Editorial note: This editorial was written in response to a story published in the Feb. 13, 2002 issue of The Eyeopener. In that issue, a fictional story was published that the editorial board has since decided to retract. However, we will still archive all the stories and editorials written in the aftermath of that story.
By Shane Dingman
Last week our annual Love & Sex issue shocked, disturbed and offended some readers. Some objected to the graphic pictures, some the cover itself, some the stories, and for several, one particular piece of fiction.
“Something stirring downstairs,” has provoked a reaction I have not seen in my five years at this school. We here at The Eyeopener do our best to reflect the needs and values of the community, and a good many of you have told us we failed in that regard this time out. If any person felt pain reading our newspaper, for that we are truly sorry. It was never our intention to cause harm, but rather to raise issues in a blunt and unflinching manner.
That being said, article two of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of every Canadian, and among those freedoms is the freedom of the press. What this means is that every citizen has a duty and a right to a free press. In other words, if someone messes with your free press they are infringing on your freedoms. The argument has been made to me that while certain people are for the freedom of the press and against censorship, in this case they want our issues off the stands. You can’t have it both ways. A press is either truly free, or free at the whim of citizens. None of us would want to live in a country where any citizen or group of citizens was able to remove our fundamental freedoms because they felt justified to do so.
And those who took it upon themselves to throw our newspaper into the trash, shame on you. If The Boys of St. Vincent disturbed you, would you have blown up the transmitter for CBC television?
For members of the university administration to refuse to do interviews with The Eyeopener indefinitely is a cheap pressure tactic, which is completely cowardly.
Why? Because The Eyeopener has been, and will continue to, co-operate with Ann Whiteside of the office of Equity, Harassment and Safety in her inquiry into this matter. While at the outset we posit that The Eyeopener neither knowingly or unintentionally harassed anyone, we are deeply committed to following the university’s policy on this matter so that the community might be able to heal and grow together.
If you are still looking for rationale or justification for the story, I will refer you to the letter on this page in which the writer of this piece provides a more detailed reasoning.
My hope is that in the coming weeks, people will begin to remember that The Eyeopener has always been, and will remain, committed to the betterment of student life on campus — even though some might disagree with how we do that.