(I would like to note that I write this letter without any idea of the content of the Arthur article.)
I am writing this open letter; directed to all students, faculty, staff and administration at Trent University, to express my deep concern with the article published by the Arthur, in this issue, which contains content based on a ‘leaked’ private conversation between myself and TCSA President Braden Freer.
I would first like to thank all students who voted in favour of rescinding the TCSA Israel-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions policy at the TCSA AGM on the 29th of January. You have allowed inclusivity and tolerance to prevail on campus – and have facilitated an environment which will allow honest exchanges between Pro-Israeli and Jewish students at Trent, with their Palestinian counterparts.
You have set a precedent, students, and I cannot express how much our Israeli and Jewish community – both here at Trent, as well as Peterborough as whole – are thankful for it. I am also happy to let you know, that the initial planning has begun on some exciting future events to be held, following through on this commitment of collaboration made by Trent4Israel.
Now to address the article.
The article is based on a private Facebook conversation between myself and TCSA President Braden Freer. I will not speak on behalf of Mr. Freer, but I will discuss my portion of the conversation.
The basis of my portion of the conversation is three-fold.
1) I ask Mr. Freer a series of questions regarding AGM procedure, as well as his personal opinion on how things are going to unfold regarding the Israel-BDS motions. I also briefly discuss how our (Trent 4 Israel) campaign is going.
2) I discuss my personal opinion on several matters regarding the TCSA, including the restructuring of the TCSA as proposed by Mr. Freer at the TCSA AGM on January 29.
3) Finally, I briefly discuss a potential run for a position on the TCSA Executive and/or Board with Mr. Freer. I end up deciding against running this year – as I have made prior commitments which I am focused on fulfilling. If I was to run for the TCSA – I would do so with an open schedule so I could commit 110% of my energy towards representing the TCSA membership.
I would have never imagined this conversation – one which I believed was completely private – would be ‘leaked’ and commented on in the public realm. I am deeply troubled that our student paper, Arthur, would publish an article based on this ‘leaked’ information. An article about ethics; which itself is potentially unethical. Ironic?
Regardless of this, I have said nothing within this conversation that I would not say to anyone in public. My views are well known. I hate to use labels, but I am what some would call a ‘Conservative’ minded-individual. I strongly believe in the lowest possible fees for our students. Furthermore, I believe that our student association, as well as our mandatory levy groups, should refrain from political advocacy – outside of advocating for the students attending our institution.
I support Mr. Freer. I feel Mr. Freer has done an excellent job as our TCSA President, and his hard work in office will benefit Trent, and the Trent community, for years, and decades, to come. The Student Centre would not be possible without the hard work done by Mr. Freer. The Direct2U prescription service would not run as smoothly as it currently is, without Mr. Freer. In regards to Mr. Freer’s proposed restructuring of the TCSA – I fully support/supported Mr. Freer with that.
It is regretful that it was not given the opportunity to be voted on by you, the students, and that Mr. Freer was not given the opportunity to defend the changes himself. I had an opportunity to sit on the TCSA’s ORDC (Organizational Review and Development Committee), and I was able thoroughly review the proposed changes. They were, in my opinion, logical – and needed.
To conclude this letter, I would ask you, the students, to keep this all in mind. Mr. Freer, as well as myself, had/have no intentions rather than to better the Trent experience for all students. Mr. Freer has been an excellent representative for our student body, and I do not believe his conversation with me changes any of that.
Mr. Freer will continue fighting for Trent regardless of where he is, and regardless of what he is doing.
As will I.
Corey R. LeBlanc