The University of Toronto’s Student Newspaper Since 1880

Sports Around Town

Issue No. 4

U of T vs. York women’s lacrosse

The Varsity Blues challenge the Lions in this early morning lacrosse match-up.

Date: October 1

Time: 8:30 am

Location: Varsity Centre

Cost: Free

HealthyU Healthy Habits

Part of Hart House’s Weekly Wellness initiative, Healthy Habits is a weekly drop-in program that is designed to help you eat right. Nutritionist Shannon Boyd addresses common themes in the world of healthy eating and adapts them for student life.

Date: Mondays (excluding October 10)

Time: 12:00–1:00 pm
Location: Hart House, Reading Room

Cost: Free

World Cup of Hockey Final Series

Team Canada and Team Europe wrestle for the cup as the championship comes to a close in a best-of-three series. Show your national pride by tuning in throughout the week!

Game 1

Date: September 27

Time: 8:00 pm

Game 2

Date: September 29

Time: 8:00 pm

Game 3

Date: October 1

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Air Canada Centre

Cost: Free on TV, varying prices for tickets

Drop-in dodgeball

These fun athletic sessions will help you meet new people, exert some energy, and de-stress from school. With two different session times available, you’ll definitely be able to work it into your schedule.

Date: September 19 to October 9 (excluding September 30)

Time: Mondays, 6:05–6:55 pm and Fridays, 5:10–6:50 pm

Location: Athletic Centre

Cost: Free

A letter from a Leafs fan

Exasperated with the past, expectant of the future

A letter from a Leafs fan

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]oronto is riding a wave of cultural relevance and sporting achievement, which could not have been imagined when the city had painfully mediocre sports teams — and the inferiority complex to match — just a few years ago.

Last year, the Jays and Raptors were just two wins away from reaching the finals of their respective leagues; this year, the Argos moved to a new stadium, and now Toronto FC is in contention to finish first in their conference.

Lost among this resurgence is the city’s biggest fish: the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the past two seasons the blind excitement that usually comes with the start of a fresh season has been replaced by growing feelings of apathy. The city’s most valuable, popular, and historic franchise has become Toronto’s forgotten team.

Worn out by the irresponsible Brian Burke years and the painful Dave Nonis years — watching that man run a hockey team was like watching a car wreck — the city collectively gave up on the Leafs.

Television ratings dipped; the city went cold on the Leafs. But, there have been some who have watched from the sidelines as Brendan Shanahan and his dream team of executives worked their magic, ridding the team of some terrible contracts, flexing their financial muscle in return for draft picks and younger talent.

This season, however, will be unlike the last two atrocities. The team will finally be talented and exciting again. The Leafs locker room will be promisingly youthful and look less like the worn out five dollar DVD bin at Walmart. There is a growing sense of excitement in the city revolving around the Leafs. But will their usual spot as Toronto’s most-followed team return?

The answer to that fated question lies within the hockey sticks of William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews. ‘The Big Three’, ‘Toronto’s Triplets’, ‘Auston and his Disciples’, or whatever you want to call them will make or break the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For the first time in recent memory, Toronto is fortunate enough to claim three potential superstars as its own. The hype alone will be enough to fuel the enthusiasm of fans for the length of the season — even if the team comes in last yet again.

This is the same city that once thought David Clarkson was the second coming of Christ. The fan base in this city is desperate for the Leafs to throw them a bone. All it’ll take is an exciting season of progress from the younger Leafs — then, the city will be drinking in that blue as if the cup was never empty.

Skating zombies spotted at U of T

MoveU hosts Zombie Skate, in a Michelle Kwan meets World War Z fashion

Skating zombies spotted at U of T

As I stood watching my friend stick an eerily convincing strip of bloody latex to her neck, I debated whether or not to apply the myriad of creams and coloured corn syrups to my face as well. The night’s theme was zombies, and a few of my residence neighbours and I had assembled to prepare ourselves. Eventually, I ceded: I, too, would be zombified.

Zombie Skate’s Facebook event page appeals to fans of The Walking Dead and Kurt Browning aspirants for a night of free skating. Not knowing many of either group and considering Browning’s last world championship win was in 1993, I was surprised to see a lineup at the door. Apparently, the event was extremely popular.

University of Toronto Students’ Union’s (UTSU) Blue Crew was at the event, eagerly welcoming the nights’ attendees. The Blue Crew is a volunteer branch of UTSU, and it runs a variety of on campus events. On account of my posse’s enthusiastic makeup, we received an extra warm welcome: we were photographed and entered in a raffle. After filtering through lines and waivers, then sizing skates and squeezing into them, we were on the ice.

The event was part of MoveU, a tri-campus campaign that was launched by U of T in partnership with ParticipACTION. According to the website, the campaign exists to show students that “by lowering stress levels, improving sleep patterns and boosting concentration,” physical activity can be beneficial to academic life.

MoveU encourages students to integrate physical activity into their day, in whatever way possible. Zombie Skate is part of the MoveU Skate Series: other events include Scary Skate on October 31 and Skate ’n Create on November 24. MoveU has also organized events incorporating a variety of other activities — from bubble soccer to Pokémon hunts.

“[MoveU] events are a way to engage students who may not typically be participating in physical activity on campus,” said Kay Dawkins, Manager of Physical Activity at the Athletic Centre. “The skating events also promote that we have a rink on campus and that recreational opportunities for skating and hockey are available for students for free.”

Skate rentals normally cost $3.00, but the MoveU skate series events provide them for free.

Zombie skate turned out to be friendly to beginners, as several staff instructors were on the ice assisting new skaters. I had the pleasure of attending the event with two new residents of Canada and joining them for their first time on ice.

Our staggering strides and tendency to tumble might easily have led onlookers to mistake us for some of the Walking Dead’s non-living characters. However, it was fun we were chasing, not brains. On the faces of the stumbling and the smoothly-gliding alike, smiles could be seen in a not-so-zombielike light.

World Anti-Doping Agency gets hacked, IOC seeks help

From sinner to saint, the Russian Federation is sought out to aid the World Anti-Doping Agency

World Anti-Doping Agency gets hacked, IOC seeks help

A month after the closing ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach is seeking the help of Russian authorities to solve the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) latest security problem.

Russian hacking group Fancy Bears breached WADA’s database and published the classified medical records of 66 athletes, including the newly minted four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles. The records showed that Biles tested positive for methylphenidate, which is the active ingredient in Ritalin, a medication commonly used to treat ADHD.

Biles addressed her positive test on Twitter stating, “I have ADHD and I have taken medicine for it since I was a kid. Please know, I believe in clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and is very important to me.”

The hack was seen by many as retaliatory, as it followed the IOC’s partial ban of Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics and their complete ban of Russian Paralympic competitors, which were based on WADA investigations.

The hack was unsuccessful in producing new evidence of doping allegations. The breached data only contained therapeutic use exemptions, which allow athletes to take medicine that otherwise would’ve been banned. However, the hack has further drawn into question the effectiveness of WADA.

WADA, founded in 1999 by Canadian lawyer and IOC member Dick Pound, currently serves as the world’s leading independent anti-doping organization and works directly alongside the IOC.

The revelation of Russia’s state-sponsored doping program ahead of the Rio Olympics left the international athletics community in a state of shock and placed WADA in the difficult position of determining the severity of Russia’s punishment.

WADA’s proposed punishment of a sweeping ban on all Russian athletes from the Rio Games was ridiculous. Bach scathingly commented on the proposed solution saying: “Leaving aside that such a comparison is completely out of any proportion when it comes to the rules of sport, let us just for a moment consider the consequences of a ‘nuclear option.’”

Bach’s decision to request the help of the Russian Federation illustrates the very real security that threat hacking organizations like Fancy Bears present and the equally real need to protect athletes from being unfairly criticized and vilified.

If the data breaches continue, the future of WADA may depend on the information Russian authorities and the IOC find on the hackers. Many believe WADA to already be on its way out, and there may lie truth in the rumours that the IOC will introduce their own anti-doping organization.

The Olympic Summit on October 8 will re-establish the IOC’s anti-doping commitment, providing IOC members with the ability to participate in shaping the future model of WADA for years to come.

From dank to destructive

The marriage of politics and social media foreshadows concerning implications, both on- and offline

From dank to destructive

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 2016 US presidential election campaign has been riddled with controversies and scandals. One candidate in particular, Donald Trump, has muscled his way into the public eye with his childish aggression and sharp tongue. Today, having weeded out all other Republican contenders, Trump has been nominated by the Republican party as their candidate for the next President of the United States, in spite of the many concerns raised about whether he is qualified for the job.

Considering the immaturity and pettiness with which Trump has treated his rivals and the criticism he has garnered for his positions on immigration and trade, these concerns are well founded.

Though he has been compared to fascist dictators like Benito Mussolini, many people continue to find Trump hard to take seriously; shamefully, I too used to find his persona hilarious. As the election draws near, it has become clear that Trump isn’t just a clown for everybody to point and laugh at. Not only is he serious about winning, he is also gaining followers by the hundreds.

In the midst of this trend, a cohort of Trump supporters have adopted his confrontational style on social media platforms, such as Twitter and reddit. Their weapon of choice? The Internet meme.

A popular meme used by Trump supporters is the phrase “Crooked Hillary,” referring to a series of scandals involving Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump’s online supporters are not the only ones using memes in this fashion. His critics often refer to Trump’s supporters as “Trumpanzees,” something that has become relatively well known in Internet circles.

Though we may all enjoy a good meme, it cannot be denied that this practice is loaded with meaning. In fact, the implications of politics mingling with Internet culture can be serious.

Comments on YouTube videos often have little to do with the actual video. Instead there is usually intense political and cultural posturing, peppered with discriminatory slang and profanities.

Even this would not be such a serious issue if it weren’t for the existence of the Internet ‘echo chamber’ – a region in cyberspace where people with similar ideals and beliefs typically congregate. Theoretically, an entire website can be an echo chamber, but a social media network may also find itself increasingly divided by many separate echo chambers. Though the proliferation of communities of people congregating over shared views is not inherently wrong, problems occur when feuds erupt between different online communities, whose members may harbour an intense emotional connection to their own groups.

It may be amusing to watch grown adults arguing over a character from a children’s television show, but it is not particularly amusing to be caught in the crossfire of a more serious online debate. This is often the case when riots break out following rumours and criticism directed at a certain toupée-topped politician.

We should all be familiar with the fact that the Internet can be a very hateful place. It is difficult to control one’s emotive impulses on the web for two different reasons.

The first is anonymity: in many cases, anything you say on the Internet is unlikely to be traced back to you. The second reason is that, partially due to freedom of speech gone astray, there are generally few consequences for aggression, trolling, or hate.

Some websites, particularly reddit, may have strict moderation of its forums, chatrooms, and comment sections, yet others — YouTube being a prime example — may have none whatsoever.

It would seem that the mixing of politics and Internet culture is evidence of the start of a new era: what occurs on social media goes on to influence events in the real world. Given that the Internet has tended to be the domain of trolls, bullies, and sinister types, this is a real concern.

Trump may be one of the first major politicians to reach such notoriety on social media, but he won’t be the last politician to create a firestorm on the web. It is likely that future generations will continue to use similar tactics, meaning that the balkanization of the Internet will continue.

We must seriously consider the possibility of the Internet influencing the real world in terrible ways: the existence of echo chambers online may breed hateful or toxic ideologies. For now, watching a politician rise to power on the back of such a beast is no laughing matter.

Nicholas Wolf is a second-year student at Innis College.

When things get hectic, remember: UMatter

Club seeks to bring awareness to mental health

When things get hectic, remember: UMatter

UMatter is a student-led initiative that has teamed up with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to work towards increasing the well-being of students.

This year is the first year that UMatter has operated at U of T. Their goal is to address the negative stigma that surrounds mental health and combat it through education. This includes discussing de-stressing techniques, hosting seminars, and connecting students with the help that they need. UMatter will also be holding fundraisers throughout the year.

On September 20, UMatter kicked off the school year with their first ever back-to-school barbecue. The executives were there introducing themselves to students and giving away free food. UMatter utilized this time to hit the ground running; they immediately got students discussing issues surrounding mental health and well-being.

UMatter wanted to get students involved to build the support and aid they needed to succeed throughout the year. Students engaged with the club through one of its many campaigns focused on mental health, as they answered the question: “What do you associate with mental health?”

Some answers included: stress, therapy, student wellness, the heart, anxiety attacks, misunderstanding, negative stigma, ‘get over it’, and getting help for your problems.

The UMatter team plans to tackle the problem of maintaining students’ mental health by helping them explore the resources made available to  them.

UMatter will be holding bake sales and a de-stressing art therapy session. Artists will be teaching students about the importance of maintaining their own mental health, by using art and creativity as a form of therapy.

The executives have listened to students’ requests and also plan on hosting a seminar where they will address issues surrounding mental health.

Sue-Ann Levy on the importance of speaking up

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, you’ll see that it gets easier and easier as time goes on”

Sue-Ann Levy on the importance of speaking up

Content warning: discussion of assault, sexual assault.

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ue-Ann Levy is a columnist at the Toronto Sun that is well known for staunch conservative views and unapologetic ways of conveying them. Her column and other means of commentary have drawn some ire, particularly among leftists she has covered, who accuse her of being abrasive and closed-minded.

I was 10 when I first heard Levy on AM640. Before this point, I had never heard a Canadian media person speak so openly against the status quo or provide an opening for alternative discourse by challenging listeners and pushing conversation.

Although I did not agree with all her views, at a young age I realized her voice was important.

She recently released her book Underdog: Confessions of a Right-Wing Gay Jewish Muckraker late last month. For those who don’t know her, it acts as an introduction to the Toronto journalist, but for those who do, it provides insight into her world.

I caught up with her before her book signing event at Hart House on September 14.

As someone deemed ‘controversial’, her image in the Canadian media can be polarizing. As I sat down with Levy on a sunny afternoon, my aim was to see her as she saw herself — not as how others perceived her.

Beginnings

Levy’s path to journalism was not direct. As a child, she had another passion. “I wanted to be an actress, so I used to take Broadway musicals, rewrite them, write poetry, and then perform,” she said. “I conscripted my brother to be involved and I would perform them for the family.”

It was her grandmother who pushed towards her current profession, because she “[thought] that a nice Jewish girl doesn’t go to acting school [and] that I should become a journalist because I like to write. So she really pushed me and inspired me to be a journalist,” stated Levy.

Her political views developed at an early age: “I also discovered politics really early thanks to an uncle that was very involved with the Conservative Party. So, I have… very happily been able to mix all of my loves: writing, politics, and a little bit of acting — because I go on the radio all the time.”

Turning point 

As we spoke, my curiosity about Levy’s unique career path grew. Her explanation of her motivation to speak out was sobering: “I had several things happen to me over the years. First of all, growing up in Hamilton I was bullied and made fun of and labelled as an outsider, and then in my last year of journalism [school], I was beaten and assaulted and left for dead. I was at Carleton University, I was at my last year, and I discovered that the system wasn’t actually there for me in many ways.”

The assault had altered the course of her life. Levy explained, “I had always been outspoken, I always had a sense of social justice, and then when all of these things happened — coupled with living in the closet and questioning my sexuality — I said that even though I have been traumatized, I got to speak up for others… Those who I call the underdog, because I was the underdog.”

I wondered if Levy’s proclivity for dissent came naturally to her, or if it was the result of a personal evolution. She responded, “It was an evolution. It built over time. Unfortunately, I was outspoken for others but not so much about myself.”

As she avoided her own trauma and grappled with her identity, Levy was driven to bring attention to other types of injustice. “I started to really hone in on people who I felt were betrayed by the system. And I was naturally attracted to people who had stories to tell. When I started covering education in the early 90s, I covered the injustices in the system — the waste and mismanagement,” she said.

Against the grain 

One of the focuses of Levy’s book is her conviction that she has been sidelined for her divergent political views. “The left — who I write about — have ignored me and tried to silence me or tried to pretend it’s not out there… CBC have, to this point, refused to interview me, although I used to be on way back when. CP24 has banned me because the general manager there doesn’t like my outspoken views,” she commented.

Levy then explained the bullying she has been experiencing online: “You’re fat, you’re a dyke, you’re an idiot. I have had that happen in the last week or so and definitely since the book came out.”

As a woman that switched professions later in life, was sexually abused twice, and struggled with her sexuality, I realized that Levy was more multi-dimensional than many perceive her to be.

When asked what advice she has for students who are struggling to speak up, Levy said: “Don’t be afraid to put yourself into the discourse. I always say that it only takes one or two people and then others will follow. There [is] strength in numbers. People should be entitled to say [what they believe]. My editor… said to me always stay calm. Always state the facts, always stay calm, and don’t lower yourself to the name calling. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, you’ll see that it gets easier and easier as time goes on.”

Extraordinary Student of the Month: Steven Worboys

Worboys is a shutterbug turned philanthropist

Extraordinary Student of the Month: Steven Worboys

Extraordinary Student of the Month is a monthly series within The Varsity’s Arts & Culture section that highlights the exceptional roles University of Toronto students play in making their community better.

Steven Worboys is a third-year undergraduate student from Australia majoring in Health Studies, with a dual minor in Drama and Book and Media Studies.

Worboys has photographed numerous events, including Woodsworth Frosh Week 2015, Woodsworth Orientation Week 2016, Rotman Commerce Marketing Association Conference, and the Woodsworth Gala. The most special aspect of his photography is that Worboys donates his pay to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).

Over the last 12 months, Worboys has donated around $1,000, while also helping to raise awareness about SickKids.

Worboys first picked up a camera “around the age of 15 or 16.” When asked why he donates the money he makes from photography, Worboys answered: “Photography is not a steady term of employment, unless you get a professional gig, so it’s a side thing I do. Maybe I’ll get three or four opportunities a year. I felt that I could make a difference with the money that came in through that.”

Worboys explained his choice of community events: “I saw what the community of Woodsworth was, I wanted to give back in a way and I looked at photography, and I can give to those who need it more.” He also added, “I like the community side of photography… you bring a camera and people crowd around it, and I like how photography brings people together, especially when you release it into the wild, and people will talk about it.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVEN WORBOYS

PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVEN WORBOYS

When asked why he donates to SickKids, Worboys opened up a little with a touching personal story. “Back in fourth grade, I woke up with this lump on my arm and I had to get surgery to remove it. We had to go to… the [Royal Children’s Hospital], and I had a really positive experience there, all the doctors helped me out, they were really nice and friendly… The whole process just made me feel like way more comfortable, so I really wanted to give back to something similar, after going through my process.”

The advice that Worboys gives to others is: “It’s not just about money. If you have time to go volunteer, that’s just as valuable. Even just spreading the message, getting the message out there. Even just talking to someone for maybe a couple minutes, even if they don’t volunteer in their entire lives. Even just getting the message out there about these charities is equally important as time or money.”

If you know an extraordinary student on campus and wish to nominate them, email art[email protected]; provide their name, email, and why they deserve to be featured.