The Ontarion

Why you should opt out of OPIRG

How would you feel if you were forced to pay money to a political party on campus every semester? Would you want to pay to support Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty, or Thomas Mulcair’s campaign? If you disagree with them, should you be forced to pay them? Of course not.

It is a fantastic exercise to donate to a political party or charity if you support it. It gives you a positive feeling when you contribute to something you love and believe in. However, when you are forced to pay for an ideology you disagree with, it leaves you feeling angry and helpless.

There is an organization on campus called the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), which participates in a number of initiatives that can only be characterized as radical and at odds with the views of the vast majority of students. I don’t mind that this group exists on campus; diversity is a crucial thing to have. What does worry me is that every student pays a sum of money – for what many amounts to a hidden tax – every semester to prop up this organization when so few students benefit or even know it exists.

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The Ontarion

Supreme Court HIV ruling promotes responsibility

This article is in response to Laura Chown’s article, “Supreme Court HIV ruling promotes stigma.”

The Supreme Court ruled the following in R. v. Mabior: that an individual would not have to disclose HIV status, provided the following two conditions are met: (1) a low viral load of HIV, and (2) use of a condom.

Chown argues that the Supreme Court was wrong in applying the two-part test. For her, if either one of the two parts of the test are met, there should be no requirement for disclosure. Consistent with the views of the HIV/AIDS Legal Network, she states that the ruling promotes “stigma” and places an extra burden on those living with HIV.

The topic of consent is strongly promoted on campus. To be able to enter a contractual decision with another person, one needs to have all the facts to make a rational decision weighing costs and benefits. Chown further states that, “Condom use, regardless of viral load, is close to 100 per cent effective in preventing the transmission of HIV when used properly.” This is incorrect. The number is closer to 80 per cent.

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The Ontarion

Increasing transparency and accountability for CSA student fees

The recent CSA election campaigns featured messages students hear nearly every year: more quality post-secondary education and a more financially accessible campus, “fighting the hikes,” and addressing high debt loads of graduating students.

Unfortunately, it is beyond the purview of the CSA to do anything about tuition fees. These are regulated by the government, and at the university level, tuition increases are decided by the Board of Governors. Tuition is going up next year, has gone up in the past year, and will continue to go up in the future. No matter how much students may campaign against it, it is not going to change.

In addition to tuition, students pay compulsory university fees. These include fees for athletics, the University Centre, health services fees, and student services fees, which supports things like Safewalk, The Learning Commons, CECS, CIP, etc.  These services benefit almost all students and promote a healthy, balanced campus life.

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