn’t do well in box-office numbers: grossing $169 million. One can assume viewers didn’t appreciate yet another example of whitewashing in Hollywood. Even though these films receive backlash, whitewashing is still rampant. A 2015 study by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism showed that 73.7 per cent of characters in movies were white. Of the 100 popular movies studied from 2015, only 14 of them had a lead character of an underrepresented race. There wasn’t one film with a lead Asian actor. So why are films like Ghost in the Shell, the new Netflix show, Death Note, or the 2018 film Annihilation, not casting Asian actors when the original material the movie and show are based upon have Asian leads? Back in 2016, #OscarsSoWhite was popular on Twitter. Jada Pinket Smith and Spike Lee boycotted the Oscars because of the whitewashing of nominees. Spike Lee believed the issue was much deeper than simply Oscar nominations. An open letter to my daughter for #metoo If something is wrong, do your best to make it right I was not certain how to address it. I decided to write a letter to my daughter, Alex, a young woman who is about to turn 22 years old. The letter is not just to Alex but all of the young black women out there who need to be heard. Sincerely, Tracy Wright Tracy Wright Dear Alex, I am writing you this letter in response to the recent #metoo campaign on social media. I have learned that the #metoo hashtag was started by Tarana Burke, a black activist from the Bronx, in New York. It did not become popularized until a white actress, Alyssa Milano, started to tweet it. As a black woman, I think this is significant because it shows how being a woman of colour you have to fight to have your voice heard. I am writing this letter because I pray you never have to deal with sexual harassment but if you do, don’t be afraid. I will be by your side no matter what. There are women out there in the world who are not celebrities, who don’t have a voice and who have no one to turn to for help. Not having a voice or a network of support would be devastating in a situation of sexual harassment. But if ever a situation like this should arise, I want you to know that I will support you. It’s hard being a woman, especially a woman of colour. You have to work harder. Don’t let this discourage you. As black woman growing up in this world, you must be prepared. You may not always get the recognition for the work you do, but don’t let that hold you back. Let that encourage you to keep going on strong. Keep your head up. If someone does something to you that you don’t like, don’t be afraid to stand up and say something. As a black woman, I have felt the need to be heard. I’ve learned to speak up. Do not fear being opinionated or too loud. Be loud and If someone does something to you that you don't like, don't be afraid to stand up and say something. have your own opinion. Do not place yourself in a box. Be proud of who you are. Stand up for what you believe in. If it’s wrong, do your best to make it right.As a mom, I believe my role is to guide you and keep you on the right path. I might not always be there but I hope you will hear my voice in the back of your mind, encouraging you to keep going. There might be days when you feel you just can’t take it. On those days, it is especially important that you stand up and be proud. Speak up for those women who can’t. Speak up for the women who are sexually harassed daily. These are the people the #metoo campaign really speaks to but there is no voice being given to them. There is no space in the crowded media spotlight and no light being shone on their lives. If there is a march or protest, it is covered very briefly, a mere glance and back to the celebrities at hand. Their spotlight is a flood light that makes it hard to see others. So, for the many young women out there like you Alex, I want you to know this: we hear you. Tarana Burke hears you. And #metoo.