Pubdate: Tue, 26 Aug 2014
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Page: A3
Copyright: 2014 The London Free Press
Author: Kate Dubinski
Referenced: Frosh Issue 2014:


Editor-In-Chief Stands Firm Amid Call For His Resignation

Sex, drugs and drinking games? Those topics, subjects of a Western
University student newspaper guide for first-year students, have
several organizations calling for an apology and retraction. One local
activist is calling for the resignation of The Gazette's
editor-in-chief after 3,000 copies of the paper's annual frosh issue
hit the streets last week. The issue includes an article headlined So
you want to date a teaching assistant. "When I read it, I was
completely disgusted," said Kevin Godbout, president of the Society of
Graduate Students, which represents teaching assistants.

"It's basically a step-by-step guide to how to stalk and sexually
harass a graduate student," he said. "They aren't there to be objects
of desire. They're teachers." During the weekend, a Twitter storm
erupted, with teaching assistants condemning the piece and Megan
Walker, executive director of the London Abused Women's Centre,
calling for the resignation of Gazette editor-inchief Iain Boekhoff.
"I don't see anything wrong with the piece," Boekhoff said. The frosh
issue is supposed to introduce first year students to campus. It's an
"informative, entertaining and lighthearted" look at life at Western,
he said. "The general reaction was positive."

The Gazette is published by the University Students' Council but
maintains editorial autonomy. Two other articles in the frosh issue
also are making waves. One is about a drinking game during orientation
week that's officially alcohol-free. The second describes drugs
first-years might encounter on campus, from marijuana and cocaine to
ecstasy and magic mushrooms. "I am appalled by the lack of judgment
shown by the editor-in-chief . . . Two of the three articles promote
drug and alcohol use, while the third is sexist and creates a climate
of harassment," Walker wrote to Western president Amit Chakma, the
president of the Western students' council and Boekhoff. Janice
Deakin, Western's provost and vice-president (academic), also wrote
The Gazette expressing disappointed with the teaching-assistant
article. Boekhoff stands by the issue. "The fact that this article
touched a nerve about sexual harassment of (teaching assistants)
proves that this is something that we have to tal! k about, that there
are larger issues that need to be explored, but the article itself
does nothing to promote sexual harassment."  
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