RE: SSMU to give opt-outable groups chance to speak out, Jan. 11, 2011
In case anyone felt, in reading this article, that VP Clubs and Services Anushay Khan’s recent undertaking to provide McGill students with information on opt-outable groups and services and to prevent the growth of “shadow opt-outs” is somehow unfairly siding with such opt-outable groups, such as QPIRG, CKUT radio, and more, I would like to clarify that there are two debates here. 1) How can the opt-out system work in such a way that students can make informed decisions about where their money goes? 2) Should people financially support opt-outable groups? What Khan is doing—and I fully support her action—is making sure that students know more about opt-outable groups and services (question one) so they can critically answer question two on their own (and not just blindly opt-out of every possible club or service). Therefore, the statement “the solution is to either change the system, or to create a better forum for providing information—even if only one side of the opt-out debate ends up speaking” is misleading, because it suggests that Khan is helping groups convince students not to opt-out, when in fact she is allowing groups to provide information about the services they offer so students can make that decision for themselves. This strategy respects students’ intelligence more than the Opt-out Campaign’s strategy to tell them they can use their money for gum or a yo-yo, instead of providing concrete information on what groups such as QPIRG actually do.
Jessica Blair, B.A. 2005 in Women’s Studies and Sociology