The University of Toronto’s Student Newspaper Since 1880

Crunch time

Intramural soccer player Monica Slovak recaps her week on the field

Crunch time

It was yet another busy week for us on the soccer pitch. The St. Mike’s women’s intramural team was fighting to advance from the semifinal against the top-seeded grads; in tri-campus action, we faced off against UTM in our final league match with a spot in the playoffs at stake.

Our SMC women’s team had been looking forward to the game against the grads all season, knowing they would present good competition. We made a slow start with several slip-ups in defense, but fortunately the grads weren’t able to find the back of the net. About mid-way through the first half, Laura Naples put SMC up 1–0. After that, the goals kept coming; Naples scored another, and yours truly weighed in too, putting us 3–0 up. It wasn’t until the second half that the Grads responded with a goal, but we followed that up by with two more SMC goals from Elyse Huhlewych, ensuring the win as the game ended 5–1.

Going into the final weekend of tri-campus league play, the St. George B and UTM teams shared first place on eight points, while St. George A and UTSC were tied for second with five points each. We, St. George A, knew we needed a win in order to stand any chance of making the playoffs. There was the possibility of a four-way tie for first, which would have caused the standings to be decided by goal difference. The game against UTM was physical and competitive, and we had countless opportunities to score but seemed to be missing by the slightest margins. The second half was filled with miscommunication, allowing UTM several scoring opportunities, but fortunately goalkeeper Kim Nguyen was able to keep the ball out of the net. It wasn’t until there were less than 10 minutes to go that Jasmine Choi was able to score, giving us the lead and ultimately a 1–0 win. In the game that followed, St. George B and UTSC tied, meaning that UTSC is out and that we play UTM again in the seminfinals next week.

The SMC girls look forward to next week’s final against PHE, where we hope to win another championship, and St. George A will look to repeat this week’s result against UTM in tri-campus semifinal action.

Athlete, scholar, leader

The men’s basketball captain Drazen Glisic profiled in our latest End Game series

Athlete, scholar, leader

Fifth-year forward Drazen “Dre” Glisic of the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team has been recognized throughout his university basketball career for both his athletic and academic abilities.

Glisic, who graduated last year with a degree in Phys. Ed. and has finished up his last season with the Blues, will be greatly missed by the team.

Glisic started his basketball career at a young age. “I was in grade 5 or 6, and I started playing at a community centre — it was the only place in my area… My dad played semi-pro in [former] Yugoslavia, so that was a big influence as well, seeing pictures of him playing.”

Playing at university level has long been a dream for Glisic, who was born in Sarajevo, in present-day Bosnia, and raised in Toronto. “I think I always played to keep playing, throughout school and throughout rep. Playing as long as I could was always a goal of mine, for sure.”

When Glisic was in high school, his hope became a reality when the University of Toronto men’s basketball program took notice of his strong play. “They scouted me in grade 11, they came and saw a tournament, and I talked to the coaches. And then grade 12, a coach came and saw me play.

“I contacted them and I came out [to U of T]… and just played. They worked me out, and then that day they asked me if I would come [play for the Blues].”

Glisic didn’t see many minutes in his rookie season, and while this may have frustrated many players, the future Blues captain took a more positive attitude: “They told me straight out I wouldn’t play much; I was okay with that. I figured I would have to work hard, improve my game, and see where it went, so my expectations were very small. Just being part of the team was great for me.”

The Blues’ playoff performance that season was disappointing since the team, ranked fifth by CIS, was eliminated in the OUA semifinal by the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

In his second year, Glisic was given more playing time, and he didn’t disappoint, leading the team in field goal and free throw percentages. “I was happy to be playing, contributing to the team,” said Glisic. “It was a great feeling.”

That same year, Glisic’s successful academic career was recognized as well, and he was awarded the Basketball Award of Merit. But Glisic’s personal success was overshadowed by another frustrating post-season loss for the Blues, as they fell to the rival Ottawa Gee-Gees once more.

Glisic saw his minutes on the court increase drastically in his third season at U of T, as he was chosen to start for the Blues. Again, Glisic’s productivity increased, and he was ranked second in the OUA in field goal percentage, eighth in the conference in rebounding, and first on the team with 25 blocks.

His basketball success was accompanied by off-court recognition, as Glisic received the Dr. Ronald Sternberg award of merit, awarded to a Blues player who demonstrates good academics, athletics, and leadership on the court. Glisic’s strong academic performance was also recognized by the CIS, as he was named a CIS Academic All-Canadian.

Yet again, however, the team had an unsuccessful post-season, as the Blues were eliminated in the OUA East quarterfinals.

With 13 points per game in his fourth season, Glisic continued to improve. The Blues, however, did not; the team was eliminated for the third time in four years by the Ottawa Gee-Gees. “It’s frustrating losing to them,” said Glisic. “I mean, you don’t want to lose to anyone, but seeing them over and over again, losing to them, was always tough.”

Fortunately, the Blues final position did not stop the OUA from recognizing Glisic’s great play, and he was named a second-team OUA all-star.

This year, Glisic’s fifth, he was named co-captain along with Andrew Wasik by the coaching team. Glisic’s role as captain has not been a vocal one, though. “I think the guys know I’m a ‘lead-by-example’ guy. I don’t like talking much in the game, I just like to go out there and play, that’s what I’m here for. It’s different, being captain at this level, but it’s been a good experience.”

The Blues ended their regular season triumphantly this year with a win over the Gee-Gees, a game in which Glisic scored 15 points and a game-high nine boards. But that success did not transfer over to the post-season; the Blues lost in the OUA East quarterfinals, this time to the Laurentian Voyageurs, once again ending the year in frustrating fashion.

The short playoff runs that have plagued the Blues during Glisic’s time on the team should not, however, be allowed to obscure his individual success. Glisic, whose next goal is to attain a master’s degree in biomechanics, has been an extremely impressive athlete and academic during his time on the team.

“Dre is one of the best people we have ever had associated with our program,” said Blues assistant coach Mike De Giorgio. “It’s very rare that you get a guy that never lets emotion get the best of him and is constantly giving his all.

“His work ethic and attitude made our team better every day, and he has had a huge role in the success that our team has achieved over his five years.”

So what will this the Blues basketball star miss about playing for U of T? “Teammates would probably be number one, and then the competition. I love basketball. There’s a hole in my life right now — I’m going to miss it.

“But teammates would be first; the friends I’ve made, just hanging out with those guys every day, every weekend. It was an amazing experience.”

Stay fit all summer long

The end of the semester is a perfect time to start exercising again

Stay fit all summer long

By this time of year, those of us who made New Year’s resolutions to get in shape have likely already abandoned them. With March being one of the busiest months of the year for university students, most are dedicating far more time to finishing assignments and preparing for exams than hitting the gym.

For those of you looking to take advantage of your university “off-season” to reach those lofty fitness goals you abandoned not so long ago, Varsity Blues volleyball player Alexandra Hudson has some words of wisdom.

One of the first things you have to do is “look at your motivation,” Hudson says. “If you really want it, look at what you need to do to get to that level. It if involves becoming stronger, becoming faster, or becoming more skilled, do whatever it takes to get to where you want to be.”

WENDY GU/THE VARSITY

It’s important when you start training to set short-term goals for yourself. Quitting during a tough workout is that much easier when you don’t have anything to reach for. Sometimes having a goal that’s a few months away can cause you to lose focus, so it’s a good idea to set weekly or monthly ones that are attainable, but also difficult enough that you really need to work for them.

When planning your exercise routine, get some help creating one that’s tailored for you and your goals. For her off-season training, Hudson has been focusing on improving her strength through Olympic lifts — cleans, snatches, squats — and using bands for shoulder work. She’s also been doing spinning classes; variety is important in order to maximize your gains. You not only need to train hard but also to train smart.

Hudson also recommends partnering up for workouts. “I find going with a partner to the gym really helps me and especially other partners who play beach volleyball with me or who have the same goals in mind.”

Having someone with you in the gym ensures you have someone to push you and help you if needed.

Sometimes going to the gym can get monotonous, so look for new or different activities to try out. Ever consider competing in a triathlon? Perhaps climbing the CN Tower? Or even trying something new like dragonboat racing? Toronto will host numerous events like these in the coming months that offer everyone a chance to get out and be active with others. If you’re struggling to get motivated, the prospect of competing with others watching you could be just the incentive you need! As a bonus, most of these events help out great causes as well.

If your goal is to play a certain sport, the best way to prepare for the rigours of a full season is to practise that sport. Playing sports is a great way to get in shape, make new friends, and give in to your competitive side. Options to consider are U of T’s intramural soccer and co-ed softball leagues, which run during the summer months and are available to all university students who want to participate.

Everyone who goes through a training schedule experiences tough times when they want to give up. If you don’t have moments of doubt, you’re not training hard enough. During those tough times, remember the words Muhammad Ali, who confessed “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

CIS track and field championship roundup

A look at last week's performance of the Varsity Blues track and field team at the CIS championships in Winnipeg

The Varsity Blues track and field team put in a stellar performance at the CIS championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba last week.

The women’s 4×400 m relay team broke the CIS track and field championship record in a time of 3:41.47. Alicia Brown, Rachel Jewett, Fiona Callendar, and Sarah Wells beat the previous record of 3:45.83, set by U of T in 1998. The Blues also broke the 4×400 m record at the OUA championships last month, in a time of 3:49.29 to smash the record by over five seconds.

BERNARDA GOSPIC/ THE VARSITY

Alex Witmer led the men with a 2.04 m to take silver in the men’s high jump. The event winner, from the University of Saskatchewan, cleared the same height but did not miss an attempt to beat the Blues’ athlete into second. Three Blues athletes, Laura Maessen, Shaneista Haye, and Rachel Jewett, finished fourth in the women’s event.

Distance runner and U of T sports superstar Tamara Jewett won the women’s 1500 m in a time of 4:25.97. Jewett finished second at the OUA championships, behind McMaster runner Katie Anderson, but finished ahead of the same competitor to earn CIS gold.

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished seventh in 4×800 m relay action.

Rachel Jewett also won an individual medal, taking the bronze in the women’s pentathlon. She won the same event at the OUA championship, and was named field events female MVP.

The Blues finished fourth in the women’s standings, with the University of Windsor taking the championship for a fourth succesive year. The men finished 11th, with the Western Mustangs topping the standings for the first time in their history.   

—Murad Hemmadi

Reflection on the election

The UTSU 2012 election featured too much mudslinging and not enough substance

Reflection on the election

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for The Varsity entitled “The dysfunctions of student politics,” in which I called for peace and civility during this election season. After going through my first UTSU election campaign, I can now attest to the fact that I was being naive. Instead of a peaceful campaign based on substance, I was met with a nasty campaign fought over frivolous issues.

Democracy has always been tainted at U of T, with previous elections being marred by allegations of CRO misconduct and CFS interference. That’s why, this year, I was hopeful for an opposition that could take on the CFS status quo, whilst continuing to build on the work of the incumbents and make U of T a better place. I looked for answers on how to build community and spirit, how to boost attendance at our football games, how to ensure that all members of the community are treated with equity and respect, among other things.

Instead, I was greeted with a gimmick: “build the bar.” While it is true that this was not the only thing StudentsFirst campaigned on, it was central to their platform, and totally obscured their other talking points. This, if anything, was a superficial attempt at building community on a campus that boasts more than 30,000 students. StudentsFirst candidates often point to other universities as examples when making their case for the bar. But the problem is that we aren’t like other universities. We’re a commuter school, we’re in downtown Toronto, and we’re surrounded by inexpensive bars on both Bloor and College. We need substantial ideas catering to the needs of the students on our campus.

StudentsFirst also ran a lacklustre campaign. Critics argue that SF cannot be compared to Unity since Unity has the support of the CFS elite. While somewhat true (as far as volunteers are concerned), StudentsFirst’s campaign was slow to get off the ground with a sparse website, a platform that didn’t materialize until days into the campaign period, and posters that didn’t showcase their executive candidates and platform points, but instead had slogans about the campus bar. While many Unity board of directors candidates approached me in the week leading up to voting day, StudentsFirst’s candidates were mostly invisible. It’s hard to believe that they couldn’t have at least found some volunteers to get their message out across campus, like the Change slate did in 2010. There is no excuse for a poorly managed campaign, and students would be right to question whether those running one would be ready to handle the responsibilities of a student union.

In fact, most of the election’s negativity finds its origins in StudentsFirst supporters. Brent Schmidt insisted that Shaun Shepherd issue an apology to his friend who was harassed on Twitter. When it came to taking responsibility for supporters’ erratic behaviour during the debate, however, StudentsFirst was slow to respond and claimed that the campaign had nothing to do with their supporters’ actions. A fair point, but why was Shepherd made to apologize for something he had no control over?

This toxic atmosphere made it into the debate, with signs being held up, students being shouted down, and racial epithets being uttered. Among other occurrences, a candidate for the Unity slate was told she was oppressed and ASSU president Katharine Ball was told to “have a drink” when she brought up equity issues regarding the bar.

One of the reasons for this is that at the outset, a few individuals decided to utilize Republican-style “swift boat” tactics and engage in a smear campaign against Shaun Shepherd, accusing him of dirty tricks and demanding he apologize for tweets he was merely tagged in. Such negative tactics seem not to come out of a genuine desire for positive change but rather an intense dislike for the incumbency.

Finally, the UTSU CRO was also quite disappointing. Demerit points were handed out more liberally to StudentsFirst than to Unity and this makes a farce of our democracy. A CRO should be impartial and respond to complaints based on merit, not on which slate committed the offense.

That being said, I found most of the individuals on the slates to be decent people. It’s just the circumstances surrounding the elections I found to be disheartening. Maybe one day we U of T students will unite and build campus spirit, and perhaps we’ll sing John Lennon songs around a campfire. I’m not holding my breath.

Paranoid fantasies

A critique of conspiracy theories

Paranoid fantasies

JENNY KIM/ THE VARSITY

In a small, dark room, a mysterious, shadowy elite gathers to decide the fate of the world. This elite has been plotting for centuries and has had membership in all of the world’s most powerful organizations, such as the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, Opus Dei, the Bilderberg Group, the Council of Foreign Relations, the World Trade Organization, and even the United Nations. They have caused wars, revolutions, diseases, general social upheaval, and even natural disasters, all for the purpose of creating a New World Order. This New World Order will have a single world government, a single currency, horde all of the world’s wealth and resources, stamp out constitutional rights and individual freedoms, and keep us all as brainwashed slaves on a dark, depressing prison planet. At least that’s what a conspiracy theorist would have you believe.

This lurid description captures the underlying beliefs of most conspiracy theorists. The names and organizations might change, but the goal — total world domination — and those plotting it — an evil shadowy elite — always remain the same. National Post editor and columnist Jonathan Kay identifies five key elements of conspiracy theories in his excellent survey of the contemporary conspiracist underground, Among the Truthers. These elements are 1) singularity, a single power that controls the events of history; 2) boundless evil; 3) incumbency; 4) greed; and 5) hypercompetence, the ability to manipulate people and events at will. Kay’s book mostly focuses on the 9/11 Truther movement, but also shows how these five elements continually show up in speculations about US president Barack Obama’s country of birth, the JFK assassination, and even alternative medicinal practices.

Conspiracy theories have a long history, tracing their way back to the French Revolution. In 1803, Abbe Barruel’s Memoirs, Illustrating the History of Jacobinism blamed the Illuminati, an organization founded in 1776 by Bavarian law professor Adam Weishaupt, for starting the revolution. Since then, many of the world’s great wars and disasters have been laid at their feet. However, the actual history of the Illuminati is much quieter. The Illuminati was a social libertarian organization dedicated to freeing its members from political and religious oppression. The organization was eventually dissolved in 1787. However, it keeps on being resurrected and blamed for the world’s problems. Even Dan Brown couldn’t resist including them in his terrible novel, Angels and Demons.

While it can be easy to laugh off conspiracy theories about Freemasons building a secret entrance for lizard people at the Denver airport, the consequences of intense conspiracism are not so funny. One of the most successful conspiracy theories of all time was the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a terrible anti-Semitic forgery produced in the early 20th century that supposedly detailed a Jewish plot to dominate the world. This document contributed to the strengthening of anti-Semitism in North America and Europe and has sadly gone on to become the blueprint for most contemporary conspiracy theories, even if these theories are not themselves anti-Semitic. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was a conspiracy theorist who believed blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah building would be the first strike against the New World Order.

Jonathan Kay identifies a much greater threat. He argues a “cognitive rift” is developing between those who are conspiracists and those who are not, and this is unhealthy for a democracy that requires some level of trust from its citizens. Conspiracists only surf websites or read books that confirm their strongly-held beliefs. As Kay documents extensively, conspiracists who are challenged on their beliefs will just include your challenges as a part of the conspiracy. Why are conspiracy beliefs so pathological? Political scientist Michael Barkun argues that conspiracy theorists use “stigmatized knowledge claims” which are essentially claims that are marginalized by traditional knowledge establishments such as educational institutions and the media. The conspiracist’s marginalization only strengthens his or her belief that he or she has found the truth.

So how do you protect yourself from conspiracy theories? Some education in practical reasoning would be a great help as this would enable you to detect fallacies and assess the strength of arguments. For example, all conspiracy theories commit two common fallacies. The first is confirmation bias. Conspiracists conclude that the official story about 9/11 cannot be correct and then proceed to find only those pieces of evidence that support their conclusion, ignoring the overwhelming amount of evidence that demonstrates that they’re wrong. The other common mistake in reasoning is the post hoc fallacy. This fallacy is named after the Latin phrase “post hoc ergo propter hoc” — after this, therefore because of this. A 9/11 Truther will point to the recent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as proof that the US government must have blown up the World Trade Center even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Reading books about the nature of conspiracist thought — how it develops, its basic structure, its long, disturbing history — will provide further defenses against conspiracist thinking. My personal favourite is Michael Barkun’s A Culture of Conspiracy. This academic study of American conspiracy theories not only provides an excellent overview of the structure of conspiracist thought but also delves into the history and origin of every modern conspiracy theory. Jonathan Kay’s Among the Truthers is also an excellent resource for understanding today’s conspiracy movements and has some interesting suggestions about how we could fight conspiracism. Another good book is Jason Colavito’s The Cult of Alien Gods, which convincingly demonstrates how horror author H.P. Lovecraft inadvertently influenced contemporary UFO pop culture (and proceeds to debunk numerous claims made by alternative archaeologists and ancient alien theorists). Conveniently, all of these books can be found at Robarts.

So remember, dear readers, the truth is out there. But it doesn’t involve aliens, government agents, evil geniuses, chem-trails, or secret societies. Sorry to disappoint you.

A brewing revolution

Why home distilling should be legalized in Ontario

New brands of alcohol are springing up across the world, bringing traditional spirits to unlikely places. High-quality whiskeys are coming out of Asia and Scandinavia, while the traditional Poland versus Russia wodka/vodka war has spurred on production of the old Soviet staple in the rest of Europe and North America.

The entrance of Mackmyra Whisky from Sweden and Amrut from India onto the scene mirrors the early growth of microbreweries across North America. Established names like Mill Street and Steam Whistle both began in the early 2000s as relatively small facilities. Now they are staples for any beer drinker in Ontario. Microbreweries — attempting to challenge the dominance of name brands such as Molson and Labatt — found their success by making unorthodox choices in their production and by creating more varied and flavourful beers, thus appealing to the experimental side of Canadians who were not content with the bland taste of your average beer. Microbreweries also appealed to the localist thinking of Canadians who had already begun a transition to the slow foods movement for the rest of their palate, pushing for quality meat, dairy and produce from local producers.

Much of the anti-home distilling sentiment comes from skewed perceptions of prohibition-era bootleggers working with exploding stills in their basements.

Ultimately, microbreweries would not have succeeded if they had not been making quality products. One of the reasons they were able to do so was that the homebrewing of beer for personal consumption is legal without a permit in North America. Would-be brewmasters were able to experiment with all aspects of the brewing process in their own homes without having to shell out large amounts of money for government licences. They were able to find their own unique flavours and processes before transitioning to selling the product on the market.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for spirits. While making beer and wine in your house is legal without a permit, it is illegal in Ontario to distill alcohol. This is a problem not only for Ontario distillers but for all consumers of alcohol. Without the freedom to experiment in the comfort and safety of one’s home, it is almost impossible to break into the market with new products. The newest brand of distilled alcohol in Canada is Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head vodka — a quality spirit to be sure — but most alcohol artisans do not have the net worth of Ghostbusters to fund their foray into distilling. Instead, consumers are trapped with corporate name brands that offer little difference in quality or taste and no experimentation.

If homebrewing and wine-making are legal, then why is there not a push to make home distilling legal as well? The primary reason is that many people are scared of home. Much of the anti-home distilling sentiment comes from skewed perceptions of prohibition-era bootleggers working with exploding stills in their basements. These gangsters provided low quality booze to unsuspecting consumers, which resulted in poisoning and blindness. However, the historic link between bathtub gin and blindness was not the result of home distilling, but rather of overt government action. In an attempt to discourage gangsters from stealing and reselling industrial alcohol, the US government required that all industrial alcohol be poisoned with methanol. Because mobsters used this in their product and were not particularly concerned with the quality, they took half measures to ensure the methanol was removed. Since it often was not, consumption resulted in blindness and death. This link worked its way into the collective consciousness of post-prohibition North America and has effectively damaged the image of home distilling.

In reality, if home distilling were legal, such risks would be minimal. Like homebrewing and wine-making, selling the product would be prohibited without a license, limiting tasting and consumption to the distiller until they could pass the stringent health and safety controls required to sell their product.

If we want to expand the realm of local artisan production from beer, wine, and food to all aspects of our diet, then the best way to move forward is to legalize home distilling and allow the creative energies of small producers to free us from the limitations of corporate name brands.

Failure to Launch

The solution to Ontario’s problems isn’t online education

Failure to Launch

Considering the major financial pressure on the provincial government, it’s no surprise that they’re interested in a recent report suggesting that the majority of undergraduate courses could be taught online. While cost cutting may be a necessity, the move to online learning is absolutely the wrong approach to education reform.

The first objective of reform should be to improve the quality of post-secondary education here in Ontario. In an economy where having an undergraduate education is increasingly expected, and where creativity and critical thinking are more valued than ever, an excellent post-secondary system is key to future economic growth. As most politicians will acknowledge, having a highly-trained work force will allow Ontario to remain competitive and, in the long term, will ease the financial pinch on the government. Sabotaging the quality of education in the interest of short-term savings will only exacerbate the province’s economic difficulties.

Very little research exists on the value of online education. Leaving aside the fact that implementing a largely untested system on a massive scale tends not to work well, much of the research that has been done suggests that online learning cannot deliver the same quality of education. Most students know from experience that it is incredibly difficult to focus when working online. Neurological research suggests that accessing content through a computer encourages skimming, while discussion and face-to-face interaction promote deeper understanding. If university is not about deeper understanding, then why are any of us here?

The answer may be that an undergraduate degree is increasingly becoming a rubber stamp, which parents and students regard as necessary. Our universities are being debased so that the largest number of students can get degrees, with little concern for the quality of the education. Online learning encourages students not to think critically or engage with the subject, but to meet the requirements as quickly and easily as possible. This is a problem since it’s very difficult to ensure that students in online courses are academically honest.

Most research to date which supports online learning will claim that students “perform better” in online classes. These studies assess performance using test scores, and while online courses may be good at helping students absorb information in the short term and regurgitate it on a test, this is not the same as good teaching. Live streaming of a lecture or participating in an online conference in place of a tutorial don’t compare with face-to-face interaction. After all, few would argue that a Skype conversation is as good as meeting in person.

If research suggests that online education will do anything but improve the education we receive, the appeal of online learning can only be financial. Since savings are not being passed on to students, we are right to be suspicious that online learning is an attempt to save money at the expense of our education.

We should also consider that both the government and the university have a record of producing websites that are antiquated, confusing, and inefficient. Trying to run online classes through a system as cumbersome as ROSI or Blackboard would be a catastrophic failure. For online learning to work, the government would have to invest a lot of money and expertise in creating a viable online platform and then training the faculty and students of every university to use it. The report predicts savings, of 3 per cent each year from introducing online learning. Taking into account the high setup costs and modest savings it’s doubtful that online leaning will be worthwhile, even from a purely financial perspective.

The province should remember that the best students and professors can choose where they study and teach. If Ontario only offers low-quality online programs, we will not attract students from out-of-province, and our top students and professors will go elsewhere. This will sabotage our higher education system, leaving Ontario with worse professors and less able students overall. It will also significantly disadvantage Ontario students without the financial means to study outside the province, forcing them to accept an inferior education for financial reasons.

Universities should be places where the brightest young people come to learn from one another, and to be inspired by some of the world’s leading minds. They should not be factories for turning out graduates with devalued degrees. Education reform may be necessary, but online learning is not the reform we need because it undermines what university education should be about — good teaching.