A good sport: Keeping the drive alive

The “Can the Leafs squeak into the playoffs” debate has reared its head yet again this year. Although you would be hard-pressed to claim Toronto’s NHL team has a “good” or “probable” chance of making the playoffs, the odds are a lot better than anyone could have possibly suspected even mere weeks ago.

After a 5–4 win over Montreal on Thursday night, the Leafs have creeped within four points of eighth-place Carolina.

This Leafs playoff push is a little bit different than in previous years. In the recent past, the season’s outcome has hinged on whether or not they could slip in, and doing so was the standard for success.

This year, Toronto’s season was written off long ago and the playoffs were, until about a week ago, considered an impossibility. If the Leafs do manage to sneak in, it would be despite their goals for the homestretch and not because of them.

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To that effect, this year’s Leafs can expect absolutely no help by Monday’s trade deadline. Any pieces that General Manager Brian Burke adds will be for improving the team over the next two to three years. The moves he might make will only worsen the team in two to three weeks if they serve the long-term.

It’s unquestionable that the Leafs have been charging lately. Thursday’s win gave them a 6–2–2 record in their last ten games, and continuing at that pace, or something near it, should get them into the playoffs, all things being equal.

But can they continue that pace, with a team full of a rookies and players who were in the minors just months ago?

Head Coach Ron Wilson claims they would need to win two out of three for the remaining six or so weeks of the season.

One thing working in their favour is red-hot goalie James Reimer, who is definitely this season’s biggest surprise. He keeps them in nearly every game he starts, and he has the capacity — unlike nearly every goalie the Leafs have trotted out during their playoff drought — to single-handedly steal a game.

A team with as little margin for error as the Leafs have right now will probably need to steal a few wins that they don’t necessarily deserve. Reimer should help with that.

Can they do it at the end of the day? Leafs’ fans would be smart to take a conservative approach, because the odds are still fundamentally against them.

Don’t expect a playoff appearance. But hey, keep the standings in the back of your mind, and should we stumble into some really meaningful late-season games, enjoy ‘em.

The escape into reality

Hard science fiction is a genre that attempts to construct a plausible vision of the near or far future. It works out the social, economic, political, scientific, and even philosophical implications of advances in technology and scientific understanding. Hard SF can be distinguished from “space opera” (think Star Wars) in that the physical laws of the universe are respected. Even when they are stretched — in the case of faster-than-light travel, or devices that replicate matter — the author makes an effort to provide a plausible explanation.

For the longest time, sci-fi only came in two modes. Space opera, which was popularized by Edgar Rice Burroughs and E.E. “Doc” Smith, described epic space adventures where the light years and alien races were knocked back with wild abandon. On the other side, the dreadful “scientifiction” was promoted by Hugo Gernsback, editor of the first sci-fi pulp magazine, Amazing Stories.

That all changed in 1938, when John W. Campbell Jr. became the editor of Astounding Science Fiction. Campbell insisted that those who sold stories to the magazine should respect actual science, and should also work out the implications of any speculative technologies or concepts they developed. Through his insistence on both scientific plausibility and literary quality, Campbell matured the genre of science fiction, setting the standard far above stories that read like juvenile fantasies or engineering blueprints. He nurtured and promoted such talents as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Lester del Rey, and Theodore Sturgeon. One of those talents was U of T Emeritus Professor of Mathematics Chandler Davis, who wrote half a dozen stories for Astounding Science Fiction between 1946 and 1953.

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“I think one thing that distinguishes real science fiction — what you call “hard” science fiction — from the irresponsible stuff is the attempt to show a society that is credible, a society that works, that has structure and people living in it” says Davis.

Many of the stories made a concerted effort to be both entertaining and realistic. This was possible since many of the writers like Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke, had training in physics and engineering. Atomic power, rocket travel, robotics, genetic engineering, and bioethics were primary concerns of Astounding’s writers before they were concerns of the general public.

Like many science fiction writers, Davis started as a fan and then quickly became a contributor.

“A lot of us had this passion for science fiction and we didn’t get enough. Reading wasn’t enough. […] What we did is form a fan club and we made the acquaintance of some of the professionals […] and tried out story ideas on each other,” Davis explains. “And this led some of us to submit stories to Astounding Science Fiction.”

Through his writing and the fan club, Davis became good friends of Asimov, Sturgeon, Judith Merril (who lends her name to the Merril Collection at the Lillian H. Smith Library) and Phil Klass, who wrote under the name William Tenn.

Davis’s first accepted story, “The Nightmare,” got the cover for the May 1946 issue. The cover featured the Statue of Liberty being obliterated by an atomic bomb.

“My story was not the first in science fiction to warn about the danger of nuclear war. […] ‘Nightmare’ was the first to deal with the question of nuclear terrorism. That’s of course still a live subject today,” Davis explains.

In the story, scientist Robert Ciccone has to prevent the construction of an atomic bomb intended to terrorize New York. Ciccone uncovers the bomb’s location when he discovers that the plutonium used to create it is being hidden in shipments of radium watches.

“The Nightmare” is a good example of hard SF since the protagonist overcomes his challenges not by having the biggest muscles or the most powerful weapons but through his ability to reason out complex problems. Many hard SF stories reflect the famous maxim of Asimov’s Foundation series: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

One of Davis’s most popular stories during his Astounding period was “Letter to Ellen,” a short story about the philosophical and moral implications of genetic engineering.

“I’m very interested in bioethics,” says Davis. “I don’t think that story does more than formulate a question. And it’s a question about the relation between genetic inheritance and life. Obviously you can have a science fiction story that doesn’t show the whole picture, it just raises a question.”

Davis loves hard science fiction’s “grounding in human experience […] All I can say is that I am sorry I haven’t contributed more to this field,” he adds, “which is an important intellectual movement and an important intellectual technique of analysis. I hope young people will.” However, Davis says he might write science fiction again in the near future.

In 1960, Campbell changed the name of Astounding to Analog, to better reflect the magazine’s editorial philosophy. Analog still publishes today and, after 81 years, is the longest continuously publishing science fiction magazine ever.

Canada has its own internationally renowned hard SF author, Robert J. Sawyer, who has written such famous books as FlashForward, Rollback, and his current WWW series, which is about the Internet obtaining consciousness.

So if you’re tired of all the phasers and lightsabers, why not give hard SF a try? It’s some of the best fiction in this universe — or any other universe for that matter.

Living Arts: The Jane Austen Ball

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good novel writ by the hand of Miss Jane Austen must at some point in her life enter a temporary state of delirium.

This state, once in full possession of the young lady’s mind and body, will treat her most unkindly. Fortunates will be inclined to prolonged periods of self-induced solitary confinement and eye strain from exhausting their texts. Others, I dare say, may be disposed to frantic bouts of preaching and, on occasion, hallucination.

Having just recently enrolled in a class modelled on the teachings of Miss Austen, I must now confide that this exact delirium is how I found myself at the St. Barnabas Church of Danforthshire this past evening, for an extraordinary Ball in the theme of Miss Austen herself.

In what raptures I am returned! I am quite in a state of ecstasy, though I fear the excessive excitements of the evening have proven too harsh for my female constitution, as I have now come down with a most unwelcome cold.

The ball was held by Lady Karen Millyard, an eccentric woman who has dubiously chosen to work for a living and, what is more, pursue a profession in the arts. Her artistic connections are undoubtedly questionable, though I chose to ignore this aspect of her character for the sake of convenience.

Danforthshire, I fear, is quite towards the east end of town and so, coming from the west end, I dare say the travel is thirty minutes by horse drawn carriage but thirty minutes and one hour if travelling by the public transportation services offered by the county. (Though the public transport operates with no horses to stop or tend to, this does not seem to keep it from frequent delays.)

Lady Karen took all measures to ensure an evening of great propriety by providing etiquette tutorials, which began in the early afternoon. As most persons present were, like I, foreign to the area and its customs, a brief presentation and instruction were given to those who were not entirely confident in their fashionability.

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I was most pleased to hear news that Lady Caroline Lamb, a Lady of notable aristocracy and in close relations with Lord Byron, had recently cut her hair out of hysteria, and thus the cropped fashioning of my own hair is, at the moment, quite in vogue. The gentlemen present were directed under the teachings of Mister Beau Brummel, a gentleman whose influence on the fashions in this region are respected without hesitation. I dare say it was not five and forty minutes before each person in the room was properly Londonized and prepared for an evening of the most agreeable sort.

The dance instruction, which took up much of the afternoon, proceeded with much ease. I falsely believed this to be a truthful indication of my abilities for the evening. My, how wrong I was.

The ball finally began at a quarter past the hour of eight, a fifteen-minute delay due wholly to the long and particular dressing preparations of the women. The men, at this point, took to playing a game of whist while waiting on our attendance.

As it was, the men were greatly outnumbered by women for reasons I cannot possibly fathom. Perhaps a sporting event of some kind took them to the country that night, away from such a fine evening in town.

Of the few gentlemen present, I conversed with many whose manners were amiable and charming, which I found quite disappointing. From all I have previously learned from Miss Austen, no woman of a sensible disposition would foolishly trust a man who displays any approbation or gentlemanlike behaviour. In fact there was one gentleman whose manners were so generally pleasing that I did not even bother to enquire after the sum of his annuity, for I knew no good could ever come from his kind spirit. As I humbly awaited the presence of a gentleman whose manners were less civil, I occupied my time with the most enjoyable dancing.

The first dance of the evening was Auretti’s Dutch Skipper and the quartet that serenaded the room was of the highest skill. When one took pause to watch their surroundings, the delicate symmetry of the dances coupled with the extraordinary materials that were worn that evening made quite a beautiful spectacle.

Some ladies of Hamilton were fashioned in beautiful country wear, while others had beautiful gowns of satin and feather attachments that were quite grand. Some gentlemen appeared to be from the military and dressed in uniform. An older gentleman, Sir Hans of Denmark, not only wore a most respectable cravat and jacket but also proved to be a most agreeable dance partner for Hole in the Wall.

One party present were clearly well versed in the dancing from this region, as they exhibited much grace and such a thorough knowledge of the dance steps that hardly any blunders were made on their part.

However, I must divulge that the gentleman of this party made his superior knowledge quite known to us all by huffing and rolling his eyes at our smallest mistakes. His slight was unconscionable and what is more, even with such a shortage of men he refused to dance with any outside of his own party. In fact, I found his general snobbery and ill manners so insufferable that I am quite sure we shall be married within the fortnight.

The regret in my dancing, to which I have previously alluded, did not come until later in the evening. The partner with whom I danced Juice of Barley made such an egregious mistake that his misstep echoed through the entire line until Lady Karen had to come over and personally assist our recovery. As I was at the centre of such an irreconcilable embarrassment, I am grateful that no word seems to have yet passed through any respected social connections.

The Ball by all measures was an enjoyable one, and I was left with a most cheerful countenance and satisfaction at half past ten when the evening came to a close. It is my full intention to return to Danforthshire for the Ball this April, where I am hopeful that no such dreaded embarrassments await me and I may perhaps have better luck finding an esteemed suitor.

Until then I can now only hope that the illness, which presently confines itself to a bearable cold, may soon develop into a fever of more heightened danger, after which I am sure that a chivalrous gentleman may then ardently come to my care.


I am &c-

The Tao of Farrelly

Fassbinder. Fellini. Farrelly Brothers. While critics everywhere this week demean the exposed penises, explosive vomititusness, and general boobery that exemplifies the auteurs’ lesser work, Hall Pass, out in theatres this past weekend, I ponder a bigger question: why is There’s Something About Mary not part of the Criterion Collection?

The Rhode Island-born brothers make movies that revel in the uncanny humiliation of being human. In the Farrelly Brothers’ universe, your penis never stays in your pants for long. Breasts are presented as tan, flapping, cruel surprises you didn’t ask for. People get unexpectedly punched in the face a lot. Their protagonists, either shy repressed everymen (Ben Stiller in There’s Something About Mary; Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear in Stuck On You), or wild, blathering blowhards (Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber and Me, Myself & Irene, Jack Black in Shallow Hal) set off on a course to get what they deserve, but the universe ignores this. The Farrelly Brothers assume that you can’t receive the American Dream until you are sufficiently humiliated. And that’s an authorial value that’s certainly on par with anything Woody Allen or Pedro Almodovar ever put out.

Their next project is an adaptation of the Three Stooges; three short films reveling in all of the slapstick and less of the confused moral ambiguities that make a film like Hall Pass so unnerving. Hall Pass is a watchable film (I sat next to a woman who told me, “The universe is hagiographic, which means the cells of your heart are also in your butt”) and she laughed and cooed all the way through. But for more sentient beings, this bizarre romantic comedy, about two dorks who get a week off from marriage, tries to play it safe while the uncanny seeps in. The most memorable scene of the film features Owen Wilson falling asleep in a spa hot tub, only to be rescued by two naked men — one with a giant African-American penis and one with a tiny Caucasian penis. The penises are not acknowledged, simply hanging. This is Wilson’s moral reward for trying to sleep with a super tanned Australian barista who is not his wife.
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I love Farrelly, will always love Farrelly, so much that when they make Hall Pass 2: Just Goin’ To The Bathroom, I’ll be there just to see what they’ll do next. Critics bemoan the brothers for the de-evolution of comedy, but people forget that the 1998 release of There’s Something About Mary pioneered the “gross-out comedy” for a reason. Before the Farrellys, no one in comedy masturbated with such high stakes. Somehow they managed to connect all the painful fragilities of our bodies to our souls.

There is a scene in Dumb & Dumber that executes this elegantly. Lloyd (Jim Carrey) has managed to get himself and his buddy to Vermont to hand off a mysterious suitcase full of cash to his dream girl, not knowing that the suitcase was a ransom reward. They end up spending all of the money, essentially on hideous bolo ties. On the slopes and during a trying period, Lloyd sees his best friend on a date with his dreamgirl. Inadvertently he throws up, just a little, in his mouth. Who hasn’t been there?

To be Farrelly is to err human. To be cruel without realizing it. To make a mistake you want to condone but you are basically an idiot. The Farrellys understand how to write men (female copycat The Sweetest Thing did not understand how to write women) — the mix of clueless ineptitude and bravado that comes with trying to please your equally retarded friends. Other, weaker gross-out comedies have been attempted (Farrelly begat the Scary Movie franchise, which took gross-out to the extreme), but never with the satisfying longing the protagonists of Mary and Dumb & Dumber have for a world that won’t make itself in their image.

The question is, do the Farrelly Brothers think that they’re auteurs? At a round table, Bobby Farrelly says:

“When we’ve come in and talked to people, sometimes that’s pointed out to us — but whatever we’re doing, we’re doing unconsciously. We’re always just thinking, what’s our next movie, how can we make it funny? We do the same sort of things over and over, but each movie is a little bit different and we just want to make people laugh.”

Whatever, Farrelly.

How she got here: Adrienne Clarkson

Fifty years ago Adrienne Clarkson never expected to be living as a retired Governor General in a cozy Annex house just blocks from where she completed her undergraduate degree. Mme. Clarkson graduated from Trinity College in 1960 with an honours BA in English Literature.

“Trinity was my life,” said Clarkson, speaking of her undergraduate experience. She was the head of college at St. Hilda’s, a Trinity residence, and was also involved in several U of T publications. The U of T Ms. Adrienne Poy (Clarkson’s maiden name) knew would seem foreign to today’s students.

“We didn’t have sexual freedom and sexual liberation,” said Clarkson. At her class’ forty-year anniversary she said that alumni all agreed that the largest change since leaving U of T was the birth control pill. “I think we would have been different people if we had that.”

“You have to realize that it was a much more innocent time,” said Clarkson, quick to establish that her social life was in no way boring. “I went out all the time.”

Although she read novels and heard stories about people who had extraordinary love lives, Mme. Clarkson described the risk of pregnancy at the time as simply too dangerous. “I just saw a bottomless pit,” she admitted, “I just thought that would be the end, my life would be over, and I would not be able to do whatever it was I was going to do.”

“I always thought I would have an interesting life,” she said, remembering the only certainty was that she did not want to become a teacher or a librarian. “I didn’t know what it was going to be. I had no idea!”
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During the summers Clarkson held a series of jobs, working once in the complaints department of an Ottawa store. “It was great to work somewhere where you weren’t going to spend the rest of your life.”

She later worked for the federal government as part of their summer programme for students. “[It] was the most boring job I’ve ever had in my life,” she recalled, “but…they took me on for three years, and I earned enough to pay my own boarding fees.”

After graduating Clarkson moved to France to study, returning to Canada to do a PhD at Victoria College. During her studies she was asked to host a book review television show. With no training under her belt, Mme. Clarkson broke into the world of broadcasting.

“I felt very good in a television studio right away,” she said. “I liked the cameras and the silence of it. It suited me a lot.”

During the remainder of her career she chaired the board of a national museum, received over 12 honorary degrees, led numerous CBC shows (as host, writer, and producer), published three books, served as colonel-in-chief of a military regiment, became an officer of the Order of Canada, and took up residence in Rideau Hall. “It was an interesting route, but I didn’t plan it as such,” she said with a smile.

Mme. Clarkson advises students graduating to keep their options open, emphasizing the importance of knowing oneself and having purpose. “I don’t think one should pick too soon what one is going to do,” she counselled. “A lot of people go to law school because they can’t think of anything better to do.”

“Whenever I was asked to do anything, I never said I would do it unless I could bring something different to it. If I felt somebody [else] could do it as well, I wouldn’t do it.”

When Clarkson was asked to be senator, she declined because she didn’t think she would bring anything special to the role. “It’s about knowing yourself, and knowing what you can do,” she explained. “If you can’t do it, don’t do it.”

Clarkson is also particularly concerned about gender equity in the workplace. “As a woman, especially in my generation, people wanted you to do things because you were a woman.”

Clarkson realized the full impact of U of T when she returned last year for her fiftieth reunion. “I realized [they] had set me up for a wonderful life.”

Meet Unite For Action

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The candidates, from left to right

VP Internal and Services: Corey Scott

“Hi Varsity readers, my name is Corey Scott and I am running for VP Internal and Services in the UTSU General Elections with Team UNITE for ACTION. As the current VP Campus Life I worked tirelessly to create the first ever carbon-neutral free Orientation Day, secure exclusive space in the Athletics Centre for campus clubs and student bookings, expand clubs training sessions and services and fight for a safe and inclusive environment at the University of Toronto. As the VP Internal and Services I plan to continue working with clubs to expand financial and in-kind resources that will work towards more sustainable and equitable practices, offer campus-wide free commuter brunches that engage and inform commuter students, further expand and promote U.T.S.U. services such as discounted entertainment tickets, and ensure that the students’ union is saving you money and advocating on your behalf. At the polls, vote to UNITE for ACTION!”

VP Equity: Lena Elamin

“Hello everyone! My name is Lena Elamin and I’m asking for your vote to be your VP Equity. As Anti-Racism Coordinator for the UTMSU, I organized events that gave equal access to all members of the campus community. I organized eXpression Against Oppression week, which challenged issues of discrimination, questioned injustice, confronted islamophobia, racism, and many other forms of oppression. Elected External Relations officer for the Muslim Student Association at UTM, I maintained relations with active clubs on campus and sought opportunities to collaborate on events. United with the community, I will create an anti-racism collective and fight for diverse food options and I will work to produce action against issues of discrimination and oppression. So when you head to the polls, VOTE ELAMIN and UNITE FOR ACTION!”

President: Danielle Sandhu

“Hi Varsity readers! My name is Danielle Sandhu and I am running for President of the UTSU with the UNITE for ACTION team. Access to education and a better student experience were my priorities when I previously served as your VP Equity and VP Campus Life. Working with students across the province, we managed to win a province-wide credit transfer system and a 6-month interest-free period on OSAP loans. By uniting with faculty and staff, we mobilized to successfully shut down an Arts and Science Academic Plan that would destroy programs, and increased Equity Office support to students at UTM. As president, I will fight to make education the number one issue in the provincial election, increase funding to our clubs, fight all forms of discrimination and oppression, and work to build a united and inclusive student movement. VOTE SANDHU and UNITE FOR ACTION!”

VP University Affairs: Clara Ho

“Hey folks! My name is Clara Ho and I’m running for VP University Affairs in the UTSU General Elections with the UNITE for ACTION team. As current VP Internal of the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC), I have been a strong advocate of students rights and representation. I have worked effectively to secure office space for Vic student groups and have taken the lead in fostering student involvement on the residence, college and campus-wide levels. As your VP UA, I will mobilize students to eliminate Flat Fees in all programs, fight to secure a student-friendly, free space-booking policy, and work to end the practice of charging interest on deferred tuition fee payments. I am passionate about creating the most positive and fulfilling student experience for you, and dedicated to ensuring that you have access to a higher quality and affordable education. Let’s unite to build a better university experience. Vote to UNITE for ACTION!”

VP External: Shaun Shepherd

“Hey everyone! My name is Shaun Shepherd and I’m running for VP External for UTSU. As a current executive of the Black Students’ Association, I have promoted accessible education and safe spaces for all community members. I have organized successful open discussions on race and identity and improved student involvement in the community through an annual high school conference. My commitment to issues of equity has seen me working alongside various student groups such as the Thaqalayn Muslim Association, and Students for Barrier-Free Access. As your VP External, I will fight for the end of differential tuition fees for international and professional students and will continue the fight for affordable TTC options and improved service. With an upcoming provincial election, I will seek commitments to reduce tuition fees from all parties. VOTE SHEPHERD and UNITE FOR ACTION!”

Live animals, demerits, and appeals

UTSU elections are much more than speeches, debates, and posters. Candidates must follow a long list of rules, and face electoral and financial penalties for breaching them. Here’s a primer on the rules of this election and the people who enforce them.

Candidates and supervisors

The most visible electoral positions are the five executive spots: the UTSU president and vice-presidents. There are also four spots for at-large director candidates: students who represent multiple faculties collectively. There are two positions for each of these spots: professional faculties (e.g., education, nursing, pharmacy) and the Faculty of Arts and Science. The remaining 28 director spots represent colleges and faculties proportionally.

The nine-day nominations period ended last Thursday. Campaigning starts today and runs until March 10; voting takes place March 8–10. Results will be officially announced March 22, but are published online shortly after polls close.

The election is run by the Elections and Referenda Committee, a group of UTSU executives and directors who determine candidate eligibility, appoint a chief returning officer, and hear appeals to CRO rulings.

As per UTSU procedure, the ERC was formed at the beginning of the semester. Although the committee is to include UTSU’s president, VP internal and services, and VP university affairs, they are often replaced by other executives when planning to campaign or run in the election.

Candidates who unsuccessfully contest CRO rulings to the ERC can appeal to the Election and Referenda Appeals Committee, which consists of one staff or executive of the Graduate Students’ Union, ASSU, and a GTA university student union. ERC Chair Maria Galvez said one of the appointed members of the ERAC is ASSU President Gavin Nowlan.

“I got a call [from Galvez] saying we need someone,” said Nowlan. “I have no clue what’s going on at the moment. I think I’m on the committee but I haven’t received an email or a call or anything.”


Candidates are subject to the Elections Procedure Code, a 20-page document outlining everything from candidate eligibility to campaigning rules.

Candidates can be disqualified for breaching serious rules — soliciting student account PINs, or interfering in election processes — but most rule-breaking results in demerit points.

Demerit points are issued to candidates who violate the code, and points can lead to disqualification. Candidates who rack up more than 10 demerit points pay for each subsequent point.

The heaviest penalty possible is for “failure to comply with the spirit and purpose of the elections.” Other high-point violations include pre-campaigning, “gross misrepresentation of facts,” and “malicious or intentional violation” of the code.

Candidates must produce receipts for all campaign materials to prove they don’t exceed allotted spending limits. Candidates for executive positions are reimbursed for their materials based on the vote they receive. If an executive candidate amasses 25 per cent or more of all votes, they can be reimbursed $1,200 — the maximum amount they’re allowed to campaign with.

Some rules are meticulously detailed. Posters must be recyclable and can’t be laminated or high-gloss. “Live animals” cannot be used for campaigning.

Under the code, candidates can be issued demerit points for the actions of “non-arm’s-length parties,” defined as “an individual or group that a candidate know, or reasonably ought to have known, would assist that candidate in his/her campaign.” In past years, demerit points have been issued after friends of candidates were accused of intimidating other candidates.

The code was updated last February. Among the more controversial changes was a fair play policy that forbids “any attempt to undermine the authority of the CRO” or the ERC. Another change forbids “campaigning where alcohol is served.”

The current CRO’s second ruling surrounded a complaint after Danielle Sandhu, who is running for president, was collecting signatures at Sammy’s Student Exchange, where alcohol is served. The CRO ruled that collecting signatures does not count as campaigning.

Meet the CRO

This year’s CRO is Daniel Lo. Lo graduated from UTM in 2007 before studying and working in the UK.

In an email, UTSU University Affairs VP Maria Galvez said the position was advertised on both UTSU’s website and charityVillage.com for a month. She says Lo was the most qualified of three applicants.

“He is not a member of the union, is a recent graduate from law school, and worked as a poll clerk in the union’s fall by-election, where he has familiarized himself with the union’s bylaws, policy, and Elections Procedure Code.”

Lo, whose term started on January 25, told The Varsity in an email that he feels “excited and confident” about his term as CRO. He believes his work and education will help with the job.

“I have had experience with project and personnel management through the operation of a franchise business. My legal education and legal work experiences have contributed towards my ability to interpret legislation, and draft fair and justified rulings.”

Lo said he has never been part of any political movement.

UTSU reaches new space agreement

The University of Toronto Student Union and U of T’s Faculty of Physical Education and Health have successfully reached an agreement where the faculty will provide exclusive time slots of free space for UTSU student clubs and significant discounts on equipment rentals.

“As it becomes more difficult and expensive for students to use space on campus, it is increasingly important for the Students’ Union and university faculties to work together to ensure student access to space is protected,” says Corey Scott, UTSU VP Campus Life.

The agreement includes a 30 per cent discount on equipment and facility rentals at the Varsity Athletic Centre; exclusive time slots in the Varsity Dome on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and on Fridays from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and reserved courts in the Athletic Centre field house every weekend from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

“A lot of clubs will use the space depending on the kind of programming they wish to do,” Scott said. “There has been a huge response with the cultural clubs on campus … Organizing an event with ten to fifteen clubs on campus can be a very hard thing to do. Culturally and socially based clubs will use this space a lot more rather than going to community centers an hour or so away from campus.”

To book some facilities on campus, clubs have to pay for extra costs including caretaking services, catering, parking, and security. Scott suggested that these extra costs all deter students from booking space. “Such exorbitant rates force students to go off campus rather than stay on campus.”

Scott is particularly excited about the new exclusive space in the Varsity Dome as an alternative to Con Hall field. “Having a space that is not always weather dependent will help a lot of clubs.”

Negotiations on this agreement began a year ago between UTSU and FPEH’s assistant dean of co-curricular physical activity and sport, Anita Comella.

“Anita, who is new to the position, wanted to do these new initiatives and think creatively. It was this eagerness and fresh blood that was kind enough to sit down with us in a respectful manner,” Scott said.

“The initiative has shown that UTSU is not trying to work against the university administration. [It] proves that we’re working with the university, that we are working with these great people and great offices, and that we want to continue to work with Hart House, Office of Student Life, and Varsity and Athletic Centres.”

The development comes after recent changes to the policy of temporary use of space at the University of Toronto, which after changes in October include provisions to charge security costs at events and limit a club’s ability to attach “University of Toronto” to its name.