Monday, December 8, 2008

“Don’t worry, be happy” decrees Lakehead student union president

Lakehead student union president Richard Longtin, defied reason recently with his decree that clubs and campaigns “must be positive in nature.”

His decree reads:

“Campaigns must be positive in nature and cannot slander the opposing stance of the campaign.”
“All club publications shall not have content that may be deemed as offensive or in bad taste to any identifiable group.”
“Members of the club are not allowed to impose belief(s) or practice(s) of the club to anyone who does not give them consent to outside of the club’s meetings.”
In addition, the National Post reports that Longtin interprets the motion as going further, believing that it should prevent students from approaching others with information or campaign material.

As reported in the National Post, Longtin justified the move like this: “For example, he said the campus NDP club could put literature about why the NDP is the best political party without disparaging the Liberals or Conservatives. There is no point, he said, for one party to attack another.”

Given the current call for unity among the NDP and Liberals, it’s unlikely that they’ll be attacking each other. On the other hand, as a known campus Conservative himself, Longtin may be trying to use his role as president to quell concerns about the Conservative’s move to suspend Parliament in order to avoid a confidence vote that they were poised to lose.

Whatever the motivation, his attempts to lull the campus into a Prozac state of positivity undermines the basic mandate of post-secondary education.

A solution to undoing this may be to show that Longtin’s decree is out of order by testing it against some of LUSU’s pre-existing “negative” bylaws, like presidential impeachment.

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