Canadian University Bans Military Recruiting
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
University of Victoria Student body decides their student society certainly does not speak for them when banning the Armed Forces at Career day. Considering the Canadian Armed Forces provides scholarships to students, perhaps this funding will be better used elsewhere by students at other Universities who do not share the UVIC Student Societies Lefty vision that feels it's student body is not intelligent enough to make up it's own mind on whether to make a career in the Canadian Armed Forces, and must take the lead and make the decision for them.
University of Victoria students are protesting a decision by their student society to ban active Canadian Forces recruiting at a career fair in their building.
The outcry, which includes a 350-member protest group on Facebook, has forced the UVic Student Society to let students have the final say on the issue. A motion will be brought forward at the student body's annual general meeting Oct. 18 and the decision will be binding. The fair is Jan. 30.
"There's such strong feeling about it on both sides," said Tracy Ho, chair of the UVSS board of directors. "That's why we're bringing it to the students."
Detail from a Canadian Forces recruiting poster. UVic's student society has banned military recruiters from its building.View Larger Image View Larger Image
Detail from a Canadian Forces recruiting poster. UVic's student society has banned military recruiters from its building.
Department of National Defence
At the Sept. 10 board meeting, Ho cast the deciding vote in favour of the ban, breaking a 6-6 deadlock. Some students are concerned about the recruiting practices of the military, she explained. They believe the military does not give students information about the psychological, mental and physical effects soldiers face when they return from service. Others don't want the military in the Student Union Building, where the fair will be held.
"The Student Union Building is truly the only space on campus that is for students and run by students," said Ho. "They feel strongly about not having the military in their space actively recruiting them in their own space.
"This issue touches home for a lot of students. A lot of people feel very passionately about the issue. I'm very happy it has sparked this debate. This is what university is all about."
Many students are unhappy by what they perceive as a lack of debate. Pamphlets and posters handed out on campus Monday argue UVSS has no right to tell students whether they should join or not join the Canadian Armed Forces. Students were also set to protest a board meeting Monday night. A petition is being circulated to impeach student directors who voted to ban the military from the career fair.
"I feel somewhat insulted that some members of the board think I'm incapable of making a decision on my own," said Jordan Dilba, a fourth-year economics student. "I think regardless of how people feel about the war, students are in favour of people making their own decisions."
Fourth-year history student John Fox said he was extremely upset by UVSS's actions.
"The Canadian Forces provides funding for many UVic students," said Fox. "There are people I know who wouldn't be able to go to university without the funding they get. One of the primary missions of UVSS is to lower tuition fees and here we have a group that's helping students and they want to kick them out.
"The UVSS has essentially declared the Armed Forces are criminals. Their reasoning is incredibly flawed. It's completely preposterous they're making these claims."
"You should be exposed to all information," said Max Bakken, a fourth-year philosophy student. "We are students. We are here because we are intellectual. We can make that decision."
Shannon Lucy, a third-year anthropology student, supports the UVSS decision.
"I'm not for censorship," said Lucy. "But since the Canadian Armed Forces is doing illegal things, they don't really have any business on a public site. We can't be endorsing them."
In Vancouver, Lt.-Navy Rand Freeman of Canadian Forces Recruiting was reluctant to comment on the dispute.
"The Canadian Forces is very mission-oriented and so is Canadian Forces Recruiting, he said. "Our mission is to attract people. We will continue with our mission."
Jennifer Margison, manager of UVic Career Services, said the student society is within its right to determine what kind of events take place in its building - and she respects that.
"We will just make some alternate arrangement for the military to speak to students who wish to speak to them. That's not really going to a problem," she said.