Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Alma Mater Blues

The debate over free speech and free press has reared its head again, this time at the University of Saskatchewan. The independent student newspaper, the Sheaf, has published a cartoon depicting Jesus and a pig in a less than flattering position - they have since retracted the version online and will issue a formal apology in the next issue.

The Sheaf claims this was a staffing mixup which is just a blatent lie.

The Sheaf, after rationalizing not to publish the offensive Muslim cartoons, chose to publish an equally offensive cartoon showing Jesus performing oral sex on a pig. The pig resembles Uncle Pennybags and there is even a Jewish reference for good measure.

Peter MacKinnon, one of the best university Presidents in the land, a finalist for the Supreme Court and all around rational thinker, has joined in with a letter to the university community denouncing the Sheaf and their hypocrisy:

I feel I must publicly communicate with our campus community on what I have just seen in the student newspaper.

In the February 23 edition of the Sheaf, the editors explained that they would not publish the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. It is surprising that they did not exercise similar restraint in their decision to publish 'Capitalist Piglet' in the March 2 issue of the paper. This is a cartoon that is certain to cause distress to members of our community. It has divisive shock value only and does nothing to advance the understanding or debate for which universities should be distinguished.

The Sheaf should apologize to us all.

The Students' Union, under Gavin Gardiner, also takes issue with the publication.

At a minimum The Sheaf owes the University community an explanation for the cartoon, which has offended a significant portion of the staff, faculty and student body at the University of Saskatchewan.

I agree with the Students' Union, however, it is a tad rich for this group to talk about juvenile and tasteless antics considering his reign of error.

Gardiner and his band of morons have made verbal and written accusations about organizations that are both slanderous and libelous. The Students' Union, then backed away from these statements, blaming them on the national organization - Canadian Federation of Students. The same national organization that they are NOT members of. This coming from the same organization who claims to be a member driven, bottom-up organization, a tad rich?

Each students' union has an equal say in setting the policies, direction and priorities of the Federation including how funds are spent. All major decisions are made at provincial and national congresses four times annually at which every member students' union is represented.

If each student union has say, than how can locally elected officials when meeting with local politicians use a line "The material was researched and produced in Ottawa?" Are they too lazy to conduct their own research? Are they cowards who will back away when finally challenged on their bullshit?

Shame on the USSU and the Sheaf, both deserve much better.

Ooohh reign of error - good one.
Wow, what a mess.
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