After reading Pat Reddick’s article concerning the denial of club status for Trent Lifeline, I was like others and was upset by this event. However, I was not upset at the idea that a group of students would advocate for alternatives to abortion. Rather, I was upset because the TCSA, with support from members of the university and this very newspaper, would continue to enforce the leftist hegemony that dominates our campus by denying this group the same opportunities as others with club status in reaching out to the student body.
In Reddick’s depiction of this issue, he clearly constructed it to present this group as being some evil entity instead of a group of students interested in engaging in dialogue about a controversial topic. I take issue with certain points made in the article, one of them being Clubs and Groups Coordinator Vanessa Jones’ statement that, “…all clubs at Trent must be inclusive,” and using the Trent Muslim Students Association’s activities to affirm it. At no point in the article does it mention whether or not the TMSA is inclusive in its administration, allowing non-Muslims to hold leadership positions within the organization. And the fact that groups like the Trent University Politics Society exist that have exclusionary policies that bar students not majoring in Political Science from holding cabinet positions points to the fact that the TCSA and the university permit clubs that have exclusionary policies. And just recently during the Self-Love Week coordinated by the Centre for Gender and Social Justice and Trent Queer Collective these groups hosted several events that excluded the cis-gendered majority of students from participating. These are just some of the examples that debunk the notion put forth by Reddick through Jones’ statement that Trent clubs exist to foster a purely inclusive environment. One can only assume then that as long as a group is willing to enforce the leftist hegemony at Trent, then the TCSA and the university are unconcerned if these groups engage in exclusionary policies and actions.
It is also very weak journalism to use an anonymous “appeal to the hard case” saying “I feel oppressed whenever someone says X”. It is obvious that this person’s story was used to insinuate that it was members of Trent Lifeline that engaged in this activity or that this group will do so if they obtained club status, even though there is no evidence that they have done or will do so. Concerning Arthur’s track record on balanced journalism, or lack thereof, I am not surprised that this newspaper would engage in such shady tactics to enforce the leftist oppression that the TCSA administration and its supporters perpetrate.
I am glad that Trent Lifeline has decided to take the TCSA to an actual court instead of having to deal with the Kafkaesque, kangaroo court that is the student union’s appeal process that Brea Hutchinson mentions in the article. It strikes me as absurd that Trent Lifeline could actually get a fair hearing from an internal appeal committee that is comprised of many of the same people that decided to deny club status to the group. Instead of bowing down before a wannabe-stasi organization, Trent Lifeline has taken the only sensible step in trying to bring the TCSA to court and thereby expose the lack of transparency and ineptitude that have plagued the union’s administration for many years now.
Hopefully this little episode will mark a turning point in how important issues like abortion are debated at Trent University. Maybe it will mark the end of the vicious and hegemonic narrative that the TCSA, Arthur, OPIRG, and other leftist organizations have imposed upon students, especially those who have the tenacity to express opinions that are found to be a micrometer to the right of the political spectrum. And perhaps the union will check their privilege and power instead of using it to oppress thought minorities on campus like Trent Lifeline. If these things can happen, then my time here at this university will not have been used in vain.